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cannabidiol definition

CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists.

CBD : The Multipurpose Molecule

How Does CBD Work?

CBD oil products and flower with varying levels of THC and CBD are also available for smoking or vaping at cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized the herb for therapeutic use.

But the DEA kept cannabis and CBD (when derived from a cannabis plant with more than 0.3 % THC ) on Schedule I as an illegal narcotic. In the world according to Uncle Sam, pharmaceutical CBD is officially the only good cannabinoid while the rest of the plant remains an ‘evil’ weed.

Legalities aside, hemp-derived cannabidiol is just a mouse click or a phone tap away for anyone willing to roll the dice and purchase CBD oil products that are manufactured with little regulatory oversight.

CBD directly interacts with several proteins in the body and central nervous system, a few of which are components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) . CBD has an affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Our bodies have several other receptor proteins that participate in the endocannabinoid system, such as GPR3, GPR6, TRPV1, and TRPV2, for example. CBD binds to all of these, and its possible anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects may occur through these pathways.

The scientists behind this study noticed that researchers had been utilizing pure, single-molecule CBD, which resulted in a bell-shaped dose-response curve. This curve indicates that CBD’s efficacy plummets at very high and very low doses.

How CBD works

CBD is the yang to THC’s yin; it may calm anxiety and elevate your level of chill without intoxication.

The mosaic of laws that govern CBD legality across the globe varies just as much as the legislation across the United States. Most Group of 20 (G20) countries allow CBD extracted from industrial hemp, but not CBD extracted from whole-plant marijuana.

(Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps) Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA's, purview. "Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge," Parrish says. "But while it's legal under federal law, it's up to each state to set their own policy."

But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. "I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don't know how to distinguish them at this time," Faught says.

These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it's legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.

Are you buying it IRL?

This means that "consumers everywhere, if they're compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products," Parrish explains, "and among those will be CBD."

"It's kind of ironic," says Parrish. "With marijuana, we have got the federal government saying 'No' and a bunch of states saying 'Yeah, it's OK'—but with hemp, the feds say 'Yeah, it's OK,' but we still have some states saying it's not."

You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, even coffee shops in many states right now. But when in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, Beatty says. "Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you."

"There are literally hundreds of CBD brands at this point," says Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals and an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping.