Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second leading active ingredient in marijuana. Patients are increasingly seeking out high-CBD varieties for treatment of conditions ranging from severe epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to anxiety and cancer pain.
CBD has long been overshadowed by delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary active ingredient in marijuana, because unlike THC, it does not produce a psychoactive “high.” CBD has nonetheless long been known to have useful anti-spasmodic, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic properties.
Although CBD lacks noticeable effects when taken alone, it has a calming, sedative effect when combined with THC, cutting down on the anxiety, paranoia, and memory impairment that many users find unpleasant or debilitating with regular marijuana. CBD-rich strains accordingly have particular appeal to older users and medical patients who are uncomfortable with the THC high.
A survey by Stanford researchers of 19 severely epileptic children found that 84% experienced substantial seizure reductions from CBD-enriched cannabis.
In the U.K., GW Pharmaceuticals has developed a natural cannabis extract known as Sativex, consisting of equal parts CBD and THC. In tests with multiple sclerosis patients, GW researchers found that subjects responded better to equal parts CBD and THC than to either pure THC or CBD. Sativex has been approved in the U.K for treatment of MS, and has shown promise in human subjects for treatment of cancer pain and neuropathic pain.
Preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic benefits in the treatment of various conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, nausea, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, diabetes, PTSD, alcoholism, strokes and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other ailments.
CBD has been shown to suppress colon cancer tumors in mice and to kill breast cancer cells in lab studies by Dr. Sean McAllister at the California Pacific Medical Center. CBD also has anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, and anti-oxidant properties. CBD has also been shown to stimulate bone fracture healing in laboratory animals.