Last updated on: 1/10/2020 | Author: ProCon.org

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Harvard Women’s Health Watch wrote in an Aug. 2019 article titled “CBD Products Are Everywhere. But Do They Work?,” available a health.harvard.edu:

“Cannabidiol is one of the two best-known active compounds derived from the marijuana plant. The other is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance that that produces the ‘high’ from marijuana…

CBD does not get you high, but… some CBD products do contain small amounts of THC.

While CBD can come from marijuana, it can also be derived from hemp. Hemp is a related plant with 0.3% or less of THC. This plant is often used to make fabrics and ropes. As of 2018, Congress made hemp legal in all 50 states, and consequently CBD derived from hemp is also legal. The rules around marijuana-derived CBD, however, are far less clear…

The bottom line is that in order to understand whether CBD is legal where you live, you’ll need to consult your state health department website or professionals in your community.”

Laura Sanders, PhD, neuroscience writer at Science News, wrote in a Mar. 27, 2019 article titled “The CBD Boom Is Way ahead of the Science,” available at sciencenews.org:

“Produced by the cannabis plant, CBD is the straitlaced cousin of marijuana’s more famous component — the THC that delivers a mind-swirling high. CBD, or cannabidiol, has no such intoxicating effects on the mind. Yet the molecule has captured people’s attention in a profound way, sold as a remedy for pain, anxiety, insomnia and other ailments — all without the high…

Scientists still don’t know all of the targets CBD hits in the human body, nor what effects it may have, if any. With the exception of tests in people with rare forms of epilepsy, large studies that compare CBD with placebos in people are rare. Much of the existing research was done with cells in the lab or in lab animals, with results that don’t necessarily translate to people.”

Timothy Williams, New York Times writer, stated in May 6, 2019 article titled “CBD Is Wildly Popular. Disputes Over Its Legality Are a Growing Source of Tension.,” available at nytimes.com:

“CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant, but one that does not result in a high. It has become wildly popular during the last several months because of claims that it helps with a variety of ailments, from anxiety and diabetes to headaches and menstrual cramps…

Marijuana is rich in THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component; it can account for as much as 40 percent of the total cannabinoid content. Hemp, on the other hand, is richer in CBD, and generally contains only 0.3 percent THC or less. CBD oils, which are processed from the hemp plant, are legal to possess under the new federal law [2018 Farm Bill] as long as they, too, contain no more than 0.3 percent THC…

Most states, though, have yet to change their laws to match the new federal rules, leaving local police and prosecutors in a quandary over what is legal and what is not.”

Peter Grinspoon, MD, primary care physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School, wrote in his Aug. 24, 2018 article titled “Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know and What We Don’t,” available at health.harvard.edu:

“CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a ‘high.’…

CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials…

CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications.”

Penn Medicine wrote in a Nov. 7, 2017 press release titled “Penn Study Shows Nearly 70 Percent of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online Are Mislabeled,” available at pennmedicine.org:

“There is interest in CBD as a medicine because there is some evidence that it has medical benefits, but it does not make people feel ‘high’ and there is no indication that CBD, by itself, is abused. Recent research has shown potential therapeutic effects of CBD for young children with rare seizure disorders, and patients in states where cannabis or CBD have been legalized report using it for a variety of health conditions. Business experts estimate that the market for CBD products will grow to more than $2 billion in consumer sales within the next three years. While interest in this area continues to grow, little has been done to ensure regulation and oversight of the sale of products containing CBD.”

WiseGeek.com, an informational website and search engine, wrote in its article “What Is Cannabidiol?” (accessed Sep. 26, 2011):

“Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid and a major component of the cannabis plant, or marijuana plant. By itself, cannabidiol lacks the psychoactive effects most commonly associated with marijuana use yet still retains many of the medicinal benefits, such as its anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. The legal status of cannabidiol varies from country to country. In the United States, for instance, it and all other phytocannabinoids are classified as Schedule I controlled substances, making possession or ingestion illegal.”

Sep. 26, 2011 - WiseGEEK  

The International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, an international non-profit cannabinoid association, wrote in its “Cannabidiol” page on the website cannabis-med.org (accessed Sep. 28, 2011):

“CBD, or cannabidiol, is the major non-psychotropic cannabinoid found in Cannabis. It has shown anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, muscle relaxing, anxiolytic, neuroprotective and anti-psychotic activity and reduces the psychoactive effects of THC [D9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana]. The mode of action of cannabidiol is not fully understood and several mechanisms have been proposed…”

Sep. 28, 2011 - International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines  

Project CBD, a non-profit educational service dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical utility of cannabidiol, wrote in its “About Cannabidiol” page on the website projectcbd.org (accessed Sep. 28, 2011):

“Cannabidiol —CBD— is a compound in Cannabis that has medical effects but does not make people feel ‘stoned’ and actually counters some of the effects of THC…

Scientific and clinical studies indicate that CBD could be effective in easing symptoms of a wide range of difficult-to-control conditions, including: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, PTSD, epilepsy, antibiotic-resistant infections and neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective effects, and its anti-cancer potential is currently being explored at several academic research centers in the U.S. and other countries.”

Sep. 28, 2011 - Project CBD