Date of Award
Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, first gathered national spotlight after Charlotte Figi and her mother Paige were able to find two physicians willing to prescribe CBD to treat Charlotte’s seizures. Charlotte suffered from Dravet Syndrome, but was able to find relief from CBD, which decreased the number and severity of her seizures. This sparked national interest and was the catalyst that lead to research and changes surrounding CBD uses and legality. Cannabidiol is a single cannabinoid that is found within the Cannabis sativa plant family—the same family that includes marijuana. This cannabinoid differs from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and does not provide a high to its users, which depends on the receptors activated by each cannabinoid.
To date, Epidiolex® is the only FDA approved drug which contains non-synthetic cannabidiol extract. The drug has a very narrow indication and is approved only for rare forms of pediatric seizures such as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. Non-FDA-approved uses of CBD vary based on anecdotal evidence. Some commonly reported uses for CBD include easing anxiety, helping with sleep, and clearing up acne or skin blemishes. Thousands of CBD products that do not have FDA approval are on the market and are available to consumers. This largely came about due to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp federally legal in the United States—essentially federally legalizing CBD. However, not all states have legalized all forms of CBD.
For example, Mississippi enacted Harper Grace’s Law in 2014 which approves cannabidiol in limited quantities and indications if prescribed by a licensed physician. It also led to clinical trials for CBD in epilepsy to be conducted at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, presumably for a competitor product of Epidiolex®. However, no other CBD products are legal for use in Mississippi, despite the prevalence of CBD stores and CBD products in state-permitted pharmacies. Things may change, however, as Mississippi is set to have medical marijuana on its ballot in November of 2020. If passed, this would not only allow medical marijuana to be prescribed for certain medical indications, but presumably CBD as well.
Pitts, Lauren, "Weaving Charlotte's Web: An In-Depth Guide to Cannabidiol" (2020). Honors Theses. 1351.