Hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis family, a plant classification that includes many species. Cannabis sativa is one of the most well-known in the cannabis family. The compound cannabidiol or CBD is one of many compounds organically found in the cannabis sativa plant.

There are more than 100 active cannabinoids in hemp cannabis sativa. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant of the cannabinoids in the plant. They distinguish it from the other cannabinoids by extremely low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the cannabis family. Some CBD oil may contain up to 0.3 percent THC.

Although cannabidiol (CBD) is present in leaves, flower buds, and stems of a variety of cannabis plants including marijuana, the industrial hemp plant is the source of CBD oil with no THC. The U.S. Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp CBD products in 2014; therefore, it is legal to ship CBD oil derived from industrial hemp anywhere in the United States.

CBD has been the subject of human health research studies to relieve pain, prevent or reduce inflammation, help to regulate immune responses, inhibit malignant cells and cancer prevention.

Certain types of epilepsy, anxiety, bipolar disorder, dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia are some of the health conditions being studied.

Under research conditions cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits the following chemical interactions with the human body:

• Tends to inhibit unnatural cell growth
• Prevents or inhibits unnatural formation or modification of blood vessels
• Promotes or causes a genetically directed process of natural healthy cell self-destruction
• Has anti-psychoactive properties which may counter the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and reduce symptoms of conditions such as schizophrenia
• Contains anti-seizure properties
• Complements normal metabolism of oxygen which is important in normal and constant cell signaling

Not only humans but all vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system. In 1997 scientists identified CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid protein-coupled receptors. Receptors act within our cells as molecular switches that transmit signals from various stimuli outside our cells to the interior of the cells. They have since discovered that the endocannabinoid system involves the flow of electrical signals on the plasma membrane of various cell types. CB1 receptors are located in our nervous system. CB2 receptors are present throughout our bodies. These receptors are involved with pain, appetite, memory, stress and mood, metabolism, sleep, immunity, and reproduction. The plant cannabinoids appear to mimic and support the sweeping and varied functions of our own natural endocannabinoid system.

Unlike most synthetic pharmaceutical compounds CBD side effects are very few and do not have adverse effects on:

• Body temperature
• Heart rate
• Blood pressure
• pH levels
• Glucose levels
• Red blood cell volume
• Oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange between the lungs and bloodstream
• Potassium and sodium levels
• Central nervous system
• Vomiting action and digestion time

The known CBD side effects found through research are minimal and include dry mouth, lightheadedness, hunger, euphoria, red eyes, lower blood pressure, drowsiness, and fatigue.

For more information on the benefits of CBD, check out our post here on how CBD helps the brain.