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What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a chemical which is present in the cannabis sativa plant which is also known as marijuana or hemp. 

The major active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While cannabidiol comes from hemp, it contains very small amounts of this active ingredient THC. Therefore, cannabidiol is less likely to cause the “high” effect that marijuana or hemp would give. 

CBD 101: What is Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol is one of the hundreds of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. The most common form of CBD is CBD oil. However, it can also be in a pray form. This allows the CBD oil or spray to be easily ingested, vaped, sprayed, or applied directly on the skin.

Due to its extraction process, it does not contain large amounts of the active ingredient THC. The typical composition of the active ingredients, if any, is under 0.5%. 

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Users of this plant claim that this effect makes them feel happy and relaxed. CBD contains lesser amounts of the active ingredient, and for that reason, it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. They can only put CBD in “cosmetic” products because scientists are still studying this new drug,

CBD oil are oils that contain concentrations of CBD. These concentrations of cannabidiol and the uses of these oils may vary. CBD oil has different purposes. It is best known for its medicinal uses, and its ability to improve the quality of life of its users. 

There are plenty of patients who would prefer CBD therapy to the traditional use. Some people use it for its relaxing effect. It can also treat anxiety, headaches, muscle pains, tremors, etc. 

How it works

How cannabidiol seems to work is by preventing the breakdown of a chemical in the brain which affects pain, mood, and mental function. The prevention of this chemical breakdown and also the increase of its levels in the blood help reduce psychotic symptoms associated with conditions such as schizophrenia. 

Cannabidiol reduces pain and anxiety in people who use it. Cannabinoids produce these effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors. The human body also produces cannabinoids on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids called CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

CB1 receptors

CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, although many are in the brain. These CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, and memories.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compounds attach to these receptors.

CB2 receptors

CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain. People once believed that CBD attached to the CB2 receptors but further studies showed that the CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it directs the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.  

The use of cannabidiol can alleviate symptoms of health conditions like seizure disorders (epilepsy), a muscle disorder known as dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn disease. 

There is however no good and sufficient scientific evidence to support them.

Uses of Cannabidiol

Some of the uses, though not limited to these, are the following.

Pain relief

For centuries, marijuana treat pain. This treatment dates as far back to 2900 B.C. It was only recently that scientists discovered that certain components of marijuana, including CBD, are responsible for the pain-relieving effects that it gives. 

The human body produces endocannabinoids using a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates a variety of functions which include sleep, appetite, pain, and the body’s response from the immune system. 

The endocannabinoids are also neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. This may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, thereby interacting with neurotransmitters and reducing inflammation. 

A combination of CBD and THC are effective in treating multiple sclerosis related pain. They help aid improvements in pain, walking, and muscle spasms. Research also shows improvements in people with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Reduction in anxiety and depression

These are common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on the health and well-being of a person. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders ranked sixth.

Usually, doctors prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to treat anxiety and depression. These drugs can cause a number of side effects which include but are not limited to insomnia, headaches, drowsiness, agitation, and sexual dysfunction. Some medications like benzodiazepines are addictive and lead to the consumer becoming a substance abuser.

CBD oil showed potential as a treatment method for both depression and anxiety. This leads many people who live with these disorders to this natural method of treatment. CBD oil can safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Reduction in inflammation and acne

One of the most common skin conditions which affects more than 9% of the population is acne.

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The causes of this condition may be from inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands which leads to overproduction of sebum. Genetic factors and bacteria also contribute to acne problems.

CBD oil helps with this by using its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce sebum production. It also prevents the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines.

Seizure disorders (epilepsy)

A specific cannabidiol product reduces seizures in adults and children who have various conditions linked with seizures. This product is a prescription drug used for treating seizures caused by Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

CBD oil reduces seizures in people with tuberous sclerosis complex, Sturge-Weber syndrome, febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES), and specific genetic disorders that can cause epileptic encephalopathy. The FDA has not approved it for treating these other types of seizures.

Enhancing sleep quality

It might seem as though the effects of insomnia inconsequential compared to most of the conditions remedied by CBD, but insomnia or lack of proper sleep can affect close relationships and compromise good health. 

Most common symptoms are lack of concentration, loss of coordination, and irritability. Later on, symptoms such as unhealthy appetites and a sudden dependence on prescription sleep aids may occur.

Restful sleep is most commonly disrupted by stress, tension, and worry. Here, cannabidiol supports and promotes the production of anandamide: “the feel-good” neurotransmitter. 

Cannabidiol also interacts with the serotonin receptors, which greatly improve the person’s mood. By removing stress and tension, Cannabidiol gets rid of a great obstacle and lets a person get some good sleep.

In most cases, chronic pains and discomforts cause insomnia. In this case, cannabidiol functions as an analgesic and soothes the body and mind. It is much easier to fall asleep when the mind and body are free from pain.

