What CBD Actually Does to Your Body: The Essential Breakdown

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has gained significant popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. As more people turn to CBD for its natural, therapeutic effects, it is crucial to understand how it impacts the body and its potential benefits and risks.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, such as mood, sleep, pain, and immune function. By modulating this system, CBD has been found to help alleviate symptoms for a range of health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and chronic pain. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating CBD into a health regimen, as its effectiveness and safety are still being researched, and the appropriate dosage may vary according to individual needs.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant, offering potential health benefits without the “high.”
  • It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, helping to regulate physiological processes and alleviate symptoms for various health conditions.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD for its potential benefits, as research on its effectiveness and safety is still ongoing.

Understanding CBD and Its Components

Chemical Profile of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, which includes both hemp and marijuana varieties. It is one of over 100 identified cannabinoids in the plant, along with other components such as terpenes and phytocannabinoids1. CBD has emerged as a popular natural remedy due to its potential therapeutic properties.

CBD products are usually derived from the hemp plant, which has a higher concentration of CBD and lower levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound2. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body plays a vital role in regulating various physiological and cognitive processes, which include pain, inflammation, mood, and sleep2. CBD interacts with the ECS receptors, thereby influencing these processes.

Difference Between CBD and THC

The primary distinction between CBD and THC lies in their psychoactive effects. While THC is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana, CBD does not have the same intoxicating properties3. This is because CBD and THC interact differently with the ECS.

THC binds directly to the CB1 receptor, which is predominantly found in the brain. This binding action leads to the euphoric effects or the “high” associated with marijuana use3. On the other hand, CBD has a more complicated interaction with the ECS. It can indirectly influence the CB1 and CB2 receptors and modulate the effects of THC, reducing its psychoactive properties3.

Table: CBD vs. THC

Property CBD THC
Psychoactive No Yes3
Source Hemp2 Marijuana
ECS Interaction Indirect influence on CB1 and CB23 Direct binding to CB13
Legal Status Legal on a federal level in the US4 Not legal on a federal level in the US4

In summary, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, known for its potential therapeutic properties. It interacts with the ECS, regulating numerous physiological and cognitive processes. On the other hand, THC is a psychoactive compound responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Understanding the differences between CBD and THC is crucial for consumers looking to explore the potential benefits of cannabis-based products without experiencing the psychoactive effects associated with THC.

The Effects of CBD on Various Health Conditions

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that is being widely studied for its potential health benefits. This non-psychoactive component is thought to have a positive impact on various health conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and cancer. In this section, we will explore the effects of CBD on each of these conditions.

CBD and Chronic Pain

CBD has been found to be effective in managing chronic pain by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating pain and inflammation. It is believed that CBD can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that patients who use CBD for pain management have experienced a decrease in their reliance on traditional pain medications. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential of CBD in chronic pain relief.

CBD’s Role in Anxiety and Depression

Research suggests that CBD may have a positive effect on patients suffering from anxiety and depression. CBD is thought to interact with the serotonin receptors in the brain, which is responsible for regulating mood and emotions. By modulating these receptors, CBD may help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression in some cases. Nonetheless, it is important to bear in mind that CBD is not a cure for these mental health disorders, and further research is necessary to establish its efficacy in treating them.

Epilepsy and CBD

The FDA has approved a CBD-based medication called Epidiolex for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials have shown that patients who used Epidiolex experienced a significant reduction in seizure frequency, making CBD an effective alternative treatment option for some people with epilepsy. However, the long-term effects of CBD on epilepsy treatment and its potential interactions with other medications need further investigation.

Potential CBD Benefits for Cancer

Preliminary research indicates that CBD may provide some health benefits in cancer patients, such as reducing the severity of cancer-related symptoms and side effects of chemotherapy, like pain and nausea. Additionally, some studies have suggested that CBD might have anti-tumor properties and the potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, it is crucial to note that these studies are still in their early stages, and more extensive research is required to validate these claims.

In conclusion, CBD has shown promise in treating a variety of health conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and cancer. Nonetheless, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks associated with CBD usage. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any CBD treatment.

