CBD, Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound naturally found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Some varieties of Cannabis are processed into marijuana – the most popular drug across the planet.

Marijuana gains its psychoactivity through one of its chemical constituents: THC. THC is a different kind of cannabinoid to CBD.

Varieties of C.sativa with a THC concentration greater than 0.3% are referred to as marijuana. [1]

C.sativa plants with a THC concentration smaller than 0.3% are recognised as hemp. Below 0.3%, THC is insufficient to produce intoxicating effects on the body.

Thus, hemp lacks the ability to produce the feeling of a ‘high’, unlike marijuana. [2]

CBD is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant and dissolved in a base e.g. sunflower or olive oil.

Although THC was discovered prior to CBD, the latter chemical moiety has quickly gained massive popularity in the pharmacological, skin and hair care industries.

The oil’s robust antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-epilepsy, and pain-relieving properties have allowed it to emerge as one of the top contenders of the phytochemical drug industry. [3]

There’s a diverse range of CBD oil products currently being sold in the market. They can differ in form of:

Suitability to different illnesses

  • Application – topical or dietary supplements,
  • Origin – hemp-derived or marijuana-derived, and quantity of CBD and THC.

CBD closely resembles some of the hormones produced in the body known as endocannabinoids.

This allows CBD to interact with the endocannabinoid signaling system in the body.[4] CBD’s ability to affect many different parts of the body all together allows its therapeutic value to multiply.

The endocannabinoid system has many roles to play in humans with the most important being regulation of homeostasis i.e. house-keeping of the body.

Most CBD-clinical trials have produced results in favor of the oil. The oil has generally been found to be safe for use even alongside conventional medication.

However, potential risks have been identified and additionally, how the C.sativa plant has been grown can impact the quality of benefits.

This article will empower you with a better understanding of the care that needs to be taken when using CBD oil products and hopefully allows you to make well-informed decisions when purchasing new oil products.

Note: Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same. Always check the ingredients of the product before purchasing.

Things to Take Care of When Buying CBD Oil Products

CBD oil itself is non-toxic to humans even at large doses. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women.

Presently, the more serious problem is with companies engaging in false marketing and inaccurate labeling in order to boost the sales of their products.

CBD oils can be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, and synthetic cannabinoids. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all countries.

1. Beware – Are You Falling for False Marketing?

It is important to understand that CBD oil products help manage the symptoms of an illness and not actually cure it completely.

This is because CBD does not just exert its effects on one particular region of the body rather, it has an overall effect.

Thus, when certain parts of the body are experiencing abnormality, CBD oil can help return their function to normal.

CBD oil does not target the root cause of most diseases. For example: in the case of cancer and epilepsy this is generally DNA mutations, which cannot be altered by CBD oil.

Some companies mislead potential customers by publishing statements like: ‘CBD oil can treat xyz disease’ on their website. [5]

This is an extremely serious issue as, claims of CBD ‘treating’ a disease can stop patients from receiving important required health care.

CBD oil allows people to feel like they can be in control of their own treatment and no longer require a doctor.

In a world where the internet is allowing people to be their own doctor, it is even more important that you can recognize false information.

The US FDA regularly conducts online searches and issues warning letters to those found guilty of misleading customers. [6]

What does this Mean? CBD oil can help reduce the symptoms of a disease but, by no means is it a cure. Beware of online sellers claiming that CBD oil ‘treats’ a particular disease. If you wish to switch to CBD oil medication or add it to your routine treatment, discuss it with your doctor first.

2. Are the Labeled CBD and THC Concentrations Correct?

Scientists have taken CBD oils being used by individuals and tested their cannabinoid concentrations to see if the product labels are correct. [7]

Although even 1500 mg/day doses of CBD can be well-tolerated [8], you should still be completely aware of how much CBD you are consuming, especially if doctors have recommended a set dosage to you.

It is recommended that you ask a doctor or pharmacist for advice on which CBD oil products to buy and which companies are trustworthy.

Since 2015, the FDA has issued 50 warning letters to online sellers after finding them to be guilty of inaccurate labeling. [9]

The case of inaccurate labeling is even more serious when it comes to THC as, high levels of the chemical leaves consumers fully exposed to its intoxicating effects.

They may suffer from disorientation and it is highly dangerous for them to drive with slowed reflexes.

A Dutch group of scientists uncovered alarming results upon investigating 17 CBD oil samples. In only 2 of the samples, the measured CBD% and labeled CBD% matched.

In most cases, the measured amount of CBD was around 90% less than what was shown on the label.

Luckily, in a majority of the samples the measured amount of THC was 80-90% lower than what was shown on the labels.

