CBD Products Are Hot, But Are They Good for Us?

A new frontier of products short on evidence-based data

The Lempert Report

In the U.S., the cannabidiol (CBD) industry is consistently regarded as the Wild West—a reference to the western frontier period of roughness and lawlessness, according to a new column in New Food Magazine that interviewed Jaclyn Bowen from The Clean Label Project about what research is being done surrounding CBD health claims.

CBD is not yet FDA approved for any conditions, with the notable exception of the Epidiolex, an anti-seizure medication. Many of National Institute of Health’s (NIH) studies, and other international studies, however, have shown promising results for a variety of conditions. The recent passing of the Farm Bill serves to help accelerate this research.

Pelin Thorogood, president and co-founder of the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation, says there simply has not been sufficient research to date, from either NIH or other sources, primarily due to the Schedule 1 status of CBD and cannabis since 1970.

This has led to a scarcity of evidence-based data on the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis, as was stated in a recent report on the Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). Researchers typically say CBD, and cannabis in general, "may or may not be" beneficial because they simply do not have enough data to conclusively prove its effects across a diverse set of conditions.

There are two projects Thorogood’s foundation have embarked on that truly go above and beyond a traditional clinical approach and may be a significant factor in the adoption and sales of CBD products: The University of Utah investigation "Brain Effects of Cannabinoids” uses advanced imaging (PET, fMRI) to visualize the personalized effects of various cannabinoids, including CBD isolate, THC isolate and full-spectrum cannabis, in the brains of healthy adults. 

And the University of California at San Diego's research project "Investigating Cannabinoids in Autism Spectrum Disorders" is a first-of-its-kind, multi-disciplinary study that explores whether CBD can reduce behavioral abnormalities in children with Autism, and if so, how. 

Thorogood says the findings would provide the FDA with the evidence-based data necessary to approve CBD use for certain indications or for certain populations.


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