On June 24, 2015, Nora D. Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) discussed factors related to CBD in the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. The NIDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) took part in the hearing to discuss the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD). In that hearing, the participants discussed aspects of CBD and its potential therapeutic effects on users who suffer from certain disorders.

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Over 23 states and the District of Columbia passed laws allowing the use of marijuana as a treatment option for some medical conditions. At least fifteen additional states have enacted laws regarding the use, sale, and growth of cannabis plants and cannabis-derived products like CBD oil.

CBD has been shown to have a lot of potential health benefits including for young children with intractable seizure disorders (e.g., Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome). Aside from reducing the severity of seizures, CBD also has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. 

A few common neurodegenerative diseases that CBD can be used to treat include:

•    Alzheimer’s disease

•    Stroke

•    Glutamate toxicity

•    Multiple sclerosis (MS)

•    Parkinson’s disease

•    Neurodegeneration caused by alcohol abuse

The US may officially approve the use of CBD in all states in the future.

Safety of CBD

Because CBD comes from cannabis plants, many individuals believe that it might have similar side effects as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the psychoactive effects of CBD are hundreds of times weaker than that of THC. It is generally safer than THC.

The use of CBD does not pose a major risk to the health of users. Even if CBD is administered in high dosages, the side effects are not life-threatening. In Europe, several CBD-infused drugs have been approved.

Research Opportunities and Challenges

Although CBD can help patients with different conditions, there’s a need for further studies and clinical trials. Users have to be careful in using CBD. Consult a licensed doctor first before proceeding in using CBD.

There’s still a lack of research on marijuana and CBD components in the scientific industry. While CBD is still in a gray area legaly, it has a bright future.