The product users were being cheated but, at least they would be consuming less CBD and THC than expected, which is safer than if it was the other way around. [10]

Look for evidence on third-party laboratory tests done by the CBD oil manufacturer on their website.

What does this Mean? There have been cases where the labeled CBD and THC concentrations on products being sold online did not match the results after laboratory testing. Ensure to only purchase CBD oils from companies recommended by experts.

3. Is Your CBD Oil Pure?

CBD oil has proven to be a better antioxidant than both vitamins C and E. [11] But, there is growing concern about the quality of the oil, especially as pesticide use is increasing globally.

During the cultivation of C.sativa, heavy metals and pesticides can enter the plant. [12]

When CBD is extracted, the heavy metals and pesticides come with it resulting in contamination of the final oil product. [13]

Additionally, some CBD producers deceive customers by replacing pure CBD with synthetic cannabinoids. [14]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said that “to date, there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”. [15]

There is insufficient research on the short/long-term effects of synthetic cannabinoids so, it is advised that you try your best to avoid them.

To avoid purchasing low-quality oils, consult doctors or pharmacists to get recommendations on which companies are verified and trustworthy.

Hemp plants grown at northern latitudes i.e. in Canada are likely to contain greater CBD content. You may want to purchase CBD oil products originating from northern countries.[16]

What does this Mean? Companies can enrich CBD oils with synthetic cannabinoids instead of pure CBD. Consult doctors or pharmacists to receive more information on trustworthy companies before buying any product.

4. Is The CBD Oil Product Legal in Your State/Country?

CBD oil has taken the pharmacological and cosmetic industries by storm. From CBD gummy bears to CBD-infused lattes what not is available in the market.

In such conditions, you’d assume that CBD is a legal and approved ingredient of food products. But, this may not necessarily be the case.

CBD laws across the world are rapidly changing and evolving as new clinical research emerges. In all countries, hemp-derived CBD has been legalized and cannabis-derived CBD remains illegal. [17]

However, it’s not as simple as that. Further complications are introduced, especially in the USA where laws change from state to state, as in some regions prescriptions are required whilst, in some they are not.

Furthermore, the allowed percentage of THC in hemp-derived products can change from country to country.

For example: according to the EU laws, hemp-derived CBD oil products must contain no more than 0.2% THC. [18] The threshold in Canada is slightly higher at 0.3%. [19]

The Cannabis industry is booming and has a lot of big money involved. This is leading to serious issues of industrial negligence and intentional rule-breaking.

Many CBD producers don’t have proper approvals from the government and yet they continue to sell CBD oil products.

It is highly important that you only purchase CBD oil products from companies with the correct approvals. You can generally find information on the legal status of an organization on its official website.

Ensure you’ve read up on the laws and regulations controlling CBD oil products – oral supplements and topical applications in your respective country before going ahead with a purchase.

Governments recommend that you do not transport CBD oil products from one country to another as the rules in the country of arrival may be different from the country of departure.

What does this Mean? It is essential that you have full knowledge about the legality of CBD oil products in your country before conducting any purchases.

5. Understand Effects on Pregnant and Breast-Feeding Women

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many drastic changes. These often lead to pregnant women experiencing excessive morning sickness.

CBD oil is a recognized agent to treat nausea and vomiting, especially in cancer patients after they undergo chemotherapy. [20] This is still an ongoing area of research but, initial evidence stands in favor of CBD.

Prochlorperazine is conventionally used to treat morning sickness in pregnant women.

However, the drug is accompanied by its own set of side effects, including: insomnia, dizziness, blurred vision and anxiety. So, in reality, the drug is providing relief from one problem only to lead to another.

CBD oil was found to not only help alleviate morning sickness but, also provide relief from the side effects of prochlorperazine. [21]

Only a few studies have been done in this area and more is needed to fully understand the safety of CBD oil for pregnant women.

Whilst, CBD has not been proven unsafe in pregnancy it has not been proven safe either.

On the other hand, scientists can confirm that smoking marijuana harms brain development in the fetus and can lower body weight at birth. [22]

THC has been identified as the key constituent of marijuana responsible for such effects but, only further clinical trials can confirm whether CBD too has a part to play in this.

It is highly advisable that if you’re pregnant you first consult a doctor before using topical or oral CBD oil products.

Epidiolex, a CBD oral medication for treating certain childhood epilepsies is not recommended to pregnant women by the US FDA as it is suggested to cause fetal harm.[23]

What does this Mean? If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you must consult a doctor before using topical or dietary CBD oil products.

6. Understand Effects on Topical Applications

Presently, the side effects of CBD oil have only been reported in animal studies. The oil was found to impact cell viability, reduce fertilisation capacity and interrupt liver function. [24]

Human trials have found no serious side effects of CBD oil supplements. For example CBD-treatment for anxiety produced no side effects in a 48-patient trial. [25]

When CBD was used to treat marijuana dependence, only positive effects were seen and there were no reported side effects on liver function. [26]

Difference between animal and human studies is common and according to current research, CBD oil is completely safe to be consumed in moderation.

