What is CBD?

CBD Definition: CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating organic compound. 

CBD mimics chemicals your body makes that maintain emotional, cognitive, and physiological balance.

chemical structure of the cannabidiol molecule


CBD is one of 113 cannabinoid compounds naturally made by the cannabis plant. (2)

CBD properties


CBD is consistently relaxing.

CBD doesn’t have a euphoric “high” effect.

The euphoric high effect in marijuana comes from another cannabinoid called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

CBD and THC are entirely different compounds.

Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. (3)

CBD does not cause a euphoric feeling.  CBD causes a relaxing feeling.

When CBD and THC are taken together CBD down-regulates or counteracts some of the effects of THC.

This is especially true of the adverse effects of THC, like anxiety. (4)

cbd thc differences

THC and CBD have different effects because they interact with different parts of your nervous system.

When CBD and THC are taken together CBD down-regulates or counteracts some of the adverse effects of THC. tell a friend

CBD Health Benefits

CBD is a promising medicinal compound,

It has multitargeted effects on the nervous system and circulatory system.

cannabidiol mental health

People take CBD for:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • depression
  • relaxation
  • inflammation
  • appetite control
  • pain relief
  • skincare
  • and more

Studies show that CBD helps your natural regulatory system maintain your body in equilibrium.

CBD made from low THC cannabis was legalized federally in the 2018 Farm Bill. (5)

cannabidiol legal status

Legalization freed up researchers and grant money to study the medical benefits of CBD.

Since legalization, the NIH, universities, and scientific journals have published numerous studies on the medicinal benefits of CBD.

This is an exciting time for medical research into the benefits of CBD for those who can benefit from this natural compound.

There is even a 2019 NIH initiative launched specifically to study CBD.

Thsi initiative will also study minor cannabinoids and beneficial cannabis compounds called terpenes.

cbd pain treatment

Knowledge about the benefits of CBD is going mainstream but the question still persists, “how exactly does CBD work?”


How does CBD work?

How can one compound have so many effects?

The short answer: CBD works with one of your vital nervous systems that then regulates other systems in your body. (6)

This regulatory system affects everything from your emotional well being to pain relief. (7)

That vital system is called your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Notice the ‘cannabinoid’ part in the name endo-cannabinoid? More on that interesting part later.

The endocannabinoid system is part of your central nervous system.


cannabidiol mental health


It has vast abilities to affect your mood and health.

cannabidiol ECS benefit

CBD mimics the natural compounds your body makes already as part of your endocannabinoid signaling system.

Your body uses cannabinoids made in the body to send regulatory signals within your endocannabinoid system and throughout your nervous system. (8)

By consuming CBD (a type of cannabinoid), you boost your ECS’s regulatory abilities by the addition of more cannabinoids. 

So, rather than CBD causing a wide range of benefits itself, when you take CBD you are effecting how your ECS affects the rest of your body.

That’s the key to how CBD works.

It has an important effect on a part of your central nervous system.

Not so complicated, right?

CBD is all about boosting your body’s own regulatory systems.

More on your ECS regulatory system later…

First, what’s the exact legal status of CBD in the U.S.?



CBD Addiction Benefits

CBD is:

  • not habit-forming
  • not addictive

In fact, studies show CBD may decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings in opioid, alcohol, and tobacco addicts. (10)

cannabidiol withdrawal relapse effects



CBD vs. CBG vs. CBN

Hemp plants have over 113 cannabinoid compounds, many with health benefits.

It’s likely that CBD is used as a sort of shorthand for a variety of helpful effects from different cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant.

That’s why broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products are said to work better than CBD isolate.

Broad-spectrum CBD products retain most of the cannabinoid profile of a specific cannabis strain in the final product.

After more scientific study, we may find out that some of CBD’s effects are actually attributable to less studied cannabinoids like CBG or CBN.

Full-spectrum CBD oil is popular because it delivers the full cannabinoid profile of a specific CBD cannabis strain.

Full-spectrum products usually deliver maximum benefits.

CBD is also available in tincture form, isolate and wax concentrate (including live rosins).

CBD tinctures and isolates are usually consumed orally.

