Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the cannabis plant.
Until recent years, cannabis was primarily seen as a recreational drug via marijuana use. Now, research surrounding the health benefits of the plant has increased the availability of cannabis-based products in the USA. These benefits come from the cannabinoids (and terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) found in the cannabis plant.
The two primary cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant are Cannabidiol (CBD) and D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other cannabinoids include: THCV, CBDV, CBN, etc.
Hemp and marijuana are two different types of cannabis plants. Generally, marijuana contains high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. Alternatively, hemp contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (legally, less than 0.3% concentration of THC).
Cannabinoids interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system. This important system of physiology was discovered due to the amount of research done to determine the effects the cannabis plant has on the body (and was named after it!). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in both humans and animals, and it helps to regulate the body and maintain balance at a cellular level from conception to death.
The ECS contains a network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. In research studies, two primary receptors have been identified and named CB1 and CB2. Cannabinoids interact with this network of receptors and create reactions within the ECS to regulate a variety of physiological and cognitive processes. Some of these processes include effects on appetite, metabolism, inflammation, pain sensation, mood, memory, immune function, and sleep.
Today, the type of cannabis plant determines the legal status of the resulting products. According to federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance, making this plant illegal to possess. This is due to the high levels of THC found in marijuana. THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high’ associated with recreational marijuana use. Hemp, however, was cleared of the Schedule 1 substance classification in the 2018 Farm Bill as long as the plant contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
Therefore, hemp and hemp-sourced CBD products (containing less than 0.3% THC) are now federally legal and available for interstate trade. Marijuana, on the other hand, is still federally illegal and must operate based on state laws.
Recently, the FDA approved the first cannabis-derived medicine. It’s called Epidiolex, and it helps regulate certain severe epilepsy conditions. Further research into the benefits of cannabis-based products is rapidly developing thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. As of now, studies have shown that CBD supplement products can help users in the following areas:
- Digestive Aid: simulates appetite, eases nausea
- Analgesic: pain relief from inhibiting inflammatory and neuropathic pain
- Inflammation: decreases joint inflammation from conditions such as arthritis