The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has long considered the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, cannabidiol, to be a Schedule I drug. That is, a drug that has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. But according to a preliminary report embraced by the World Health Organization this week, the DEA’s long-held position is stumbling.
In a preliminary report last month, the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence concluded — and WHO agreed — that clinical and preclinical studies of CBD show no evidence of a potential for users to misuse the drug or cause any harm. to suffer. In addition, the experts found numerous conjectures that CBD has medical benefits, especially for the treatment of epilepsy. In its conclusion, the ECDD stated that current data “do not justify planning cannabidiol”.
However, the ECDD’s report is only a first look. The commission, which is generally tasked with assessing which drugs should be controlled (planned) internationally and how, will take a more detailed look in May 2018. After that, it will rate cannabis in general, as well as other cannabis compounds.
Nevertheless, the preliminary finding is likely to encourage CBD advocates and users, who have long argued that CBD is safe and effective in treating a range of medical conditions. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that induces a “high,” CBD does not induce such euphoric feelings. Researchers have even found that CBD can dampen the effects of THC when used together.
Instead, CBD is thought to have a wide range of effects on the endocannabinoid system – a collection of neurotransmitters that bind to receptors in the nervous system to mediate a variety of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain and inflammation. While researchers are still working out all of CBD’s functions, studies in animals and a small number in humans have found no evidence that it is toxic or addictive. It is a relatively safe compound that is no more addictive than placebo in studies.
In terms of therapeutic potential, several clinical studies have shown that pure CBD is effective in treating some types of epilepsy. In some cases, it can completely eliminate seizures. There is even a pure CBD product (Epidiolex®) that is currently in Phase III trials. And researchers are also exploring the use of CBD for a range of other medical conditions. While this work is not as far along as epilepsy research, the ECDD noted that there is positive preliminary data for the treatment of a range of conditions. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, pain, nausea, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. There is also some evidence that CBD may be helpful in combating opioid addiction.
With the growing data and growing acceptance of marijuana in the United States, there has been a crescendo of interest in CBD and other cannabis products. Still, the DEA has doubled down on its stance that CBD, as part of marijuana, is a Schedule I drug. Last December, the DEA made this clear by creating a new drug code for marijuana extracts, including pure CBD.
This hasn’t stopped individual states from legalizing it, especially for medical purposes. But without federal sanctions and regulation, many CBD products, especially those sold online, could be mislabeled, potentially putting patients at risk.
List image by Getty | FABRIC CASE