You must consult a professional for dosage.

CBD oil is classified as a low allergen and is highly unlikely to cause any allergic reactions.[27] Make sure to test the product in a small area of the skin before applying on damaged skin.

The oil can be tested around the elbow, on the back of the knee or on the side of the neck, if it is to be used on the face.

What does this Mean? CBD oil has shown no clinically significant side effects in an average human. You must consult a doctor for dosage before consuming CBD oil supplements.

7. Understand Side Effects in Epilepsy Patients

Several clinical trials have found CBD treatment to be more effective in certain individuals in comparison to others even though they have similar degrees of epilepsy. [28],[29],[30]

Similarly, some patients experience greater side effects than others whilst, some do not complain of any side effects at all.

CBD oral supplement, epidiolex, has recently been approved for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. [31]

CBD works by reducing hyperexcitability in patients, which can allow seizures to slowly fade away. [32]

A 2017 clinical trial published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine had investigated the effects of CBD oil against drug-resistant Dravet syndrome. [33]

The frequency of seizures plummeted from 13/month to 6/month in CBD-treated patients.

It is important to note that 21% of the participants complained of tiredness, 17% of diarrhea and 16% of reduced appetite.

However, these side effects are hardly life-threatening and negligible in front of the benefits CBD-treatment provides.

Epidiolex can induce side effects like: sleepiness, insomnia, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue and mild liver injury.

It is important that you are aware of these side effects but, do not have any doubt about whether you should consume epidiolex as, it is safe and highly effective.

The side effects of CBD oil supplements in epilepsy patients are only mild to moderate and will not necessarily affect everyone.

You must consult a doctor before consuming epidiolex.

Initially, doctors were hesitant about prescribing CBD drugs alongside conventional epilepsy medication as, they had little information on CBD’s interactions with other drugs.

Clinical trials have found CBD to in fact increase the activity of the anti-epilepsy medication, Clobazam. [34]

As a result, smaller doses of clobazam could be registered and thus, less severe side effects of clobazam were experienced.

On the other hand, some clinical trials reveal otherwise. The results are conflicted for whether CBD oil can enhance the effects of other drugs.

Currently, epidiolex is used alongside conventional epilepsy drugs. The FDA notes that CBD can affect the metabolism of clobazam and valproate. [35]

However, CBD’s interactions with these drugs are not toxic or harmful.

Latest research concludes that CBD oil is safe for use by epilepsy patients. Further research in this area will be appreciated.

Most importantly, individuals consuming CBD supplements must not stop taking them abruptly. They should slowly reduce the dosage over time.

What does this Mean?You must consult a doctor before consuming Epidiolex or other CBD oil supplements in order to be well-informed of the potential side effects. Do not abruptly discontinue taking CBD medication rather, gradually reduce the dosage over time.

8.Understand Side Effects in Cancer Patients

CBD is non-toxic to humans even at doses up to 50 mg/kg and most research finds hemp oil safe to use with chemotherapy drugs. [36],[37]

We strongly advise that you consult a doctor before using CBD oil with ongoing cancer treatments.

This is because cancer is highly variable across each individual so, your reaction to CBD oil could change too.

CBD doses of 5 to 10 mg/kg can help alleviate the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy, namely nausea and vomiting. [38],[39] However, further research is needed to identify the best dosage as 20 to 40 mg/kg can worsen vomiting. [40]

What does this Mean? Clinical trials find CBD oil safe to be used alongside conventional chemotherapy drug. You must consult a doctor for dosage and precautions before using CBD oil supplements during your cancer treatment.

Summary

Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in many parts of the world. Currently, the greater issue with CBD oil products is the dishonesty of companies selling the products.

They claim that CBD oil is a ‘cure’ for some disease but, scientific research has continuously reiterated that CBD oil is used to reduce the symptoms.

The CBD and THC concentrations quoted on the product labels have sometimes been found to be incorrect.

The purity of the oil can be down-graded by mixing synthetic cannabinoids or using too much pesticide during cultivation.

We urge you to consult a doctor, pharmacist or expert before buying any CBD oil product to gain a better understanding of which companies are trustworthy.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women are not advised to use CBD oil. The side effects of CBD supplements in epilepsy patients are mild.

The CBD industry is undergoing rapid growth and with future research, CBD oil products will be completely verified and ready for use by more people.

All our posts are written by experienced writers with relevant degrees. These extremely well researched and comprehensive articles take 10s of hours to write. For each article, all the sources of information are provided as reference links for anyone to check.

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