CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently covered in the media, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular?
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
Exploring the effects of combined CBD and THC (20:1) on sleep and brain activation in patients with insomnia disorder. Eligible participants undergo two overnight sleep studies receiving randomised active and placebo treatments. This study is being led by Professor Ron Grunstein. See here for more information.
Study site: Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Glebe, NSW 2037
Exploring the effect of combined THC and CBD (1:1) on tics in patients with Tourette syndrome. Eligible participants will undergo two 8-week treatment periods receiving either active or placebo treatment. This study is being led by Dr Philip Mosley. See here for more information.
Promising CBD medical discoveries point to the possibility that it might be useful for a wide range of conditions throughout life. The better doctors come to understand how CBD affects the perception of pain, the easier it will be to prescribe effective and safe doses.
CBD is a substance humans have been in contact with for centuries. However, we know relatively little about its potential applications in modern medicine. Much of the data that exists is for older patients and those who have suffered chronic conditions for many years.
What Research Currently Exists Around CBD?
Over the last few years, doctors have launched small-scale CBD studies and CBD clinical trials to find other potential uses for the compound. CBD is gaining notoriety as a potential treatment for a variety of mood disorders, especially generalized anxiety. It may even help PTSD sufferers.
CBD has a very long history as a treatment for those suffering from intense chronic pain. In particular, it is valuable for patients who cannot benefit from traditional medications as a result of damaged organs or a compromised immune system.
Naturally, there is still much to learn about CBD. No long-term (“longitudinal”) study has shown the effects of CBD on brain structure or quality of life. It will be some time before a large enough patient community exists for a multi-decade CBD clinical study to be completed.