In the meantime, some physicians are forging ahead — and cashing in. Joe Cohen is a doctor at Holos Health, a medical marijuana clinic in Boulder. I asked him what CBD is good for, and he read me a long list of conditions: pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramping, anxiety, psychosis, muscle spasms, hyperactive immune systems, nervous system degeneration, elevated blood sugar and more. He also claimed that CBD has anti-cancer properties and can regenerate brain cells and reduce the brain’s levels of amyloid beta — a kind of protein that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. I asked for references, noting that most of these weren’t listed in the Academies report or a similar review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “I think you just have to Google search it,” he said. It’s true that a preliminary study found hints that cannabinoids might reduce beta amyloid proteins in human brain cells, but the study was done in cells grown in a lab, not in people. As for cancer, the FDA sent warning letters last year to four companies that were selling products that claimed to “prevent, diagnose, treat or cure” cancer.
Anyone who tells you anything definitive about what CBD — or THC, for that matter — does to your body is lying. Nobody knows. The legitimate research out there is extremely limited, and the slow drip of legalization — medical use, then personal use, federally illegal but permitted by certain states and cities — has made it incredibly hard for researchers to do their jobs.
It is a strict violation of the Food and Drug Administration DSHEA guidelines to make medical claims about the efficacy of CBD products in the treatment of any medical condition or symptom. Although preliminary research has shown tremendous promise of CBD oil helping people in pretty remarkable ways, legitimate CBD companies will refrain from making any direct medical claims. Be very wary of companies that defy this guideline, because if they disregard this particular rule, what other rules are they willing to ignore?
The company’s founder, Bill Hansen, was inspired to create Smart Hemp CBD for animals after his family dog was diagnosed with cancer last year. CBD products had helped Hansen slow the progression of his own Parkinson’s disease, and he wanted to provide similar relief for his dog. "When considering CBD products for my 4-legged friend, my most important considerations were safety, quality, and consistency," Hansen said.
Topicals are applied right to trouble areas so that the CBD oil can work directly where it’s needed most. Ingesting CBD products orally causes CBD and other compounds to enter the blood stream, which elicits full-body effects and takes up to 2 hours or more before those effects are experienced. With CBD topicals, the healing compound and other hemp-derived nutrients are almost immediately absorbed directly through your skin, allowing them to be target the affected area for quicker and more focused effects.
That said, both Blessing and Carson warn that CBD should still be considered a drug, which means it can interact with other drugs. “CBD does interact with drugs that people are taking,” says Blessing. “So if you’re taking an opioid cough suppressant, or you’re taking serotonin-based medicine, like an SSRI, you can have strong drug interactions.” While most coffee shops are likely using doses too low to cause such interactions, Blessing says it’s something to be aware of. “If a coffee shop happened to have a way of making a product with a lot of CBD in it, then that could really interact with the medication this person is taking, and the effects they think are due to CBD could partly be due to that medication interaction,” she says.
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