What is CBD, and why is it such a big part of hemp’s current comeback?
CBD might be the cannabinoid you’ve been hearing about the most lately. We’ve certainly discussed it often enough particularly the struggle for its legalization by advocates of its medical properties.
But what is CBD? We continue our journey along the Green Discovery with a look at the basics of CBD and its role in the resurgence of hemp.
Scientifically speaking, CBD, or cannabidiol, is the primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, comprising up to 40% of the plant. (Cannabidiwhatz?? If you need a crash course, start reading about cannabinoids here.)
Some people refer to it as the “anti-THC” for its ability to block THC’s ability to dock at a CB-1 receptor site, thereby nulling THC’s psychoactivity. (What is THC?)
“Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high,” LeafScience explains. “While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.”
“Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits,” the report adds.
Beyond the obvious comparisons with THC as the other primary cannabinoid, CBD has its own unique potential as a source of medical cannabis treatment.
For instance, cannabis studies have shown that CBD has demonstrated greater antioxidant capabilities than either vitamin C or vitamin E. It confers virtually identical health benefits to THC (with one notable exception relating to appetite stimulation), but is highly desired for study because of its lack of psychoactivity.
In recent times, there’s been an increasing amount of public activism in favor of allowing freer use of CBD as medical treatment, particularly in the case of children with epilepsy, as we reported last month.
On top of that, over the course of thousands of clinical studies, CBD has repeatedly demonstrated the following effects:
“One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors,” reports the
National Cancer Institute.
But, unlike THC, what has been accused of impairing memory functionality and even contributing to behavioral disorders like schizophrenia, there are no known side-effects from CBD, and it is non-toxic even in doses of up to 700mg per day.
So, why isn’t hemp always legal, then? Click here to get a brief history of hemp in the United States.