NewsFox 13 Investigates


CBD: Is it a miracle cure or just a new form of snake oil?

Posted at 10:19 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 00:19:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The list of claims is long.  Help with stress, anxiety, pain, sleep, depression and more.  CBD or cannabidiol is a component extracted from the marijuana plant.

From smoke shops to health food stores, CBD is showing up in products like lotions, edibles, vape juice, bath bombs and more.  There are even CBD infused bottles of water.

“The psychotropic affect isn’t there," said J.D. Hakes, a regular CBD user. "You’re not going to get high.”

One recent study anticipates CBD consumer sales will hit $1.8 billion by 2022.

With so much money on the line, deciphering what is true and what is false about CBD can be difficult.  Few claims are backed up with FDA recognized studies. In fact, the FDA issued warning letters to three companies after they made unfounded claims about the product's ability to cure and treat cancer, help with opioid abuse or other illnesses without sufficient evidence.

“Many of my patients have been taken advantage of by charlatans selling snake oil,” said Dr. Gary Garner at Utah Valley Hospital.

Despite concerns about quality control and unverified claims, Dr. Garner does not shy away from recommending CBD to some of his patients.

“I’m finding that some patients just feel better when they use CBD,” Dr. Garner said.

He doesn’t shy away from walking into a smoke shop in Utah and asking questions.

“I’ve been laughed at a few times and looked at as an old guy, but I’m okay with that.  If it’s helping my patients,” Dr. Garner said.

CBD was made legal in Utah ahead of medical marijuana.  In January, the Department of Agriculture started requiring CBD products sold in Utah be registered and subject to random testing.

At the time, only 26 products were registered.  Today there are hundreds.  Here's a list.

If you do choose to try CBD, even a product that is legally registered, the doctor’s advice is to use caution.

“It’s not a prescription medication," Dr. Garner said. "It’s not a consistent dosing that I can depend on."

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