In 31 states and the District of Columbia cannabis is legal for some medical uses, and a majority of Americans favor legalization for recreational use. Other countries are rethinking their relationship to pot too. In Uruguay and Canada the drug is legal. Portugal has decriminalized it. Israel and the Netherlands have medical marijuana programs, and in recent years numerous countries have liberalized possession laws.
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat nerves and anxiety, as well as other mood problems. CBD may help to improve both depression and anxiety, at least in part through its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. Research shows that CBD can reduce both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. A study of CBD given to people before a public-speaking event indicates that CBD can help reduce stress—this and other research has shown that CBD can be an effective treatment for social anxiety.
Even without changes at the federal level, there are steps that states could take on their own to make the CBD market safer. States with broad marijuana legality or CBD-only measures could mandate the calibration and regulation of testing labs, and use them to conduct safety testing. They could fund research into the benefits, dosing, and drug interactions of CBD through their public university systems. Medical boards could redouble efforts to educate physicians in what research exists regarding medical marijuana in all its incarnations, so that doctors are prepared to prescribe and manage these medications as they become available.
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