Cannabidiol is the major nonpsychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. Over the centuries, a number of medicinal preparations derived from C. sativa have been employed for a variety of disorders, including gout, rheumatism, malaria, pain, and fever. These preparations were widely employed as analgesics by Western medical practitioners in the 19th century (1). More recently, there is clinical evidence suggesting efficacy in HIV-associated neuropathic pain, as well as spasms associated with multiple sclerosis (1).
Although I’m no physician, and am not qualified to recommend any drugs for any specific medical purposes, and you should consult your doctor when considering the consumption of anything that may be medicinal: If you’re looking to experiment with CBD products, you might consider looking for CBD products that are “whole plant” extract based from very high CBD cultivars. If you’re in a State that has a legal Cannabis system, you may also find more therapeutic benefits from non-hemp derived CBD products.
At this time, there does seem to be a growing body of basic pharmacologic data suggesting there may be a role for CBD, especially in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. However, given the lack of well-controlled trials, we must also ask if we are getting ahead of ourselves. Clearly, this is an emotionally and politically charged issue. If this were any other uninvestigated pharmaceutical compound, would we feel as compelled to make the agent widely available before statistically valid class 1 evidence was available for review? Until data from well-designed clinical trials are available and reliable, and standardized CBD products that are produced using GMP are available, caution must be exercised in any consideration of using CBD for the treatment of epilepsy. In the meantime, based upon promising preliminary data, further clinical research should be wholeheartedly pursued.
Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.