Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids identified within the Cannabis plant. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the Cannabis plant's extract, that binds to a wide variety of physiological targets of the endocannabinoid system within the body. Although the exact medical implications are currently being investigated, CBD has shown promise as a therapeutic and pharmaceutical drug target. In particular, CBD has shown promise as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, antipsychotic and has shown neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity, among other currently investigated uses [6, 5]. CBD's exact place within medical practice is still currently hotly debated, however as the body of evidence grows and legislation changes to reflect its wide-spread use, public and medical opinion have changed significantly with regards to its usefulness in a number of medical conditions ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
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In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.