CBD Through the Looking Glass


By Jessica M. Hancock

Cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be everywhere these days and can be found in everything from lotions to toothpaste, hair potions to bath salts, candies to coffee. It’s promoted to be helpful in managing a wide range of ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and digestive problems. Beauty advocates promote age-defying and stress-busting properties. Sports enthusiasts talk of pre and post-workout benefits. Basically, if you suffer from it, CBD might be able to help! So, what is CBD and why is it suddenly so prevalent?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients in cannabis after delta-9 THC (the component that causes the “high” most associated with marijuana). Derived from the hemp plant, CBD is not marijuana but a component that exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence in humans. In fact, to date, there is zero evidence that the use of pure CBD causes any public health-related problems according to the World Health Organization.

In most parts of the United States CBD is readily obtainable although the legality of it is confusing at best. All states have restrictions to manage the distribution and use of CBD while the federal government still classifies it as a controlled substance depending on whether it comes from hemp or marijuana. Fortunately, since the 2018 Farm Bill went into effect and the process to obtain a commercial hemp growers license became less cumbersome in 2020, the legality of CBD at the federal level is changing for the better.

Initially touted in medical circles as a solution to treating some very cruel epileptic syndromes, CBD has since gone on to treat everything from anxiety to insomnia. More recently CBD is being promoted as an effective anti-inflammatory and a useful option for treating chronic pain such as arthritis and while more research is needed to definitively prove the efficacy of the compound in this respect among medical scholars, there is already considerable support from consumers purporting to feel the benefits. 

CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement and not a medication. It is important to trust your supplier and ask lots of questions. 

Since CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) there are no regulations in place to monitor the safety and purity of CBD in any form that can include oils, tinctures, gummies, vapes, and more. Consumers need to be cautious when shopping for CBD and look for the proven supplier(s) they can trust who will answer any questions they might have. Additionally, without FDA oversight there is no way to know for certain that the active ingredients and concentrated values are present and true, so knowing your supplier and understanding their process to ensure purity and quality is critical.  In a recent report, the Mayo Clinic found that the unreliability of purity is a major concern. Of 84 CBD products tested more than a quarter contained less CBD than labeled and 18 products contained THC.

One of the most frequent questions about CDB, especially among first-time users is “how much is right for me?” Unfortunately, there is currently no firm answer to this question, and many CBD sellers will suggest starting low and building up until you start to experience positive results. This is a gamble though because the side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue, and irritability and it can increase the amount of coumadin in your blood, a natural blood thinner. 

CBD is considered an effective anti-seizure medication, and more and more people are relying on it to manage their everyday maladies and ailments. It can relieve pain, reduce anxiety, normalize sleep patterns, and aid in digestion. There are no known public health issues associated with CBD and without THC there is no adverse “high.” When shopping for your next CBD supplement, look for quality and ask questions. New therapeutic uses for this natural remedy are being discovered all the time. If you think CBD might be right for you, look for it online or at your local retailer.

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