Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid and a major component of the cannabis plant, or marijuana plant. By itself, it lacks the psychoactive effects most commonly associated with marijuana use yet still retains many of the medicinal benefits, such as its anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. The legal status of this substance varies from country to country. In the United States, for instance, it and all other phytocannabinoids are classified as Schedule I controlled substances, making possession or ingestion illegal.
There are a number of medical uses for cannabidiol. Extracts act as a potent pain reducer and have been used to treat the chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis and arthritis. It also functions to reduce the likelihood and severity of seizures, so it has been used as a treatment for epilepsy as well. Studies have shown that this substance might be an effective treatment for the symptoms of the neurological movement disorder dystonia.
Advocates for the use of cannabidiol for medicinal purposes, either when smoked in marijuana or when ingested in extract form, often draw attention to the low occurrence of side effects compared with other available treatments. Additionally, many traditional prescription drugs that are used to treat pain, for instance, have a very high risk of forming chemical dependencies in the user. The cannabidiol found in marijuana has been found to effectively reduce pain levels without these high risks. Detractors note that because it can be found only in an illegal drug, any positive effects are largely irrelevant.
Decades ago, growers in the US bred CBD almost entirely out of cannabis plants because their customers preferred varietals that were more mind-altering due to a higher THC, lower CBD content. To meet the demands of medical cannabis patients, growers are developing more CBD-rich strains.
In November 2012, an Israeli medical cannabis facility announced a new strain of the plant which has only cannabidiol as an active ingredient, and virtually no THC, providing some of the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the euphoria. The researchers said the cannabis plant, enriched with CBD, “can be used for treating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes”. Research on CBD enhanced cannabis began in 2009, resulting in Avidekel, a cannabis strain that contains 15.8% CBD and less than 1% THC. Raphael Mechoulam, a cannabinoid researcher, said “Avidekel is thought to be the first CBD-enriched cannabis plant with no THC to have been developed in Israel”
Charlotte’s Web (cannabis)