Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado—the list goes on as more and more states are taking the step to legalize cannabis. However, the states that refuse to join the list remain unconvinced that the plant could have health benefits. With the evidence suggesting otherwise, it’s likely only a matter of time before they jump aboard. The cannabis plant has two main substances that us humans are concerned with: THC for getting stoned, and CBD for… wait, what is CBD for? Well, CBD (short for cannabidiol) is starting to gain traction for being a sort of cure-all for your ailments. Back pain? Try a few drops of CBD oil. Menstrual cramps? Lather that lotion head to toe and feel the magic. Anxiety? Take a couple of pills. This is obviously fishy, so it would go without saying that the entire state of the CBD industry needs to be put under a microscope.

What Is CBD Oil? 

Cannabidiol is available in a plethora of different forms. Creams, oils, pills, even vape juice: it seems like the only unexplored form is suppository capsules (then again, who would want to put that up there?). It is extracted, obviously, from the cannabis plant. What’s more convenient is that, though it can be extracted directly from the leaves of marijuana, it can also be derived from hemp. That’s right: that fabric that nobody really uses can provide this stuff almost as well as the original plant can, and because it contains a significantly reduced amount of THC (the chemical in marijuana responsible for getting you high), it’s now perfectly legal in the United States. Just don’t smoke it: you won’t get anything out of it besides chest pain.  

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So what does CBD oil do? That’s the tricky part: we don’t know exactly. We have been able to prove that CBD works great for some rare cases of childhood seizures. Aside from that, people have been sharing their own stories with each other about the magic of CBD. What’s important to recognize though is that this is all anecdotal evidence: meaning that it’s not backed up by science. Personal testimonies like this can spread the Placebo effect like wildfire, so they’re not all that reliable. There’s also the issue of regulation: as it stands, the CBD industry is very much a wild west when it comes to what you’re getting, so it’s recommended that until research is involved that actually proves the health benefits (or potential detriments), stay away from it to prevent getting duped.

The Government Causes As Many Problems As They Solve

But regulations are a problem as much as they are a solution. It’s proved astronomically difficult for researchers to obtain good study information because of the taboo nature of marijuana. Federal restrictions prevent the research that so desperately needs to happen in order to get accurate results, which fosters the partially dishonest nature of the current CBD industry. A study showed that, of the 84 products from 31 different companies, over a whopping 60% of them were mislabeled. We’re not just talking about a minor 1% deviation from the label: these are all either substantially over-labeled or under-labeled. Also not helping the case of CBD is the fact that the government actually had to issue warning letters to businesses in 2015 and 2016, because the CBD content was less than 1% of what was being advertised.

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Overall, until government regulations are imposed on these products and government restrictions are lifted from the research, it’s wise to not waste your money on current CBD products. Much more research needs to be conducted to analyze the long-term health impacts of the substance, let alone confirm its use for treating all the ailments it’s been promised to relieve. CBD isn’t quite there yet but hold your horses. It’ll get there eventually.