CBD Consumption Methods and Dosage

Varieties of CBD Products

CBD products come in various forms, targeting different preferences and needs. Some popular types include CBD oil, which is typically combined with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil. CBD oil can be consumed sublingually or added to food and drinks. Another option is capsules, which offer a convenient and discreet method of consumption. Tinctures are similar to oils but usually contain alcohol, and can also be taken sublingually or added to food and beverages. For those who prefer a tasty treat, gummies come infused with CBD and can be easily incorporated into daily routines. Lastly, you can consume CBD through inhalation methods, such as smoking or vaping.

Determining the Right Dosage

Finding the appropriate dosage of CBD depends on several factors, including the consumer’s body weight, the severity of the condition, and the product’s potency. It is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase until the desired effects are achieved. As a general guideline, consider the following table based on body weight and severity level:

Body Weight Low Severity Medium Severity High Severity
<25 lbs 4.5 mg 6 mg 9 mg
26-45 lbs 6 mg 9 mg 12 mg
46-85 lbs 9 mg 12 mg 15 mg
86-150 lbs 12 mg 18 mg 22.5 mg
151-240 lbs 18 mg 27 mg 33.5 mg
>241 lbs 22.5 mg 45 mg 45 mg

Keep in mind that this table is a general guideline, and it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice on CBD dosage. Additionally, be sure to follow the product’s recommendations and track your progress to find the most effective dose for your individual needs.

When using CBD oils, it is crucial to calculate the appropriate dosage by understanding the potency of your product. For example, you can utilize a CBD dosage calculator based on the total milligrams of CBD content in the bottle, suggested serving size, and the desired dosage.

In conclusion, there are various CBD consumption methods available, catering to diverse preferences and needs. Determining the right dosage primarily depends on factors such as body weight, severity level, and product potency. It is essential to start low, gradually increase, and consult a healthcare professional to ensure the safe and effective use of CBD products.

Side Effects and Interactions of CBD

Common Side Effects

CBD is generally well tolerated, but it can cause some side effects. The most common ones include drowsiness, fatigue, and dry mouth. Some people may also experience gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, reduced appetite, and nausea 1(https://www.verywellmind.com/potential-side-effects-of-cbd-5072819). It is important to note that the severity of the side effects may vary among individuals and can depend on factors like dosage, frequency of use, and overall health status.

Individuals with diabetes should be aware that CBD may have the potential to affect blood sugar levels and monitor their glucose levels closely 2(https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700). Similarly, those with generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder should consult with their healthcare professional before using CBD, as it may affect the way their prescription medications work.

Interactions with Medications

CBD has the potential to interact with other medications 3(https://www.webmd.com/cannabinoids/cbd-safety-tips-side-effects). It may slow down the body’s ability to break down certain drugs, which could result in increased levels of the medication in the body and potentially lead to more side effects. One such example is the interaction with blood thinners, which could increase the risk of bleeding 4(https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700).

If you are taking any prescription drugs, it’s important to speak with your healthcare professional before starting to use CBD. They can help determine the appropriate dosage, timing, and any potential interactions with your current medications.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations for CBD

CBD Legal Status

The legal status of cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States is complex, as it depends on the source of the CBD and its THC content. The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp with no more than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which resulted in CBD derived from hemp being legal as well. However, CBD derived from cannabis plants with higher THC concentrations remains illegal in many states. It is crucial for consumers to be aware of the local regulations governing the use of CBD products as laws vary from state to state.

FDA Regulation on CBD Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the safety of CBD products. While the FDA has approved medications such as Epidiolex and Sativex, which contain CBD, they have not approved CBD as a supplement or ingredient for use in food. Therefore, the marketing and sale of CBD as a dietary supplement or food additive are not allowed.

Nonetheless, many CBD products are available for sale, ranging from dietary supplements to cosmetics. The FDA has been monitoring the market and has issued warning letters to companies marketing CBD products with unproven health claims such as treating Alzheimer’s disease or inhibiting cancer cell growth. It is important for consumers to be cautious when purchasing CBD products, as the FDA cannot guarantee their safety or effectiveness.

In summary, the legal and regulatory landscape surrounding CBD is complex, with distinctions between hemp and cannabis-derived products impacting their legality and the FDA’s oversight on their safety and effectiveness. Consumers should be knowledgeable about the local regulations governing CBD use and exercise caution when selecting CBD products to ensure they are purchasing safe and legally compliant items.


  1. How CBD Works 2
  2. What Does CBD REALLY Do to the Body? 2 3 4
  3. A Beginner’s Breakdown: Why and How Does CBD Work? 2 3 4 5 6 7
  4. Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t 2 3