Does CBD Have a Place in Mainstream Medicine?
Should Big Pharma embrace or battle cannabis?
Just about every health blog is buzzing about the positive health benefits of CBD oil. While there is plenty of scientific evidence proving its benefits for a handful of diseases, it would be a bit of a pipe dream for mainstream medicine to embrace it as well. Although considering legal recreational marijuana is now a reality in many states, there still may be a place for CBD outside of holistic health.
CBD in Mainstream Pharmacy
CBD has been quite effective for treating depression, anxiety, inflammation and other common ailments without minimal medical intervention. Although, if your ailment is serious enough to arrange for a doctor’s appointment, prescription drugs would probably be a higher priority as a treatment.
With the rise in telemedicine for medical consulting, CBD and other non-prescription remedies could be the mainstream. Medical consulting sites like Doctorspring have been seeing a rise in interest for CBD and cannabis-based remedies for the likes of anxiety and mild pain management. Keep in mind that these are real medical professionals that wouldn’t suggest these products in place of real medical intervention for serious illnesses.
In June of 2018, the FDA approved its first CBD-based product for prescription use: Epidiolex. This highly refined CBD has pretty niche use to prevent seizures in young children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Keep in mind that this CBD product contains none of the other cannabinoids and the sample size of patients is quite small.
While CBD in the form of a formal prescription drug is a good sign, the FDA isn’t exactly happy how it’s being marketed in the food & supplement markets. While there are clear cut benefits of CBD and other cannabis extracts, the internet has become the Wild West of marketing with claims being made with weak scientific backing.
Another problem that could arise with CBD being used in medical treatments is that it is still technically a psychoactive substance. There is an assumption that it isn’t mind-alternating like THC, which is false, but it still isn’t intoxicating to the same extent. It will interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body, with a mix of beneficial and detrimental effects.
Having said that, multi-national pharmaceutical companies are going in quite deep with cannabis-related patents in both the US & Canadian patent offices. Pfizer, Novartis, and Abbvie are just a few leading companies creating cannabis-related medical treatments, some of which encompass CBD.
What Does the Government think?
While the federal government in the US has a reputation of being harsh against medical marijuana, it is quite lax against pure CBD extract. It is considered legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, the chemical that notoriously makes you high when consuming marijuana.
The DEA still lags behind in the classification of CBD, as it still groups it as a Schedule I drug. Having said that, other government agencies and large companies are ultimately ignoring that classification, and even big pharmacies like CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens are pushing CBD-infused products.
The 2018 Farm Bill is another example of the bipolar nature of the US government. This bill essentially legalized the industrial growth of hemp as long as it’s kept under the previously mentioned concentration of 0.3% THC. This even contradicts the legal implications of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which banned any form of cannabis no matter the concentration of THC.
The Farm Bill also offers the benefit of legalizing the transportation of cannabis across state lines for commercial means. This would free up the legal burden for numerous industries, including the pharmaceutical industry.
Where CBD is Going
Ultimately, there is a tussle with government regulation, market dynamics and medical literature that makes the future of CBD somewhat uncertain in the medical industry. Since many states and other countries are legalizing marijuana usage, you can bet that this cannabinoid extract probably won’t be going away anytime soon in the food & supplement markets. As the market is young, we can’t predict the future if more CBD-based medical treatments will be mainstream or if it will be suppressed like in decades past.