Look the patient in the eye. Empathize, but be honest. Speak clearly.
These are some of the most basic tenets of good bedside manner, and Dr. Mehmet Oz possesses them all. Except in this case, he’s looking squarely into the camera as he delivers the good news first.
“Here’s my thought,” Oz says of CBD. “It could work. I’m hearing from too many of you right now that are getting benefits.”
And then there’s the bad news. The industry is young. It is, at this point, mostly unregulated. Oz and his team have found that a certain number of the products currently on the market do not possess the amount of CBD that they claim. Others possess more psychoactive THC than they are supposed to. One product Oz’s team investigated actually contained a strain of dangerous E. coli.
He’s not down on the potential of CBD, exactly. Oz just wants to make sure patients know what they’re getting, and for CBD to undergo further testing, before he is ready to fully endorse today’s most talked about supplement.
“There are some reputable companies, I suspect, that are beginning to get into the medical community,” Oz says. “But we have got to make this happen.”
This first checkup with Oz, just described, occurred last October, when he was joined on his nationally syndicated daytime show by Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss the state of the CBD industry. In the follow-up appointment, an interview with CBD Snapshot, Oz says that, frankly, his prognosis hasn’t changed much.
“Shockingly little work and research has been done, probably because of the regulatory environment,” he says. “But that’s all changed…. With the Farm Bill that passed [in December 2018] and other things that are occurring nationwide, the ability to do research in medical marijuana and CBD is dramatically eased. So you’re going to see more of it, and we’re going to be able to figure out the answer to the question: What works where?”
Oz, 59, is perhaps the world’s most well-known doctor. He is attending physician at New York Presbyterian – Columbia University Medical Center, and the author of seven New York Times best-sellers. He’s been named among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Esquire magazine’s 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, and as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. He has won nine daytime Emmy awards for The Dr. Oz Show, which last year surpassed a decade on the air.
To succeed on the air for so long, Oz has always needed to take more than the clinical perspective. His relatability is his charm, and to be relatable, he has to come to his viewers—to take interest in the things they are interested in and talk about the things they are talking about. As often as not these days, they are talking about CBD. It’s not out of his realm. Oz has explored everything from preventing Type 2 diabetes and the importance of getting ample sleep to the best superfoods and tips for managing stress.
He may seem more open than a lot of doctors to the natural, holistic approach that many patients prefer. But that doesn’t mean he is any less concerned with efficacy.
Although the serving sizes and specific applications are still being researched to answer that “what works where” question, Oz says research has already shown that CBD has the potential to address inflammation, nerve cell life span, nausea, pain, appetite and sleep.
“And there are current studies investigating the efficacy of CBD in treating epilepsy, inflammatory diseases, anxiety, depression, drug addiction and schizophrenia,” Oz says.
For now, although the pathway to market and consume CBD has been opened by the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done little to clarify its position on the substance. The only FDA-approved drug with CBD as an ingredient is Epidiolex, a treatment for severe forms of epilepsy. That means that, like many naturally-derived remedies available today, the products you buy with CBD aren’t regulated by the FDA—yet.
With more and more people buying CBD, Oz recommends some common-sense guidelines to keep in mind.
“Just make sure you’re working with legitimate producers,” Oz says. “If you buy products and they don’t tell you specifically what’s in it, that’s a bad sign.”
He suggests choosing products that list the amount of CBD per serving. “A report from Consumer Labs finds products that list only ‘cannabinoids’ may contain some CBD, but you won’t have the precise amount. The products that list ‘hemp extract’ as an ingredient may have a fair amount of CBD, while those with the ingredient ‘hemp oil’ probably don’t contain very much CBD.
“So unless a friend of yours is using it with success or you can look on their label and see very precise information about what’s in it, you should be worried that it’s not made by a reputable person.”
It’s also worth keeping in mind that CBD can have negative interactions with certain medications, so you should always talk to your doctor before taking it. Oz suggests starting small: “Get as little as you can. Try it and see if it works. If it doesn’t, move on. If it does, keep going.”
Whenever the FDA formalizes its regulatory posture, Oz believes CBD will eventually become a common household remedy in the U.S. “I think that’s the case because it’s already a commonly used remedy in other countries,” he says.
He’s excited by the entry of more professional oversight as the potential of CBD is developed. New laws will allow for the research that lets doctors get smarter, helps patients learn and teaches teens to understand the differences between CBD from hemp and THC-laden marijuana.
“Recreational marijuana has big-time side effects,” Oz says. “It does tend to dull people. These are not just rumors.”
But CBD is not recreational marijuana or medical marijuana. Oz says this clear distinction frees up the medical community to answer questions around the best serving and application methods for various conditions.
“I predict that we’ll see an even bigger explosion in products that contain CBD,” Oz says. “The signing of the Farm Bill will open up the market for both research on CBD and development of personal care products that contain the CBD.
“As more professional groups get involved in doing CBD research, you’re gonna find more and more specific data as you have now on childhood seizures… that’s a good example of what could happen in areas of sleep, anxiety, depression—maybe weaning off addiction.”
This article originally appeared on the cover of the May/June 2019 issue of CBD Snapshot. Never miss a story; subscribe today!