World Health Organisation perspective on CBD

Wednesday June 9, 2021

The World Health Organisation perspective on CBD is that CBD “does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.”  The statement was made in November 2017, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). The following month the WHO officially recommended that CBD should not be “internationally scheduled as a controlled substance.”

As a result, several countries, including the UK, have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants such as hemp and Cannabis sativa. In general, clinical studies have reported that even high doses of oral CBD do not get you high. CBD is entirely different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. Evidence from well controlled human experimental research shows that CBD has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Adverse effects that have been reported from taking CBD may have been as a result of drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.

The clinical use of CBD is most advanced in the treatment of epilepsy and CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials. One of the marketing authorisations of CBD as a medicinal product in development is (Epidiolex®), a pure CBD product for epilepsy, which has completed Phase III trials and is under current review for approval in the U.S.

There is also some preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.

In recent years there has been a shift in how CBD is perceived, and the market for CBD products is steadily growing. CBD based products and oils, supplements, gums, and high concentration extracts are all available in shops and online for the treatment of many ailments.

You can read more about the WHO and their findings in this report

The World Health Organisation perspective on CBD

For more information about the legality of CBD take a look at our Insights feature