CBD: Facts and Fiction Concerning Health Benefits Per Research Expert

CBD: Facts and Fiction Concerning Health Benefits Per Research Expert

Professor Kent E. Vrana is Chair of the Department of Pharmacology Center at Penn State and has more than 30 years of research experience in molecular neuropharmacology. He is also the Bernard B. Brodie Professor in Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmacology Center for Cannabis and Natural Product Pharmaceuticals at the Penn State Neuroscience Institute. He addressed the status of research evidence concerning CBD and its ability to help with certain health conditions.

One of Dr. Vrana’s significant concerns is CBD marketing, which is not backed by research evidence. Unfortunately, some brands are marketing CBD as a cure-all for conditions, and these claims are not supported by current research. Also, many of the research projects used animals instead of humans.

The over-the-counter CBD industry is not government-regulated, so consumers have no assurance the products are safe. Unscrupulous CBD manufacturers mislabel their products, so many do not contain the stated amount of CBD but contain significant THC levels. There is also the risk of unregulated products being contaminated with unsafe substances.

Another concern of Dr. Vrana is that CBD is a natural product that acts like a drug due to the way it is processed in the body. The body eliminates CBD through liver enzyme action, the same way some drugs are eliminated. Prescription drugs include antidepressants and blood thinners. CBD has the potential to produce unwanted interactions with these types of medications. Dr. Vrana and Dr. Paul Kocis created a free online site called CANNabinoid Drug Interaction Review (CANN-DIR) that identifies how CBD may interact with various prescription drugs.

Though Dr. Vrana cautions on the use of CBD, he also points to the more than 200 scientific trials that show evidence CBD may have a positive impact on many disorders. Dr. Vrana wrote, “In particular, CBD appears to be an analgesic, similar to the functions of aspirin. This means it might help treat people suffering from headaches and body aches.”

The only FDA approval for CBD is for a purified prescription CBD product called Epidiolex for treating seizures in children with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet Syndrome.

Dr. Vrana believes CBD will eventually become a common product in the medicine cabinet. First, more research must determine the correct product form and dosage for a particular medical condition. In the meantime, millions of people are taking CBD in various forms, like CBD tinctures and CBD gummies, because it delivers the desired effects. Due to potential drug interactions, it is important to discuss CBD with a doctor if taking prescription medications.


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