However, when cannabinoids are taken externally, it’s difficult to distinguish between the clinically desirable effects and the therapeutically undesirable effects of various phytocannabinoids. This is because cannabinoid receptors send a variety of signals that often interconnect to coordinate the body’s functions, so it’s hard to tell them apart.
With that being said, one is not necessarily better than the other. CBD can be much more welcoming for those who do not want the potential high that comes with THC. THC may also offer more than just a high, with studies suggesting that it may possess health benefits of its own. More recently, evidence has suggested that THC and CBD can work together through what is known as the “entourage effect”. Taken together, CBD, THC, and the other compounds found in cannabis become more than the sum of their parts, amplifying their effects and working in synergy to support better health and well-being. It’s fine if you want just CBD on its own, but pairing your CBD with some THC may actually be good for you and give you whole plant benefits.
CBD does not appear to have any psychotropic ("high") effects such as those caused by ∆9-THC in marijuana, but may have anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic effects. As the legal landscape and understanding about the differences in medical cannabinoids unfolds, experts are working to distinguish "medical marijuana" (with varying degrees of psychotropic effects and deficits in executive function) – from "medical CBD therapies” which would commonly present as having a reduced or non-psychoactive side-effect profile.
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There are thousands of unique varieties of hemp. The cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of CBD than others. Using these uniquely potent plants, it is possible to extract cannabis oil that contains significant levels of cannabidiol, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol has low affinity for the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, although it can act as an antagonist of CB1/CB2 agonists despite this low affinity. Cannabidiol may be an antagonist of GPR55, a G protein-coupled receptor and putative cannabinoid receptor that is expressed in the caudate nucleus and putamen in the brain. It also may act as an inverse agonist of GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12. CBD has been shown to act as a serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist. It is an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptors as well. The pharmacological effects of CBD may involve PPARγ agonism and intracellular calcium release.
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The good news is that numerous states have enacted legislation that allows for the use of CBD. Just four states (Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas) forbid any access to marijuana. Ten states and Washington, D.C., currently allow for both medical and recreational use of cannabis, including CBD products. The other 36 states allow for the use of medical cannabis in some form, though some of these relegate this to CBD oil only.
The two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system are CB1 and CB2. Where THC directly affects these receptors, CBD has a subtler, more indirect approach. Instead of attaching to these receptors, CBD affects how these receptors signal the body and its chemicals. Furthermore, CBD increases the production of the body’s own cannabinoids by blocking the enzymes that can break them down.
The 2014 Farm Bill legalized the sale of "non-viable hemp material" grown within states participating in the Hemp Pilot Program. This legislation defined hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% of THC delta-9, grown within the regulatory framework of the Hemp Pilot Program. The 2018 United States farm bill allowed for interstate commerce of hemp derived products, though these products still fall under the purview of the FDA.