CBD wax or live rosin can be dabbed or added to your favorite meal recipe.

Check out this study which says dabbing is 394% more effective than smoking a CBD joint.

cannabidiol rosin extract

While CBD is the most well known, CBG and CBN are popular research topics in 2020 and gaining popularity in wellness circles.

Recent studies have shown CBG has pain and inflammation relieving properties especially useful for difficult to treat pain and neuropathic pain. (11)

cannabigerol inflammation benefits

Beyond treating pain, CBG’s inflammation benefits appear to slow brain aging.

According to the 2018 study below, CBG appears to have benefits for neurodegenerative diseases like dementia too. (12)

cannabigerol anti-inflammatory properties

According to the 2019 study below, CBN (cannabinol) is a strong sedative that helps with anxiety and insomnia. (13)

cannabinol insomnia anxiety


Additionally, NIH research shows that CBN is a promising treatment for PTSD in a 2016 study on cannabinoids. (14)

CBN PTSD study

Cannabinoids work by effecting a regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

In the next section, you’ll find out some surprising facts about your ECS and why its so important to your emotional and physical health.

You’ll also learn how you can use CBD to make yourself feel better and be healthier.

Why CBD Works


CBD works because it affects your endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an important part of your nervous system.

The ECS is found in your brain, spine, and throughout your body. (15)

Your ECS regulates:

  • appetite
  • mood (anxiety and depression)
  • stress reaction
  • sleep
  • pain
  • memory
  • fertility
  • aggression
  • confidence
  • fear
  • and even more

Your ECS constantly performs critical wellness functions to keep your body chemically balanced.

It also has an important role in emotional wellbeing and happiness. (16)

The ECS was discovered in 1992 which means it’s pretty new—even to most medical doctors.

Some claim only 5% of doctors received training on the ECS while in medical school.

So it’s up to you to educate yourself about CBD and your ECS.

Knowing about your ECS is an opportunity for you to have more control over your health and how you feel.

So…how do you want to use CBD to influence your ECS?

How are you going to put CBD to work and make yourself feel better?



Video: ECS Explained


I love this video.

Dr. Ruth Ross gives a  superb TED talk explaining the endocannabinoid system.

She quickly explains the important parts of the ECS with visuals and basic terminology.

I hate overly technical stuff.

That’s one reason I love this video.

The other is I like watching knowledgable people in their element.



CBD For Anxiety


Anxiety is defined as hypersensitivity to stimulation in a nonthreatening environment.

CBD helps shift the way your body responds to anxiety.

CBD works by signaling your endocannabinoid system to down-regulate anxious feelings, especially when they are getting out of control. (17)

CBD is consistently recognized as having an anxiolytic effect.

Anxiolytic is scientific term for a compound that has anxiety-reducing effects.

So, your endocannabinoid system actually affects anxiety and how you feel.

By affecting your endocannabinoid system, CBD can change your mood and even make you feel uplifted.

Or, CBD can relax you.

It does all this by affecting your endocannabinoid system.

CBD may even make you feel more confident. (18)



CBD for anxiety is one of the most frequent reasons people take cannabidiol.



The 2015 study below reports CBD has results even in cases of severe anxiety disorders. (19)




CBD For Depression


CBD may benefit depression. (20)

According to recent research, CBD affects the compounds serotonin and dopamine in the brain.



Serotonin and dopamine are the same compounds in the brain that many pharmaceuticals act upon to treat clinical depression.

Taking CBD for depression may have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs.

Check out this guide to CBD for depression research.


The 2019 study below found that CBD induces rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects by effecting nervous system signaling in the brain. (21)



While drugs take up to 6 weeks to start working, doctors claim CBD will start to affect depression symptoms within 24-48 hours.

I have also heard interviews from family doctors who say anecdotally that CBD works better for depression than pharmaceuticals.



CBD For Pain


CBD relieves pain in different ways than powerful opioids do.

CBD relieves pain without intoxicating you.

It won’t make your thinking foggy like an opioid painkiller.

With CBD, you can expect to keep a clear head throughout the day.

CBD feels more like it disrupts pain without the resulting “high.”

CBD doesn’t have the drawbacks you may come to expect from opioid painkillers.

