CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound in marijuana that offers many benefits without any high.
Most people have heard of THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana responsible for the high. But recently, attention has shifted to another compound in marijuana called CBD.
CBD appears to be helpful for many health conditions, including epilepsy, anxiety, chronic pain, and more. And while research is still in its early stages, doctors are generally supportive of CBD because it has very few side effects.
Today, CBD is available in a variety of products ranging from oils and tinctures to edibles and vaporizers.
Here are ten facts that you should know about this unique compound:
1. CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis
CBD is one of over 113 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied.
CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD, but high-CBD strains are also available.
2. CBD is non-psychoactive
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. While many people enjoy the marijuana high, health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.
CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same receptors as THC. These CB1 receptors are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.
3. CBD has a wide range of medical benefits
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits.
According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:
|Medical Properties of CBD||Effects|
|Antiemetic||Reduces nausea and vomiting|
|Anticonvulsant||Suppresses seizure activity|
|Antipsychotic||Combats psychosis disorders|
|Anti-inflammatory||Combats inflammatory disorders|
|Anti-oxidant||Combats neurodegenerative disorders|
|Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer||Combats tumor and cancer cells|
|Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant||Combats anxiety and depression disorders|
|Analgesic||Combats pain and pain-related disorders|
Unfortunately, most of this evidence comes from animals, since relatively few studies on CBD have been carried out in human patients.
4. CBD can work together with other compounds
One of the most interesting effects of CBD is its ability to interact with other compounds in marijuana, such as THC and terpenes.
In a 2011 research paper, Dr. Ethan Russo describes the combined effect of THC, CBD, and terpenes as an “entourage effect”. He believes the compounds work together to benefit the user more than they would alone.
In Dr. Russo’s words, CBD makes “synergistic contributions” to the effects of marijuana in the body.
5. CBD reduces the negative effects of THC
CBD seems to naturally counteract the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.
People who have used both cannabis and pure THC for medical purposes report a preference for natural cannabis when it comes to side effects. It’s thought that CBD plays a role in this preference.
6. Some strains of marijuana are rich in CBD
Through selective breeding, marijuana growers have been able to create strains with high levels of CBD. Some strains contain high levels of both CBD and THC, while others have little to no THC.
The most famous CBD-rich strain is Charlotte’s Web, created by the Stanley brothers in Colorado. Originally called “hippie’s disappointment”, the totally non-psychoactive strain was renamed in honour of a young girl named Charlotte Figi.
Figi’s parents used the strain to combat her severe seizures caused by Dravet syndrome, without the side effect of getting high.
Other strains that are high in CBD include: ACDC, Harlequin, Sour Tsunami, Cannatonic, and Jamaican Lion.
7. There are many different CBD products available
CBD has gained a reputation as a safe, non-psychoactive treatment for a range of health concerns. As a result, many different kinds of CBD products have been developed, including oils, topicals, edibles, and vaporizer liquids.
CBD oils are concentrated, pure extracts from the cannabis plant, often taken by mouth. Edible products containing CBD are also available.
These products may be derived from marijuana or industrial-grade hemp. CBD products made from hemp are often referred to as “Hemp CBD” or “CBD Hemp Oil”.
8. Some people give CBD to their pets
When it comes to your furry friends, CBD is often preferred over THC because it has fewer side effects.
Some people feel uncomfortable giving their animal something that could make them high, but CBD offers medical benefits without the high.
Dr. Wendy Kramer, a B.C. veterinarian, explains: “If we use part of the cannabinoids that are involved with the plant, we get great benefits. It’s the THC… that makes them stoned.”
CBD products for pets target specific health concerns, like anxiety, epilepsy, joint pain, and skin problems.
9. CBD can affect your sleep-wake cycle
CBD has what is called a “biphasic effect” on sleep, meaning it has different effects depending on dosage. Small doses of CBD appear to increase wakefulness, while large doses are sedating.
CBD also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why some strains of cannabis are known to increase alertness.
10. CBD is still illegal
On Dec. 14 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made it clear that any marijuana-based extract is considered a Schedule I drug under federal law, including CBD oil and other types of CBD-rich products.
On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is made by GW Pharmaceuticals and is called Epidiolex.
CBD products may also be sold in certain states that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana.