Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in a cannabis plant. Both CBD and THC belong to a unique class of compounds known as cannabinoids.
While many strains of marijuana are known for having abundant levels of THC, high-CBD strains are less common. THC is probably best known for being the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD does not get you high. This unique feature of CBD is what makes it so appealing as a medicine.
THC is known to cause some people to feel anxious or paranoid, but CBD is believed to have the opposite effect. Studies show that CBD works to counteract the anxiety caused by ingesting THC. A number of studies also suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety when administered on its own.
In addition to being non-psychoactive, CBD seems to have antipsychotic properties. Researchers believe that CBD may protect marijuana users from getting too high by reducing the psychosis-like effects of THC. On its own, CBD is being tested as an antipsychotic medicine for people with schizophrenia.
One of the most common uses of cannabis is as a sleep aid. THC is believed to be responsible for most of marijuana’s sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, studies suggest CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a poor choice as a sleep medicine. The opposite effects of CBD and THC on sleep may explain why some strains of cannabis cause users to feel drowsy while others are known to boost energy.
While most countries have strict laws surrounding cannabis and THC, the legal status of CBD is less clear. In the United States, CBD is technically illegal since it is classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. A pharmaceutical form of CBD, called Epidiolex, was only recently cleared by the FDA to be tested in children with severe epilepsy.
CBD is also found in hemp, which can be legally imported and sold in the U.S. Some companies have taken advantage of this loophole by importing high-CBD hemp extracts from other countries where hemp is produced.