At a plant level, the two chemicals operate as opposites, with CBD acting as a buffer of sorts to the effects of THC. “It’s sort of a ying and yang. THC is responsible for the high and CBD doesn’t do that,” Hill explains.
Here, Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an expert on herbal medicine and women’s health, and Kevin Hill, M.D., Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, get to the bottom of CBD tinctures’ mystique.
What are tinctures specifically?
The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemicals in it, including more than 120 cannabinoids, Hill explains. Of those cannabinoids, two are most familiar: THC, which produces the euphoric effects or “high” people experience from marijuana, and cannabidiol or CBD, which has some anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anxiety-relieving and analgesic properties, according to Low Dog.
An herbal tincture is made by using a mixture of alcohol and water to extract compounds from a plant—in this case, the cannabis plant.
What is it?
But first, a little CBD 101…
Over the past several years, FDA has issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD). As part of these actions, FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.
For Shannon Donnelly, her own experience with CBD is evidence enough. Since beginning a daily CBD regimen several years ago, she says her panic attacks are gone, as are other health problems, including depression. She currently takes 35 mg of CBD each morning and soaks in a tub of warm water laced with CBD bath salts each night.
“CBD gives me confidence,” Donnelly explains. “It gives me clarity and calm. I am now able to go into situations in which previously I would have used coping mechanisms that were very detrimental to myself, such as catastrophizing, negative self-talk , and overwhelming sadness .”
Google “CBD” and more than 150 million results will pop up, many purporting that this natural chemical derived from cannabis is a magical elixir that can do just about anything from relieving anxiety , pain , insomnia , and menstrual cramps to clearing your skin , staving off aging , and bulking up your bones .
Marijuana-derived CBD oil is extracted from high-THC cannabis plants, which can contain varying amounts of THC. (The ratio of CBD to THC is typically listed on the product label.) Any product with more than 0.3 percent THC is considered a controlled substance and can only be bought in a state where medical or recreational marijuana is legal. ( 4 )
8 Medical Conditions CBD Can Help Treat
“I’ll confess, I tried CBD, and my whole life I’ve been an adamant anti-drug person because people I’ve known and loved have ruined their lives with drugs,” Dr. Fielding says. “And I’ve been converted. It triggered a wonderful feeling of going from tension and pain and distress to feeling fine without altering me in any other way.”
“The animal data are very promising for a number of conditions, but rigorous randomized clinical trials have yet to be done,” says Kevin Hill, MD , director of the division of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “That is one of the frustrating aspects of the current state of cannabis: There are many companies and states profiting from the sale of cannabis and cannabinoids, but those same companies and states are not putting financial resources toward advancing the science.”
The strongest scientific evidence of CBD’s efficacy in humans is for reducing seizures in two rare types of epilepsy that occur in children: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Based on that evidence, a liquid CBD anti-seizure drug, Epidiolex , obtained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2018. (7)
Is There Any Proof CBD Works?
Although the FDA has not approved using CBD to treat any of those conditions, there are signs CBD could be beneficial.
The trouble is there’s scant scientific evidence to support most of those claims, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about CBD’s potential side effects and even its legality. “Cannabidiol is the No. 1 new treatment people are asking about,” says Susana Galle, PhD , a psychologist, clinical nutritionist, and certified naturopath in Washington, DC. “But although there’s tons of talk about it and lots of products out there, there’s still not much evidence.”