Cannabidiol, or CBD, holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers. Importantly, CBD is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. Yet it occurs in high enough concentrations that extracting it from cannabis plants is relatively easy.
Isolated from THC and other cannabinoids, CBD inhabits a legal gray area and is legal almost everywhere. With wide-ranging medical applications, cultivating CBD-heavy strains has become a priority in the industry. CBD is available in a number of forms, from edibles to concentrates to topicals.
For medical cannabis patients, cannabidiol can reduce inflammation, treat mood disorders, shrink tumors, relieve pain and stop seizures. For recreational marijuana users, CBD can help balance THC and smooth the edges of an extreme high.
If medical marijuana is illegal in a given state, THC levels determine whether a CBD product is illicit or not. In most places, the limit is extremely low. We're talking under 1 percent THC, with some states opting for a cap as low as 0.3 percent. In this case, the only source that would work is hemp, and CBD products will, therefore, be hemp-derived.
In other places, limits can be higher. Delaware, for example, allows CBD oil to contain up to 5 percent THC. But that's still not enough to get anyone very high.
Sourcing and legality questions aside, the general consensus has it that CBD derived from marijuana is both more potent and more effective.
Many attribute this phenomenon to the "entourage effect," or the theory that one cannabinoid can do its job better when it works together with its companion cannabinoids. Extracting Cannabidiol from cannabis flowers helps keep these other cannabinoids intact, which is why people prefer it over hemp-derived products.
In other words, the source matters. And the buds of the cannabis plant have a richer and wider complement of cannabinoids compared to hemp leaves.