NIDA Director Says Cannabidiol Is A “Safe Drug”

The director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, believes that cannabidiol (CBD) – a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid – is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.” Volkow made the comments in an op-ed published by The Huffington Post.

Volkow further acknowledged, “[P]reliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions.”

Preclinical studies have documented CBD to possess a variety of therapeutic activities, including anti-cancer properties, anti-diabetic properties, and bone-stimulating activity. Clinical and observational trials have documented the substance to possess anxiolytic, anti-psychotic, and anti-seizure activity in humans. Safety trials have further concluded the substance to be “safe and well tolerated” when administered to healthy subjects.

To date, 15 states have enacted laws specifically permitting the possession of high-CBD formulated extracts for therapeutic purposes, primarily for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy.

In a recent Time Magazine op-ed, Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein (CA) and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley (IA) encouraged the Obama administration to “definitively determine if CBD has scientific and medical benefits,” and to “look at expanding compassionate access programs where possible, to benefit as many children as possible.”

Under federal law, CBD — like cannabis — is defined as a Schedule I controlled substance with “a high potential for abuse … no currently accepted medical use, … [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug … under medical supervision.”

16 thoughts

  1. Cannabidiol with its medical benefits is derived from cannabis. THC with its medical benefits is derived from cannabis. Cannabis is not marijuana, but marijuana has always been derived from cannabis – how?

    The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    Such a simple definition conforms to the Necessary and Proper clause, as it releases cannabis from the Schedule 1 prison.

    This year is a good time to contact your Congress-persons to reform the unjust definition of marijuana so that it actually shows respect for our Constitution.

  2. I wonder if this sudden Feinstein/Grassley interest in medicinal cannabis of any sort, including CBD, can be seen as anything but a last gasp drug war girgle against THC and the wonderful, insightful, creative high it produces.

  3. Great! Thanks for stepping into the 21st century NIDA. Maybe now Congress will pass the CARERS Act and stop funding NIDA to continue decades of using our tax dollars to deny the medical efficacy of cannabis in general? I mean why not? The Senate is officially legalizing cannabanking and marijuana in our nation’s capitol; maybe they’ll all get high and say “fk it! The gig is up. Guess we’ll have to find new ways to launder our dirty campaign money.”

    Oh yeah, thats called Citizens United.

  4. …Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein (CA) and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley (IA) encouraged the Obama administration to “definitively determine if CBD has scientific and medical benefits,” and to “look at expanding compassionate access programs where possible, to benefit as many children as possible.”

    I would also ask the senators to investigate how research into marijuana’s medical benefits was delayed by manipulating the government apparatchik over the last 30 years. I am NOT being paranoid here. Someone has manipulated our government apparatchik to delay acceptance of marijuana in medicine.

    To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all!

    Just sayin’…

  5. I hope the people who lied to everyone and blocked all this research for so long stand on trial one day. This is a crime. I personally would like to see them hang by their necks, to be brutally honest. Every single one of them. The days of being mellowed-out nice guys is over. The bastards must pay.

  6. Paul,
    Can someone explain to me why it is that the enactment and repeal of alcohol prohibition took a constitutional amendment, yet cannabis is illegal based on what? Executive order? May make an interesting article.

    [Paul Armentano: Cannabis is prohibited under federal law because of its schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.]

  7. $igarets United: create $neakotine ways to get $ecret $acred $igaret money to candidates pledged to $uppress cannabis.

    Combustion clarification: if “marijuana” means $moke produced by combu$tion I’m better off stickin’ with cannabis. A Vaporizer ELIMINATES $moke (monoxide), a cheapo choomette one-hitter with long flexible drawtube makes it possible to MINIMIZE smoke (wait 19 seconds till you’ve harvested all tokeworthy vapors, only then move the half-inch cheapo Chinese lighter flame up closer and glow off the cellulose for that Taste you love to like).

  8. @Trouble

    Death is too good for anyone who supports the drug war in any part. They don’t deserve the peace of the grave. I want them to suffer
    , to see everything they believe in, their life’s work destroyed, the oppressive authoritarian apparatus they built and devoted their existence to dismantled, and their names go down in history as the villians they are. Add to that complete pariahhood with the inability to find housing or employment and receiving only the contempt and disgust of the majority and that may be enough. Maybe.

