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There is an article recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the use of untested products like CBD. An internal medicine doctor from the Mayo Clinic was interviewed for the article. He was surprised at how people will buy and use a product that the medical establishment can’t recommend. He called it “the Wild West meets Wall Street”, referring to the massive amounts of money surrounding sales of CBD products.
It is true that CBD has become the hottest supplement on the market. It has surpassed Turmeric in sales. It is used for pain relief, sleep, and anxiety, three very common ailments in our society. Ailments that the health care system cannot adequately address because there are no easy, non-addicting treatments to use.
The Mayo Clinic internist couldn’t understand why people use a product that
- Is not regulated.
- Unknown what the ingredients are
- Unknown how much CBD is actually in a product
- Unknown exactly what it will do to you, good or bad
- Unknown how many pesticides/herbicides are in the products
So far, we know that CBD can cause liver problems. The public may be surprised to know that the government does not regulate the production or manufacture of supplements, herbals and yes, CBD. However, the FDA does investigate illnesses and deaths related to a product. Seems a little late at that point. There are plenty of instances in the past where a supplement was pulled from the market because it caused death. Remember Ephedra? It was a stimulant used to keep people awake and for appetite suppression. But it caused heart rhythm abnormalities that resulted in the deaths of 155 people. That’s only one of many examples.
Here is what the internist at Mayo does not understand about people who use CBD or other supplements. People do not listen to reason when it comes to pain control, anxiety control or improving their sleep. They need their problem fixed or they can’t make it through the day. It all comes down to treating a problem that the health care system has failed to help them with. Narcotics, anti-anxiety medications and sleep aides are restricted in the name of addiction control. What does that leave for those who need relief? Unregulated products that may do more harm than good. But we expect the public to buck up and follow the rules, even if it means living in pain, with nerves shot and bleary eyed from no sleep.
What it comes down to is being able to have a good day at work relatively pain free and feeling rested. Most will take their chances with a product that may also kill them. After all, it’s the here and now that counts, not the what ifs or the maybes.
Until the health care system can find a non-addictive way to help people with pain, anxiety, and sleep, we can expect the public to use unproven products. It is unrealistic of health care providers to expect people to live miserable lives to prevent something that may happen, but that they have never heard happen or seen happen.
Instead of blaming the public we need to do a better job in researching products that can help people. CBD is not a new product. The government could have started researching this drug years ago when it saw how interested the public was in the product. As is often the case, it is too little, too late. The horse is out of the barn and there is no hope of getting it back. Stop saying “Don’t use that! We don’t know what it does!” Those who use CBD know what it does for them. In their minds, the benefits outweigh the risks and there are few alternatives. The system is at fault, not the public.
What do you think? Why is it ok to use a product that may be harmful to your health?
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