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What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabis leaf with CBD molecular structure

Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp, CBD’s popularity has grown immensely. Yet despite the prevalence of CBD, many people still wonder, “what is cannabidiol?” Simply, cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. But ongoing research has supported the potential health benefits of cannabidiol and helped scientists understand how CBD works in the brain, meaning our understanding has grown even in the past few years.

How Cannabidiol Works Infographic

The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids—which is a type of chemical compound—found in the cannabis plant. Pharmacologists have studied CBD since the 1940s, but only in the past few decades have researchers examined its possible interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps regulate bodily functions, including immune responses and lessening inflammation. Every person has an ECS, even if they don’t consume hemp-derived products. Although its exact role is still the subject of scientific study, CBD has shown some influence on the endocannabinoid system, lessening the inflammation that leads to pain.

How CBD Works in the Body

CBD is carried through the body on the same fatty acid-binding proteins that carry our natural, internally made endocannabinoids. But what is cannabidiol doing as it travels the body? Cannabidiol interacts with a variety of the body’s non-cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters. In other words, CBD affects the messages moving throughout the body to the brain, not entirely dissimilar to how an algorithm affects which posts you see first on a social media feed. CBD may cause you to “see” less of a pain signal in your body.

CBD and the Brain

Hand with medical glove holding cannabis leaves

So, how does cannabidiol work in the brain? CBD has more than 65 molecular targets, or molecules that it enhances, inhibits, or interacts with. As a result, particular signals are transmitted more or less than they otherwise would be throughout the body. These chemical processes may cause CBD to function like an antidepressant or anti-inflammatory pain medication. One can think of the brain as a giant soundboard, and CBD may turn the volume up or down on certain signals moving throughout the body, leading to less pain and more even emotional responses. As researchers continue to explore what cannabidiol is and how it precisely interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it’s best to speak with your physician to see how CBD may affect you given your individual health history.

How Texas 420 Can Help

Now that we know the medical definition of what cannabidiol is, we also know that medical cannabis can potentially have positive health outcomes in managing symptoms of conditions like cancer, PTSD, ALS, and more. If you’re a resident of Texas, you can see if you qualify for medical cannabis in less than 60 seconds. Then, you can schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified, CURT-registered physicians. We’ll discuss your condition in a private, secure online appointment to determine if you may benefit from medical cannabis.