Updated: Feb 11
Celebrated for its purported therapeutic effects and legal when derived from hemp—a form of the cannabis plant—CBD can be found in shampoos, hand lotions, skin creams, and even dog treats. Far-reaching medical claims tout its success at treating various conditions such as anxiety, acne, insomnia, addiction, inflammation, and Parkinson's disease.
But such assertions often go far beyond what science has shown, according to cannabis researcher Ryan Vandrey, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He and other researchers are working to understand the effects of the compound and what conditions it might actually help. He recently spoke with Dome about his research and his concerns about the growing CBD market.
"We found that among individuals with a variety of health problems such as epilepsy, chronic pain, autism, anxiety, and other serious health conditions, those who were using a cannabis product—people predominantly used CBD products—reported a better quality of life and satisfaction with health, pain, sleep, and mood compared with those who were not using cannabis products. When those who were not using cannabis at the time of our first survey later started using cannabis, they showed improvements in those same health measures that mirrored the differences between cannabis users and nonusers in the beginning"
Does CBD get you high? What does the research say?
CBD doesn't make you high. THC, another chemical component of cannabis, drives most of the effects we typically associate with the drug, such as the subjective "high." There's this perception that CBD is not psychoactive, but I think that's inaccurate. Research from our lab and others shows that CBD can produce subjective drug effects. CBD drug effects are different from THC and do not seem to produce intoxicating effects where performance or cognition is impaired. While that's not a bad thing, impacting mood and behavior is a psychoactive drug effect. For example, caffeine is a psychoactive drug because it affects brain function and mood.