Home2018-2019Popularity of CBD raises health and legal questions

Popularity of CBD raises health and legal questions

Anna Ullmann,
Staff Writer

by
Erica Steinberg

The recent rise in popularity of products containing cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is taking the world by storm. According to Project CBD, cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in cannabis and is believed to provide many therapeutic benefits, including lessening the symptoms of chronic pain, inflammation, depression and anxiety. However, the reality of it may not live up to the hype.

According to Medical News Today, cannabidiol works by attaching to certain receptors in the body. The body has two kinds of receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 for cannabinoids, a class of chemicals found naturally in the body or in cannabis that act directly on these receptors. The CB1 receptors are mostly present in the brain and deal with coordination, pain, emotion, thinking, appetite and memories. Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is the principal psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis and it connects to CB1 receptors. The CB2 receptors are located mostly in the immune system and deal with inflammation and pain. CBD does not attach to either receptor, but rather directs the body to use its own cannabinoids.

A study performed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine presents about 100 conclusions about the health effects of cannabis. The study concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective in the treatment of chronic pain for adults.

This same study also showed moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective in helping those who suffer from sleep disturbance. Limited evidence was found to show that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective in helping appetite and decreased weight, as well as aiding symptoms of anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder.

There was insufficient evidence to support or refute claims that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective in treating symptoms caused by cancer, epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome and schizophrenia.

In Oregon, recreational marijuana has been legal since July 2015, meaning possession and usage of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older. At the federal level, cannabis and products containing cannabis are illegal. According to Americans for Safe Access, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is seen by the federal government as highly addictive and has no medical value.

Don Thomson, director of Bishop Wellness Center, explained the school’s policy regarding cannabis and cannabis products containing CBD and THC:

“Because CBD and THC remain illegal at the federal level, even ‘CBD only’ products are not allowed on Willamette’s campus, even with a medical marijuana card,” Thomson said. “To allow THC or CBD in any form would jeopardize all of the federal aid Willamette receives.”

Using cannabis products violates articles 12 and 20 of WU’s Code of Student Conduct, and doing so makes the user subject to sanctions.

In addition to CBD being illegal at the federal level, it also comes with some side effects. According to Mayo Clinic, these side effects include dry mouth, reduced appetite, diarrhea, fatigue and drowsiness.

There has also been some concern regarding the quality and ingredients of CBD products. Mayo Clinic notes that a study of 81 CBD products available online showed that more than a quarter of these products had less than the labeled amount of CBD and 18 of these products were found to contain THC in addition to CBD.

With the continued rise in popularity of CBD, one can expect that the effects it causes on the body will become more understood. For the time being, there are legal risk and few known health benefits that come with the use of CBD. CBD, in any form, is not allowed on WU’s campus.

acullmann@willamette.edu

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