CBD and the Placebo Effect: What Studies Show
Last month, The New York Times took a deep-dive into whether or not a number of popular wellness trends were, in their words, a “scam.”
Among the examined: kombucha, celery juice, activated charcoal, turmeric and, yup, CBD! How dare they! (JK, we’re huge advocates of sharing all the information we can about CBD, whether it aligns with our POV or not).
Not surprisingly, the NYT found both longtime believers and curious skeptics among its experts and interviewees. Here’s what they each had to say:
Clinical psychologist James MacKillop offered praise of CBD’s potential—“It’s promising in a lot of different therapeutic avenues because it’s relatively safe”—as did pharmacologist Sâmia Joca who said, “CBD seems to act faster than conventional antidepressants.”
Psychiatry professor Dr. Harriet de Wit struggled to confirm CBD’s efficacy—“If it’s a calming drug, it should change [the study volunteers’] responses to stimuli, but it didn’t”—as did fellow psychiatry professor Dr. Scott Shannon who said, “We did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep.”
Despite the discrepancies, however, the article concluded that, overall, CBD is having a positive effect on those who use it. CBD is helping people feel better, even if it’s only the placebo effect at play.
But don’t write off CBD as all placebo effect just yet. The NYT found multiple randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials—the gold standard in medicine!—whose findings would suggest that CBD is efficacious when compared to placebo. It was this type of trial that led the FDA to approve Epidiolex, a purified CBD extract, to treat rare seizure disorders. It was also this type of trial in which Dr. Yasmin Hurd (a professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and pharmacological sciences) found that CBD reduced the cravings and anxiety that often lead to relapse for recovering heroin addicts.
In the end, as with all science, there are contradicting studies and the data remains inconclusive. That said, we very much believe in the power of CBD as a solution for a variety of daily wellness needs. If you’re still hesitant we’ve got a ton of education on our site to help you get more comfortable—check out our CBD 101!). And whenever you’re ready to take the CBD plunge, we’ve got a highly vetted assortment of best in class products just dying to make it into your wellness routine.