CBD is non-addictive, non-habit forming, and non-intoxicating.

CBD may even be a potential treatment for opioid abuse.

CBD can diminish cravings and anxiety associated with opioid withdrawal symptoms. (21)



According to the 2018 study below, CBD effects how pain is transmitted through the nervous system to the brain. (22)



CBD may also affect the source of the pain, especially when the pain is caused by chronic inflammation.

CBD and cannabis terpenes have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Chronic inflammation can result in many types of hard to treat pain.

By reducing inflammation, CBD may be especially suited for relieving neuropathic pain. (23)



Reducing inflammation with CBD may have other health benefits too.

Inflammation can cause cardiovascular disease and premature brain aging. (24)



And the research into pain management with cannabidiol is just getting started.

This press release from the NIH on September 19, 2019, announces a new NIH cannabinoid research initiative.



NIH will study pain management techniques using cannabinoids compounds and terpenes from cannabis.

In the next section, you’ll see how to use CBD and terpenes to affect your mood, relaxation, confidence, and more…

How CBD Works

Stick with me in this section. 

Understanding the interaction between CBD and your endocannabinoid system is important.

Knowing this biology gives you the power to control your own CBD benefits.

Do you take CBD for pain or relaxation?

Maybe you take CBD to uplift your mood?

The goal of this guide is to make sure you get the CBD benefits you want.

This section will be simple and quick.

It’ll focus on only what matters.

Let’s get started.



Endocannabinoid Receptors

Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two main types of cannabinoid receptors.

Dr. Ruth Ross from the video above tells you to think of cannabinoid receptors like a “lock.”

She says, think of CBD like a “key.”

When CBD comes in contact with the right receptor, it unlocks the lock.

That means, CBD binds to the receptor and sends a signal that releases to the endocannabinoid system make a change in how your body is regulating itself.

Not too technical, right?

TIP: Watch Dr. Ruth Ross’s Video for a simple explanation of how cannabinoids work


Different Cannabinoids, Different Benefits

Different types of cannabinoids bond with different receptors.

That’s why different cannabinoids cause different benefits

THC (the cannabinoid that causes a “high,” euphoric feeling) unlocks the CB1 receptor.

CBD (the non-intoxicating cannabinoid that “relaxes you“) unlocks the CB2 receptor.

That’s the difference between the two.

THC and CBD have different effects because they “unlock” different cannabinoid receptors.

That said, CBD also regulates how THC interacts with the THC receptor (CB1 receptor).

CBD down regulates how THC bonds with its CB1 cannabinoid receptor. (25)

This means that if THC gives you anxiety-like feelings, CBD can calm those feelings.

But, things don’t work the other way around.

THC does not affect the CBD receptor (CB2).

Only CBD can affect both CB1 and CB2 receptors.


Unfortunately, THC doesn’t always make people feel good. 

Sometimes THC causes anxiety instead of a euphoric feeling.

When this happens, it’s actually the THC that is making people feel anxious. (26)

Some people quit smoking marijuana completely because of these anxious feelings.

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause anxious feelings. 

In fact, it has the opposite effect.

CBD relaxes people and has an anti-anxiety effect which is consistently shown in the medical literature. (27)

When CBD and THC are present at the same time, CBD calms anxious feelings caused by THC.

Medical professionals say that CBD “modulates down” how THC and the CB1 receptor interact. (28)

However technical doctors want to say it, the result is that CBD consistently provides a more relaxing experience from medical marijuana.


How are you doing?

Not too bad, right?

The next section has some AMAZING insights.



We’ve been talking about “cannabinoids” as if they come from hemp.

That’s not exactly correct.

Cannabinoids are actually something that your body makes naturally.

They’re how your endocannabinoid system sends signals within your body to regulate itself.

Cannabinoids are naturally part of how your endo-cannabinoid system regulates your body.

The cannabinoids that your body makes are called endogenous cannabinoids. (29)

The cannabinoids that come from hemp (like CBD, CBG, CBN) are really called phytocannabinoids.

“Phyto” means comes from plants.

So, CBD is actually a phytocannabinoid because it’s a cannabinoid that comes from a plant—the hemp plant.

