What Does the WHO Say About CBD?

What Does the WHO Say About CBD?


As cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, gains popularity, many questions surround its safety and marketability. From small businesses and indie entrepreneurs to large drugstore chains, CBD can be found almost anywhere and everywhere now.

While the history of cannabidiol research goes as far back as the early 1900s, there are some market setbacks due to the complicated relationship between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CBD. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently chimed in on CBD, deeming it safe with many practical uses.

Both the WHO and FDA play a significant role in CBD’s future, including its safety and accessibility. There are often questions surrounding the legality of cannabidiol, and because most products have not been officially recognized by federal bodies, proponents of CBD can find it challenging to vouch for.

What Is CBD?

First, it’s important to understand just what is CBD. Cannabidiol is one of over a hundred naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. When extracted and consumed, cannabidiol, proponents claim, yield soothing properties, and even encourage holistic health.

CBD is non-toxic and non-psychoactive. It is not to be confused with THC – cannabidiol will not produce that “high” feeling. Instead, endocannabinoid receptors located throughout your brain and body interact naturally with the compound.

So, what is CBD oil? Oil is cannabidiol’s most common form, and it can be consumed in a handful of ways. By United States federal law, CBD oil on the market must contain less than 0.3% THC. This is also because it is taken from the hemp plant, a member of the cannabis plant family produced for industrial purposes only.

CBD is also available as tinctures, gummies, balms, and a variety of other products that serve different purposes. Much of the CBD market growth that has occurred over the past few years has been due to the compound’s diverse reach. Not only is cannabidiol prevalent in the health and wellness market, but also in the fields of beauty and food and beverage.

How Does the WHO Classify CBD?

The World Health Organization’s CBD classification generally refers to cannabidiol’s claimed clinical applications. A 2018 report lists various CBD products with medicinal purposes – mostly to address epilepsy – as in development, but these are not officially authorized.

While this CBD report does seem to show support for the compound’s therapeutic properties, cannabidiol is not listed on either the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines or the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children.

The WHO focuses primarily on CBD as medicinal here, but its many other applications – for general health, beauty and wellness, for example – should be considered as well.

Reports of WHO on CBD

According to that same 2018 CBD report by the WHO, there is nothing unsafe about the CBD classification. The CBD report found that “there is no evidence of… any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD” and that there is “preliminary evidence” of the compound’s therapeutic effects.

Can It Affect the CBD Market?

The CBD market, especially in recent years, is booming. Many have turned to cannabidiol as a widely reaching soothing agent for a number of ailments, specifically stress-related issues. Whether it’s a part of your daily routine or you’re taking an occasional dose, it’s clear that CBD is becoming more and more mainstream by the day.

But is CBD FDA approved? This is one of the main issues facing the CBD market and the marketability of the compound itself. Many are concerned with the question of whether CBD oil is FDA approved, and how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies it.

Currently, the FDA, like the WHO, views cannabidiol through the lens of clinical and medicinal applications. However, unlike the WHO, the FDA does officially recognize one CBD product that treats epilepsy.

While this is a step in the right direction, companies that aim to sell CBD products for more casual consumption can run into hurdles. Cannabidiol-infused food and beverage products in particular face FDA scrutiny and cannot enter the market. For now, CBD oil, gummies, and tinctures are the most popular products in stores and online.

However, the FDA recently stated that it would be taking steps to create regulations for cannabidiol products. This announcement led to CBD stocks skyrocketing in recent months. Investors assume that new classifications and rules for the compound will allow it to reach a broader market.


From cannabidiol-infused coffee to CBD treats for your dog, this compound is more than just a short-lived trend. As it gains popularity, more and more companies and consumers alike are pushing for official recognition of products to increase marketability, accessibility, and safety.

While both the WHO and the FDA do see cannabidiol as a product with medicinal potential, it is essential that these entities research it further. If CBD can exist in a number of classifications and categories, it will be easier to understand its wide range of uses and access it wherever you are.

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