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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Despite increasing interest, there is no good evidence to support using cannabis for COVID-19. Follow healthy lifestyle choices and proven prevention methods instead.
Insufficient Evidence for
Herman, T. S., Jones, S. E., Dean, J., Leigh, S., Dorr, R., Moon, T. E., and Salmon, S. E. Nabilone: a potent antiemetic cannabinol with minimal euphoria. Biomedicine. 1977;27(9-10):331-334. View abstract.
Toce MS, Farias M, Powell AJ, Daly KP, Vargas SO, Burns MM. Myocardial Infarct After Marijuana Inhalation in a 16-year-old Adolescent Boy. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2019;22(1):80-86. View abstract.
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The authors thank Gina Spidel for help with survey design, proofreading, and assistance with the SDSU Electronic Internal Review Board; Edgar Herrera for setting up the survey Facebook page; Belle Della Cruz for help with survey wording; and Rod Kight, Esq., for assistance in clarifying the regulatory status of CBD in the United States.
More than 60% (61.56%) reported using CBD to treat a medical condition(s) ( Table 1 ). The odds of using CBD to treat a medical condition were 1.65 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.39–1.97) times greater among women than among men, higher with age, and roughly equal among residents and nonresidents of the United States (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.9–2.5; Table 2 ). Respondents <18 years of age were subsequently assessed as an independent category despite the small number of observations (n=25) and wide CI (OR, 18.72; 95% CI, 4.20–83.39, compared with those between 18 and 24 years of age. Data not included in Table 2 ). This additional analysis was based on the established use of CBD to treat pediatric seizure disorders 6,7,16 and the percentage of respondents in that age category reporting using CBD to treat a medical condition (n=23; 92%).
This regulatory confusion has not deterred consumers from exploring the purported benefits of CBD. Retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products in the United States reached $170 million in 2016, and are projected to grow at a 55% compound annual growth rate over the next 5 years to reach >$1 billion. These estimates do not include marijuana-derived CBD. 37 Although Cannabis users have been extensively studied data characterizing the individual use of CBD are scarce. The goal of this study was to collect survey data to elucidate how, and why, individuals are using CBD.
The odds of using CBD to treat a medical condition were 1.44 (95% CI, 1.16–1.79) times greater among nonregular users of Cannabis when compared with regular users.
There were 1483 respondents who reported using CBD to treat at least one medical condition. A minimum of 3963 medical conditions were reported. This represents an average of more than two and a half (mean: 2.67) different medical conditions per respondent.
A minimum of 1314 side effects were reported across 2409 respondents (missing, n=1095). Seven hundred eighty-five (59.74%) of these effects were categorized as adverse ( Table 5 ). On average, this represents at least one reported adverse effect in approximately one out of every three (3.07) users of CBD.
Approximately half of all respondents reported using CBD for <1 year. Just over 10% reported using CBD for >5 years. Nonserious adverse effects were relatively common among respondents and higher among those using CBD for general health and well-being, despite the fact that this group reported less frequent use than medical users. While dry mouth, sedation/fatigue, decreased appetite, and diarrhea have previously been reported following CBD use, 6,7 other studies have demonstrated no adverse effects. 10,70–72 This dichotomy may be related to dose, interactions with prescription medications, or both. More broadly, adverse effects may also be related to the method of administration and/or the use of purified, high-dose CBD as opposed to CBD in a whole plant extract. These questions and more reinforce the need for more research on unanticipated consequences of CBD use, particularly the impact of long-term usage. 4,5 Many of the adverse effects reported in this study (i.e., euphoria, hunger, and red eyes) are commonly associated with THC use. 73 These analyses did not attempt to discriminate between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD products, which may have differing chemical constituents (including THC content) and therefore different effects. Further, no discrimination could be made between isolated CBD and CBD used as a constituent of a whole plant extract.