If you’re looking for CBD oil products, there’s a good chance you can find a store selling some version in just about any direction you travel. CBD specialty stores have popped up throughout Austin with at least eight opening in 2018 alone.
The popularity of CBD oil is due to the vast number of suggested promises it can deliver — everything from easing achy joints to insomnia. Proof that it actually helps these issues is limited, however, there is data that shows it can be effective at managing seizures associated with epilepsy. We’ve seen some impressive benefits among children in our own practice since we began prescribing CBD in 2018. Importantly, the CBD oil used for epilepsy differs from over-the-counter and must be prescribed by a doctor — it’s not available over-the-counter.
So what’s the difference between CBD products you can buy off-the-shelf and ones which must be prescribed?
Child Neurology Consultants’ pediatric neurologist Dr. Karen Keough recently made comments in a story for Community Impact about the differences between over-the-counter CBD and prescription. She stresses that the prescription or medicinal CBD is formulated according to scientific research, where others are not.
Dr. Keough is also chief medical officer for Compassionate Cultivation which is one of only three companies in Texas licensed to produce medicinal CBD.
“This is legitimate medicine, and particularly in the world of epilepsy, it can be exceptionally effective for a small group of kids who try it, and it turns out to be extremely safe,” Dr. Keough said.
Some key differences between doctor-prescribed CBD and over-the-counter products include:
- CBD available in stores is produced from hemp which is an industrial crop in the state of Texas that can be legally grown and then widely distributed. The wide range of over-the-counter products have little quality control, and a large study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that some of these products actually did not contain any medication at all.
- Medical CBD, only available with a prescription, is derived from cannabis, not hemp. Its use and distribution is limited and heavily regulated via the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) because the THC content of medicinal CBD is higher than in over-the-counter products. The regulation and oversight of the TCUP means reliable, high-quality medication.
- While the benefits of over-the-counter, hemp-derived CBD products are based on lots of Internet testimonials, larger scale medical studies show the positive benefits of doctor-prescribed CBD oil on epilepsy patients.
Both retailers who sell CBD products and doctors who prescribe it agree though that there needs to be continued funding and research devoted to the medical use of CBD so that patients can know more about how it will affect them.
This year the Texas Legislature passed a bill that expands the TCUP to many other conditions, including other forms of epilepsy, autism, spasticity due to cerebral palsy and others like multiple sclerosis, and additional progressive neurological diseases. These changes will start within the next month, and many more patients will have access to medical CBD through the TCUP.