The compound cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the cannabis plant, has been the focus of study for years. Now it’s about to get some extra attention to determine its medical use. Officials at the Colorado State Public Health Department have recommended that over $9 million in grant funding should pay for a series of clinical trials to assess cannabinoids and cannabis for pediatric epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, ulcerative colitis, and pain management. These would be state sponsored trials that would determine the efficacy of CBD.
CBD is the nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoid derived from cannabis. While use of the cannabis plant is not the only way to promote endocannabinoids in the brain and other parts of the body, it is a highly effective one. The “classic” endocannabinoid (eCB) system includes the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, the eCB ligands anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and their metabolic enzymes.
The endocannabinoid system regulates functions in your brain, nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, bones, immune system, and metabolism. It resides in everyone’s brain, nervous system, intestines, immune system, liver, bones, muscles, pancreas, and adipose tissue (fat). When this system is working correctly, it can correct everything from autism to depression.
Grant funding for the proposed studies is expected to receive final approval by the state Board of Health in December.
“We hope the studies will contribute to the scientific research available about the use of marijuana in effectively treating various medical conditions,” Larry Wolk, the executive director of the state health department, said in a statement.
Once funding is approved, researchers will be required to gain federal approval in order to obtain access to research-grade marijuana.
“Our intent is to be rigorous scientifically, but to also act with some expediency because these are products that a large percentage of our population is using today,” said Dr. Larry Wolk. We want to make sure that what’s happening out there in everyday practice isn’t harming people.”
Colorado will follow the state of California in its efforts to study cannabis more thoroughly. It is there where a previously sponsored series of clinical trials conducted in 2012 was conducted utilizing the whole plant for neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune deficiencies. The study summarizing the results of these trials concluded:
“Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”
(Specific summaries of all eight proposed Colorado studies are available online here.)
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.