CBD is cannabidiol. It is one of almost 200 cannabinoids that can be found in marijuana plants. Unlike many other cannabinoids, CBD is not psychoactive and has a different pharmacologic profile than other psychoactive cannabinoids. CBD can be extracted from both marijuana plants and from hemp.
2. Is CBD (and CBD products) safe to use?
1. What exactly is CBD? Is it the same as Cannabis? Hemp? Marijuana plant?
If there are adequate safety studies of a product, it would be considered safe. However, the CBD products flooding the market are not likely to have undergone any safety testing. In fact, the FDA has issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol. As part of these actions, the FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.
Purified CBD extract (GW Pharmaceuticals) was approved by the FDA in 2018 as a treatment for 2 rare forms of epilepsy – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – as a Schedule 5 compound. The brand name is Epidiolex.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to the World Health Organization, the available evidence suggests that CBD is relatively safe. However, the long-term effects are not entirely clear.
One of the biggest concerns that consumers face when purchasing CBD products is the lack of FDA regulation.
One study published in 2018 suggested that cannabidiol does not increase serotonin levels; rather, it appears to work by influencing how the brain responds to serotonin that is already there.
Other studies suggest that CBD may help alleviate symptoms of depression by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in a range of functions in the body including the regulation of mood. It may help contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being. It is also often implicated in the onset of depression and many types of antidepressant drugs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Anxiety and depression are pathologies that affect human beings in many aspects of life, including social life, productivity and health. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. The aim of this study is to review studies of animal models using CBD as an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like compound. Studies involving animal models, performing a variety of experiments on the above-mentioned disorders, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and Vogel conflict test (VCT), suggest that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Experiments with CBD demonstrated non-activation of neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.