Home > Cannabidiol (CBD) pre-review report. Agenda item 5.2.

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2017) Cannabidiol (CBD) pre-review report. Agenda item 5.2. Geneva: World Health Organization. Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017.

PDF (WHO Cannabidiol (CBD) pre-review report, 2017)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is a 21-carbon terpenophenolic compound which is formed following decarboxylation from a cannabidiolic acid precursor, although it can also be produced synthetically. CBD can be converted to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) under experimental conditions; however, this does not appear to occur to any significant effect in patients undergoing CBD treatment.

In experimental models of abuse liability, CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation. In an animal drug discrimination model CBD failed to substitute for THC. In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials, with one pure CBD product (Epidiolex®) currently in Phase III trials. There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions. There is unsanctioned medical use of CBD based products with oils, supplements, gums, and high concentration extracts available online for the treatment of many ailments.

CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications. Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Cannabis, New psychoactive substance, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Policy
November 2017
Identification #
Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017
27 p.
World Health Organization
Corporate Creators
WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence
Place of Publication
Related (external) link

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