Cannabidiol, or CBD, is generating a lot of buzz in the medical marijuana movement. The benefits of the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, or the other half of THC, have been shown to treat several ailments, from neurological disorders to cancer. Research is showing CBD has medical value, but what is it exactly and how does it work?
The “miracle compound” is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid compounds in the marijuana plant. CBD produces its effect by interacting with specific receptors on cells in the brain and body: The CB1 receptor, found on neurons and glial cells in various parts of the brain; and the CB2 receptor, found mainly in the body’s immune system. It does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 nerve receptors in the brain, meaning it won’t get us high. CBD levels can vary between plants. For example, marijuana plants grown for recreational use tend to be high in THC, and vary in amounts of CBD. Industrial hemp plants are very low in THC, while medical marijuana plants are high in CBD.
There is growing evidence that CBD acts on other brain signaling systems, and that these actions may be important contributors to its therapeutic effects.
Several scientific studies have explored the potential therapeutic effects of CBD on our health.