Marijuana is recreationally legal in nine states (and D.C.), but technically, CBD is legal in 43 states—as long as it has been derived from hemp, which contains very few traces of THC. But this also means a potentially less potent product. A 2015 study out of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, found that whole-plant CBD is superior to hemp-derived CBD for the treatment of inflammatory and anxiety conditions. Flower Power’s CBD coffee is derived from hemp and double-tested in a lab in Massachusetts to makes sure it’s THC-free. Leivent says that if he lived and worked in a state where marijuana were recreationally legal, he’d get whole-plant CBD rather than the hemp-derived stuff. “CBD from whole-plant marijuana has other chemicals in it, minute cannabinoids that work synergistically with the body to create an entourage effect,” says Leivent. “You get more of a medical effect with all of these chemicals working together rather than just one particular [hemp-based] isolate."
Cannabidiol has been found to act as an antagonist of GPR55, a G protein-coupled receptor and putative cannabinoid receptor that is expressed in the caudate nucleus and putamen in the brain. It has also been found to act as an inverse agonist of GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12. Although currently classified as orphan receptors, these receptors are most closely related phylogenetically to the cannabinoid receptors. In addition to orphan receptors, CBD has been shown to act as a serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, and this action may be involved in its antidepressant, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects. It is an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptors as well. The pharmacological effects of CBD have additionally been attributed to PPARγ agonism and intracellular calcium release.
Cannabidiol is currently a class B1 controlled drug in New Zealand under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is also a prescription medicine under the Medicines Act. In 2017 the rules were changed so that anyone wanting to use it could go to the Health Ministry for approval. Prior to this, the only way to obtain a prescription was to seek the personal approval of the Minister of Health.