In simple terms, CBD or Cannabidiol is one of around 113 active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Contemporary research has suggested that it can have significantly more powerful medicinal and therapeutic effects than any other cannabinoid found in cannabis.

Until the turn of the millennium, CBD was generally considered to have no active role in interacting with the human body therapeutically when isolated. In fact, it was generally accepted that THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol was the only cannabinoid that had therapeutic properties when isolated.

However, in 2005 scientific researchers discovered a receptor in the brain which they coined CB2. This receptor, along with others in the human body, interacts directly with CBD to manage and prevent pain and illness and provide therapeutic relief to the human body.

This incredible discovery was truly a game changer regarding cannabis and the wrongly perceived idea that it could not help you medicinally without psychoactive influence. Now, CBD and THC could be separated and used independently in medicinal scenarios.

THC is the cannabinoid that essentially offers the psychoactive response from the ingestion of the cannabis plant, in layman’s terms “the high”. And while research does suggest that THC also has therapeutic properties, CBD does not contain any of the aforementioned cannabinoids’ psychoactive capabilities.

This means that for those who weren’t simply looking to “get high” from cannabis, CBD became a viable alternative.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system was first discovered by scientists who were looking to establish the effects of cannabis on the human body, hence the term “endocannabinoid” (endo- meaning endogenous to the human body, -cannabinoid being the group of compounds found in the cannabis plant).

This system plays a number of very important roles in the body and can react to endogenous cannabinoids found inside the body, or exogenous cannabinoids found outside the body, such as ones found in the cannabis plant.

Essentially, cannabinoids with exo- or endo-, react with receptors in the body. The two most prominent receptors are CB1 and CB2. These receptors perform different roles in the human body, with the former heavily populating the brain and spinal cord, while the latter is often found in the nervous and immune systems.

So what does all of this biological jargon have to do with CBD? Well, when cannabis is ingested, its cannabinoids (the most frequent of which are THC and CBD) react with the body’s receptors to perform a wide range of functions around the body, including our sleep patterns, digestion, appetite, mood, memory and especially pain regulation.

When endocannabinoids are not doing their job properly, the ingestion of exogenous cannabinoids from the cannabis plant for example, can help regulate and restore the body’s balance.

CBD Products

The remarkable research results regarding CBD that have been published in the last 15 years has created a surge of interest from the general public as to its efficacy and availability as a medicine.

Therefore, a similarly remarkable rise in the popularity of CBD products has been observed and today, a plethora of varying products are available, all containing cannabidiol in some form.

The most popular and in-demand of these aforementioned products is undoubtedly CBD Oil. Usually containing just trace amounts of THC, CBD Oil is now sold in a variety of strengths for those looking for some pain relief.

There has also been a surge of demand for CBD oil by people who are experiencing terminal illnesses such as cancer. However, this is somewhat of a mistake, as it is THC, not CBD that has been observed to have an apoptosistic effect on cancerous cells.

However, regardless of its sometimes misrepresented abilities, CBD oil is certainly becoming more popular because of the general mainstream change in cannabis and its acceptance as a legitimate medical option.

Today there are a vast number of CBD products available to the public including oils, creams, capsules, crystals, dabs, tinctures and more. More recently, CBD e-liquids and CBD vape oils have become popular alongside the expansion of the vaporizer market.

Is CBD Legal?

The laws surrounding Cannabidiol are varied depending on your location. In the United States, CBD is allowed legally in some form in 44 states. 16 of these states have passed CBD-only laws, which legalize possession and use of CBD products for specific conditions from a qualifying list.

In the United Kingdom, hemp is legal providing the content of THC is less than 0.2%. This means that CBD products derived from hemp plants are legal to possess and use in the U.K.

In Canada, cannabidiol remains a schedule II drug, meaning it is available, but only with a prescription.

Australia allows the use of cannabidiol as a prescription medicine, providing that the product contains 2% of less of other cannabinoids, including THC. While in New Zealand, recent law changes means that anyone wanting to use cannabidiol can seek approval from the Health Ministry.

Recent changes to the law in Switzerland means that CBD is exempt from the national Narcotics Act. Therefore, cannabis products containing less than 1% THC can be legally sold and purchased.