CBD is promoted as safe, healthy, and part of an everyday life of woke wellness. But among all those accolades and ca-chinging at the cash registers lurks a harsh reality.
Cannabidiol (CBD) products are everywhere. Many of them are illegal. All of them have questionable effects on health and wellness. And to some in the cannabis industry, those facts come as somewhat of a surprise.
To others, the CBD sales and marketing game is a wild west no-holds-barred free-for-all, with the consumer taking all of the risks.
There are CBD infused beverages, CBD creams and salves and CBD in all sorts of wellness products. There are smokable and edible CBD products. CBD is promoted as safe, healthy, and part of an everyday life of woke wellness.
But among all those accolades and ca-chinging at the cash registers lurks a harsh reality.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has still only approved one CBD product (GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex, where the FDA collected its first real lab science about CBD), CBD can cause liver injury. It can affect the metabolism of other drugs and cause serious side effects. CBD used with alcohol or depressants increases the risk of becoming drowsy. It affects alertness, causes diarrhea, and changes in mood.
The long-term use of CBD is still unclear, as is using multiple forms of CBD at the same time, such as taking an edible while using salve or cream at the same time.
Perhaps even more alarming, CBD has been shown to affect male reproductive activity, such as testicular size, sperm growth and development, and decreased testosterone.
So all of those CBD products you see in your favorite shopping mall, in kiosks inside the mall, in Whole Foods, in Walgreen’s – which appear to legitimize the products just because they are in trusted stores – are still iffy at best. Labels don’t always tell the full story.
Already tests of some products reveal not only no CBD at all in the products, but CBD mixed with THC in other supposedly CBD-only products. A 2017 analysis of 84 CBD products sold online cited by the National Institutes of Health found that 26 percent contained substantially less CBD than the label indicated, and 43 percent contained substantially more. Tests by the FDA also found issues with levels of CBD content.
But there is a silver lining to the dark CBD cloud. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD, gave the FDA final say, which then handed the issue off to the USDA. The USDA recently announced interim rules for hemp production, just ended stakeholder reviews on those rules, and plans to submit final rules within two years. That will help open the door to the science the FDA requires to analyze CBD for its safety to consumers.
But for now, CBD is a buyer’s beware situation. Caveat emptor y’all.