Cannabidiol is a key ingredient in cannabis, one of more than 60 compounds unique to the plant and grouped under the umbrella term “cannabinoids.” Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, and THC are usually the most common cannabinoids in the plant and are therefore the most widely studied.
CBD does not get you high like THC does. THC causes euphoria by binding to special CB1 and CB2 nerve receptors in the brain. CBD does not bind to these receptors, so cannabidiol does not get you high.
CBD can be made from medical marijuana plants or industrial hemp plants. Marijuana is illegal under federal law but legal in some states. Industrial hemp when grown in other countries can be imported legally into the United States, making it easier for consumers to get CBD treatment without breaking the law.
CBD and THC levels, known as cannabinoids, vary between plants. Marijuana plants grown for recreational use tend to be high in THC and varying amounts of CBD. Industrial hemp plants are very low in THC while medical marijuana plants are typically high in CBD.
It is legal to order CBD made from industrial hemp plants online for use in any state without a prescription. Individuals ordering CBD products made from medical marijuana plants must live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and have a prescription.
Scientific studies show CBD provides therapeutic medicinal benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, soothes nausea and vomiting, acts as an anti-oxidant to reduce free radicals that cause neurodegenerative disorders, and works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. CBD also stimulates appetite and relieves pain.
CBD also combats psychological issues, including working as an antipsychotic to combat psychosis. Additionally, CBD works to reduce chronic anxiety and depression disorders. These benefits of CBD are also helpful for patients struggling with temporary anxiety and depression resulting from a more serious medical condition.
CBD products may reduce the spread of some types of cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute reviews several studies that show cannabidiol may have a protective effect against cancer. This review includes research investigating the benefits of CBD treatment for a variety of cancers, including breast, colorectal, and lung cancers.
CBD counteracts the negative effects of THC. According to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, CBD seems to prevent THC-induced memory impairment. CBD may also ease paranoia and other negative side effects commonly associated with THC.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted University of California at San Francisco researchers permission to study the effects of the purified cannabidiol drug on children with uncontrolled seizures. Study participants are all between the ages of 1 and 18 years, and all suffer symptoms resistant to conventional treatments. Many participants have Dravet syndrome, a condition that begins in early childhood and causes frequent, disabling seizures on a daily basis. The FDA and Drug Enforcement Agency promise to monitor the research closely. Pending FDA approval, more institutions will take up the study.