    Then they can starve to death for all I care.

  9. Dudleed,

    As Paul stated, in 1970 Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act under the “authority” of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    Search the history of the Commerce Clause and you’ll find that Congress basically decided to give themselves power over anything they want – they just have to say it affects commerce in some way.

    And remember, since it’s Congress, you can’t let silly things like state boundaries, whether it’s actually being sold, or if it actually affects commerce stop them. They can declare anything Interstate Commerce if they have a “rational belief” that it affects commerce (and they get to decide the definition of “rational”).

    NORML decided to ignore the constitutionality of the CSA in their previous lawsuit challenging the scheduling of cannabis, probably because they realized the futility of trying to get the government to take power away from itself.

    For more opinion on it, read Justice O’Connor’s dissenting opinion on the 2005 Gonzalez v Raich case. An excerpt –

    “The Court’s definition of economic activity is breathtaking. It … threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach….
    … It will not do to say that Congress may regulate noncommercial activity simply because it may have an effect on the demand for commercial goods, or because the noncommercial endeavor can, in some sense, substitute for commercial activity…. Home care substitutes for daycare. Charades games substitute for movie tickets. Backyard or windowsill gardening substitutes for going to the supermarket. To draw the line wherever private activity affects the demand for market goods is to draw no line at all, and to declare everything economic. We have already rejected the result that would follow—a federal police power. Lopez….”

  10. So, only one of the 200+ cannabinoids have medicinal value? Its too bad having it on the schedule as a one overrides the research and development needs of an entire nation.

  11. @Valient,
    Valid points about Congress and the Commerce Clause. But what “previous lawsuit” do you state NORML “ignored the Constitutionality of the scheduling of marijuana?”
    The last big defense from our NORML team came from Heather Burke and Zenia Gilg in the California case that started out as “Picard v. the U.S. government,” and progressed into one of the eight defendants taking defense by challenging not only the scheduling of marijuana but the entire Controlled Substance Act in general. Remember the one where Federal Judge Mueller issued a ruling that “Congress does not have to be right,” and “Perhaps in some day the scheduling of cannabis will be deemed unconstitutional but not today and not in this court.” ?

    Paul, what ever happened to the appeal of that ruling? (Aside from being tied up in the appeals process until after elections next year).

    Between recent activities from the Obama Administration on disproportionate incarceration and non- violent drug offenses and thanks to Mr. Armentano, the sheer amount of admissible evidence that Mueller allowed in the above styled case before kicking the can to appeals, it can be deducted that the proverbiall “ball of marijuana” has been kicked clear into the halls of Congress, where the evil fermentation of the Controlled Substances Act has been allowed to fester since 1970. Obama us stepping up the pressure on Congress by requiring legislation from Congress to reform the rules of incarceration “by the end of the year.” Another recent ruling in a Federal Court gave the Department of Homeland Security, two prisons in Texas and 1 in Pennsylvania 90 days to justify why drug war refugee women and children have been held in inhumane conditions without education (in direct violation of a previous settlement agreement on prisoner detainment) or due process.

    The stage is set for some pretty intense court battles, whether Obama deschedules by executive order or the courts continue to uphold the real Presidential agenda to end racially disproportionate incarcerations… Which will require a Federal review of the C.S.Act entirely.

    And all the while, younger voters will be compelled to vote as we hear candidates like Trump regurgitate classic Anslinger propaganda that passed the Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937 like “Mexicans are rapists and murderers.”
    That should get the attention of members of Congress whose seats are up fir election next year. A lucrative conservative niche at Fox news might get you some dirty media and campaign cash but it might not get you elected.

    Ah, and then theres Ohio and California… Slipping us pass the half way mark of legalization, changing whether the Supreme Court will even hear an appeal… Just as new Federal legislation is poised to defend states rights at Cannibanking and legalization in our nation’s capitol…
    Let the games begin…

  12. Julian,

    I was referring to NORML’s petition to reschedule (which was ignored by the DEA for 9 years and then denied) and the suit that followed. DEA said there aren’t enough valid studies, judges said the DEA gets to decide what qualifies as valid. Because after all, these are illegal drugs, and the DEA are experts on them…except for when they’re asked which schedule 1 drug is more harmful, heroin or marijuana?

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