HOUSTON — Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular remedy to help with a host of ailments.
It’s been claimed to help with anxiety, weight loss, depression, sleep, pain, migraines, acne -- you name it, someone’s claimed it.
It comes in many forms including oils, gummies and lotions and can be found in vitamin shops, yoga studios, coffee shops, doctors’ offices and online.
But does it really work and is it legal? What do we really know about CBD?
Jokubas Ziburkus is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Houston and has studied CBD for several years.
“CBD is one of the molecules in the cannabis plant,” Ziburkus said. “My research has focused on epilepsy and a little bit on Alzheimer’s disease.”
CBD should not to be confused with THC, the chemical compound in marijuana. Both come from the cannabis plant, but CBD does not get you high.
The FDA has cleared one CBD medication for seizures called Epidiolex. Ziburkus also cites studies that link CBD to pain relief.
However, current laws have meant very little research has been done on what else it can do.
"In the research world, it is interpreted as a schedule one substance. We have very limited availability, and in fact, we can’t even have plants that are derived from CBD in the lab," Ziburkus said.
Which may sound strange, since under the newly passed Farm Bill, it’s legal to buy, although there are restrictions.
“It’s creating a very confusing situation for an average consumer," Ziburkus said. "CBD is not regulated. CBD is not FDA approved. There is a disconnect between regulatory status and the reality.”
Which means there are no real guidelines about how much a person should be taking. It also means consumers might be getting ripped off or sold bad products.
Ziburkus says consumers can safeguard themselves from this by using a retailer that offers third party test results. He says third-party tests will ensure the products aren’t made with metals, pesticides or other harmful things. They’ll also tell you the concentration and percentage of CBD in the product.
After years of researching CBD, Ziburkus also invested in it. His company, Florance, manufactures and sells CBD products.
He joined a booming industry. Hemp derived cannabis products are on track to reach 1.9 billion in sales by 2020, according to the Hemp Business Journal.
“The future of hemp and CBD is incredible,” Ziburkus said. “CBD will probably, in the future, be viewed as vitamin C.”
The FDA and the medical community seem to agree that CBD alone doesn’t appear dangerous, but can it stand up to its hype? Only time and research will tell.