Even as the research proceeds, thousands of people are using CBD as medicine. A British pharmaceutical company, GW Pharma, has developed two CBD drugs: Sativex, which contains a 1-to-1 ratio of CBD and THC, and Epidiolex, which is pure CBD. The former is prescribed for the painful muscle spasms that occur in multiple sclerosis, while the latter is aimed at childhood seizures. Sativex is not available in the United States, but it is approved in 29 other countries, including Canada, England and Israel.
One of the biggest players in this new industry is Medical Marijuana, Inc., a company formed in 2009 that operates out of Poway, California, just north of San Diego. It has played a leading role in the so-called Green Rush, as businesses have moved quickly to capitalize on the gradual legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes by states across the country. The company’s spokesman, Andrew Hard, boasted that Medical Marijuana, Inc., “created the CBD industry and was first to market with CBD products.” Through its various subsidiaries, Medical Marijuana, Inc. sells some of the most recognizable products on the cannabis market— everything from Cibaderm CBD-infused shampoo to CanChew chewing gum. In 2014, the company generated $14.5 million in revenue.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of Cannabis sativa that has a broad spectrum of potential therapeutic effects in neuropsychiatric and other disorders. However, few studies have investigated the possible interference of CBD on the sleep-wake cycle. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of a clinically anxiolytic dose of CBD on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy subjects in a crossover, double-blind design. Twenty-seven healthy volunteers that fulfilled the eligibility criteria were selected and allocated to receive either CBD (300 mg) or placebo in the first night in a double-blind randomized design (one volunteer withdrew from the study). In the second night, the same procedure was performed using the substance that had not been administered in the previous occasion. CBD or placebo were administered 30 min before the start of polysomnography recordings that lasted 8 h. Cognitive and subjective measures were performed immediately after polysomnography to assess possible residual effects of CBD. The drug did not induce any significant effect (p > 0.05). Different from anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs such as benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, acute administration of an anxiolytic dose of CBD does not seem to interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy volunteers. The present findings support the proposal that CBD do not alter normal sleep architecture. Future studies should address the effects of CBD on the sleep-wake cycle of patient populations as well as in clinical trials with larger samples and chronic use of different doses of CBD. Such studies are desirable and opportune.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
Medical reviews published in 2017 and 2018 incorporating numerous clinical trials concluded that cannabidiol is an effective treatment for certain types of childhood epilepsy. An orally administered cannabidiol solution (brand name Epidiolex) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2018 as a treatment for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
People claim that cannabis oil can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, though evidence to back up these claims is often lacking. For example, according to Medical News Today, people use cannabis oil for conditions ranging from pain to acne; some even claim the oil can cure diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer. (But again, there is no clinical evidence to support these claims.)
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