Is CBD Right for You?

Can you use cannabidiol?

Studies show that CBD oil (cannabidiol) can be used as a form of treatment but there are a few concerns regarding the chemical compound. Image Credit: By Kari Marttila on shutterstock

Thanks to changing laws surrounding cannabis in the US, scientific studies are popping up left and right and causing excitement about the health benefits of one of its most active components, cannabidiol or CBD. But while there are claims about CBD’s potential to treat a long list of issues, from anxiety to pain, the research available still leaves questions to be answered.

We know that CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies helping to regulate our immune system, emotions, and inflammatory responses, among many other things but, in addition, it’s already showing promise as a treatment for a variety of serious medical conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.

What’s more, CBD’s safety profile and short list of minor side effects have caused some patients to give up other pharmaceutical drugs for treating their illnesses and turn solely to CBD oil.

More scientific research is still needed on CBD oil––as well as cannabis’ other beneficial compounds like THC — and its uses because often the studies being conducted are too small or draw out only a few helpful facts, making it impossible to endorse CBD treatments for particular health issues. However, recent research says that oral CBD treatments, like pills and capsules, are showing particular promise because of the way they’re thought to be absorbed by the body.

Newer and more targeted CBD treatments are cropping up by the day, like CBD cocktails or pet products, as the original form of CBD oil slowly expands into an array of CBD creams, ointments, edibles, candy and food products. These different methods for using CBD oil exist for different purposes––such as applying topical CBD cream to joints to alleviate arthritis pain––but questions still remain considering there are about 850 brands of CBD treatments on the market, all of varying concentrations and ingredients.

Concerns About CBD Treatment

Public concern over CBD treatments could be appeased by new FDA-approved prescription drugs containing CBD that are available, like a new medication for epilepsy. But some researchers also echo this concern because, the human body’s mechanisms responsible for CBD’s therapeutic benefits still aren’t fully understood. Plus, these research studies aren’t well-controlled due to unregulated CBD treatments, meaning content and consistency — and therefore results — are still questionable.

Despite these concerns, some patients are still interested in trying oral CBD remedies for their ailments and they’re asking how long CBD treatments take to have an effect. Since you take CBD pills or capsules the same way you do a vitamin tablet, it undergoes the same absorption process in your body through the gastrointestinal tract. However, remember that we’re all individuals with unique makeups, so timing and effect may vary between patients.

How Long CBD Pills Take to Affect Us

Most studies focused on CBD use aren’t specific about dosage, timing, or patient profiles, but others offer more details to help us assess how CBD treatments work. Patients suffering from social anxiety in one preliminary study took 600mg of CBD 1.5 hours before a public speaking task, and results showed that CBD greatly reduced anxiety symptoms for these individuals.

Another 2009 study in Chemical Biodiversity gives exact numbers, claiming that 10-15mg of cannabis medications taken orally took 1-8 hours to reach full effect, compared to the maximal effect from cannabis suppositories of 2.5-5 mg taking 2-8 hours. But what do these numbers really mean to us?

Research can also describe how CBD oil interacts with the body, and even how long it might stay in the body once a treatment is taken, but so many factors like dosage, other ingredients, and your own health profile play a large role in how CBD treatments affect you, so all the precise details in research may not matter for your situation.

In addition, bear in mind that because CBD oil comes in many different forms, the best method for you may not be oral pills or capsules––it could be topical creams for inflammation and pain or sublingual tinctures for headaches or nausea, and each method has its own speed of absorption and interaction with your body.

Considering CBD Treatments?

Ultimately, CBD oil treatments need more regulation, but that’s not to say there aren’t high quality remedies available — you just have to do your homework to find products with detailed labeling of contents from a trusted source that tests their CBD in a lab. Talking to the company that makes the treatments can help assure you about safety and effectiveness.

In addition, talk to your doctor about the CBD treatments you’re considering and how they may affect you or interact with current medications you’re taking, and educate yourself further about what CBD is and the many forms it takes in health care.

The content on cannabisMD is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Megan Solga
Megan Solga
Megan Solga is an international educator and mental health advocate with a background in medicinal cannabis research. She enjoys whiskey, bluegrass, and life in the mountains.

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