Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds. Not all of those compounds are unique to weed, of course, and appear in many other species of plants. That’s why weed can smell like pine trees or taste like fresh lemons. But of those 400 compounds, more than 60 of them are totally specific to the plant genus Cannabis. Scientists call these special compounds “cannabinoids.” However, not all cannabinoids are created equal. One of them, cannabidiol, or CBD, holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers.
But what exactly is cannabidiol (CBD) and more importantly, what does it do? Those questions and more are at the heart of this comprehensive guide to one of the most fascinating and important compounds of the cannabis plant.
The more we learn about CBD, the more it seems poised to revolutionize medicine as we know it. Read on to find out why cannabidiol is so important and why you should care about it, especially if you use cannabis.
CBD 101: The Fundamentals Of Cannabidiol
Perhaps the only thing more complex than the biochemistry of cannabis is its pharmacology. The ways weed interacts with the human body are exceedingly intricate. And the truth is we don’t know as much as we should about those interactions—at least not yet.
Nevertheless, we do know some of the basics. So here’s your fundamental fact sheet about CBD.
Cannabidiol Isn’t Psychoactive
One of the most crucially important qualities of CBD is its lack of psycho-activity. In layperson’s terms, this means that cannabidiol won’t get you high. Unlike THC, the cannabinoid with the legendary power of producing euphoric sensations, CBD is inert.
So when taken on its own, users experience none of the sensations of being stoned. And this is the single most important property of the cannabinoid from the medical—and legal—perspective.
Cannabidiol Is Legal Almost Everywhere
Because CBD doesn’t get you high, products that contain only this cannabinoid can skirt the legal ban on marijuana.
Technically speaking, its THC—the cannabinoid that gets you high—which is illicit. When you take a drug test, the aim is to detect THC in your body, not “cannabis.” If you possessed weed without any THC in it, technically you wouldn’t be in violation of the law. Because “weed” without THC has a different name: hemp. And the rules governing hemp are quite different from the restrictions placed on cannabis.
In fact, every state that has yet to legalize marijuana for medical use has some kind of law allowing people to obtain and use CBD-only (or low-THC) products for medical or therapeutic purposes. And in most cases, that means obtaining CBD from hemp, rather than cannabis flowers.
In places with legal medical marijuana programs, CBD products are widely available and easy to find.