The AMAZING thing is that phytocannabinoids like CBD are practically the exact same compound as the cannabinoids created by your body.

In fact, cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids are so similar your body can’t tell them apart. (30)

That’s the magic of hemp.

It’s practically the only plant that creates the same cannabinoid compounds that your body uses to regulate itself.

Hemp creates the chemicals our body’s use to regulate:

  • appetite
  • pain
  • memory
  • muscle recovery
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • confidence
  • fertility
  • inflammation
  • and more

That’s why CBD works.

It mimics the compounds in your body and gives you more control over your ECS.

You can use cannabinoids to boost or diminish the self-regulatory functions controlled by your ECS. (31)

Hemp essentially makes natural copies of the signaling compounds your body already uses to regulate itself.

That’s how taking hemp cannabinoids can put you in more control of your own health and mood.

Hemp is a pretty amazing plant, right?

A plant makes the same chemicals that are key to controlling how we feel and maintain our homeostasis.

It’s like some sort of magic.

However you want to look at it, hemp cannabinoids are a wellness breakthrough.

Let’s make sure you get the precise benefits you want.

Powerful Terpenes


Hemp makes additional helpful compounds other than cannabinoids.

Hemp is also full of beneficial terpenes.

If you’re interested in learning more about terpenes and how to pair them with cannabinoids to maximize the entourage effect, check out our scientific terpene guide here.

Terpenes are natural compounds that give high CBD hemp strains their delicious flavors and aroma.

The same terpenes in hemp are found in fruits and vegetables as well as essential oils used in aromatherapy. (32)

Like CBD, terpenes have health and mood benefits of their own.


Terpene Mood Benefits


According to the 2016 study below, limonene is a terpene that has an uplifting effect on mood simply as a result of its appealing odor. (33)


Limonene is naturally found in hemp and citrus.

Other terpenes have different benefits, like relaxation.

Linalool is a popular terpene that is found in lavender with anti-anxiety benefits. (34)


Additionally, linalool has a stress-relieving and relaxing effect according to multiple studies.

That’s just a few of hemp’s terpenes and their effect on mood.

There are many terpenes that affect mood and have surprising health benefits.



Terpene Health Benefits


Terpenes have a broad range of health benefits.

Terpene health benefits include:

Terpenes are useful in inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis, treating scars, and cosmetics. (35)

Terpenes can even help protect the brain from neurodegenerative effects of aging. (36)


If you want to get more benefits from your CBD oil try adding terpenes.

Which terpenes should you add?

Check out our guide right here to the 16 important terpenes in hemp plants.

Its a simple, quick, searchable reference for everything you need to know about hemp terpenes and their benefits.



Terpene Entourage Effect


Terpenes lengthen and strengthen the benefits you get from CBD.

You can add hemp terpenes to your CBD oil or tincture to increase the benefits you get from CBD.

When terpenes and CBD are taken together, they increase the effects of both.

This is called the “entourage effect” and it has broad benefits for mood disorders and anxiety. (37)

The entourage effect is strongest when you consume full-spectrum CBD products.

In our experience dabbing CBD wax and live rosin has the ultimate entourage effect and is the most efficient method of consumption.

CBD wax contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and the complete terpene profile found in a hemp strain.

I’m also a chef so I love infusing CBD wax into delicious recipes.


Doesn’t CBD rosin look like honey?

Potent hemp wax is full of flavorful terpenes and concentrated CBD.

CBD Health Benefits


A new initiative to study minor cannabinoids is underway now at the National Institutes of Health.

NIH researchers are publishing new CBD health benefits every month.

Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the latest CBD findings in 2020 and 2019.


CBD Sleep Benefits


Studies show cannabidiol may benefit sleep initiation and sleep duration. (38)

Taking CBD for sleep helps sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia.

CBD works because it gets to the root problems causing your insomnia.

Check out this scientific guide to CBD (cannabidiol) benefits for insomnia here.

CBD effects the causes of insomnia including anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation. (39)

CBG, or cannabigerol, is another cannabinoid with benefits for insomnia. (40)

If you’re interested in more information on CBG (cannabigerol) benefits check out this comprehensive guide here.



