Cannabinoid Clinic: CBD

Updated: 4 days ago

Welcome to Cannabinoid Clinic, an education project powered by Higher Learning LV. This series provides cannabis and hemp industry professionals with easily digested cannabinoid profiles that ask little of your time—but provide plenty of science-based information.


There are two categories of cannabinoids: Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced by cannabis/marijuana/hemp, while endocannabinoids are made by the human body. This series covers both.

CBD molecular structure


What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the result of CBDA, the acidic precursor for this famous cannabinoid. It is considered a major cannabinoid produced by hemp because it typically dominates other cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


CBD has been shown to be of value to patients who suffer seizure activity (including epileptics), anxiety, and sleep disorders. It has also exhibited anti-inflammatory powers and research has revealed that it buffers the effects of THC, sometimes preventing the anxiety and paranoia that can result from this cannabinoid, especially when consumed by novices and in potent doses.


"CBD has been shown to be of value to patients who suffer seizure activity (including epileptics), anxiety, and sleep disorders."

Modern commercial and underground cultivars of loose-leaf hemp flower typically contain 12-30+ percent CBD. Many examples of the hemp plant have been bred and cultivated with the intent of maximizing the production of CBD.


CBD History

CBD was first isolated by celebrity U.S. chemist Roger Adams in 1940. In the same year, Adams and Lord Todd in the United Kingdom synthesized the cannabinoid CBN.

U.S. chemist Roger Adams in 1940


In 1963 through 1965, a group of Israeli scientists led by Raphael Mechoulam isolated and synthesized CBD and THC, renewing international academic interest in the compounds produced by the hemp plant. The pioneering work of Mechoulam and his team led to the discoveries of more than 100 phytocannabinoids, a scientific exploration that continues to this day.

Image courtesy Dr. Raphael Mechoulam


CBD Fast Facts

  • Role: Results from CBDA

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGA > CBDA > CBD

  • Psychoactivity: Mildly psychoactive (anti-anxiety)

  • Acidic precursor: CBDA

  • Boiling point: 329° F

  • Primary medical benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antianxiety, anticonvulsant

Biosynthetic pathway of CBD


CBD Medicinal Benefits

Like many cannabinoids, the primary potential medicinal benefits of CBD are numerous and include benefits for patients with anxiety and sleep disorders—among other conditions and disorders.


A 2010 study entitled "Neural Basis of Anxiolytic Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) in Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder: A Preliminary Report" reported that prior studies indicate that CBD "has anxiolytic (anxiety preventing and reducing) properties," but that no research to date has investigated the effects of CBD "on human pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms."


Relative to placebo, "CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety."

Relative to placebo, "CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety," The study's authors concluded that their results "suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in social anxiety disorder and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas."

A 2019 study entitled "A Review of Human Studies Assessing Cannabidiol's (CBD) Therapeutic Actions and Potential" explored potential positive outcomes from therapeutic use of CBD for different diseases and conditions. It found weak scientific evidence of the value of CBD for a number of conditions, but reported that the "control of refractory seizures is a clear exception." It noted that "strong evidence" exists of CBD's benefit for seizure control.


The study noted that CBD may be helpful for reducing anxiety. It also reported that the use of CBD is not risk free for all users, with primary adverse events being somnolence (sleepiness) and gastrointestinal issues.


A 2020 study entitled "The Proposed Mechanisms of Action of CBD in Epilepsy" found that CBD has been shown to "demonstrate positive effects against a wide spectrum of seizures." The research reported that the "precise mechanism of action of CBD in humans remains unknown," but that multiple cellular receptor targets likely interact with CBD to result in its anticonvulsive properties, including GPR55 receptors and TRPV1 receptors.


"This study considered the role of CBD in the treatment of various types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder."

A 2020 study entitled "Use of Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Anxiety-related Disorders" explored the ability of CBD to effectively treat anxiety. The design of this study was that of a literature view that analyzed previous research on the topic and leveraged the resources PubMed, Google Scholar, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts from their inception through June 2019.


This study considered the role of CBD in the treatment of various types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. "In the studies, CBD was administered orally as a capsule or as a sublingual spray," reported the researches. In terms of its safety profile, CBD was found to be "well-tolerated and associated with minimal adverse effects." The most common adverse effects were fatigue and sedation.


The study concluded that CBD "has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders."

Image courtesy Leafwize Naturals


How to Get CBD

The most common way to consume CBD is tinctures and edibles like gummies. However, this cannabinoid can also be consumed via the smoking or vaporization of loose-leaf hemp flower.


While standard oil-based edibles feature an onset period of about two hours (unacceptable for pain patients and those treating severe anxiety), nanoemulsified edibles take effect in only 10-20 minutes and feature greater bioavailability, making them more effective and a greater value. This is especially important for those consuming CBD edibles for conditions such as anxiety, where quick relief is paramount to a positive outcome.


Like what you just read? Check out our new Cannabis for Cancer Hub that features links to all of our articles about marijuana for cancer.

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