Medicinal cannabis, on the other hand, raises slightly different legal issues. While medicinal cannabis does contain the compound CBD, it also contains THC, the psychoactive substance that poses the legal problem. A recent change in the law means medicinal cannabis will soon be legally available in the UK, but only via prescription from a doctor. It has been found to be beneficial to patients living with MS, cancer, epilepsy and other serious illnesses. This recent development in the law edges the UK's policy ever closer to the likes of Canada, Portugal, Holland, and many US states.
While researchers are calling for more robust studies on the role of CBD on mood disorders, there is promising research that points to CBD’s role as an anxiolytic – which means it has anti-anxiety effects. Another study showed CBD to have antidepressant effects comparable to those of the prescription antidepressant Imipramine. We noted above that CBD increases levels of glutamate and serotonin – and it’s these same neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in mood regulation.
For example, CBD can increase CB1 receptor density so that there’s just too many CB1 receptors for THC to bind to, thus taking the edge off the potential psychoactivity of weed, while still retaining all the opioid-like painkilling effects. In case you are concerned about this meaning you have to buy more weed or take more hits if you’re using CBD oil, you should also know that CBD can extend the duration of the effects of THC by inhibiting the cytochrome P-450 enzymes that would cause you to more rapidly metabolize THC.
But from joint pain to irritable bowel syndrome to diabetic retinopathy, CBD has been shown to modulate both acute and chronic inflammatory issues via several different mechanisms, and from the research I’ve seen and cited below, it’s even more powerful than many of the commonly recommend natural remedies for inflammation, such as curcumin, fish oil, resveratrol, anti-oxidants, proteolytic enzymes, Vitamin C, etc.
More recent experiments, involving the administration of a part CBD part THC solution, have yielded results that contradict the first supposition. At present, on the evidence that cannabidiol reduces some of the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (acting as a de facto antidepressant), scientists argue that cannabidiol has a holistic but indirect influence on all cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The main consequence of this impact seems to be an increase in the production of endocannabinoids. This is now the prevailing idea that accounts for the mountains of empirical evidence of how the benefits of cannabidiol are expressed at the cellular level.
In the United States, non-FDA approved CBD products are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that production, distribution, and possession of non-FDA approved CBD products is illegal under federal law. In addition, in 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration added "marijuana extracts" to the list of Schedule I drugs, which it defined as "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant." Previously, CBD had simply been considered "marijuana", which is a Schedule I drug.