A recent study found that CBD may have some effect in treating medical conditions without serious side effects.

Before we start stocking up on cannabidiol (CBD) products from the newest neighborhood store, let’s talk about the myths and realities surrounding it. While a variety of studies show promise in treating medical conditions, CBD creams, oils, and dietary supplements are not currently regulated. Here’s a starter guide to this latest “miracle” treatment.

Where does CBD come from?

Although it sounds a lot like the word cannabis, CBD is not the same as marijuana. Many varieties of hemp plants comprise the cannabis family. Dried cannabis sativa leaves and buds are known as marijuana, which contains a chemical cannabinoid compound called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC.1 The “high” that people experience with marijuana comes from THC. The important difference between marijuana and CBD is that although CBD is extracted from cannabis sativa flowers, it doesn’t contain THC.2

What can CBD treat?3

Studies on the use of cannabinoids aren’t new; they began in the 1960s. A recent National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study indicated that 62% of the study participants used CBD to treat medical conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation

The NCBI study also reported that the most popular ways to take CBD to treat these conditions are:

  • Liquid drops placed under the tongue
  • Capsules and pills
  • Skin creams

Side effects and concerns

Since CBD is not federally regulated, your best source of information comes from laws that apply where you live. A few points to consider:

  • Depending on the type and strength, a CBD product may produce a positive result in a substance test
  • Current field-administered tests may not be able to differentiate marijuana from CBD
  • While regulations change constantly as more is learned about CBD, the products are currently banned in some U.S. states
  • Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved or regulated CBD use, the amount of CBD in any product may not be consistent; this means you may get too much or not enough CBD in a product, which will affect how well it works
  • The FDA is currently accepting scientific information about CBD and other cannabis compounds and products4

The bottom line

Although you may have friends, colleagues, and family members who have used CBD and say it has helped them, you should always talk with your physician before attempting to use any product that contains CBD, even if you intend to apply it only to your skin instead of drinking, swallowing, or eating it. And always make sure the doctor knows every medication, vitamin, and supplement you’re taking—including over-the-counter products.

Teladoc also treats arthritis, joint pain and swelling, headache, backache, nausea, and much more. Our board-certified physicians are available to diagnose and make treatment recommendations for a wide variety of non-emergency conditions. Be sure to keep the app handy on your smart device for quick access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere you are. (Fun tip: You can also use the app to keep your medications updated.)



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If you ever have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

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