There are over a hundred cannabinoid compounds contained in the cannabis plant, but two of them, in particular, receive nearly all the attention. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of cannabis that marijuana enthusiasts are all familiar with. CBD (cannabidiol) is THC’s non-psychoactive cousin, and in recent years its popularity has grown substantially due to its possible therapeutic effects.
The market for CBD continues to expand all over the country and the world. According to a recent consumer survey, 7% of adults are using CBD, with projections that it will reach 10% by 2025—which could increase the market for CBD to $16 billion. Despite this, the industry is still in its infancy with many suppliers engaging in dishonest or unethical business practices.
The circulation of sub-par CBD products with lower concentrations only adds to skepticism of CBD in general, which already has a reputation of being a modern day “snake oil” by some. With many suppliers looking to take advantage of an uninformed consumer base, it’s crucial that buyers educate themselves on the reported uses and effects of CBD so they can navigate the CBD market in an informed manner.
Die-hard advocates might respond with “What doesn’t it do?”, and while referring to CBD as a cure-all might be a bit of a stretch, there may be people whose positive experiences with CBD would lead them to make such a claim.
Unfortunately, cannabis’ long history as a Schedule I drug under US law has stifled research and clinical trials necessary to fully answer this question. However, the recent nationwide legalization of industrial hemp-derived CBD per the 2018 Farm Bill has opened the door for more research and has resulted in state-level reform all across the country (with Texas being the most recent state to de-schedule CBD just days ago).
Though research has been (somewhat) limited thus far, there is still a great deal we know about how CBD interacts with the body.
CBD works by acting on the endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors, molecules, and enzymes that assists in maintaining homeostasis in our bodies. Within that system are two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. While CBD doesn’t bind directly with either of these receptors, what it does do is influence them by mimicking or enhancing the effects of “endogenous” cannabinoids that already occur naturally in humans.
Because the endocannabinoid system plays many vital roles in several significant areas of bodily function, CBD has a broad reach in what it is used for.
CBD is not a “wonder drug,” although many users would vouch that it is. Its effectiveness varies depending on the user, the product used, and the dosage. It all comes down to personal preference and monitoring your body’s response to CBD.
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