What is CBD? Understanding Cannabidiol

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD,  is a naturally occurring chemical compound derived from cannabis plants. Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it's non-psychoactive — CBD provides a relaxing and calming feeling without any mind-altering effects.

Products containing CBD are gaining massive amounts of attention as safer alternatives to harsh pharmaceutical drugs for a number of debilitating ailments, including anxiety, depression, cancers, and other chronic conditions.

Defining CBD & Its Origins

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid naturally found in the oily resin of the cannabis plant, located on the plant's flowering buds.

This viscous substance is extracted from the buds (also known as trichomes). It possesses the active ingredients CBD and THC — or tetrahydrocannabinol — in their highest concentrations.

There are over 85 known cannabinoids being continuously studied today. However, because of the high concentrations of CBD found in typical cannabis plants, CBD is most widely studied for its medical, therapeutic, and recreational applications.

CBD has a long and rich history of helping humans improve their health naturally. Cannabis was used by early Chinese emperors as well as the Ancient Romans to feed livestock, create working materials, and consume for nutritional value.

After many years of arbitrary restrictions and public vilifying this safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is now being endorsed in scientific studies and even recommended by doctors for treating everything from migraines to seizures.   

Humans Were Designed For CBD

CBD Tinctures

Just when we thought we understood the human body, cannabis came through to give us several unexpected and exciting discoveries about the endocannabinoid system.

Without going too deep into the science, CBD has been shown to affect multiple sets of receptors all throughout the body.

CBD’s power comes from what it does to something called your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a network of receptors responsible for your overall homeostasis (you can think of it as the body’s “equilibrium,” or a sense of well-being). [83,84]

It is responsible for the synthesis and degradation of enzymes that help control so much of our physiology, mood, and everyday experiences.

When homeostasis is in check, the body can maintain a relatively stable internal environment despite chaos or variations in the external environment. [85]

Rather than binding to your cannabinoid receptors directly (like THC), CBD indirectly influences these receptors and helps your body naturally produce more endocannabinoids on its own. [3]

Because of its holistic impact on the overall state of the body, CBD is able to target the cause of the problem, rather than just the symptoms (like traditional pharmaceuticals do).

Regardless of your stance on hemp or CBD, a functional endocannabinoid system is essential for homeostasis and health. [86] 

What Makes CBD Different From THC?

The difference between the structure of THC vs the structure of CBD.

As we mentioned before, CBD is a relative of THC, the medicinally active and mood changing

phytocannabinoid. Although they look chemically similar, these two compounds are different in a few very important ways.

The main difference you will notice between the two will be either the presence or noticeable lack of a psychoactive effect. CBD is gaining rapid popularity for its ability to provide similar symptom relief to THC while also remaining free of THC’s mind-altering effects.

In other words, CBD doesn’t make you feel high.

Just a note — It is impossible to overdose on either CBD or THC. This isn’t a myth! No one has ever done it—ever. Studies have shown it to be safe to consume in much, much higher doses than are necessary to receive its medical benefits. [15]

How Can CBD Help Me?

CBD's Effectiveness at Treating Conditions vs Other Methods

The effectiveness of CBD for relieving medical conditions. Data taken from Banfield Group’s 2019 CBD Industry Report.  

Because of its medical benefits without the accompanying psychoactivity associated with THC, CBD is ideal for treating children, the elderly, and anyone who wants to remain clear-minded.

Scientists have found that CBD can actually lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD can help moderate some of the negative effects of THC (paranoia, accelerated heartbeat, and short-term memory loss) while bolstering its medical benefits.

Additionally, CBD’s antipsychotic properties are currently being studied as an alternative treatment for schizophrenia, psychosis, and anxiety.

Studied conditions treatable with CBD include:

CBD derived from hemp plants is legal in all 50 states. Certain CBD products can be derived from marijuana plants. These projects are much more heavily regulated and are subject to your state’s laws on marijuana. 

Finding the Right CBD Product

CBD for Pain

CBD’s legal status is similar to that of a dietary supplement, meaning it isn’t regulated by the FDA like other food and drugs. This can make the world of CBD products feel like the Wild West.

From a consumer standpoint, this means it’s essential you know everything about the products you buy before you trust a company with your health.

CBD Reviews Backed By Tests

Learn more about Key To Cannabis’ strict review process for CBD products. We are constantly working to provide consumers with the most thorough and accurate information about brands that advertise CBD products.

We only review and support products that provide public test results for their products related to safety, purity and CBD content.

CBD Reviews

Brands We’ve Reviewed:

Ambary Gardens



Canna Comforts Health & Wellness



Comfort Leaf

Hemp Bombs

Joy Organics

Nature’s Script

Plus CBDOil

Pure Relief

Test Clear

Click these links to read more about our unbiased reviews of each of the products listed above. We hope they help you find the best product for your journey to natural health!

Key to Cannabis Mission

Key to Cannabis is dedicated to transparency and accountability in everything we do. We hope to provide you accurate, unbiased and trusted information on cannabis.

We hope our work helps inspire companies in the cannabis industry to make a similar commitment to accountability. Thank you for being a part of the movement!


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