Advocates believe there are many potential health benefits, but clinicians say more research needs to be done.
Currently the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug called Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. In July, the FDA expanded what the drug is approved to treat, saying it can also be used for seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.
It may also be beneficial for arthritis. Last fall the Arthritis Foundation became the first major health organization to release guidelines for the use of CBD.
Arthritis Foundation offers guidelines for CBD use
Interest continues to grow. Last year, the federal government pledged $3 billion to research CBD.
“But you need studies to really be able to give us knowledge about how much CBD each day someone should take for their particular illness, and how it might interact with other medications they take,” she said. “That’s what you get with a clinical trial.”
“I do believe that cannabidiol has potential, absolutely,” Dr. Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told TODAY. Hurd’s research suggests CBD can may have positive effects on opioid addicts.
In addition to treating epilepsy, research has shown CBD may help reduce anxiety for people who have schizophrenia or psychosis, or who are addicted to opiates.
There is a wide array of CBD products available on the market. Many brands offer CBD via tincture extracts, vape oils, oil concentrates, topicals, and pure hemp oil. You also often have the choice of various CBD-infused foods, like gummies, candy, or chocolates.
Endocannabinoids have a similar structure to the cannabinoids found in cannabis. This is how and why they can act within the system of the human body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
In addition, our bodies consist of several other receptor proteins that work in the ECS, like GPR3, GPR6, TRPV1, and TRPV2. CBD binds to all of these, and many of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects may occur through these pathways.
CBD Product Types
We will explore this in more detail a little later. Understanding cannabidiol is the key to understanding how CBD products work and why the compound has captured the attention of so many scientists.
Which are the leading brands? …
Tinctures and pure oils are administered sublingually. This means that you place the oil under the tongue and wait between 1–2 minutes to swallow it. On the other hand, vape liquids are inhaled using a special vape e-pen.
CBD interacts directly with numerous components in the body and the central nervous system. A few of these are components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
McGuire P, Robson P, Cubala WJ, et al. Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.Am J Psychiatry. 2018;175(3):225-231. View abstract.
Knaub K, Sartorius T, Dharsono T, Wacker R, Wilhelm M, Schön C. A Novel Self-Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SEDDS) Based on VESIsorb Formulation Technology Improving the Oral Bioavailability of Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. Molecules. 2019;24(16). pii: E2967. View abstract.
Cunha, J. M., Carlini, E. A., Pereira, A. E., Ramos, O. L., Pimentel, C., Gagliardi, R., Sanvito, W. L., Lander, N., and Mechoulam, R. Chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers and epileptic patients. Pharmacology 1980;21(3):175-185. View abstract.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Carlini EA, Leite JR, Tannhauser M, Berardi AC. Letter: Cannabidiol and Cannabis sativa extract protect mice and rats against convulsive agents. J Pharm Pharmacol 1973;25(8):664-5. View abstract.
When taken by mouth: CBD is possibly safe to take in appropriate doses. Doses of up to 200 mg daily have been used safely for up to 13 weeks. With the guidance of a healthcare provider, a specific prescription CBD product (Epidiolex) has been used at higher doses.
Ohlsson, A., Lindgren, J. E., Andersson, S., Agurell, S., Gillespie, H., and Hollister, L. E. Single-dose kinetics of deuterium-labelled cannabidiol in man after smoking and intravenous administration. Biomed.Environ Mass Spectrom. 1986;13(2):77-83. View abstract.
Carlini EA, Cunha JM. Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol. J Clin Pharmacol 1981;21(8-9 Suppl):417S-27S. View abstract.