World Health Organization Reviewed Medical Efficacy of CBD | Marijuana

World Health Organization Reviewed Medical Efficacy of CBD


Over the past five days, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has been conducting its 39th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ECDD meeting, held from Nov. 6-10, offered an opportunity for committee members to deliberate about a number of different substances and whether these drugs deserved more or less scrutiny based on their potential for physical addiction and abuse. The WHO then makes recommendations based on the ECDD findings to countries around the world regarding which substances should be controlled or surveilled more closely than others.

Over the course of the 39th ECDD meeting, the committee reviewed critical new information and data concerning 16 different substances, including:

  1. Ocfentanil
  2. Furanyl fentanyl (Fu-F)
  3. Acryloylfentanyl (Acrylfentanyl)
  4. Carfentanil
  5. 4-fluoroisobutyrfentanyl (4-FIBF, pFIBF)
  6. Tetrahydrofuranylfentanyl (THF-F)
  7. 4-fluoroamphetamine (4-FA)
  10. 5F-PB-22
  11. UR-144
  12. 5F-ADB
  13. Etizolam
  14. Pregabalin
  15. Tramadol
  16. Cannabidiol (CBD)

The WHO prepares a pre-review report for each substance so the committee can fully prepare themselves.

The report on CBD states that the naturally occurring cannabinoid “exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” The WHO goes on to detail how CBD has already shown effectiveness in combating the symptoms of epilepsy in a number of clinical trials and preliminary evidence shows the cannabinoid may prove to be capable in the fight against numerous other diseases.

Learn more about the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol

Learn more about the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol

The ECDD had not previously reviewed the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, but recommendations from the 38th meeting last year prompted a pre-review of CBD to be conducted and analyzed at this year’s committee.

One major concern the WHO has about CBD is the capability of end users to convert the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid to its psychoactive cousin, delta-9-THC. There are multiple theories regarding just how the CBD could possibly turn psychoactive, including dissolving the CBD in sulphuric acid and curing it until the chemical makeup changes to THC. This method simulates the reported natural process that CBD can undergo inside some users’ gut, converting to THC after sitting in stomach acid.

However, an examination of the research that claims CBD converts to THC in the stomach has been called “misleading” by Project CBD and points to the clear financial interests behind these published reports:

But the authors may have succeeded in advancing the agenda of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, the company that funded their research. Zynerba disclosed in a press release (April 12, 2016) that it was developing a transdermal delivery system that “avoids the gastrointestinal tract and potential stomach acid degradation of CBD into THC (associated with psychoactive effects).” In other words, Zynerba has a financial interest in depicting oral CBD, which is well tolerated in clinical research, as potentially harmful.

While purporting to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist may not amount to much scientifically, Zynerba isn’t the only company making erroneous claims about CBD converting to THC in the stomach. Ananda Scientific, a privately-held Delaware corporation, tried to one-up its competitors by asserting that its hemp-derived CBD formulation is “protected from being transformed, after it is ingested, into THC which is a risk factor in other existing [hemp CBD]products.”

Project CBD authors note that “Misinformation regarding the consequences of oral CBD administration could skew public policy and regulatory decisions at a time when cannabinoid therapies are gaining favor among health professionals and the general public.”

As part of the evaluation process for each substance, the ECDD will inspect two expert peer reviews of the respective substance as well as the results of a questionnaire sent to 57 member states of the WHO.

The culmination of data gathered in the survey and the collective opinion of the committee members will greatly influence the future scheduling of the substances in question.

About Author

Used to write about music for XXL, Elevator, Complex, Genius, and a few other outlets. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you'd like to read way fewer words by me.


  1. That is a long stretch of truth or is it lies all the way. First of all there is no sulfuric acid in the digestive system. I have made sulfuric acid professionally and I can assure you it does not occur naturally.

  2. Why would anyone waste time doing something so dangerous, just use regular pot if your looking for that effect.
    I have sever sensory nephropathy in both legs and feet. They feel like a have a real sever sun burn inside the my feet. The only medical prescribed help is opioids. It would take at least 5mg of norco to even start to dull the burn. I do not like the spacey dreams. Hard to tell if you even slept.
    A friend gave me a vaporizer with some higher CBD oil. It still had a little buzz but that was except able as I like that relaxing effect better the alcohol and use it mainly at home at night. One or two puffs and within 10-15 minutes the pain is gone!!!! No risk of addiction, liver failure or death. Grown in the sun, not formulated in a lab.

  3. I have crps/rsd and i was put on massive amounts of opiates , over the last few years they ( docs ) started to wean me down to almost nothing. I started to use weed within the last 2 months , i was eating to first but that caused some stomach problems and found out that i was wasting it. It needs to be cooked into cookies or whatever, smoking causes munchies but i learned that it helps my nerves to settle down like about 100% better than the opiates. i bought a glass bong with filters on it so it reduces the toxins because i am recovering from smoking cigs. There is no cure for me but i have noticed that weed/cbd really makes a big difference better than the opiates so i am telling my doc that i want off the drugs because in wisconsin i cannot get medical marijuana even though my problems are like cancer severe pain so i think i am moving up to upper Michigan because they have medical marijuana or i am hoping that the government ( FEDS) will legalize it or put to a schedule 2 or less.

  4. Susan aka MamaBudz (original) on

    Good reporting LLTDuke (do I see homage to Hunter S T there?)

    And great work by Project CBD on following the money trail to both pharmaceutical companies trying to claim a non existent problem as a health concern in order to up their stock.

    It emphasizes the importance of the availability of the PLANT to everyone who desires it so that they can create their own medicine should they choose and removes the “ownership” of the plant from an industry that does not have it’s consumers best interests at heart, but rather its shareholders.

    aka MamaBudz

  5. you have crps just like me have the docs give you gabapentin and that will help that burning and other nerve problems and of course thc or cbd oil also help, f those opiates i am done unless senator hatch ( gop ) has a bill ready to drop thc to a sch. 2 as soon as those idiots pass all this other stuff it will happen this year because my doc. said that as soon as they reduce it to a 2 then the insurance has to pay for it which would be nice and you would be able to use a little opiates and weed, perfect combo. good luck.

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