What is CBD (Cannabidiol)? - Leaf Science

Friday, Sep 21, 2018

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CBD and THC are the two primary active ingredients in marijuana.

You may be familiar with the most prominent and well-known components of cannabis: THC. THC has many effects on the body, and is the compound responsible for getting you high when you consume cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, is less present in cannabis. CBD has its own effects on the body, and is becoming increasingly popular for medical uses.

Here we explore the history, effects, controversy and scientific knowledge behind CBD.

Chemical structure of cannabidiol (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 naturally-occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. After THC, it is the most prominent component of cannabis and is found most readily in hemp.

Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high” that cannabis use is known for. It is therefore generally used more for medicinal rather than recreational purposes.


Although cannabis use has been documented as far back as 2727 B.C.E.1, it wasn’t until the 1940s that chemist Roger Adams first isolated CBD from the cannabis plant2.

(Photo: Shutterstock) (Photo: Gordon Swanson/Shutterstock) Neuroprotective Reduces cancer cell growth Reduces inflammation Alzheimer’s Disease- anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, prevents cell death in cell and animal models of Alzheimer’s Anxiety- reduces muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and concentration problems Cancer- may have protective effects in breast cancer, slows growth of many other types of cancer Cardiovascular disease- reduces size of damaged area via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in cell and animal models Chron’s disease and Inflammatory bowel disease- reduction in disease activity Depression- Anti-depressant in genetic rodent model of depression, some human evidence as well Diabetes- Improved secondary effects on the heart (heart attack, fibrosis) Digestion- stimulates appetite, an important factor for those suffering from illnesses that decrease appetite Epilepsy- Anticonvulsant, reduction in seizures for both children and adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy Huntington’s Disease- Neuroprotective, antioxidant in mice, no current observed benefits to humans Hypoxia-Ischemia Injury- Short term neuroprotective effects, inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation in rodent models Inflammatory disease- Anti-inflammatory in cell and animal models, inhibition of cellular inflammatory pathways Infection- Activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (antibiotic- resistant MRSA) Nausea and Vomiting –  Effective against chemotherapy and other therapy-induced nausea, suppression of nausea in rats Multiple Sclerosis- Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulation in mice Pain- Analgesic for patients with treatment-resistant neuropathic pain Parkinson’s Disease- Attenuation of dopaminergic impairment in animal models, neuroprotection, reduced agitation, nightmares and aggressive behaviour in humans Rheumatoid Arthritis- Inhibition of TNF-a in animal models (a protein involved in inflammation) Schizophrenia- Relief from psychotic symptoms Social Anxiety- Improved social interactions in rodent models of anxiety and stress, reduced social anxiety in humans (Photo: poylock19/Shutterstock) See Also SIGN UP