Plants have been used for their medicinal benefits for as long as we have existed. As humans, we have experimented over the centuries searching for ways in which plants can help us “heal.”
Throughout the past three decades more than 80 percent of people have relied on plant-based supplements and herbal medicinal products for some form of their primary healthcare.
Phytotherapy reaps many benefits for consumers, but due to the lack of regulation around herbal remedies (which are categorized as “dietary supplements”), there is no oversight being provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, supplements are not permitted to be marketed for the purpose of treating, diagnosing, preventing or curing diseases. As a result, manufacturers and distributors are responsible for making sure their products are safe before going to market.
Due to this lack of oversight, many consumers are using products that may or may not hold medicinal benefits. While there is strong evidence to prove many of the claims provided by these supplements, there are still a number of products that go unmonitored and untested after being released to market – which puts the consumer at risk.
We are now seeing this emerge in the hemp and CBD markets.
There is still a great deal of confusion around the source of this plant-medicine and thus how it is regulated. Currently hemp-derived CBD products can be purchased as labeled “dietary supplements” online and over the counter throughout the country. This puts consumers at risk because there is limited oversight being provided on an industry that is projected to reach sales of more than $1.9 billion by 2020.
The issue is further perpetuated by consumers’ self-medicating and therefore not communicating to others about their experiences with plant-medicine. This creates additional concerns with regard to proper dosage and how plant-medicine interacts with other supplements and medications one is taking.
One way to combat this misuse of plant-based medicine is to track intake on a platform such as Gofire’s Health Suite App.
This app allows consumers to track their daily dosage and note experiences based on that dosage to determine the accurate amount they need to take. The app also allows the community to review data provided by others to help one more accurately determine if a product or dosage would be effective for them. In addition, the Gofire App provides access to independent, third-party lab results on many products so you can see the exact chemical profile of what you’re consuming.
Since we are living in a grey area without oversight by the federal government to protect consumers from fraudulent products, it is the consumer’s responsibility to take charge of their own safety when it comes to consuming plant-based products.
One of the best ways to protect yourself is by doing research and requesting lab results from the plant-based medicine companies you are consuming products from. The more you know about the products you are consuming the less likely you will be to misuse plant-based medicine.