Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) : Toward a New Age, José A. Crippa et al., 2018

Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) : Toward a New Age

José A. Crippa, Francisco S. Guimaraes, Alline C. Campos, Antonio W. Zuardi

Frontiers in Immunology, 21 september 2018.


Background: Among the many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that does not produce the typical subjective effects of marijuana.

Objectives: The aim of the present review is to describe the main advances in the development of the experimental and clinical use of cannabidiol CBD in neuropsychiatry.

Methods: A non-systematic search was performed for studies dealing with therapeutic applications of CBD, especially performed by Brazilian researchers.

Results: CBD was shown to have anxiolytic, antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties. In addition, basic and clinical investigations on the effects of CBD have been carried out in the context of many other health conditions, including its potential use in epilepsy, substance abuse and dependence, schizophrenia, social phobia, post-traumatic stress, depression, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and Parkinson.

Discussion: CBD is an useful and promising molecule that may help patients with a number of clinical conditions. Controlled clinical trials with different neuropsychiatric populations that are currently under investigation should bring important answers in the near future and support the translation of research findings to clinical settings.

Keywords : cannabidiol, CBD, Cannabis sativa, anxiolytic, antiepileptic, neuroprotection



The plant Cannabis sativa (cannabis) contains more than 100 chemical compounds that share a similar chemical structure, known as cannabinoids. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), responsible for the main effects associated with the use of the plant. Among the many cannabinoids in the plant, our group has focused on CBD, a compound that does not produce the typical subjective effects of marijuana (1).

Since the 1970s, our group has published a number of scientific articles showing the potential therapeutic effects of CBD in different animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as in clinical trials with humans. We were the first to demonstrate the anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects of CBD in animals, in the 1970s and 1980s, and later in humans, with rather promising results (2). In addition to anxiety and psychosis, basic and clinical research on other therapeutic possibilities of CBD was conducted. Moreover, patentable synthetic analogs of CBD with strong potential for knowledge transfer to the productive sector have recently been developed to offer the possibility of benefits for patients with many health conditions (3).

The aim of the present review is to report the main contributions for the development of the therapeutical potential of CBD in neuropsychiatry, especially performed by Brazilian researchers, which helped to transform the view of CBD from an inactive cannabinoid to a medicine with multiple actions. The studies included here were selected based on searches performed in the online databases PubMed, Web of Science and ScieELO for papers dealing with the therapeutic applications of CBD (“cannabidiol” was used as a keyword).