Still, as the saying goes, absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence, and there’s a reason we don’t have a ton of solid research on CBDs yet — “to study it, we need a good source, ” said Ziva Cooper, who is an associate professor at Columbia University and was on the National Academies committee. CBD is hard to get because it’s still technically a Schedule I drug, which limits its availability, Cooper said.
The Health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An evidence review and research agenda. Washington, National Academies Press, 2017.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a phyto-cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. However, it does not cause the same psychoactive effects as other naturally occurring cannabinoids (such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). CBD induces feelings of sleepiness and tranquility, making it suitable for insomnia and other sleep disorders; CBD can be used to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, diabetes, and anxiety disorders, as well. Legality is an issue for some; all 50 states have laws governing the sale, possession, and use of CBD, and they vary significantly (see the table below for a full analysis).
The human body also produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, in a bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). The ECS promotes homeostasis by regulating a wide range of functions, including motor skills, mood, appetite, and sleep. As we age, our ECS produces fewer endocannabinoids; they may also decrease due to physical injury or disease. Replenishing depleted endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids like CBD can help restore balance to the body.