CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second-most prevalent of the active ingredients contained in cannabis. CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis plant family. CBD is one of over one hundred cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Cannabinoids are produced naturally by the human body and are called endocannabinoids. CBD from hemp is derived from the plant and known as a phytocannabinoid.
CBD vs. THC
Cannabidiol is closely related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that causes the “high” from cannabis. While both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes, CBD does not make a person “high” as would THC. Both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The difference in CBD and THC is how the atoms are arranged, which alters the effects each have on the human body. The reason CBD does not have the same effect as THC is due to the two components working in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body. Hemp, by definition, contains no more than .3% THC and studies have shown that CBD can actually lessen the psychoactive effects of THC.
Treatment of CBD
Extensive scientific research has shown that CBD can potentially treat a wide range of maladies including, but not limited to stress, inflammation, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, diabetes, autism, ADHD, PTSD, Crohn’s, and alcoholism. A study from the European Journal of Pain, using an animal model, demonstrated CBD being applied to the skin could help lower pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Another study has shown that CBD can inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most challenging forms of chronic pain to treat.
CBD and the Human Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system in the human body that plays important roles in central nervous system development and the response to internal and external insults. The endocannabinoid system plays a roll in many human attributes including appetite, sleep, mood, and memory, but there is much more to be discovered by experts. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily involved in the central nervous system and are liable for controlling coordination, movement, pain, appetite, memory, mood, as well as other functions. The CB2 receptors are involved with the peripheral nervous system, influencing pain, and inflammation. CBD directly affects these two receptors; however, studies have shown CBD can affect non-cannabinoid receptors as well. CBD has been shown to affect the 5ht serotonin receptor and the TRPV1 receptor. The 5ht serotonin receptor can potentially treat psychotic disorders and the TRPV1 receptor is responsible for pain and inflammation in the body. When CBD influences the TRPV1, it effectively blocks pain signals from reaching the rest of the body, relieving people from aches, swelling, and discomfort.