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What to know about CBD products’ safety

While just a few years ago, CBD oil and infused products were specialty items orderable primarily online, they are now filling shelves at local pharmacies.

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The acronym CBD dominates today’s headlines, billboards and advertisements.

CVS, in fact, plans a rollout of CBD products in over 800 stores, reported NBC News in March.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of the compounds found in hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant. CBD oil is considered nonpsychoactive, essentially defined as not affecting the mind or mental processes. Projectcbd.org offers this explanation: “CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have similar molecular structures, but CBD does not directly stimulate CB1 and CB2, the canonical cannabinoid receptors, like THC does.

THC, marijuana’s principal psychoactive component, makes a person feel high …”
In most states, the THC limit on legal hemp products is 0.3 percent.

An over-the-counter CBD formulated product is not supposed to make a person feel high, but instead offer such health benefits — said healthline.com in February — as a reduction in or alleviation of pain, anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, acne, blood pressure and more.

However, to understand what is being sold, Consumer Reports in September offered these tips:
1. Avoid sweeping claims: “Making health claims, even just the ability to treat relatively minor problems like migraines, is legal only for prescription drugs, which undergo extensive testing for effectiveness and safety.”

2. Learn the source; most regulated hemp is grown in the U.S.: “Products made with hemp grown overseas can be even more problematic, because they are not subject to any state or federal testing.”

3. Research whether the product has been tested and request a certificate of analysis (COA) before using: “That document shows how a product performed on tests checking for CBD and THC levels, and the presence of contaminants.”

NBC News in March pointed out that CVS planned to sell only third-party laboratory-tested CBD products “to assure accurate labeling and safety for customers.”