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J. L. Wiley, C. K. Gourdet, and B. F. Thomas (2020). Cannabidiol: Scientific, Marketing, and Legal Considerations. OP-0065-2004 RTI Press Publication. Research
Contents Author Biography I Acknowledgements ii Introduction ii Abstract 1 Overview of Cannabis Plant Chemicals 1 The Effects of Cannabidiol on the Body 4 The State of the Science 5 Marketing Claims and the Risk of Product Contamination 7 CBD Regulation and Legal Status 9 Conclusions and Recommendations.
The recent relaxation of legal restrictions on cannabis and its chemical constituents, such as phytocannabinoids like 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), has resulted in the rapid proliferation and widespread availability of CBD-containing products. Although using pure CBD does not cause THC-like intoxication, it is not without risk. In this review, we look at CBD from a scientific, marketing, and regulatory standpoint. We specifically evaluate the evidence used to support statements about CBD’s real and alleged medical effects, as well as discuss misleading information used in marketing approaches. We also look at the current legal landscape surrounding CBD. We conclude that more research is needed to determine the legitimate therapeutic effects of CBD. Federal oversight is also required to ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy of CBD products.
CBD (cannabidiol) products have grown in popularity in recent years, with easy availability not only in pharmacies, but also in convenience stores, veterinary offices, and online. However, widespread misconceptions about CBD’s effects, exacerbated by deceptive advertising, leave consumers unsure of which sources of information to trust. The goal of this paper is to provide a “layperson friendly” introduction to CBD to consumers. We begin by defining CBD and distinguishing it from other chemicals found in the cannabis plant, then provide a brief overview of CBD’s actions in the body. We continue with CBD discussions from a scientific, marketing, and regulatory standpoint before concluding with recommendations for cautious consumers.
Overview: Cannabis Plant Chemicals
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica (botanical names of cannabis plant strains) contain a diverse range of chemicals, including over 500 identified cannabinoids and terpenes (Andre, Hausman, & Guerriero, 2016; Thomas & ElSohly, 2015). Although phytocannabinoids are only found in the cannabis plant, terpenes are essential oils found in many plants and plant-based foods (e.g., broccoli, lemons, peppermint) that contribute to their distinct flavours and aromas (Figure 1).
Cannabinoids and terpenes are produced in resin-filled trichomes, which are small hair-like growths found in the flowers of unpollinated female cannabis plants in abundance. Cannabinoids are thought to have a protective function for the plant, aiding in the plant’s defence against insects, bacteria/fungi, and environmental stresses (Pate, 1994; Premoli et al., 2019).
Product Contamination and Marketing Claims
Roger Adams isolated CBD from cannabis in the 1940s (Adams, Hunt, & Clark, 1940). However, consumer interest in CBD properties is relatively new, especially when compared to cannabis’s long and storied history and the persistent fascination with THC’s psychoactive effects. The CBD industry has grown in recent years and was valued at $170 million in 2016; it is expected to be worth several billion dollars by 2023 (Corroon & Phillips, 2018). CBD products are widely available in both online and offline stores, including pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and pet supply stores.