The CBD industry is poised for growth, analysts say. But Indiana manufacturers and suppliers are facing big hurdles, including regulatory challenges. Dwight Adams, email@example.com
You can get a drop of it in your coffee. You can even nab it where you used to rent DVDs.
After decades of being stupidly illegal, CBD saturates the Evansville area these days. In some parts of the city, it’s easier to get than a piece of fresh fruit.
Cannabidiol – a non-THC-laden, less-fun cousin of marijuana – has blown up after a federal farm bill effectively legalized it last year. The Food and Drug Administration approved its use in an epilepsy treatment, and proponents claim it can do everything from easing anxiety to treating pain to working as an anti-inflammatory.
But aside from the epilepsy treatment, the FDA isn’t as enthusiastic. Just before Thanksgiving, it issued an ominous consumer update warning users of potentially dangerous side effects.
“CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it,” the statement read in part.
Among the possible dangers:
- Liver damage
- Severe interactions with other medications
- “Gastrointestinal distress”
- “Changes in mood, most commonly experienced as irritability and agitation”
- Possible dangers for newborns breastfeeding from a CBD-using mother
The FDA then rattled off a bunch of terrifying hypotheticals, such as this one that should shake every man to his quivering core: “Does CBD cause male reproductive toxicity in humans, as has been reported in studies of animals?”
Good lord! Male reproductive toxicity is a serious matter that can cause infertility and even birth defects in children, but its name makes it sound even worse. It almost reminds you of some awful Norwegian death metal band.
So does any of this mean you won’t be able to get CBD in Evansville anymore?
Probably not. It’s not like the FDA boasts an army of storm troopers that will invade Family Video and sweep CBD from the shelves. But down the road, it could mean more regulations on certain CBD products – especially those mixed into food.
Even as recreational marijuana sales start in Michigan and prepare to ramp up in Illinois, it’s only natural for the federal government to be hawkishly negative about the effects of any hemp or marijuana-derived product. They’ve been doing it for decades, and they aren’t going to change anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean they’re completely making stuff up, either.
The FDA’s correct that we don’t know much about CBD yet. An article from Harvard University – what The Simpsons called “the most expensive and therefore best school there is” – dug through several studies to try to separate health from hype.
It cited solid evidence that CBD can treat childhood epilepsy syndromes (the FDA agrees with that), and even mentioned a few studies that seem to show that CBD can alleviate pain and anxiety.
But it recommended caution as well, and denounced some of the wilder claims, such as that CBD can cure cancer(!).
“Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting,” the article read.
More studies on CBD will unfurl in the coming years and months. Until then, the best thing you can do is use common sense.
If a CBD product promises to cure every malady known to man, it’s spouting hogwash. There are no miracle drugs or supplements.
Talk to your doctor and take care of yourself.
Contact columnist Jon Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org
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