Published on: 05/24/18
A fast-growing number of Americans are turning to CBD to treat their medical symptoms. Currently, CBD is being hailed the new ‘wonder drug’ of the 21st century, with both news articles and research studies suggesting a plethora of treatment options.
CBD is now widely used by adults and children for an array of symptoms that range from anxiety to epilepsy and even cancer. Since 2013, with groundbreaking cases like that of Charlotte's web, the industry has seen a steady rise in the acceptance and popularity of CBD. This attention is slowly transforming this once demonised ‘street drug’ into a miraculous therapeutic product.
The CBD train seems to be travelling full steam ahead. With over 42% of CBD users reporting to have ditched pharmaceutical drugs in favour of CBD, you could be lead to believe that CBD is unstoppable. However, the legal and medical status of cannabis and CBD products can be somewhat confusing and often hard to navigate, as it all depends on their definitions.
Is There Medical Evidence that CBD Actually Works?
The definition of medical evidence is; “The judicious use of the best current available scientific research in making decisions about the care of patients. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is intended to integrate clinical expertise with research evidence and patient values.”
Until recently, medical research into CBD and its beneficial effects have been few and far between. Currently there has been around 47 clinical studies and case reports about the compound cannabidiol for medical use. Some studies date back to the 1980’s, when the effects of CBD were first explored in epileptic patients
Fast forward to the current day and you will find there has been a significant rise in clinical studies and case reports. This year alone (2018), there were 11 clinical studies worldwide that were related to cannabidiol for medical use, although not all tests were carried out on humans. There has been significant headway made in the development of CBD, to the point where it might one day be recognised as a medical treatment.
The main investigations into the uses of CBD over the years have been focused on epilepsy. In exciting news for CBD watchers, there is a brand new cannabidiol-based drug in the pipeline that is set to change the ambiguity that surrounds whether CBD really works or not.
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Where is the Evidence?
The most recent progressive cannabidiol clinical study on humans looks into its effects on babies and children with Dravet syndrome. This rare, genetic dysfunction causes epileptic seizures when the child becomes sick or excited.
Epidiolex is set to be the first plant-derived cannabidiol drug to gain FDA approval. Up until now, CBD hasn’t been used by the medical profession, even though there is a long list of symptoms users claim CBD has been beneficial in treating. Over the decades, medical tests have focused more broadly on the effects of cannabis and THC for medical use, and very few have looked specifically at the CBD compound.
In 2017, a study was published on the effects of CBD on rodents that had Dravet syndrome. Results showed a significant change in the frequency and strength of seizures. These results were so promising that scientists then went on to conduct human trails, and they don't just do that for any old drug (most animal testing trials aren't continued into humans).
In a sample of 214 children aged between 2 and 18 with Dravet syndrome, the results found that children who took CBD experienced significantly fewer seizures than the children that took the placebo drug. In fact, 5% of patients stopped having seizures completely.
Do You Want the Good or the Bad News?
You may be wondering; “Why do members of the medical community and various government agencies still question whether CBD really works?”
Even though clinical trials have collected positive results over the years, there is still some resistance to the changes that are about to come. The popular demand for CBD, with many users describing life-changing results, has raised eyebrows or induced complete silence in some government organisations. The FDA, DEA and WHO have all challenged the journey of CBD being seen as a legitimate medical drug.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have up until recently had a very outdated stance on cannabis, now recognises that CBD does have therapeutic benefits. It has taken almost 70 years for the WHO to update its comments on cannabis-based products like CBD, but as the WHO are seen as the world's leading experts on the health risks and benefits of all drugs, it is a positive step towards CBD acceptance.
The UN look to the WHO for evidence about formulating drug control strategies, international policies and treaties. Because of this, the international legal environment still sees cannabis as a ‘gateway drug’ that leads to harder drugs, while its medical and therapeutic uses are ignored.
Some official government agencies choose to stay silent on the subject of cannabis, knowing their input could help with its medical recognition. Others challenge the safety of CBD and its legality. Even though CBD doesn't have any psychoactive properties and is used purely for therapeutic reasons, the DEA has still chosen to mark CBD as a Schedule 1 substance.
The feeling behind the DEA’s move to make CBD illegal is to gain greater control over cannabinoids. You see, unfortunately in recent years, cannabinoids have received some bad press regarding the rise of ‘designer drugs’ like spice and K2, which have lead to serious side effects and some deaths. However, such drugs have nothing to do with the natural, hemp-derived compound, CBD. And even though there are no known side effects in the use of CBD, the DEA are still set to move CBD up there with the bad boys like heroin (a Schedule 1 substance).
Luckily for us there has been a push-back from Congress and activists to stop the DEA’s attempts to gain control of CBD and at present, CBD remains legal for medical use in more than half of US states. Phew!
The Good News About Where the Future of CBD is Going
We are about to move into unchartered waters in the progress of CBD. The first cannabidiol-based medical drug is on its way to being approved by the FDA. Once approved and available for prescription, CBD has a stronger chance of gaining that medical evidence stamp of approval.
This is an exciting time for those that want cannabis to get the medical recognition it deserves. It is clear that more education and medical research will make it easier to answer questions like ‘does CBD really work?’ and help dispel the negative preconceptions about this ancient remedy.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).