What is CBD?

CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids. Until recently, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was getting most of the attention because it’s the ingredient in cannabis that produces mind-altering effects in users, but CBD is also present in high concentrations and the medical world is realizing that its list of medical benefits continues to grow. CBD is the major nonpsychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD benefits including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia. Research is beginning to show that CBD is different than other well-studied cannabinoids. All cannabinoids act as ligands, meaning they dock onto the binding site of a protein and have the ability to modulate a receptor’s behavior. CB1 receptors are widely distributed, but are particularly abundant in areas of the brain, including those concerned with movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory, cognition, autonomic and endocrine functions. CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system, and they seem to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain. Although cannabinoids all have similar structures, they display a wide array of actions at each of the different receptors.However, scientists are finding out that CBD has very little effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors, which probably explains why it doesn’t have mind-altering effects, unlike THC, which positively regulates the CB1 receptor. That’s why most marijuana grown for recreational purposes are typically very low in CBD and high in THC.

How CBD works?

All cannabinoids, including CBD, attach themselves to certain receptors in the body to produce their effects.The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids, called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found all around the body, but many of them are in the brain.The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, among others. THC attaches to these receptors.CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They have an effect on inflammation and pain.It used to be thought that CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, but it appears now that CBD does not act on either receptor directly. Instead, it seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

CBD oil drops in spoon

CBD vs. THC

CBD and THC are the two main compounds in the marijuana plant and they are the only two cannabinoids that have been well characterized to date. Many strains of marijuana are known for having abundant levels of THC and high-CBD strains are less common; however, with the medical community paying more attention to the therapeutic effects of CBD that is beginning to change.Both compounds have important health benefits: THC has antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-tremor, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulating and anti-emetic properties, and CBD has anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, antioxidant, neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects.The clinical use of THC is often limited by its unwanted psychoactive side effects, and for this reason interest in non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, has substantially increased in recent years. In fact, CBD is being used to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as paranoia and memory impairment. CBD also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC. This is what makes CBD so appealing to the medical community, as the cause of psychoactive side effects has been a major barrier in the acceptance of medical marijuana. While THC is known to cause anxiety and paranoia in some people, CBD works to counteract those side effects. For this reason, CBD benefits extend to being used in clinical trials on young children with epilepsy.Another major difference between THC and CBD is that marijuana with high levels of THC is commonly used for its sleep-inducing effects, while CBD appears to promote wakefulness instead.