In the United States, cannabidiol is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that production, distribution and possession of CBD is illegal under federal law. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration-added “marijuana extracts” to the list of Schedule I drugs, which it defined as “an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.” Previously, CBD had simply been considered “marijuana”, which is also a Schedule I drug. In June 2018, the FDA approved oral use of CBD as an anti-seizure drug in treating rare types of childhood epilepsy. This is a contradiction as Schedule I substances by definition have no accepted medical use.
A CNN program that featured Charlotte’s Web cannabis in 2013 brought increased attention to the use of CBD in the treatment of seizure disorders. Since then, 16 states have passed laws to allow for the use of CBD products (not exceeding a specified concentration of THC) for the treatment of certain medical conditions. This is in addition to the 30 states that have passed comprehensive medical cannabis laws, which allow for the use of cannabis products with no restrictions on THC content. Of these 30 states, eight have legalized the use and sale of cannabis products without requirement for a doctor’s recommendation.
Although most states restrict the use of CBD products to certain medical conditions, manufacturers of CBD claim their products are derived from industrial hemp, and therefore legal for anyone to use. A number of these manufacturers ship CBD products to all 50 states, which the federal government has so far not intervened in. CBD is also openly sold in head shops, health food stores, chiropractor clinics, optometrist offices, doctors offices and pharmacies in some states where such sales have not been explicitly legalized
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Where does CBD come from?
The least processed form of the cannabis plant is hemp. Hemp contains most of the CBD that people use medicinally. Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but the two are very different.
Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to contain high levels of THC and other compounds that interested them, often because the compounds produced a smell or had another effect on the plant’s flowers.
However, hemp farmers have rarely modified the plant. These hemp plants are used to create CBD oil.
Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals
Some promising evidence suggests that CBD use may help people to quit smoking.
A pilot study published in Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used inhalers containing CBD smoked fewer cigarettes than usual and had no further cravings for nicotine.
A similar review, published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising treatment for people with opioid addiction disorders.
The researchers noted that CBD reduced some symptoms associated with substance use disorders. These included anxiety, mood-related symptoms, pain, and insomnia.
More research is necessary, but these findings suggest that CBD may help to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms.