Many see this extract of cannabis to be a magic bullet for a wide variety of health issues.
Unlike THC which is another cannabis extract, cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychoactive and anecdotally has been reported to have beneficial effects for pain, anxiety, depression and other ailments. However there has been little scientific proof to verify its health related properties.
And so the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings recently published a guide for clinicians on authorizing patient use of CBD.
Dr. Hance Clarke ( MD PhD FRCPC) is a staff anesthesiologist and the Director of pain services at Toronto General Hospital.
In Canada, CBD is not a prescription drug, although doctors can authorize patients to have it, however in the U.S. a version of CBD has been approved as a prescription drug for treatment of paediatric epilepsy. Other countries are also looking at its use in treatment.
Dr. Clarke notes that people are taking CBD, or perhaps a mix of CBD and THC to treat various chronic pain ailments, but he says there is still much to be learned about CBD, including dosage levels.
However he also says people are using it for things where there is no evidence of benefit such as treating cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, or even irritable bowel symptoms. He says medical professionals are concerned that such self-medicating cases patients may be substituting CBD and foregoing the pharmaceuticals their doctor has prescribed.
Another concern also involves the quality of the products currently being sold. This is both in terms of ingredients and in percentages which can vary greatly not only from source to source, but even batch to batch. He says that makes it difficult for clinicians, but also for users to gauge dosages.
He notes that in Canada, funding has been approved to begin work on using cannabis as a way to wean people off opioid dependence. He aslo says research needs to be done to get hard data in relation to helping people with PTSD and anxiety to develop cannabinoid drugs. He also says that going forward, there will need to be more suppliers whose products have been tested, verified and trusted products for quality