Unravel the truth: Investigating the Claims Around CBD Products

Key Takeaways:

  • A significant proportion of the studies supporting the benefits of CBD may have some form of conflict of interest, such as industry funding or a researcher’s affiliation with a CBD manufacturing company, which could bias the results.
  • Consumers should critically evaluate the authenticity and source of studies advocating for CBD benefits, keeping in mind that products sold in forms including capsules and cosmetics are not evaluated by the FDA.
  • The FDA has only approved CBD’s use for treating specific, rare forms of epilepsy, other health claims related to conditions like chronic pain and anxiety have not been substantiated.
  • The surge in CBD products followed a change in federal law that permitted hemp growth, not significant advancements in scientific data supporting its efficacy.
  • The research suggests CBD studies could potentially be used as a marketing tool, with trends indicating more “supportive” conclusions in industry-involved reports. All health claims about CBD beyond its use for epilepsy remain speculative.

For several years, Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has been widely celebrated for its potential benefits, a perception that new investigations question, revealing insights about its actual efficacy.

The CBD Science Discourse

Interestingly, a significant portion of the existing supportive evidence regarding the benefits of CBD found in cannabis and hemp is backed by industry-related players according to scientific researchers.

Diving deeper, these researchers discovered that out of 99 human CBD studies conducted since 2014, around 62% exhibited some form of conflict of interest. These conflicts include cases of industry funding or a researcher being employed by a company manufacturing CBD products.

More disturbingly, these studies with industry ties are more prone to giving positive conclusions as compared with those with no industry affiliation. A known trend from drug studies reveals that the likelihood of positive results is linked with industry funding.

Consumer Be Aware

In the face of the increasing ubiquity of CBD, found in products ranging from oils and lotions to coffee and cookies, consumers have to be judicious. Given that most consumers perceive it as a “natural” product, these findings should serve as a wake-up call to discern its real benefits critically.

Thus, when you come across a study praising CBD’s benefits, you should take a moment to examine the research’s source and authenticity critically.

Keeping the Bigger Picture in Mind

Presently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD’s use for treating certain rare forms of epilepsy. Epidiolex, a purified pharmaceutical-grade CBD, got the endorsement in 2018 for treating Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

CBD’s other health claims such as treating chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia are yet to be substantiated. The myriad of CBD products sold in various forms, including capsules and cosmetics have not been assessed by the FDA.

Legal Side and Recent Developments

The widespread explosion of consumer CBD products is not backed by scientific data but rather due to a change in federal law. In 2018, a ban that prevented hemp growth was lifted, allowing licensed farmers to cultivate the plant as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.

In a new study, 417 CBD-related articles published in medical journals between 2014 and 2019 were revealed. However, most of these were either based on lab studies or were reviews on existing research. Of those reports describing human studies, many of them had some kind of industry involvement.

These links to the industry were associated with a likelihood of “supportive” conclusions, with authors reporting CBD treatment effectiveness or recommendations on the compound’s use accordingly. Around 74% of publications with industry involvement provided supportive conclusions, compared to about 65% without industry involvement, and 55% of articles that did not disclose any conflicts of interest.

Is there a spin?

Such trends suggest that CBD research could potentially be exploited as a marketing tool. At the same time, it is also possible that industry-backed research is better executed and more likely to yield positive results. Nonetheless, consumers should be mindful of who funds CBD research.

While there is a unanimous call for more research to be conducted on CBD, opinions diverge on whether it should be industry-backed. Some researchers caution against health claims about CBD that are currently unfounded. Beyond its use for epilepsy, everything else is deemed speculative at this point.

More Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides more information on CBD.

Susan Levin

Hello, wellness enthusiasts! I'm Dr. Susan Levin, and while I may share a name with a certain American film producer, our domains couldn’t be more different! My silver screen is the world of medical science, and I have a deep-rooted passion for guiding individuals on their health journeys.Born and raised amidst the picturesque landscapes of Great Britain, I've also called the vibrant state of New Jersey my home for a significant chapter of my life. Both places have contributed to my understanding of health, community, and the diverse lifestyles that shape our well-being.With an M.D. in hand and a wealth of knowledge from years of practice, my goal on TheAthletarian.com is to translate complex medical jargon into understandable, actionable advice for our readers. From the latest health trends to tried-and-true practices, I aim to be your reliable source for all things health and wellness.Join me as we unravel the intricacies of the human body and mind, ensuring that your health journey is informed, inspired, and most importantly, effective.
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