It used to be all about the THC. In other words, cannabis' popularity has always been attributable to this psychoactive chemical, which gets people "high."
But marijuana's bad boy image has been getting a well-earned makeover in recent years, thanks in part to its surging popularity as a legitimate form of herbal medicine.
In fact, it's not cannabis' infamous THC content that's creating a real buzz these days. Instead, it's a lesser-known chemical called CBD that is attracting much of the attention. And it's all because CBD provides some of marijuana's most sought-after healing powers, according to medical studies.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a compound found in cannabis plants. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. And here's what's really interesting: CBD does not induce the mentally intoxicating effects that have made cannabis so controversial. That's exclusively the role of THC.
This is great news for the majority of medical patients, who have little or no interest in feeling psychologically impaired, i.e. "stoned." All they want is a safe, addiction-free alternative to pharmaceutical drugs -- especially painkilling opioids.
How does CBD work?
The human endocannabinoid system is to thank for CBD’s impact, and that system is largely misunderstood. It is part of your neurotransmitter system, which is what allows your nerves to communicate and work efficiently. That means the endocannabinoid system has a part in making sure your brain cells are working correctly, which CBD activates.
CBD boosts your own natural cannabinoids, which improves your mood and overall wellbeing, because this system regulates everything—down to your dopamine levels.
Among its many other uses, CBD is considered therapeutic for treating depression, anxiety, insomnia and nausea.