Whether due to an upcoming test, a looming cloud of responsibilities, an awkward social situation, or a general feeling of disquiet, many people have experienced anxiety in their life to some degree. In college, this is only exacerbated by the busy lifestyle that is required of a student. According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 41 percent of college students who present at campus counseling centers nationwide reportedly suffer from anxiety. Overall, about twenty percent of the population is affected. With these statistics in mind, it is no surprise that the use and knowledge of stress-management techniques are more important and popular than ever. As more and more states decriminalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana, it is also not a surprise to see the rise in use of CBD products as one of these methods.
CBD is an abbreviation for “cannabidiol.” It is one of 80 compounds called cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis. Unlike THC, the more well-known substance derived from the plant, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce a “high” that alters the mindstate of the user. Instead, cannabidiol has antipsychotic effects, though the scientific community does not fully understand why or how.
Despite this, products containing CBD have been sweeping the market, from edible oils and gummies to dog treats for nervous pets. Studies have shown that CBD is potentially effective in relieving chronic and mild pain, inflammation, reducing anxiety, slowing the progression of Alzheimers, and suppressing the growth of cancer cells among other things, according to the website Medical News Today. In 2018, a purified form of CBD oil, called Epidiolex, was even approved for prescription use by the Food and Drug Administration to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. This is the only condition for which the U.S. National Library of Medicine website rates treatment with CBD to be likely effective.
Though CBD has gained notoriety recently for its potential benefits, the lack of public knowledge on the substance, in addition to its association with marijuana, makes it still somewhat taboo. “I don’t really know all that much about it in terms of how it’s different than marijuana,” said Carly Mulder (’21). Mulder is in the nursing program, where she said the topic of marijuana is typically covered in regards treating its psychoactive effects. “It’s more in terms of drug use or a more medical thing, but I haven’t bothered to research CBD much,” she said.
Further research also needs to be done in order to expand the knowledge base of the compound’s full potentials and drawbacks. Without proper information, regulations have yet to be put into place over the quality of commercial sale CBD products. However, the classification of marijuana under the Federal Controlled Substances as a Schedule I drug restricts the studies that researchers can do on the substance.
The ambiguity of CBD in its sudden fame has presented a unique challenge for its toleration on college campuses, and this year was one of the first that Residential Life was briefed on the subject during their training. “It was definitely not something that I was expecting to be educated on, but if people come to me asking why it’s not allowed on campus I can tell them why,” said RA Camryn Hawes (’22).
At Hope, the Drug and Alcohol Policy section of the Student Handbook clarifies that the college is a drug-free campus. Cannabinoids, the category under which CBD is classified, are included under this policy. The fact that CBD is derived from marijuana also means that it is prohibited on campus.