CBD Oil Effects Declared Safe by World Health Organization
The cannabidiol (CBD) industry is on the edge of experiencing big changes on a global scale, thanks to a recent report published by the World Health Organization. The Pre-Review Report, issued in November 2017, is a precursor to an upcoming full review of CBD oil effects. It can be considered a small taste of what is to come for the medicinal cannabinoid industry. 
If the initial report is anything to go by, big changes might be in store for patients and physicians alike. It is said that in June this year, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence will come together for, “(a) fuller review of extracts or preparations containing almost exclusively CBD…[The] WHO expert committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.” 
But even while we await the next publication, this initial report is huge news. It represents a huge first step towards official recognition of CBD and other cannabinoids for medicinal applications.
The World Health Organization
As a branch of the United Nations, the WHO is a global agency responsible for directing international health policies. They focus on six key areas, including:
- Health systems
- Promoting health through the life-course
- Noncommunicable diseases
- Communicable diseases
- Corporate services
- Preparedness, surveillance, and response
The WHO strives to provide leadership on health issues that matter, and set a global research agenda in these mentioned areas. As the highest standing level of governmental oversight, essentially responsible for overseeing the health and wellbeing of a planet, their opinion matters. Their opinion on CBD oil effects and any potential CBD oil benefits is likely to become extremely important to the cannabinoid industry as a whole.
WHO Pre-Review Conclusions on CBD Oil Effects
Although we will have to await the results of the full report in June, there are some valuable insights to be gleaned from the pre-review. The document covers a broad range of topics about CBD and essentially lays the groundwork for the work of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence this coming spring.
Beyond the fundamental details of CBD's chemical makeup and general pharmacology, the WHO report seems overall quite positive about the low-risk profile and possible medicinal applications of CBD oil. Here are some of the basic highlights from the 2017 pre-review.
No Risk of Abuse
Compared to other drugs prone to abuse, CBD oil seems to have an extremely low risk of abuse. Instead, it triggers opposite effects to common illicit drugs. According to WHO, CBD did not increase dopamine release, nor did it increase reward-seeking activity in the in-vivo studies. The WHO concluded little to no risk for abuse.
No Risk of Dependence
In a study of CBD oil effects on laboratory rats, the WHO reported no risk for developing a CBD tolerance or a dependence. In the cited study, rats received various daily doses of CBD over the course of 14 days. Another group of rats received the same doses, but with a THC injection. At the end of the study, only the THC group of rats had developed a tolerance while the CBD group was neither dependant on CBD, nor did they have any measurable tolerance.
One of the most interesting points in the WHO pre-review is the opinion that CBD oil has little to no risk of toxicity in neither humans or animals. As with all CBD oil research, the evidence is very preliminary, but despite this, the WHO still determined that CBD appears safe to use across a broad spectrum of society.
Their analysis determined that CBD oil targets tumor cells, while at the same time protecting healthy cells. Although based on limited research, WHO reported that CBD had no risk during embryonic development. Their toxicology report also stated that CBD oil had “no effect on a wide range of physiological and biochemical parameters or significant effects on animal behavior unless extremely high doses are administered.”
CBD Oil Benefits According to WHO
One fascinating aspect of the WHO report is their initial analysis of the therapeutic potential of CBD. They zero in on two health issues which show the most potential for responding positively to CBD treatment: epilepsy and substance abuse. However, they also briefly touch on some of the other areas where CBD could eventually prove to be of benefit, given more research and clinical study:
- Brain injury recovery (hypoxia-ischemia)
- Antitumor properties
- Treatment of pain (analgesic)
CBD Oil Effects on Epilepsy
The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence has declared CBD oil effects on epilepsy the most well studied. They even go so far as to state, “The clinical use of CBD is most advanced in the treatment of epilepsy. In clinical trials, CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for at least some forms of epilepsy.”
This wide-ranging review covers the most robust clinical trials, and most of the studies reported on were placebo-controlled. The conclusions of the studies were that, when compared to a group of participants receiving a placebo, the CBD group tended to fare much better. In the studies reported on, CBD typically reduced or eliminated seizure activity altogether. The WHO also noted that the participants of most of the studies tolerated CBD well.
CBD Oil Effects Substance Abuse
Perhaps because the report was put together by the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, they also paid particular attention to the preliminary research into CBD for substance abuse. The initial research indicates that CBD could help people suffering from drug addiction, specifically in regard to opioids, cocaine, psychostimulant addiction, tobacco, and maybe even for cannabis addiction. It will be interesting to see what their upcoming report in June has to say on this matter.
A Diverse Range of Possible Applications
Importantly, CBD oil benefits are not limited to those listed above; the WHO report includes a diverse range of possible applications, given more robust scientific study:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Huntington's disease
- Hypoxia-ischemia injury
- Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn's disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diabetic complications
It’s very exciting to see such a respected global institution come out mostly in favor of CBD oil research. The WHO doesn’t recommend CBD for medical use - yet. It concedes that it could have “some medical use, but more evidence is needed”. So, considering the tentative yet positive tone of the 2017 pre-review, there is much to be hopeful about for the upcoming 2018 report. It’s believed that if the WHO condones the use of CBD as a medicinal, therapeutic compound, the doors will open up for its use around the world.
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