By DR. CORLISS OLIVER
In 1937, the U.S. government passed the Marijuana Tax Act which imposed heavy taxes on cannabis and hemp products. Prior to 1937, marijuana was widely used in the United States for medicinal purposes, while hemp was widely used for commercial production of commodities such as textiles, rope and paper.
In 1970, the U.S. government created the Controlled Substance Act which declared all strains of cannabis including marijuana and hemp as Schedule I drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse or misuse.
The 2014 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinct from marijuana and legalized hemp for agricultural and academic research. The 2018 Farm Bill declared the hemp plant and all its components as legal if the products contained less than 0.3 percent THC.
With these sweeping changes, there has been significant public interest in CBD. Subsequently, the use of CBD products has skyrocketed. And for good reason, as emerging research has shown CBD to have therapeutic benefits in the treatment of epilepsy, muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and cancer-related pain.
Doctors are daily bombarded with questions by patients on the possible benefits of CBD for ailments that range from chronic pain to cancer treatment and prevention. CBD now appears in a wide variety of products such as oils, creams, ointments, tinctures, dietary supplements, veterinary products and cosmetics.
In 2015, the FDA began laboratory analysis of CBD products sold online to determine the amount of CBD in products in comparison to the alleged amount on the label. Lab results revealed that many of the CBD products contained substantially less levels of CBD than the product label claimed and, in some cases, CBD was undetected. Subsequently the FDA issued warning letter to retailers of their findings and the need to address these discrepancies.
And now, thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature, the State of Florida has made sweeping changes regarding CBD products to ensure industry standards of purity, quality and ultimately public safety.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture has the authority to regulate and inspect ingestible CBD products that are produced and sold in the State of Florida. This includes lab testing to determine if the product contains pesticides, harmful additives and the actual amount of CBD contained in the product compared to the alleged amount on the product label.
Eventually, consumers will be able to scan a bar code to see lab results revealing all the ingredients contained in the product. In addition, manufacturers and retailers of CBD products now require a state permit.
Unfortunately, these regulatory changes will not affect out of state CBD products sold online. Therefore, it remains important that we educate the public on the importance of obtaining CBD products from reliable and reputable sources.
In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, the first plant-based CBD product for patients suffering from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two types of severe pediatric seizures that typically do not respond to current anti-seizure medications. However, Epidiolex has also been shown to reduce seizures in those suffering from tuberous sclerosis complex, Sturge-Weber syndrome, febrile infection-related epilepsy and specific genetic disorders that cause epileptic encephalopathy. In addition, early research has shown promising results with CBD for treating insomnia,
anxiety, pain, dystonia and autism. Clearly more quality controlled clinical studies and randomized clinical trials are needed.
Unfortunately, consumers will continue to self-medicate by purchasing online CBD products from unknown sources without any knowledge of exactly what the product contains. Furthermore, the potential adverse effects based on a myriad of factors such as age, weight, comorbidities and possible drug-drug interactions can be a challenge in preventing catastrophic outcomes despite the efforts of the new legislation by the
State of Florida.
Dr. C. Yvette Oliver, President and CEO of Optima Health Institute is a board-certified Family Medicine physician with a focus on improving patient outcomes by addressing individual inhibiting factors such as lifestyle, comorbidities and potential drug-drug interactions. For more information please visit www.optimahealthinstitute.com