Cannabidiol (CBD) has achieved what very few products have. From being barely known, CBD has grown so quickly that it is estimated the cannabidiol market will be worth at least $20 billion in sales by 2026. However, there’s a good reason why most new products have to go through a lengthy approval period before hitting the shelves. Especially products that claim to cure a variety of diseases.
Given the sheer amount of CBD products on the market right now, estimated to be in the thousands, one would think that regulatory authorities have properly vetted and approved them. The truth is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been playing catch up, trying to keep up with a runaway industry that has been referred to as the Wild West.
Looking to form a more coherent picture of cannabidiol, The Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMBR) at UC San Diego (UCSD) has been doing extensive research on the risks and especially the benefits that a lot of the CBD products on the market claim. The CMBR has awarded five teams grants to research the different uses of CBD including alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, alcohol dependence, and other forms of drug dependence.
Igor Grant, CMBR Director, is pushing for even more research on cannabidiol’s efficacy.
One important fact gleaned from the research was that despite the lack of third party testing and regulation around CBD products, there is significant interest in cannabidiol products, especially online. “Within the medical community, there is a lot of interest in the role of medical cannabis and CBD. There is hope that it could be yet another useful agent in some of these conditions, which are disabling or difficult to treat.”
CBD has indeed grown popular. In fact, CBD gummies were the third most searched for food in America in 2018 and each of these searches was done by someone looking to benefit from cannabidiol. The hemp extract is a potent and versatile natural medicine, said to be effective against an almost never-ending list of medical conditions.
While there’s little research to prove whether or not this is true, anecdotal evidence says the compound works against conditions ranging from anxiety, high blood pressure, and chronic pain. Another UCSD study found that CBD oil is being used by consumers to treat alcohol dependence and physical pain brought about by conditions like arthritis.
John W. Ayers, Vice Chief of Innovation in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at UCSD, concurs with the study’s findings. “CBD has become insanely popular. Three years ago there was essentially no one searching for CBD online, but now there are an estimated 6.4 million unique searches each month.”
The UCSD cautions consumers against using CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals in cases that haven’t been tested in a clinical trial.
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