CBD Research: What do we know?

CBD helps with stress, muscle recovery and relief according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse

Can CBD help reduce the risk of drug and alcohol relapse?

A new animal study finds that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp, can help reduce the risk of drug and alcohol relapse. i.

A report from the NIDA said “The researchers applied a gel containing CBD every day for a week to the skin of rats with a history of daily alcohol or cocaine self-administration. The CBD appeared to be effective in reducing reinstatement of drug-taking — considered a model of drug and alcohol relapse. Notably, the reduced reinstatement, which was induced by stress or drug-related environmental cues, lasted for five months after the initial treatment was discontinued, when CBD was no longer detectable in either blood or brain."

The report continued “CBD has been studied as a treatment for certain severe childhood epilepsy syndromes. These findings reinforce other possible therapeutic benefits of non-psychoactive cannabinoids.” (Reference: "Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: Preclinical proof of principle" published in Neuropsychopharmacology.)

CBD is Supported by the World Health Organization

As CBD use becomes more widespread throughout the world, the World Health Organization has given the cannabinoid compound CBD its stamp of approval. After a comprehensive scientific review of CBDs, the WHO (World Health Organization) reported no known public health problems from CBD.

In fact, the organization stated that CBD has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for neurological" in adults, children, and even animals, and that there's "preliminary evidence" that CBD could be useful in serious conditions. The report found no evidence that use of CBD resulted in drug dependence or the potential for abuse. The report concluded that because of the wide-ranging potential benefits of CBD, "Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product."

CBD is non-addictive

An earlier report by the NIDA called CBD a valuable supplement and dispelled any concerns about CBD and drug abuse. ii.

The report compared CBD to THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. It notes that “CBD, for example, does not make people high and is not intoxicating. And, there is reason to believe it may have a range of uses in medicine, including in the treatment of seizures and other neurological disorders. In the impassioned, often emotional debates these days over medical marijuana, CBD is often cited as one of the main reasons restrictions on marijuana should be loosened.”

The way that cannabinoids work was explained in the report by the NIDA. “A basic understanding of the way cannabinoids affect the body and the brain is helpful…Most cannabinoids (including THC) interact with specific targets on cells in the body, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and are important for learning, coordination, sleep, pain, brain development, and other functions; CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system.

The fact that chemicals in marijuana can speak the body’s chemical language (and cause both beneficial and harmful effects) is not surprising and does not make marijuana special. Many plants, including the opium poppy, tobacco, and coca are similar in that regard. Extracting and amplifying the medicinal benefits of such plants and minimizing their potential harms can lead the way to effective medications, but are also a major scientific challenge…because of its unique properties, CBD, especially, may be poised to make great inroads into our pharmacopoeia.”

CBD acts differently on the body than THC, the report stated, and gives us the benefits of the marijuana plant without the harmful effects, according to the NIDA. “CBD has very little effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors. This is probably why it does not make people high and is not mind-altering.”

The NIDA report explains the history of CBD therapy. “CBD has been considered as a potential therapeutic agent since the 1970s, when its anti-seizure properties were first examined in animal studies. some showing positive results. But what has generated the renewed interest and excitement are the anecdotal reports that some children with otherwise untreatable severe epilepsies respond well to CBD extracts and oils.” Since the NIDA report, CBD-based medication Epidiolex has gone through clinical trials and been approved by the FDA for pediatric epilepsy.

The report concluded that when it comes to CBDs, “Much more research needs to be done, but it should be done quickly… Besides the trials of Epidiolex, there are already many studies of CBD for other disorders being conducted, including at NIH (National Institutes for Health.). Studies related to its possible use in the treatment of substance use disorders are being funded by NIDA, while other NIH Institutes are funding work on the potential of CBD and other cannabinoids in treating neurological and psychiatric disorders, disorders of the immune system and metabolism and cancer.”

“In short, CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects claimed so far, and the preliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions. Addressing barriers that slow clinical research with CBD would accelerate progress. NIDA will do what we can to address such barriers and expedite the study of this potentially valuable compound, as well as other components of the marijuana plant.”


  1. i. https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2015/07/researching-marijuana-therapeutic-purposes-potential-promise-cannabidiol-cbd

  2. ii. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2018/03/18/who-report-finds-no-public-health-risks-abuse-potential-for-cbd/#3de90ece2347