In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
‘CBD has proven anti-anxiety effects and may be helpful in depression, based on anecdotal reports,’ says Dr Gordon. ‘I use high CBD prescription cannabis medicine products as part of a mental health protocol with my patients suffering with anxiety and depression. The antidepressant effects of CBD have been shown in animal models, but we now need large, depression-specific studies in humans as the next step.’
The cannabis plant contains a unique group of carbon compounds often referred to a phytocannabinoids. The most common ingredient is THC, which creates the euphoric high effect. Due to the THC element in the plant, marijuana is often associated with a stoner stigma of people only wanting to get high. But that is far from the truth. Cannabis also contains other medicinal compounds including cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabidiol, and cannabichromene.