What Does CBD Do to Your Mind and Body?
What does CBD do to the body and mind? Does it have any medicinal benefit? Or is it dangerous because it can make you feel paranoid and high? Research into cannabidiol (CBD), sourced from the cannabis plant, is exploding. Increased public and medical awareness of its healing potential are opening many doors that have previously been shut to scientists. As rigorous scientific study increases, we can piece together a clearer picture of what happens when we consume CBD, THC, and other known cannabinoids.
The fast-growing popularity of cannabis as alternative medicine over the past decade is partly thanks to the shift in focus from THC-heavy strains of marijuana to strains with other cannabinoids, of which CBD is currently the most prominent. After THC, CBD is the second most-understood cannabinoid.
For this reason, CBD consumption experienced a dramatic upswing in popularity, because it has none of the psychoactive characteristics associated with THC, and it appears to have many healing properties. For most people, CBD effects on the body are much easier to manage than those associated with THC. It is also thought to be safe to use for most people, even in higher doses. While CBD remains relatively new on the scene, it is showing exciting promise for many comprehensive, safe therapeutic applications.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the dozens of compounds found in the Cannabis sativa family of plants. These compounds, called cannabinoids, have gained so much research attention recently, because they interact with, and influence our endocannabinoid system. Although many people are still unfamiliar with this powerful regulatory system, it is responsible for many physiological and psychological controls, including appetite, memory, mood, immune system, and pain.
While THC is by far the most popular cannabinoid, CBD is not far behind. The research into CBD has only just gotten underway in the past two decades. While clinical trials exist for some health issues, much of the research so far comprises animal studies and in-vitro (test tube) explorations. These preliminary studies are nevertheless necessary, as they lay the groundwork to determine the safety profile and direction for future human trials.
What Are the Possible Therapeutic Applications Under Study?
The current body of evidence demonstrates that CBD has the potential to treat a wide variety of health conditions, both in mind and body. For example, one of the most well-known uses of CBD is to terminate seizures and assist with otherwise drug-resistant forms of epilepsy in children. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration seems posed to approved an epilepsy drug derived from cannabidiol in the very near future. There is also a huge push for more research into CBD for the treatment of cancer because preliminary data shows it can reduce the size of tumors, and prevent migration of cancer cells from tumors through the body. 
Cannabidiol is also undergoing research into its possible influence on mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis, and as such, it is even showing promising neuroprotective properties. These applications could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the therapeutic opportunities of CBD. For this reason, the pace of research today is reaching a crescendo - doctors, patients, and scientists are eager to answer the question: What does CBD do to the body and mind? 
The Endocannabinoid Reaction: What are CBD’s Effects on the Body?
There are strong indications that cannabidiol (and other cannabinoids) can have an effect on both the mind and body, partly because they mimic natural chemical compounds the body already produces by itself. These chemical compounds, known as endocannabinoids, are found throughout the body through something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and its main purpose seems to be to promote homeostasis or balance, in the body.
The endocannabinoid system is crucial to the proper functioning of many physiological processes, including memory, mood, appetite, pain perception, the immune system, and the nervous system, just to name a few. Plant-produced cannabinoids seem to be as effective, under certain circumstances, as those produced internally.
Within the endocannabinoid system, there are two receptors, called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are spread throughout the immune system and organs. While other cannabinoids directly bind to these receptors, CBD plays a much different and complicated role, which is still only barely understood. Instead of binding to endocannabinoid receptors, CBD has a more indirect role in their activating and inhibiting functions. Unlike THC, which binds mainly to CB1 receptors, CBD’s relationship with our various endocannabinoid receptors is complicated and less understood. 
New areas of study are starting to expand the scope of CBD research into areas outside the endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol targets multiple receptors, including CB1, CB2, and 5-HT1a receptors, and because of the latter, CBD may present a novel therapy for mental illness. However, CBD effects on body and mind are still only in the very early phases of the investigation. There are few clinical trials underway (32 in the United States), but as with all medical research, progress takes time. 
What Does CBD do to the Body?
If it doesn’t feel like THC, then what exactly is CBD’s effect on the body? As anyone who has taken medical marijuana will tell you, the experience can be potentially overwhelming. But, as we’ve discussed, CBD does not directly stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors as THC does. Unlike THC, it does not produce any immediate and noticeable psychological effects like feelings of euphoria, lightness, or the typical ‘high’ associated with marijuana consumption.
Although THC consumption is associated with certain health benefits, it also can come with several unwanted side effects, such as paranoia, increased heart rate, anxiety, and general mental impairment. CBD is an exciting alternative or co-therapy because it mediates these issues. There are also indications that THC and CBD work best together, in what is called the ‘entourage effect’. 
Are There Any Risks to CBD’s Effect on the Body?
There are no known severe side effects reported from hemp-derived CBD. Some individuals have experienced dry mouth and mild digestive problems, and there is some discussion in the literature about how CBD could influence the absorption of other hepatic, or liver-metabolized pharmaceuticals, essentially making them more potent. In the words of the authors of a 2017 review on the safety profile of CBD, “the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of [specified] medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile. This could improve patients' compliance and adherence to treatment.”
As the scientific and medical community gets a better handle on exactly what CBD does to the human body, the possible medicinal applications will also be much better understood. Considering the relative safety of CBD, many are hopeful that this compound will mean a viable, all-natural alternative to the Big-Pharma industry.