An overwhelming majority of Americans (88 percent) agree that marijuana has medicinal value. A wide plurality of physicians (76 according to some polls) believes that cannabis should be legalized nationally so that its benefits can be made available to patients in need. The World Health Organization agrees that cannabis products such as CBD oil provide medical benefits
Now, a new medical authority — the World Health Organization (WHO) — has weighed in on the matter by issuing a preliminary report that flatly contradicts the DEA’s position that oil derived from cannabis has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.
The fact that a health agency as prestigious as the WHO would shoot holes in the DEA’s stance is a very important development. Here’s brief summary of these findings, which are a direct rebuke to the federal government’s restrictive approach to medical marijuana.
- An Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) found that the scientific evidence “does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol” in the most restrictive category.
- Both the ECDD and WHO concurred that CBD oil (which is derived from marijuana) has demonstrated clear benefits to patients with epilepsy while showing no potential for abuse. As the authors of the report noted, “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions and that it is not likely to be abused or create dependence.”
- The ECDD found no reason for CBD to be a controlled substance and that research into its medical benefits should not be hindered.
The health benefits of CBD
The report largely zeroed in on the value of CBD, which is a compound found in marijuana. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of phytonutrients and beneficial compounds, but the two most recognized active ingredients are THC and CBD.
THC is responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
- CBD is a compound that by itself doesn’t have mind-altering qualities. But studies show CBD does have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and muscle relaxing properties.
- CBD (by itself) will not get you high, but research has shown that CBD oils and tinctures can alleviate epileptic seizures, muscle stiffness in patients with MS and neuropathic pain.
In October of 2017, the National Institute of Health (NIH) reached findings similar to those put out more recently by the WHO. According to the NIH, “There is significant preliminary research supporting the potential therapeutic value of CBD. And while it is not yet sufficient to support drug approval, it highlights the need for rigorous clinical research in this area. There are barriers that should be addressed to facilitate more research in this area.”
Currently, the Justice Department is being sued to force it to reclassify marijuana. In addition, legislators (like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey) have introduced legislation that would get Congress to repeal the Schedule I designation. Finally, states across the nation are taking the lead in allowing their citizens to use cannabis-based medicines. Nevertheless, prohibition at the federal level makes it difficult for many patients to access CBD.