So what is the part of the marijuana plant that has all of these great health benefits? Well, it is not the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That is the part of the plant responsible for the psycho-active, paranoia inducing effects of regular weed. The plant derivative that I am referring to is the cannabidiol (CBD), which is a major component of the cannabis plant accounting for up to 40% of the plant makeup.
So how does CBD work in your body? Get ready for the boring science stuff. CBD acts as an agonist on a receptor called the 5-HT1A receptor. This is how CBD actually works as an antidepressant with anti-anxiety and neuroprotective effects. It also serves as what is called an “allosteric modulator” of your opioid receptors, which is how it works to remove pain and reduce the effects of chronic inflammation. Other positive medical effects of CBD (there’s over 60 of them) are due to increased intracellular calcium release and agonism of another receptor called the PPAR-γ receptor. CBD also has really strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, due primarily to its effects on your adenosine receptors and cytochrome P-450 and 2C enzymes.
So with all of these great health benefits, there must be a downside right? Perhaps it is addictive? Or is it unsafe or Illegal? The answer to these questions is No, No and No.
- First, there is zero evidence anywhere that CBD is addictive because CBD does not act on any receptors in the brain that would produce addiction.
- Secondly, between 1960 and 2000, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Medical, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, spent the majority of his professional life studying cannabis. The result of his research can be found in his book “Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine“. Throughout his research, Dr. Grinspoon didn’t find one single case of death, stating that, “There are no deaths from cannabis use. Anywhere. You can’t find one.”
- As for the legality of CBD, cannabidiol is a far different chemical than cannabinol or THC, and because of that, can’t fall into the class of being a controlled drug, thus making it legal in all 50 states.