What is cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol is just one of the 421 chemicals contained in the cannabis plant [ 1 ]. It is the main medicinal component in the leaves and flowers.
CBD owes most of its therapeutic benefits to its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system. The main function of this system is to support homeostasis (balance) throughout the body (more on this later). There are over 66 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, each of which offers a unique effect on the body.
The most abundant cannabinoid in the plant is usually CBD, followed by the main psychoactive component, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Other cannabinoids such as CBC (cannabichromene), CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol) make up the majority of the remaining cannabinoid profile.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (SEC) . We even have even more specialized messenger molecules that are designed to work with SEC, known as endocannabinoids. The compounds in the cannabis plant, phytocannabinoids, have just the right way to interact with SEC.
The SEC consists of a series of specialized receptors that control intracellular activities (activities that occur within the cell). This system is primarily concerned with maintaining homeostasis (balance throughout the body), as well as protecting organs from chronic damage caused by exposure to toxic substances or inflammation. The homeostasis refers to the ability of an organism to maintain the internal environment consistent and well balanced.
How does CBD compare to other cannabinoids?
There are at least 66 separate cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Each has a similar chemical structure and the ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system. With so many cannabinoids in the plant, it helps to use a shorter naming system.
What is cannabidiol used for?
Now that we’ve covered what CBD is and how it works, let’s see what we can use it for, starting with the traditional uses of the cannabis plant. The earliest known references to hemp suggest that it was used to treat pain and injury, which we now understand to be a heavy reliance on the CBD content of the plant.
It wasn’t until the 1600s that cannabis became popular to treat psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and schizophrenia. Over the following centuries, cannabis became a popular health tonic for a long list of medical conditions and symptoms.
An aid for anxiety and insomnia?
Although much research is still lacking on the effectiveness of CBD oil, some studies suggest that it may reduce the symptoms of social anxiety in people with this disorder. Another research from 2014, tested on animals, found that this natural product helps fight anxiety and depression.
Another 2015 analysis of previous studies concluded that it is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.