What is CBD? What is Cannabidiol?


Cannabidiol is a molecule that naturally occurs in the cannabis (a.k.a. hemp) plant. CBD and other substances extracted from the hemp plant have medicinal properties, but they do not cause the user to feel the short-term euphoric feeling of being “high” that is universally associated with smoking marijuana.

Many websites incorrectly state that CBD is not psychoactive (or psychotropic) when they actually mean that CBD does not make a person feel high. However, the molecule does “affect the brain,” which is the very definition of “psychoactive.”

For instance, CBD is known to increase the baseline dopamine levels in the brain, which helps treat depression. To be clear, CBD and other naturally occurring molecules in the cannabis must be defined as “psychoactive,” because they do, in fact, affect the brain; however, they do not make a person buzzed, chill, high, stoned, or any other euphemism used to describe an altered state. Therefore, the potential for abuse of CBD is near zero.

“Full-spectrum CBD” products include not only CBD, but also many, most, or all of the over 100 other chemical compounds that are produced by this plant. Collectively these compounds are known as cannabinoids. Of them, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well known, being responsible for the high experienced by marijuana users.  Most interestingly, when full-spectrum complex’s are ingested, one molecule will act as a catalyst to a different molecule (occurring naturally in the hemp plant) to combine and create complex scaffoldings of of entirely new compounds.

The long-and-short of it is that CBD is one chemical compound naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain most or all of the other cannabinoids including some amount of THC unless otherwise indicated.

Merriam-Webster says:

a crystalline, nonintoxicating cannabinoid C21H30O2 found in cannabis and hemp that is sometimes used medicinally.


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