As mainstream as it may be becoming, cannabis continues to be a controversial subject. However, it is gaining more acknowledgement for its supposed health benefits, especially those from one of its key compounds known as cannabidiol (CBD). While CBD doesn’t have the brain-altering properties of its counterpart delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), new research shows that it does have some perks, including the ability to reduce pain, chronic inflammation, and skin issues like acne. And, these days, you’ll find it in everything from massage oils and face creams to lube. So, since CBD is now being marketed to us for a number of reasons — both physical and mental — we asked doctors from wide-ranging fields what they really thought of the stuff. Their answers just might surprise you!
“Although CBD by itself still has questionable legal status because of federal laws, it is readily available in hemp oil. While I hesitate to jump into this political quagmire, we have had such incredible feedback from people getting relief from CBD oil that I feel the need to add my opinion. The bottom line is that it’s a very helpful tool, and with the oils available now, you don’t have to get high to experience pain relief. Quality control is critical, though, as the amounts of these active oils vary dramatically from form to form.” - Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, an internist who specializes in fibromyalgia and pain
“Many of my patients have reported that CBD has helped reduce feelings of anxiety, making them feel more relaxed and calmer. They are less likely to report panic symptoms or dramatic shifts in mood, and they say that it helps reduce difficulty initiating sleep. Having worked for 14 years in addiction and substance abuse, CBD has been a great alternative for patients who don’t want to use cannabis with the THC effects. In addition, some report a decrease in urges to use their drug of choice since the CBD reduces their overall anxiety, and triggers to relapse are often experienced as intense tension and anxiety.” - Jessica Nicolosi, PsyD, a NYC-based clinical psychologist at Prana Wellness in NY.
“CBD oil has been shown to reduce the production of oil in the skin and decrease skin inflammation, which is particularly beneficial for acne. All products with medicinal properties should be given under the care of a dermatologist, especially naturally-derived plant oils as they are difficult to extract and the extraction of these oils can vary widely by the manufacturer. Naturally-derived oils also can be very potent allergens and thus should be monitored carefully.” - Lily Talakoub, MD, dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center.
“As a chiropractor, I have found great success with CBD for many patients. Sleep, anxiety, and acute and chronic inflammatory conditions seem to be responding well to the supplementation of CBD oil. My husband is actually an orthopedic surgeon, and he has also seen great results with his patients post operatively. Still, it is important to keep in mind that not all CBD is created equal, and products can have additives and undesirable ingredients that can lessen the efficacy of the CBD oil. Quality is key.” - Brooke Van Kirk, DC, chiropractic physician at Action Physical Therapy in Boynton, FL
“Topical cannabinoid therapy is a valid approach that has shown tremendous promise for the treatment of certain skin indications. Currently, at Mary's Nutritionals and Mary's Whole Pet, we offer a handful of CBD-infused topicals: Muscle Freeze (mainly used post workout), Compound (for more serious relief), Transdermal Relief Cream (for chronic issues), and Massage Oil (as a daily moisturizer). We also offer a transdermal patch, sublingual tincture, capsules, and more. The various delivery methods give people options and can turn CBD into a daily lifestyle event.” - Jeremy Riggle, PhD, Chief Operating Scientist at Mary's Nutritionals and Mary's Whole Pet
“While many, if not most, of the treatments using CBD oil have only a few studies backing up claims, there is one treatment that has quite a bit of research proving it efficacy. Evidence shows that using CBD oil to treat epilepsy can lessen symptoms and help treat this disease. In fact, the FDA recently approved a CBD-based medication to treat two forms of childhood epilepsy. While other uses of CBD oil may bring benefit to some, right now the research is scant, and the benefits are mostly anecdotal. I do think continued research in uses of CBD oil may discover some legitimate uses for this compound, with inflammation being an area I think may show some promise. But until more research is done, it’s hard for me to recommend its use for that purpose.” - Roger Adams, PhD, personal trainer, doctor of nutrition, and owner of eatrightfitness