Is There Anything CBD Can’t Do? Then Why Is It Illegal?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 9, 2008

    While the prohibition of cannabis is absurd, the ban on the plant’s non-psychoactive components is even more mind-boggling — particularly when it’s apparent that these compounds possess amazing therapeutic properties. Case in point: cannabidiol (CBD).

    A just published scientific review by Sao Paulo University (Brazil) researcher Antonio Zuardi reports that there’s been an “explosive increase” of interest in CBD over the past five years. It’s apparent why.

    “Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer,” Zuardi writes. Let’s look at a few of these in detail, shall we?

    1. Antiepileptic action
    “In 1973, a Brazilian group reported that CBD was active in … blocking convulsions produced in experimental animals.”

    2. Sedative action
    “In humans with insomnia, high doses of CBD increased sleep duration compared to placebo.”

    3. Anxiolytic action
    “CBD induce[s] a clear anxiolytic effect and a pattern of cerebral activity compatible with an anxiolytic activity.”

    4. Antipsychcotic action
    “[C]linical studies suggest that CBD is an effective, safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenic patients.”

    5. Antidystonic action
    “CBD … had antidystonic effects in humans when administered along with standard medication to five patients with dystonia, in an open study.”

    6. Antioxidative action
    “[I]t was demonstrated that CBD can reduce hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants. CBD was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or a-tocopherol, indicating that this drug is a potent antioxidant.”

    7. Neuroprotective action
    “A marked reduction in the cell survival was observed following exposure of cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells to beta-A peptide. Treatment of the cells with CBD prior to beta-A exposure significantly elevated the cell survival.”

    8. Antiinflammatory action
    “CBD, administered i.p. or orally, has blocked the progression of arthritis.”

    9. Cardioprotective action
    “CBD induces a substantial cardioprotective effect.”

    10. Action on diabetes
    “CBD treatment of NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice before the development of the disease reduced its incidence from 86% in the non-treated control mice to 30% in CBD-treated mice. … It was also observed that administration of CBD to 11-14 week old female NOD mice, which were either in a latent diabetes stage or had initial symptoms of diabetes, ameliorated the manifestations of the disease.”

    11. Antiemetic action
    “The expression of this conditioned retching reaction was completely suppressed by CBD and delta9-THC, but not by ondansetron, [an] antagonist that interferes with acute vomiting.”

    12. Anticancer action
    “A study of the effect of different cannabinoids on eight tumor cell lines, in vitro, has clearly indicated that, of the five natural compounds tested, CBD was the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth.”

    In sum, the past 45 years of scientific study on CBD has revealed the compound to be non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and to possess a multitude of therapeutic properties. Yet, to this day it remains illegal to possess or use (and nearly impossible to study in US clinical trials) simply because it is associated with marijuana.

    What possible advancements in medical treatment may have been achieved over the past decades had US government officials chosen to advance — rather than inhibit — clinical research into CBD (which, under federal law, remains a Schedule I drug defined as having “no currently accepted medical use”)? Perhaps it’s time someone asks John Walters or the DEA?

    247 responses to “Is There Anything CBD Can’t Do? Then Why Is It Illegal?”

    1. Buffalo Bill says:

      GREED is why it is illegal. Pharmaceutical companies can’t make money off of something you can grow in your back yard. They will try to bastardize it and sell it.

      • mike says:

        Ditto and the only thing criminal about cannabis is it’s continued prohibition. Its a god given natural medicinal herb for Christ’s sake.

    2. Rich says:

      I am so ashamed of my country. What will it take to make it a schedule II? Must it bring the dead back to life before it has considered medicinal value to some of these political zombies?

    3. Rick says:

      What would be the point of asking Walters about this? He will lie through his teeth, like he always does. Let us not forget the 800,000 + unicorns out there. His entire job revolves around lying the the American public. Barry McCaffery did it before Johnnie boy, and there will be some clone in with the next administration. The arrogance astounds me.

    4. There are many reasons why cannabis is illegal. I posted many reasons on my blog. Click the question above to read them.

    5. PaulFranco says:

      I assure you greed has caused many, many more deaths than any “drug” ever has — Entheogen, Psychedelic, Stimulant, Addictive Killer, The New Threat To Your Kids, whatever you want to call them. Everyone is so focused on their own greed and money nowadays, especially in America. I never imagined that humans could become so materialistic, it’s beyond our nature. Their things and their money will be destroyed and lost, and when it is they’ll have nothing.

      This capitalist nation is becoming more and more fragile as it becomes top-heavy (the upper class). It’ll fall, and the only thing to survive will be what has always been forces working with and against man — war, ideas, and nature.

    6. Needed Change says:

      This is why when I use marijuana, I feel as if I am not harming my body, but moreso helping my body.. I often feel refreshed after a long day

      It has SO many PROVEN effective ways of decreasing many deadly and painful illnesses. I am completely unhappy with it’s reputation.. Some adults criticize marijuana and then two hours later they’re sleeping after having 4 or 5 beers

      If the government said heroin was a helpful and non-harmful drug.. people would do it

    7. Brinna says:

      Well, actually, Pharmaceuticals are ready to make money off of it. I was just reading about research done on CBD inhibiting the spread of breast cancer, and in one of the last lines in the Report to the Breast Cancer Research, the researcher said: “and we are filing a patent on it”. They also talked about making small (as in molecular) “changes” to make drugs even more effective (read patentable) than CBD.”

      So, if we can just get big business to see how American researchers are getting shut out of the cannabinol revolution, and they still have a chance to get a nice big piece of the pie, if only they support the end of prohibition, . . . well then, wouldn’t our elected officials begin to take notice.

    8. JoeBen says:

      Case in point-
      I tried to make a deal with a Canadian company
      that grows hemp for seed (oil and protein powder)
      to buy their leftover plant material after harvesting
      the seeds, which would be the female cola or bud,
      sans seeds-
      BECAUSE the flowers are loaded with CBD which I wanted
      to use therapeutically.
      There is resin (trichomes) in the buds of hemp that is very poor in THC – I’m not interested in that or any of the other psychoactive cannabinoids –
      I just mainly wanted the loose bulk plant material for the rich content of CBD
      and you know what the guy at Manitoba Harvest told me?
      “I’m sorry we can’t sell that to you because by Canadian law, we have to immediately plow under all the plant material after we have extracted the seeds.”
      what the hay does that tell you about the laws surrounding cannabis/hemp and the agenda behind them?

    9. Dan says:

      I have an auto-immune/inflammatory condition known as IGA Nephropathy and when I was diagnosed I was put on huge doses of Prednisone, so I still have to deal with the side effects from taking that drug some 3-4 years ago. About 2.5 years ago I found Cannabis and haven’t looked back. I’ve always assumed, and have read many supportive studies suggesting that Cannabis is a nearly perfect medicine for my condition. It has very minimal and manageable side effects and I wont die if I take too much. I also don’t have to take multiple other drugs to counteract the side effects as I did with Prednisone.
      Thank you NORML for keeping me in the loop – you’ve helped to make my life so much better.

    10. Bryan says:

      If marijuana had never been used in the past untill now and some american scientist went to india or some remote mountains and found a marijuana plant and started studing it. Our news paper headlines would read
      “Plant with the cure, Finally Found” and he or she would be hailed as a hero…… When will our government realize?