Helps promote a healthy heart

Cannabidiol is linked to several benefits for the circulatory system and most importantly, the heart. It has the ability to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to higher risks of a number of health conditions. They include stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome.

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CBD oil is effective when a person is dealing with high stress situations. Cannabidiol possesses stress and anxiety-reducing properties and is responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

In addition, several animal studies have shown that cannabidiol may reduce the inflammation and cell death, which can worsen into heart diseases due to its powerful antioxidant and stress reducing properties.

Neuroprotective properties

There is a receptor in the brain that can help people with neurodegenerative disorders. Neurodegenerative disorders are diseases that cause the brain and nerves to deteriorate over time when combined with CBD oil. This receptor is the CB1 receptor.

CBD oil can treat Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. CBD oil may also reduce the inflammation that worsen neurodegenerative symptoms.

Cancer treatment

There are studies investigating the effectiveness of cannabidiol to prevent cancer cell growth. This research is still in its early stages. Experts proposed that cannabidiol may help alleviate cancer symptoms and the side effects that come with cancer treatment. Experts do not endorse it as a form of cancer treatment.

The action of cannabidiol is promising for cancer treatment in that it has the ability to moderate inflammation and can change the way cells reproduce. It also has the effect of reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce within the body, thereby reducing the speed at which it spreads.

Side Effects

Some side effects of using cannabidiol (CBD oil) or other CBD products include but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Hoarseness
  • Lower back or side pain

Cannabidiol interacts with several medications. Before you begin the use of CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor or a medical practitioner to ensure that it is advisable to consume and prevent any unwanted interactions. 

CBD oil is not advisable for use by pregnant women or nursing mothers. 

How is Cannabidiol Different from Marijuana?

Cannabidiol is one of the most prevalent active ingredients in cannabis or marijuana. Although cannabidiol is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is extracted directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. Although it is also a component of marijuana, it does not give a “high” or “loopy” feeling. 

No dependence risk

In humans, cannabidiol exhibits no effects which can be indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. Until date, there has been no public record of any health-related problem associated with the use of pure cannabidiol.


Another difference between THC and CBD is in terms of safety. These concerns can arise depending on the method and amount of marijuana ingested. When smoking marijuana, it carries the risk of carcinogens. 

As an ingredient in edibles, the dosage of CBD can become cloudy. You can ingest too little and not get the desired therapeutic effects or ingest too much and become ill. 

However, CBD oil is a pure dietary supplement that is most often ingested via a dropper, a capsule, or isolate powder. The methods of ingesting CBD oil are usually more precise, so there is a low chance of overdosing.


Another difference is the treatment. CBD oil is best for neutralizing conditions associated with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, weight management, and nausea. Marijuana is mostly beneficial for managing problems stemming from autoimmune disorders.

Is Cannabidiol Legal?

Using the United States of America as a case study, CBD oil is legal in all fifty states, on a federal level. However, there are some states where cannabidiol is illegal under their state laws. 

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified it as a dietary supplement and is readily available without a prescription, which means it is not categorized as a controlled substance. 

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The FDA eased the regulatory requirements of cannabidiol and this has afforded researchers the opportunity to conduct cannabidiol clinical trials. However, the government’s stance on this issue is conflicting at times as there is often a debate on whether cannabidiol comes from hemp or marijuana. 

This legality, however, might change as there is a consensus in Congress to legalize the hemp plant, this action will make cannabidiol difficult to prohibit.

Evidence for Cannabidiol Health Benefits

Most claims about the health benefits of cannabidiol remain anecdotal, and as such, they require additional research. Researches, however, have strongly established some benefits. Numerous research studies found that cannabidiol can treat most of the devastating childhood epilepsy syndromes. These include Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).

Both Dravet syndrome and LGS are typically resistant to anti-seizure medication. Some suggested that cannabidiol may be successful in the treatment of both anxiety and insomnia. 

CBD oil can be applied to the skin and help lower the levels of pain and inflammation brought by arthritis. It also helps to inhibit neuropathic pain. These are among the one of the most difficult types of pain to treat.

Is Cannabidiol Safe?

As there is no medicinal substance without a few side effects, none of the side effects of cannabidiol are fatal or can lead to health challenges after protracted use. Some common side effects include dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It can increase the level of the blood thinner coumadin present in blood and raise the levels of certain other medications in your blood.

On a positive note, due to its lack of the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, it does not induce physical dependence in people who consume it. Cannabidiol does not induce catalepsy. It doesn’t affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature). It doesn’t affect gastrointestinal transit or alter any psychomotor or psychological conditions.

If you decide to use CBD oil, speak with your doctor and ensure that you take the proper dosage to minimize side effects. It is a supplement and not a medication.

Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.