CBD, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is the second most commonly occurring cannabinoid within the marijuana plant, ranking in just below THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. What is unique and distinctive about CBD, unlike THC this component produces zero psychoactive effects, meaning that it does not create the typical high and euphoria that is linked with marijuana. Furthermore, it has proved to generate immense healing and a multitude of medically beneficial abilities. CBD helps pain on an anatomical level by directly targeting the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which naturally produces some cannabinoids on its own, known as endocannabinoids.
Here’s what we do know: The cannabis plant contains a wide variety of chemical compounds, many of which fall under the broad category of cannabinoids. There are more than 100 — exactly how many, we’re not sure. The best-known and certainly most profitable are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both of these compounds stimulate the same receptor in the brain, called CB1, but have differing effects on the brain. Researchers aren’t totally sure why.
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat nerves and anxiety, as well as other mood problems. CBD may help to improve both depression and anxiety, at least in part through its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. Research shows that CBD can reduce both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. A study of CBD given to people before a public-speaking event indicates that CBD can help reduce stress—this and other research has shown that CBD can be an effective treatment for social anxiety.
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.