CBD’s potential to treat pain, cancer, schizophrenia, COVID and other conditions highlighted in new scientific review

A new scientific review highlights the potential of CBD to treat and manage the symptoms of conditions such as epilepsy, pain, cancer, schizophrenia, diabetes and COVID-19, among others.

The extensive 11-page review takes on the broad task of attempting to “comprehensively summarize the impact of cannabis on human health,” finding that while the field has yet to be thoroughly explored, the plant and its components have “neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antibacterial, analgesic and antiepileptic properties.

The study, “Beneficial effects of cannabidiol from cannabis,” was published last month in the journal Applied Biological Chemistry. In addition to cannabis’ overview of human health, it “delves into recent advances in CBD research, highlighting the compound’s potential medical applications.”

“Our exploration encompasses its pharmacological properties, mechanisms of action, and accumulating evidence supporting its use in various medical conditions,” the authors wrote. “In addition, we critically assess the challenges and controversies surrounding CBD research, including regulatory considerations and potential adverse effects.”

It features sections on cannabinoids as a treatment for the form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, as a promising alternative for pain relief, as a way to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia, and even as a potential inhibitor of the infection by COVID-19. It also touches on “the diverse anticancer properties of cannabinoids” that the authors said present “promising opportunities for future therapeutic interventions in the treatment of cancer,” as well as CBD’s apparent effects on biological processes related to diabetes.

“Cannabis has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-epileptic properties.”

The study by an eight-author team from South Korea, representing Gachon University, Chung-Ang University, Gyeongbuk Institute of Bioindustry and the National Institute of Product Science and Technology, also recognizes industrial applications of CBD and hemp, such as pharmaceutical drugs, skin care. products, fuel, paper, clothing, rope and even massage oil production.

While many of the findings of the new review, funded by South Korea’s National Institute of Product Science and Technology, may be familiar to the public well-versed in cannabis research, South Korea’s drug laws South are still some of the strictest in the world. Although medical cannabis was partially legalized in 2018, marijuana and CBD are banned.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the government has begun researching and regulating hemp since the plant and its products were legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill.

The United States Department of Agriculture, for example, has sought to work more closely with hemp growers and breeders. Last year, the department published updated guidance on how to identify, describe and evaluate different varieties of the plant.

Last month, the USDA also released a new roadmap for hemp research needs divided into four areas: breeding and genetics, best practices for production, end-use biomanufacturing, and transparency and consistency. The document reflects input from stakeholders to identify the largest research needs of the hemp industry, the USDA said in a news release.

While much of it is a survey of research goals around hemp, the roadmap also included a proposal to develop a public-private hemp consortium, saying collaboration is critical to ensuring value to along the entire hemp supply chain.

The USDA also said last month that a genetically modified version of hemp produced by Wisconsin researchers can be safely grown and raised in the United States and is unlikely to pose a greater risk to plant pests than other cultivated plants

The hemp strain, called Badger G, does not produce THC or CBD, but is engineered to have higher levels of the cannabinoid CBG. It is at least the second type of genetically modified hemp to gain approval from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) after another modified plant, which produces reduced levels of THC and CBC, was approved in October.

Amid state-level marijuana legalization and federal governments’ legalization of low-THC hemp and its derivatives, interest in research into the hemp industry and trade has increased in recent years.

In February, new federally funded research into how to tell hemp and marijuana apart to help crime labs identified two new methods to tell the two forms of cannabis apart.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also made a request in 2022, seeking portable marijuana analyzers to quickly identify cannabinoid profiles and help distinguish between marijuana and hemp.

And in 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced separately that it was seeking a device to provide specificity to distinguish between hemp and marijuana as the former crop was legalized.

The USDA has also sent thousands of surveys to hemp farmers, with the goal of understanding how the industry is growing, but also identifying challenges in business and regulation. The department launched its first annual survey in 2021 and updated the questionnaire last year before distributing it to farmers and publishing a report with findings showing significant declines in the value and production of the 2022 crop.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meanwhile, is considering a proposal to allow hemp seed meal as feed for chickens.

Meanwhile, the USDA has been revoking hemp licenses for farmers who are simultaneously growing marijuana under state-approved programs, underscoring another political conflict stemming from the ongoing federal ban on some forms of the cannabis plant.

Federal hemp rules could be further tweaked as part of the next iteration of large-scale farm legislation. The 2018 farm bill that legalized the crop was due to be updated last year, but has been extended through much of 2024.

Last week, 21 attorneys general urged congressional leaders to take action on the intoxicating hemp products that became legal under the 2018 change. Federal lawmakers should amend the definition of hemp, they wrote, and clarify that states can take their own steps to regulate the plant and its by-products.

As Congress prepares to embark on a new five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill, we strongly urge your committees to address the glaring vagueness created in the 2018 Farm Bill that has led to the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the country and challenges the ability of states and localities to respond to the resulting health and safety crisis, the state’s top law enforcement officials wrote. We urge Congress in the strongest terms possible to address this reckless policy.

Lawmakers and stakeholders are considering a number of other proposals that could be incorporated into the new farm bill, including measures to free up hemp companies to legally market products like CBD as dietary supplements or in the supply of food and to remove restrictions on people’s participation in the industry. with certain prior drug convictions.

The FDA has regulatory jurisdiction over the issue, but early last year, the agency said it had no path to making it happen and instead offered to work with Congress on a solution.

In response, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), along with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), introduced legislation last July that would eliminate the regulatory barriers that The FDA claims prevent it from allowing the commercialization of CBD.

Congressional investigators warned last November that shifting political priorities among industry stakeholders could hamper the task of updating the federal farm bill.

The CRS report also referenced several recent hemp bills that federal lawmakers may consider incorporating into broader farm legislation.

A bipartisan bill introduced last March aims to end what critics say is a discriminatory federal policy that bars people with prior felony drug convictions from owning or running legal hemp businesses. Another bipartisan measure would reduce regulations on farmers who grow industrial hemp for non-extractive purposes.

For now, the hemp industry continues to face unique regulatory hurdles that companies have blamed for the drop in the value of the crop in the few years since its legalization. Despite the economic conditions, however, a recent report found that the hemp market by 2022 was larger than all state marijuana markets and roughly equaled craft beer sales nationally.

Meanwhile, internally at the USDA, food safety workers have been encouraged to exercise caution and avoid cannabis products, including federally legal CBD, as the agency sees an increase in positive THC tests amid the confusion as more states enact legalization.

21 state attorneys general push Congress to regulate intoxicating hemp products

Photo courtesy of Kimzy Nanney.

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