Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, is developing a reputation as the cure of the moment. But science knows very little about what it does in the human body. Therefore, the operation of this drug – even if it works – is a mystery.
There is one exception: tests of a medical cannabidiol oil (also known as CBD) called Epidiolex show that it can reduce seizures caused by certain types of epilepsy. A committee of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended this week to approve Epidiolex as a new drug.
What is CBD?
Cannabis contains more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The best known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD (cannabidiol).
On the other hand, our bodies contain receptors for cannabinoids. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, and CB2 receptors are found in other types of cells, including those in the immune system and the digestive system. We have these receptors because we also have endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids that our body produces naturally.