I’m not going to lie, I read through multiple articles about this subject (listed below) until I found one that I felt provided the most well-rounded perspective. It is an article written by Allison Aubrey for NPR.
It’s hard to find good (accurate) information out there on the internet today, especially when you’re talking about a product that has brought a lot of money to the hands of others. This article seems to stay pretty accurate with current research though, and presents information gained from interviewing multiple “experts” in this area.
There are a lot of promises with CBD Oil being beneficial in a multiple mental illnesses, including Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and Opioid Addiction. Unfortunately, our government placed huge restrictions on the ability of researchers to study marijuana products until recently. Now that these products are so commercialized and widely available, it makes it more difficult to get the funding to study their effectiveness and safety. What company wants to pay for expensive research when they can just bottle the stuff and immediately start making money? The studies we do have about CBD’s effects are either done with very small population sizes (making their power/accuracy questionable) or are done on animals - the non-human kind ;). It seems like places are selling CBD oil on every block now, but the products are not regulated and they’re not cheap. This means there’s a large possibility that a lot of “fake” products are out there, with added harmful chemicals, or products that claim they have a certain “dose” of CBD in them, but don’t. Hopefully that will change once the FDA approves of pharmaceutical grade CBD oil called Epidiolex, which is aiming for approval for treatment of a certain type of seizure disorder in children. I guarantee this drug won’t be cheap though, and insurance companies probably won’t help pay for it unless you’re a child with that seizure disorder.
We know that chronic cannabis (marijuana) use in adults increases the risk of some mental illnesses like long-term general anxiety. In adolescents, chronic use has been linked with schizophrenia, future suicide and anxiety, with fairly sound neurobiological theories to back it up. In pregnancy/breastfeeding, marijuana use is linked with several long-term negative consequences in offspring. Unfortunately, these studies on pregnant and breastfeeding women are also small and scarce though, and there’s no studies looking at CBD oil specifically.
If you’re a patient of mine, you know that we’re always talking about risk vs benefit, especially when it comes to the baby. So what’s the risk here? We don’t know. What’s the benefit? We don’t know that either. There are other supplements and drugs out there that we have more evidence-based information about though. For that reason, I always recommend trying other options that we know more about first.