CBD Exercise Benefits


Your ECS promotes the euphoric feeling you get from a hard workout. (41)

You know that feeling—it’s called runner’s high.


Runner’s high is a reward from your body for strenuous exercise.

It can lead to uplifting effects on mood and minimized depressed feelings.

Interesting 2016 CBD research into motivation and the mind-muscle connection is especially promising. (42)



There are many disorders for which the research above could be helpful.

Or, use CBD to supercharge your task motivation to be more productive and get more done.


CBD For Pain


CBD effects pain and changes how pain signals are relayed to the brain.  (43)

By disrupting pain signals, your ECS can relieve pain.

Cannabidiol pain-relieving properties are currently being studied for:

  • chronic pain
  • difficult to treat pain
  • palliative care
  • neuropathic pain.


CBD Fertility Benefits


Research shows cannabinoids affect embryo implantation and uterine receptivity. (44)

If cannabinoid levels in the uterus are either too low or too high then the likelihood of pregnancy is reduced.

The proper function of the endocannabinoid system is about balance.

This extends to the reproduction benefits of CBD.



CBD Immune System Benefits


The ECS affects how your immune system responds to infection. (45)

White blood cells are critical to proper immune system function.

They’re your main defenders from infection.



CBD also benefits your immune system by helping you sleep and recover.

Anxiety, stress and worry are all contributing factors to immune suppression. (46)

You are less likely to get sick if you are well rested physically and mentally.


CBD Anxiety Benefits


2017 CBD research shows cannabidiol modulates your ECS to help with anxious feelings and even panic attacks. (47)

If you struggle with anxiety check out this scientific guide to the latest medical studies.

cannabidiol guide to anxiety benefits based on latest medical studies recent to 2020


CBN is a powerful sedative and mildly psychoactive cannabinoid with even stronger anti-anxiety effects. (48)

CBN is non-habit forming and not addictive.

Research says CBN is about 10% as intoxicating as THC.



CBD Metabolism Benefits


Cannabidiol has a critical signaling role within your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your ECS regulates:

  • appetite
  • lipogenesis
  • anabolic processes
  • energy storage
  • energy expenditure 

Endocannabinoids are critical to controlling your metabolic rate and available energy. (49)





CBD Appetite Effects


There is a direct connection between appetite, CBD and food pleasure.

Some cannabinoids have been shown to increase hunger (THC) while others can suppress appetite and counter the tendency toward overconsumption in animal models. (50)

Cannabinoids also appear to affect the pleasure received from consuming food.




CBD Memory Effects


The ECS appears to have a significant role in long term memory creation. (51)

Additionally, CBD appears to regulate fear memory formation.

Proper regulation (extinguishing) of fear memory may play an important role in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (52)

Traumatic memory destruction is an important function of the endocannabinoid system.

The ability to properly extinguish traumatic memories promotes wellbeing.

According to the 2019 medical study below, CBD helps PTSD by relieving anxiety from traumatic memories and potentially diminishing their recurrence. (53)

Though the mechanism is not fully understood, studies show that CBD may help to decrease the lifespan or immediate availability of traumatic memories.

Uncontrollable recurrence of traumatic memories is one of the main symptoms of PTSD.

Interested in a guide to the latest studies on CBD benefits for PTSD?  Click here.

CBD Side Effects

CBD adverse effects and toxicity are generally minimal.

Side effects of cannabidiol include:

  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • low blood pressure
  • drowsiness

The symptoms are reported as infrequent to rare.

CBD is generally well tolerated.

If CBD side effects do occur, you should stop taking cannabidiol or consult a doctor.

A survey of CBD research shows most participants continue taking CBD to completion of the study.

This lends evidence to the idea that CBD generally has a low occurrence of substantial side effects.

Evidence from these studies shows CBD side effects are generally minimal with CBD benefits outweighing adverse effects such that most people do not discontinue taking the CBD product.


CBD Dosage


According to a 2019 study, CBD is tolerated across a wide dosing range.

CBD research shows that taking up to 1500mg/day orally showed no psychomotor slowing, vital sign abnormalities or negative mood effects. (54)



Video: How To Dose CBD

Check out this quick video by Dr. Liptan on finding your right CBD dosage.



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