What is CBD and What are its Effects?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil derived from the cannabis plant. It is promoted as a “wonder drug” but there are some potential risks associated with its use. Learn more about what it is and what effects it has.

What is CBD and What are its Effects?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the main active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), the other main active compound in the cannabis plant, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the high associated with cannabis. It is promoted as a “wonder drug” and is used for a variety of ailments, including Dravet syndrome, and the science of hemp is being explored to further understand its potential risks and benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted all recommendations on the control of several psychoactive substances from the 42nd meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD).CBD is considered an extract from the cannabis plant and is not subject to international controls on its production and supply to the market. Ads claim that it is perfectly safe and legal and can be used for anything that afflicts you or makes you feel mentally or physically uncomfortable.

However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that CBD can cause drowsiness, sedation, and can make operating a motor vehicle or machinery dangerous after consuming CBD products. It can also interact with other medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, and any cannabis-based product. The WHO review found that CBD “has no potential for abuse or dependence”. However, there have been cases where products labeled to contain hemp have had significantly lower levels of CBD than advertised.

It is also prohibited under section 301 (II) of the FD&C Act to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any animal feed to which THC or CBD has been added. There is insufficient evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of CBD for bipolar disorder, Crohn's disease, diabetes, dystonia, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis (and its muscle spasms, tiredness, bladder control, ability to move, or well-being and quality of life), schizophrenia, nerve damage hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy) and other conditions. Laboratory animal studies show toxicity to male reproduction even in male offspring of pregnant females treated with CBD. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, CBD was used as part of treatment for Dravet syndrome which is a complex childhood epileptic disorder associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate.

The FDA has not approved any CBD products as drugs but this change can speed up the process for researchers to study cannabis and its derivatives including CBD that fall within the definition of hemp which could accelerate the development of new drugs. CBD products that are not approved by the FDA and sold as drugs, food, or cosmetics are “black market” and are illegally trafficked and sold. Examining the legality of these measures that restricted the free movement of goods within the EU, the court also stated that CBD extracted from cannabis was not a drug within the meaning of the 1961 Convention; and that EU regulations on industrial hemp were not applicable to CBD extract since it is not a product agriculture in the definitions of those regulations. People should be warned about operating hazardous machinery including motor vehicles until they are reasonably sure that CBD does not adversely affect them. A California case alleged that a defendant company made false claims that CBD could help symptoms of autism and treat diseases such as hepatitis cancer and Tourette syndrome.

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