Cannabidiol: Background and Literature Review of Potential Treatments
Cannabidiol, commonly abbreviated CBD, is one of the hundreds of compounds present in the flowering cannabis plant, along with its more well-known structural isomer, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. CBD can be extracted from the plant and utilized in many forms, from topical oils to smokable flowers. Recently, availability, interest in and use of CBD across the nation have grown exponentially, with internet searches for CBD increasing 160% between 2017 and 2018 and 14% of Americans citing current CBD use. Users of this compound endorse numerous perceived benefits, including anxiolysis, analgesia and much more. Most users claim to employ CBD to treat specific medical conditions spanning from autoimmune, to psychiatric, to musculoskeletal. Evidence supports some of these reported effects in recent studies, as CBD has demonstrated anticonvulsant, antipsychotic and antinociceptive properties, among others. However, the implications of these findings are still in their infancy. As of June 2018, one FDA-approved pure CBD product for seizure treatment, Epidiolex®, is available for prescription use and many more are in various stages of testing. However, numerous safety and legal concerns remain regarding off-label and over-the-counter CBD usage. Physicians and other health care professionals are likely to encounter CBD use by their patients. As usage continues to grow, so does the duty of care providers to understand its role and serve as a source of evidence-based information for their community on this relevant health topic.