The World Health Organization (WHO) released a “pre-review” or opinion on Cannabidiol (CBD) and concluded that CBD is safe, has medical benefit, and is generally well tolerated with no potential for abuse. [Full PDF Report]
What is CBD or Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring, non-intoxicating, chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. In particular CBD is found in high concentrations in hemp.
Since the dawn of time humans have used CBD for varying medical and therapeutic attributes, but the compound was not isolated and synthesized until 1965. And it was not until the early 1990s that scientists discovered the interaction with CBD in the brain's endocannabinoid system.
Who is WHO?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is an international organizationresponsible for directing international health within the United Nations and leading partners in global health response. WHO was created in 1946 shortly after the establishment of the United Nations.
WHO evaluates a variety of drugs by collecting and analyzing published literature on the effects of the drugs as well as the safety profile. Oftentimes WHO's decision is also based on personal experiences that are submitted by individuals across the world who have used compounds.
WHO'd pre-review on CBD is the first step in the process to determine if CBD how CBD should be regulated by international standards. WHO's recommendations are usually well-received and support the United Nations in forming a formal opinion on international restrictions.
The CBD document released by WHO was prepared and evaluated at the recommendation of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. This is the first time CBD has been considered “critically reviewed.”
What is WHO's opinion on CBD?
WHO’s report provided evidence from human and animal-based research for the impacts of CBD on the human body. WHO found that CBD failed to show sign of abuse in human studies and CBD can have adverse effects of CBD when interacting with epilepsy drugs.
In addition, WHO found, through pre-clinical evidence and limited clinical evidence, that CBD has "neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties.”
"WHO" Recognizes Therapeutic Benefits of CBD
In preliminary research WHO found that CBD was beneficial for opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction as well as cannabis and tobacco addiction. WHO also provides an “overview of diseases for which CBD may have therapeutic benefits.” The diseases include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Hypoxia-ischemia injury
- Inflammatory diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowl and Crohn’s disease
- Cardiovascular diseases, and
- Diabetic complications
CBD and Toxicity
In the report WHO states, "in general, CBD has been found to have relatively low toxicity, although not all potential effects have been explored…” In addition, it has "no effect on a wide range of physiological and biochemical parameters or significant effects on animal behaviour unless extremely high doses are administered." The WHO notes that high doses are in excess of 150mg/kg.
In general the WHO report on CBD was very positive and we can expect to see more information in the spring or summer of 2018. It will very likely be published around the same time GW Pharmaceuticals' CBD epilepsy drug, Epidiolex, is an approved by the FDA.
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