CBD products can be found nearly everywhere these days and many people have been turning to cannabis and cannabis-related products for unprescribed pain relief. But a new report says much research remains to be done before it can be considered safe.
According to a new consumer update from the Food and Drug Administration, the significant public interest in cannabis -- specifically CBD -- is causing the agency to be concerned that people may mistakenly believe that trying CBD "can’t hurt."
"There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety and quality of products containing CBD," according to the agency, which is currently researching the products.
"The FDA has seen only limited data about CBD safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason," the FDA added.
While there may be some benefits to CBD, the FDA is urging that the use of any CBD products should always be discussed with a health care provider.
With such limited information available about CBD, including the effects on the body, the FDA wants consumers to be aware of the potential risks associated with using CBD-related products.
Currently, the FDA has only approved one CBD product, Epidiolex, a prescription drug used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years of age and older. Epidiolex contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It also is used to treat patients with Dravet syndrome.
Although Epidiolex has helped patients with those rare forms of epilepsy, the prescription drug also has an increased risk of liver disease. The FDA said in its consumer update that the benefits outweighed the risks in that particular case.
The many unknowns behind CBD and its potential risks have the FDA actively working to learn more about the safety of CBD and CBD products, pointing to a recent government hearing and data gathered through a public docket.
"The FDA’s top priority is to protect the public health," the consumer update stated. "While we have focused on these types of products, we will continue to monitor the marketplace for any product that poses a risk to public health."
For people who uses CBD, here is what they should do to be safe:
1. Buyer beware
Right now, it’s difficult to know for sure what kind of product you are using and what it really contains. Some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality.
2. Consult with your doctor
Since there is only one FDA-approved CBD product out there, the agency is saying it’s super important to get information about the products you’re using from a medical provider. Also, with many misleading, unproven or false claims associated with CBD products, some consumers may put off getting a proper medical diagnosis and treatment.
3. Don’t assume
While cannabis may have a natural association with healing for many, the FDA says just because it may seem natural, doesn’t mean that it’s safe.
4. Be aware of any changes in mental and physical condition
There are many potential risks associated with CBD products. While there can be physical changes to the body from consuming CBD, some risks can occur without people even realizing, like liver injury, male reproductive toxicity and the risk of impacts to other medication being taken simultaneously. If there are any changes, the FDA says to stop using CBD to reduce those side effects.