Hope and expectation and the sense of being cared for are constructs, but those constructs are also states in our brains. When our brains are active, a tangible, measurable response arises. This is neither coincidence nor magic: It is the science behind placebos. The “placebo effect” refers to a non-medicated reaction to an inert drug treatment, and is used colloquially to infer a physical response to a stimulus that is arguably imaginary.
The promise of relief is a powerful remedy in itself. People claim measurable effects to wildly varying doses of non-FDA approved and unregulated self-medication protocols. CBD oil is an example of a hugely popular drug that has had virtually no randomized double-blind placebo control studies, save for Epidiolex, a pediatric anti-seizure medicine. Not only is the unregulated CBD oil marketed as potent and effective at varying doses, numerous people lay claim to measured, marked efficacy in depression, insomnia, and even seizures.
Without the studies and FDA approval, there is no way to know whether the power of the CBD oil is eliciting a response, or if the placebo effect itself is providing therapeutic relief. With a neurological response akin to relief, what exactly is the difference?