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MONDAY, May 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the popular merchandise in countries that have legalized medical marijuana.

The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a lot of medical issues — everything from epileptic seizures to stress to inflammation to sleeplessness.

But experts say the evidence is scant for the majority of those touted advantages.

Worse, CBD is being produced with no regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality,” stated Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

"It is in fact the Wild West," Bonn-Miller said. "Joe Bob who starts a CBD firm could say whatever the hell he wants on a tag and market it to individuals. "

Cannabidiol is extracted from the blossoms and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It doesn’t create intoxication; marijuana’s "large " is caused by the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD oil is legal in 30 countries where recreational or medicinal marijuana is authorized, according to Governing magazine.

Seventeen other states have CBD-specific laws on the books, according to Prevention magazine. These are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Only one purported use for cannabidiol, to treat epilepsy, has important scientific evidence supporting it.

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Last month, some U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of this CBD drug Epidiolex to treat two rare types of childhood epilepsy.

"That’s really the only place where the proof has risen to the point at which the FDA has stated this is acceptable to approve a new medication," explained Timothy Welty, chair of the division of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.

For the remainder of CBD’s potential uses, there’s just too little evidence to make a firm conclusion.

For example, some human clinical trials suggest that CBD may be effective in treating symptoms of stress, particularly social stress, Bonn-Miller said.

This is the potential use for CBD having the most evidence afterwards usefulness in epilepsy, however, "that there ‘s a good gap between these two," he explained.

"There have been clinical trials in adults, however, a lot smaller compared to epilepsy studies that have been performed in kids," Bonn-Miller said.

CBD’s usefulness as a anti-inflammatory medicine is the next most promising, but these results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.

The remainder of the potential uses — as an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleeping aid "have all been examined in animals, with just one or two examples of studies in people," Bonn-Miller said.

And Welty stated the studies that have featured people for these other CBD applications have either been case reports or studies that did not compare results from a control group that did not utilize the oil.

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"There’s no controller, therefore it’s essentially how do you know if we’re dealing with the true effect of this medication or just merely a placebo effect because somebody believes they’ve been given a medication that will be advantageous?

There also are concerns about both the quality of CBD petroleum being generated and its potential side effects, the experts added.

Because of the legally murky character of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to control products such as CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said.

Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller discovered that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the total amount of marijuana extract promised on the tag.

Almost 43 percent of the products contained too small CBD, while roughly 26 percent included a lot of, Bonn-Miller said.

"CBD is sort of a tricky medication because it is not very well absorbed orally," Welty explained. "Less than 20 percent of the medication is consumed orally. If it isn’t produced in the right way, you might not be getting much drug to your systemic flow. "

Worse, roughly 1 5 CBD merchandise contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller along with his colleagues discovered.

"That’s an issue because THC can increase stress. It can make seizures worse. These are the types of things you want to be cautious about," Bonn-Miller said.

"If I was a customer, purchasing it for myself or my child, I would wish to check it that I understood what it really had in it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the tag," Bonn-Miller reasoned.

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Potential Interactions With Other Meds.

Studies on CBD have also raised concerns about possible interactions with other drugs.

As an example, epilepsy studies discovered that "there were very clearly increases in the blood levels of some other anti-epileptic medication when individuals were around CBD," Welty said.

This could indicate that individuals taking anti-epilepsy drugs alongside CBD will need to adjust their dosage downward to prevent unwanted side effects, Welty noted.

There also is some sign that CBD might damage the liver. Approximately 10% of individuals taking CBD in studies had increases in liver enzymes, which would indicate possible liver impairment, Welty said.

"About 2 to 3% of people taking CBD really had to discontinue due to their liver enzymes went so large it was of concern to the individuals conducting the analysis," he explained.

Welty recommends that individuals considering CBD seek out a doctor who’ve read up on the extract and its potential uses.

"My bottom advice is people really will need to be under the care of a healthcare provider who knows CBD. They need to be monitored and handled by that person, and not only go out and get CBD thinking it’s going to be the answer," Welty said.