Ultimately, everything we do comes with a risk, Mauck says. With time and more research, the potential risks and benefits will become clearer.
One of the concerns about CBD products is that there may be other substances at play. No rigorous safety studies have been done on “full spectrum” CBD oils, which contain a variety of compounds found in the hemp plant and not just CBD.
The Mayo Clinic review emerged after Mauck and her Mayo Clinic colleagues were barraged with questions from patients about the safety and efficacy of CBD. Other patients weren’t consulting their doctor about CBD at all.
“Because CBD is not controlled, basically, it’s anybody’s guess what can be in these. And so they can claim that it’s 30% cannabidiol and otherwise pure. But if it’s not independently tested, it may have other pesticides, toxins, heavy metals,” Mauck says.
Snake Oil or Miracle Cure?
“I think it’s really too early to just try anything that you get at the gas station,” Karen Mauck, M.D., co-author on the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal and internist at the Mayo Clinic, tells Inverse. “Unless you’re a much more educated consumer getting it from these medical dispensaries, I think it’s too early to really take them for any sort of therapeutic effect right now.”
But again, the flimsy regulations and conflicting laws around CBD can make it hard to ensure that your CBD product is high quality. “It’s hard, because on the Internet, it’s difficult to try to get all this information and figure out all of these things. And the FDA and others can’t close these false claims down fast enough,” Mauck says.
But sometimes patients are desperate and curious about the miracle claims they see online regarding CBD. “They want to know, ‘Well, what do you mean by that?” she says. “Is it ‘Absolutely I shouldn’t try it,’ or ‘Try it at my own risk, and what are those risks’? They have those questions and they’re looking to us to answer those things.”
The big takeaway from the review is that no one knows exactly how effective or safe CBD really is. The researchers argue that more research on humans is needed to confirm many of the health claims made on the packaging of products containing CBD, short for the Cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol.
But a new systematic research review from Mayo Clinic, one of the country’s leading medical centers, warns there’s still a lot to learn about CBD.
Note: The presence of the major THC-COOH > LOQ indicates exposure to THC within 3 days after a single use, to approximately 30 days in heavy chronic users.
The parent drug, Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has a clearance half-life of less than 30 minutes and is not detectable in urine. Following a dose of THC, the metabolite typically appears in the urine within 60 minutes, but can take as long as 4 hours.
- The major metabolite is tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH). THC-COOH is inactive and very lipid soluble.