RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—A new peer-reviewed study released by RTI Press, a publishing service from RTI International—a nonprofit research institute—examines CBD and the risks associated with use from a scientific, marketing and regulatory perspective. Although hemp-derived CBD use does not contain enough THC to result in intoxication, researchers at RTI are cautioning that there are still risks associated with manufactured products containing CBD.
Jenny Wiley, PhD, a Distinguished Fellow at RTI’s Center for Drug Discovery and Camille Gourdet, JD, MA, a Research Public Health Analyst, conclude that federal regulation is needed to ensure the quality, safety and therapeutic claims of CBD products that manufacturers, advertisers and marketers are presenting to the public.
“One of the most concerning aspects of using cannabis products for medical purposes, including CBD, is the relative lack of controlled scientific studies on their effectiveness for many of the conditions that they are alleged to treat,” said Wiley. “In addition, consumers are relying on retail staff, friends, online sites or media reports to determine appropriate dosing and for information on possible adverse effects.”
CBD has been described by marketers and manufacturers as a dietary supplement, a food additive, a cosmetic ingredient or even a drug – each of which would need to be regulated differently by the FDA. Currently, CBD has only gone through one of these rigorous approval processes when it was approved as a drug to treat severe pediatric epilepsy in 2018.
Risks of CBD include mislabeled content, presence of contaminants (e.g., pesticides), and liver damage in vulnerable people. Testing positive for THC (the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis) in a drug test is also possible if the product is not sufficiently purified during product formulation.
“The current science and laws surrounding CBD have not yet caught up with the sheer number of CBD products being offered to consumers,” said Gourdet. “Although Congress ruled that hemp-derived CBD products are not illegal under federal law, products with over 0.3 percent THC are still illegal federally. Without regulation, the amount of THC in a ‘dose’ of CBD product may not be measured.”
Until the federal and state governments have put into place and fully implemented regulations that oversee the manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD products—which will ensure purity and label accuracy—consumers are cautioned to balance the perceived benefits of CBD use against potential risks associated with using a product of unknown quality and effectiveness.
In 2018, Congress de-scheduled hemp under federal law, making it lawful to cultivate, manufacture, sell, possess, and use hemp-derived products. Since that time, CBD products have been sold widely, and adopted for regular use across U.S. households.
“If CBD is taken and desired results are not achieved, loss of time and money may the primary consequences; however, if a consumer is choosing to rely on CBD as a treatment for a serious condition for which it is not effective (such as early stage cancer), the consequences could be very severe if a more effective treatment is available but is not undertaken” said Wiley.
To read more please read the full study here.