Should you try CBD? One doctor weighs in

At The Georgia Hemp Company in Sandy Springs, CBD, or cannabidiol, is big business.

There are hemp-based CBD oils, creams, pain patches, pet treats, gummies, even a CBD starter kit for beginners.

Owner Joe Salome says people are looking for help with pain, anxiety, and inflammation, and hoping CBD is the answer.

"They do ask," Salome says. "And, we're not doctors, and this is not an FDA-approved product."

Salome says many of their customers are Baby Boomers or Millennials, looking for an alternative to prescription medications.

"We have to look at those expectations and say, "Look this isn't a silver bullet," Salome says.  "And what this does for one person, it does differently for another."

The products are made from industrial-grade hemp, which, unlike its plant cousin, marijuana, is legal in the U-S, as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot that can make you feel high.

And, and Emory University Hospital, internist Dr. Sharon Bergquist says her patients are asking her about CBD.

"And I think a lot of that is driven by people who are looking for an alternative to treating pain, anxiety, people who can't sleep at night,

 and other conditions," Dr. Bergquist says.

With the country in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis, Bergquist says, CBD has real potential, especially for people who aren't getting relief from prescription medication.

"But, because it's not currently federally-regulated, there are a lot of caveats and things people should know and be aware of before they try these products," she says.

For one, Bergquist says, we don't how CBD works, because it hasn't been widely studied in people.

And, she says, because the CBD industry is not regulated, the quality and the ingredients in products can vary.

A 2017 study found 70 percent of the CBD products tested were mislabeled.

And, Dr. Bergquist cautions, CBD may interact with certain medications, like blood thinners, some antibiotics, and sedatives.

"So, I think it's certainly okay to try these products, but it would be better to work with a physician that can help monitor for these side effects, make recommendations, to adjust dosages of other medications if there is an interaction," she says.