CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
A 2013 case report conducted in Canada evaluated the beneficial effects of cannabis oil on a 14-year-old female patient diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. For this particular patient, a standard bone marrow transplant, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation therapy were revoked, with treatment being deemed a failure after 34 months. She was extremely ill and severely underweight at this time.
Marijuana can produce acute psychotic episodes at high doses, and several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for chronic psychosis in individuals with specific genetic risk factors. Research suggests that these effects are mediated by THC, and it has been suggested that CBD may mitigate these effects.xxxi There have been a few small-scale clinical trials in which patients with psychotic symptoms were treated with CBD, including case reports of patients with schizophrenia that reported conflicting results; a small case study in patients with Parkinson’s disease with psychosis, which reported positive results; and one small randomized clinical trial reporting clinical improvement in patients with schizophrenia treated with CBD.xxxii Large randomized clinical trials would be needed to fully evaluate the therapeutic potential of CBD for patients with schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis.