Is CBD a cure-all? The FDA doesn’t believe so, and is advising consumers to use caution with CBD products.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most popular health supplements right now. Looking online, people can find retailers that boast about the potential benefits of using CBD oil. For example, current claims suggest CBD oil can help with chronic pain, mental health issues like anxiety and common issues such as sleep disorders. In reality, there is minimal scientific research on the effectiveness of CBD oil. In a concern for public safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even issued a recent consumer warning about CBD products.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is derived from the hundreds of chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. However, CBD oil doesn’t get people high. Psychoactive effects and the sensation of being high are caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive.

Some people turn to CBD oil to help with particular ailments and receive the supposed benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering effects. CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier oil. CBD is used in different forms, such as liquid oral drops, edible products and creams.

FDA’s Warning on CBD Oil

Despite the growing popularity of CBD oil, the FDA issued a consumer warning about its use. The FDA said people should use caution using cannabis and cannabis-derived products, particularly CBD. The FDA also said there are unanswered questions about the safety, science and quality of CBD products.

There is one CBD product currently approved by the FDA, which is the anti-seizure medication Epidoiolex. The FDA cannot currently determine whether CBD is safe or unsafe, but they made it clear that companies are making unsubstantiated claims about the effects of CBD. The FDA is working to research the safety and the effects of cannabis products like CBD so they know how to regulate them.

In particular, the FDA is looking at the effects of CBD on the liver. Some research has shown potentially harmful effects of CBD on the liver, though this may only be a concern for people who use large amounts. The possible issues relating to the effects of CBD on the liver were found during trials for Epidolex, but the medication comes with a warning about possible liver toxicity.

The FDA says people shouldn’t believe false claims associated with the use of CBD, and they shouldn’t use it as a replacement or a way to put off medical care. The FDA has issued warnings to CBD companies telling them they shouldn’t market CBD as a way to relieve the symptoms of particular diseases.

The FDA website hosts copies of warning letters sent to companies that were marketing unapproved drugs that supposedly contained CBD. The products were tested and found not to have the levels of CBD the companies claimed.

It’s going to take time for the FDA to decide how to handle CBD regulation since it is relatively new. Consumers should be aware of possible risks and always consult with a medical professional before using any unregulated supplement, including a CBD product.

If you would like to learn more about substance use treatment programs and evidence-based care, contact The Recovery Village today.

Ashley Sutphin
By – Ashley Sutphin
Ashley Sutphin Watkins received her degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Psychology and Journalism. Read more
Jonathan Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more

FDA. “FDA warns company marketing unapproved c[…]pain and pet anxiety.” July 23, 2019. Accessed August 27, 2019.

FDA. “What You Need to Know (and What We’re […]ounds, Including CBD.” July 17, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019.

FDA. “Warning Letters and Test Results for Can[…]iol-Related Products.” July 24, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019.

Kubala, Jillian. “7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects).” Healthline, February 26, 2018. Accessed August 21, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.