Still, many who have direct experience with CBD, including a few scientists, do not think it should be available only by prescription. They point out that long before the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which made marijuana illegal, people used the plant medicinally. Cannabis should not only take its place as an F.D.A.-approved drug, they contend. It should also reclaim its role as a folk remedy.
One scientist is doing something similar with herself as a subject. In 2017, Diana Martinez, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, found out she had breast cancer and started chemotherapy with taxane, a class of drug known to cause nerve damage. Martinez began to hear ringing in her ears, feel pins and needles in her hands and lose feeling in her lower limbs. Eventually she could barely swallow, started to fall while walking and ended up concussed. In up to 80 percent of women who use taxane, these symptoms persist. Martinez decided that even if the drug helped her beat the cancer, the symptoms, which were likely to get worse, were unendurable. Over her family’s objections, she quit the chemo.
Many of those who develop schizophrenia first pass through a “prodromal” phase. They suffer from delusions, but they’re still aware that these experiences aren’t real and often seek psychiatric help. A single 600-milligram dose of CBD given to these patients, scientists at Kings College London have found, can partially normalize regions of the brain that have been shown in fMRI visualizations to become dysfunctional during schizophrenic episodes.
The D.E.A.’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin, peyote, ecstasy and LSD, has made it difficult for American scientists to study. Much of the research into its therapeutic potential comes from other countries, including Brazil. In the 1970s, Antonio Zuardi, a neuroscientist at the University of São Paulo, began looking into how cannabinoids affect mental states. Large quantities of THC could cause anxiety and paranoia in volunteers, he discovered, but CBD could attenuate the anxiety-provoking and psychoticlike effects of THC. Later studies by Zuardi and his colleagues showed that a large dose of CBD, when given to volunteers who feared public speaking — that is, who suffer from social anxiety — blunted the flight-or-fight response, measured by increases in heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductivity, prompted by having to address others. These were small studies, and the amount of CBD involved, which was 600 milligrams in the social-phobia study, is greater than what users might consume these days in some CBD gummies, for example, but relieving anxiety is nonetheless one of the most widely reported reasons people use CBD.
After meeting David and reading through the small body of published work on CBD, Jacobson changed postdoctoral directions once again, from primary research to the study of this community of parents who were treating their epileptic children with cannabis extracts. In reality, she was preparing to join it herself. One small, double-blind study particularly caught her attention. In 1980, scientists in Brazil treated eight epileptic patients with CBD and eight patients with sugar pills as a placebo. For half the group that received CBD, the seizures almost completely disappeared; another three experienced a reduction in the intensity of their seizures. Only one person in the placebo group got better.
Last year, California legalized recreational marijuana and phased in a series of stringent quality controls, including tests for various microbes, pesticides and heavy metals. Customers who buy cannabis from licensed California dispensaries can now be reasonably confident that they’re getting what they think they’re buying and that it’s safe to consume. This goes for some other states as well.
The idea to try cannabis extract came to David after he found out that the federal government held a patent on cannabidiol, a molecule derived from the cannabis plant that is commonly referred to as CBD. Unlike the better-known marijuana molecule delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD isn’t psychoactive; it doesn’t get users high. But in the late 1990s, scientists at the National Institutes of Health discovered that it could produce remarkable medicinal effects. In test tubes, the molecule shielded neurons from oxidative stress, a damaging process common in many neurological disorders, including epilepsy.
With a lack of research on CBD oil for lupus, we have to go on what we know about CBD in general and can understand from research into conditions with similar symptoms or pathology. This potential treatment is likely to get attention from lupus researchers eventually, though, for several reasons.
Marijuana growers focus on strains and techniques that increase THC levels. Cannabis that’s grown for hemp tends to have a lot more CBD than THC.
CBD Oil for Lupus
The only form of CBD that is FDA-approved is Epidiolex, a purified formulation of CBD used for rare forms of epilepsy. All the other CBD sources being enthusiastically marketed today are unregulated. They often contain amounts of CBD that are substantially different (too much or too little) than the labels indicate, and frequently contain higher levels of THC (the intoxicating chemical found in marijuana) than is permitted in a legitimate CBD product. Anyone electing to use CBD today will need to be cautious and ideally should consult with their physician before doing so.
The World Health Organization says CBD oil may also:
In states where marijuana and/or CBD is legal, there’s no longer a clash between state and federal law, so the products are legally safe to use. Still, some states have specific laws on the books banning hemp products. So what does the new Farm Bill mean for those states?