Shopping for CBD oil is quite a sketchy experience.
Brands use overly vague language on their sites, like “CBD helps with homeostasis” or “daily wellness.” You’ll find it extremely hard to find what benefits hemp extracts actually offer. They won’t tell you how much CBD to take (or even what’s recommended).
Most sites don’t even use the term CBD on their pages because they could get in trouble. Rather, you’ll find substitute terms, such as hemp extract, hemp oil, or even phytocannabinoid oil being used.
But before diving into why these issues exist, let’s first explore what CBD is and why it is still so controversial.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most common chemical compound found in the hemp plant. Overall, there are more than 85 other unique compounds found in the plant. Yet, CBD gets the most attention as it is the most abundant and the most researched outside of THC, which is the psychoactive compound that gets you high. All these compounds, including CBD and THC, are called cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids to be exact).
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the body’s central regulatory system, also called the endocannabinoid system. This system is known to manage homeostasis and affect bodily processes such as appetite, mood and sleep.
Sadly, the full benefits and effects of CBD and other cannabinoids are still relatively unknown since cannabis has been restricted for the past 80 years. Yet, one interesting thing to note is that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent titled “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants.” This patent claims that:
Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties … This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.
Why brands can’t promote CBD openly
What is interesting is that even though the government holds such a patent, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refuses to approve CBD as a drug. The FDA’s inflexibility and the overall social stigma around cannabis continues to inhibit the research around CBD oil. That’s why when you visit any brand that sells CBD products, you’ll notice a disclaimer stating:
These statements are not health claims, the FDA has not evaluated these claims. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
In addition to the roadblocks from the government, hemp brands selling CBD Oil continue to face an uphill battle when it comes to marketing. Although selling industrial hemp oil extract is completely legal in the US, social media companies, such as Facebook, continue to restrict any promotional attempts that are associated with hemp.
To test the restrictions of Facebook, we purposely tested various ad campaigns related to hemp. Our tests were expanded to include general terms related to the industry, such as hemp foods, hemp protein, hemp apparel, hemp oil. Oddly enough, even the most casual applications of hemp, such as hemp protein powders or hemp seeds, were often rejected by Facebook’s ad policies.
Brands Can’t Recommend Dosage Or Types Of Products
One of the more confusing aspects of shopping for CBD oil is when you have to choose from the different types of CBD products and their dosage. There’s a range of different types of hemp extract products available on the market: tinctures, capsules, concentrates, sprays, and even topicals.
On top of that, CBD companies offer their hemp oils in varying doses. For example, you’ll find bottles labeled as 100mg, 300mg, all the way to 1000+mg. It’s easy to assume the more milligrams, the stronger the CBD oil. Yet, how do you know what is the appropriate amount for your condition?
Sadly, CBD brands cannot make recommendations on what concentration customers should take. This is caused by liability issues since CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a drug. That’s why you’ll find common advice such as “We recommend you do your own research before deciding which concentration to buy.”
One reputable resource we found regarding CBD dosage is a study published by Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota.
What should you do?
If you believe in the benefits of hemp extract, these barriers shouldn’t stop your from trying out CBD products. Although it might be confusing at first, we encourage you to do your own research to learn more about hemp extracts.
Only time will tell if the US government will loosen its restriction around cannabis. Only then will more research and definitive science behind phytocannabinoids come about. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure that day will come anytime soon since big pharmaceutical companies continue to lobby hard against the legalization of cannabis.
In the meantime, our best advice is for you to do your own research before deciding which brand, which type of product, and which concentration to buy. Here are some good links for you to start:
Did we miss a good resource that you know of? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at Ministry of Hemp blog.
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