CBD Product Effects
Cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp plant is touted as a miracle cure for stress, pain, and cancer. But its effectiveness has not been proven.
Unlike the hemp plant’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no intoxicating effect and is not addictive. Exactly how CBD works is not known. It is suspected that cannabidiol can enhance the effect of other drugs. Apart from positive reports of experience, there are hardly any studies that prove an effect.
CBD for the therapy of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
The therapeutic benefit of CBD is considered to be certain only in certain forms of epilepsy. Since 2019, it has been approved in Europe as an antiepileptic drug (trade name Epidiolex) for the treatment of severe, childhood epilepsies. CBD is thought to alter calcium concentrations within neurons. Changes in liver metabolism may occur as a side effect, so liver values must be monitored regularly during treatment with the drug.
As an approved drug, the active ingredient CBD is subject to prescription in Germany. Because of its anticonvulsant properties, CBD is also a component of the active ingredient nabiximols, which is used as a spray to treat spasms in multiple sclerosis.
Can CBD inhibit tumor cell proliferation?
Results from animal studies suggest that CBD may counteract the proliferation of tumor cells in certain cancers. The studies show that CBD in combination with chemotherapy increases the survival time of experimental mice from 20 to 22 days. So far, however, the studies are still basic research. The results are not transferable to humans and current cancer therapies.
CBD in pain therapy
Studies in animals also suggest that CBD could play a supportive role in palliative care for conditions such as pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. However, further studies are needed to confirm these effects.
CBD products without evidence of efficacy
Freely available CBD products from online retailers, special hemp stores, drugstores, and even pharmacies are not approved medications. However, the oils, creams, or sprays may currently be sold almost untested as hygiene or cosmetic products without having to provide any official proof of efficacy. Only the THC content must be below 0.2 percent.
According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, CBD products would not be allowed to be marketed as food supplements, because CBD also has no approval as a “novel food.” Accordingly, CBD cosmetic or hygiene products may not be recommended for ingestion at all.
CBD products are not approved as food
If CBD products are intended for ingestion, they require approval from the European Union as a novel food.
The EU Food Safety Authority is considering several manufacturer applications to approve CBD as a novel food. But in June 2022, the process was halted for the time being. The Efsa (European Food Safety Authority) cites potential hazards and a lack of data to determine whether cannabidiol (CBD) is safe as a food in this TimeNewsMag article.
Manufacturers try to circumvent sales ban
Dirk Lachenmeier examines CBD samples taken during food inspections for the Chemical Veterinary Investigation Office in Karlsruhe, Germany. He observes: Some manufacturers try to circumvent the sales ban with tricks. They re-declare the oils, for example as “cosmetic oral hygiene oil”. But it is not enough to rename the products, Lachenmeier explains. If human consumption of a CBD product is foreseeable, it is thus also considered food.