Ten years ago the letters CBD meant nothing to the everyday shopper but now it’s difficult to avoid CBD-related products. You can find CBD Oil in lotions, soaps, dog treats, and a host of other health and wellness products meant to give consumers direct access to the ubiquitous drug. CBD product manufacturers claim the cannabis-derived compound is useful for several conditions from sleeplessness to blotchy skin but does the rise of the CBD industry correlate with the product’s effectiveness, or is CBD simply a new trend?
For mother of three Christina Dupree the evidence of CBD’s effectiveness unfolded before her eyes. Dupree’s 4-year old son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and had trouble sleeping. The sleeplessness caused her son to act out aggressively and shut down efforts on communication. After hours of research Dupree settled on a coconut-oil CBD treatment for her son. The results weren’t instant, but Dupree gradually saw positive changes, including the simple act of watching cartoons.
“When he watches cartoons, he will imitate them, and he will even do dances when he watches ‘The Wiggles.’ He would ignore it before,” she said.
CBD is recommended for cuts, insomnia, headaches, sore muscles, moodiness, and just about everything between. Though anecdotal evidence suggests CBD’s effectiveness for many conditions, clinicians and experts are quick to point out CBD is new to the market and that major studies on the drug are few and far between.
“The strongest data is for the treatment of seizures in some rare epilepsy disorders.” said Melinda Ring, the executive director of Northwestern Medicine’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. “For other conditions, ranging from glaucoma to movement disorders, the data is promising, but it is still limited.” she said.
The recent passage of the Farm Bill legalizes the cultivation of hemp which most manufacturers utilize for CBD. CBD manufactured from hemp is not considered legal, but a 2014 provision allows manufacturers to sell some some hemp-based products.
States with legal medical or recreational cannabis can derive CBD from the plant’s more potent leaves and flowers but that CBD is still considered federally illegal and is only available at local licensed marijuana retailers.
Because CBD manufacturing has no oversight, customers might no know what they’re getting. There have been several examples of ‘CBD-infused’ products containing very little or no CBD at all during post-consumer testing.
CBD is expected to burgeon into a $2 billion industry by 2022, even though there are no clinical studies or oversight on the market. An emerging industry with plenty of question marks might make potential buyers and sellers hesitant to test the waters, but those who have used CBD believe in it despite the murky status. “It’s like the Wild West out there,” said Dafna Revah, owner of Chicago-based CBD Kratom. “But we believe people should not live their lives every day in pain.”