Hand holding pipette with CBD oil on wooden table with copy spaceMore people are using CBD or cannabis oils as a remedy to their ailments, illness and chronic conditions as the oil becomes increasingly available, but should you explore adding them as a component to address your health care needs?

Some people rave about CBD oil’s help in combating arthritis, anxiety, epilepsy, migraines, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other health issues, especially reducing or stopping seizures in children. They believe CBD is a miracle after years of searching for relief to their pain. However, many of the claims are anecdotal and not supported by scientific studies.

While consumption is increasing and CBD products can be purchased over the counter without prescription at an increasing number of stores, people should confer with their doctor before beginning use. You will want to discuss the possible effects on you, your medications and your conditions. And it is important to be aware that at this time often the CBD concentration is not always clearly marked on the label.

While some doctors strongly support the use of CBD oil, many agree there needs to be more studies on the effects and dosage.

The oil is extracted from cannabis plants. Some people are concerned they or their children might get high from the oil because of its relationship to marijuana. However, people cannot get high because of the low level of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD products are derived from hemp, which has a much lower level of THC.

“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” according to a report from the World Health Organization.

Some medical professionals and government leaders are hopeful the use of CBD could curb the use of addictive opioids and heroin for pain relief.

Products from CBD, or cannabidiol, are available at some local health food stores and now at national pharmacy chains, according to local reports. Some prominent chains with a presence in Kentuckiana are also exploring whether to sell the product. The oil is also available in lotions, creams and balms.

There have been ongoing debates about the medical effectiveness of CBD oil while some advocates and patients swear by the benefits. Proponents fought for years for legal use of the oil with some saying this was the only assistance for children with epilepsy and other chronic conditions and diseases. Those consuming the oil claim they sleep better and have reduced anxiety.

Some side effects can include nausea, fatigue and irritability, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Doctors also do not have a gauge for the most effective dose to treat specific medical conditions and, because CBD is largely available as a supplement and not medication, there could be additives to different products that could affect your health and medication, according to Harvard Health.

These concerns make it even more imperative to talk to your physician before determining whether CBD oil could be an option to address your health care needs.

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Christopher Shafer, M.D.

Chris Shafer, M.D. is an epileptologist at the University of Louisville and practices with UofL Physicians – Neurology. He has a special interest in the treatment of persons experiencing psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. Dr. Shafer was principle investigator of a pilot program for post discharge support of patients diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). He currently oversees a partnership with the UofL Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging to provide trauma informed multidisciplinary services to patients with PNES as well as train the next generation of mental health providers in the understanding and treatment of this at risk patient population.

All posts by Christopher Shafer, M.D.
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