Cannabidiol: A New Frontier In Medicine

If you’ve not heard of cannabidiol by now you’ve probably had your head in the sand. Cannabidiol has the potential to bring about a new line of medicines in the fight against a number of human ailments. But what is it and where does it come from?


Cannabidiol – or CBD for short – is legal extract from the cannabis plant. It differs from the more notorious cannabinoid, THC, in that it is not psychoactive; in other words it does not get you ‘high’. CBD works in a similar way to THC in the human body by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.  Not heard of the endocannabinoid system? You’re not the only one. In the field of human biology it is a relatively new discovery.

CBD comes in many forms, oils taken orally, creams for the skin, foods and now there’s even CBD water. Many high street chain stores in the UK and US have taken to CBD and launched a range of branded products. Early indications suggest it promises to be a huge industry one day.

What are the potential benefits?

  1. Chronic Pain

Evidence shows that CBD can help alleviate chronic pain. A study conducted by Nephrology and Urology Institute, in Uruguay assessed patients taking CBD to treat chronic pain in  kidney patients. Of the 7 patients examined, 6 patients experienced an alleviation of pain. This may come as exciting new to many chronic pain sufferers in the past who have had to resort to addictive painkillers.

  1. Anxiety

Researchers at the University of São Paulo found that CBD was shown to have anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties. In the stuy, patients spoke in front of a camera – something we all find a little daunting – while they are examined for signs of anxiety such as heart rate and blood pressure. They found that CBD helped to reduce anxiety in the subjects.

  1. Seizures

Animal studies conducted at the University of Washington in the US that looked at how effective CBD was at treating seizures. The scientists used a mouse model to show that CBD attenuated seizures and autistic conditions.

CBD Regulation

While the studies are encouraging as to the potential for this to be a new frontier in medicine, we should not forget the need for regulation. Regulation is essential if the potential benefits are to be realised. Why?

Research by the University of Pennsylvania showed that almost 70% of CBD oils purchased on the net had inaccurate labelling. Products did not have the CBD content they claimed to have. If consumers buy CBD oils that do not contain the CBD they claim to have then they will not get the benefits. This could ruin the industry before it has really taken off.

Manufacturing Standards

Although CBD regulation is emerging there are no manufacturing standards to ensure actual CBD content is in line with the labelled CBD content. Manufacturers must take it upon themselves to adhere to good manufacturing standards and undertake regular CBD testing at an experienced analytical lab.

Here lies another issue. A lab test is only as good a the lab conducting the test. If the lab is inexperienced or does not have high end testing equipment then it will lead to inaccurate results, specifically, an inaccurate CBD content result. Manufacturers relying on poor quality lab testing would be unknowingly selling underlabelled products. Only the introduction of manufacturing standards that are enforced by the authorities will bring about high quality CBD products with accurate CBD labelling.


While CBD has the potential to be a new frontier in medicine to treat human conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and seizures the lack of standards and regulation could bring about its down fall. It may take some time for new regulations to be draw up, in the meantime, regulators and consumers alike, should take action and demand the industry operators adhere to strict quality standards. Only then can consumers get what they pay for and reap the benefits of this remarkable compound.

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