A common question in this industry is, “What is CBD in weed?” Most people want to know how it compares to THC — and I don’t blame them. In this article, we’re going to discuss the history of CBD and how it differs from THC.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that accounts for about 40% of marijuana extractions. The psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and about sixty other cannabinoids make up the remaining 60%.
Even after its discovery, CBD remained one element of marijuana that seemed neither harmless nor useful and, therefore, attracted little attention from either growers or researchers.
Nevertheless, mankind has used marijuana for medicinal purposes for thousands of years; Emperor Fu of China in 2900 BC declared it a medicine containing yin and yang (a Chinese philosophy describing the interconnection between the good and bad in life), ancient Egyptians used it to treat glaucoma, and ancient Indians used it as an anesthetic during medical operations. These civilizations saw the benefits of marijuana, but they never knew that the cannabidiol (CBD) in the plant may also have benefits.
Since there were no appropriate technologies to study the plant in detail, it was long believed that the elements within it that cured illnesses were the same that led to a “high” in those who consumed it. This latter effect has given the plant a bad name throughout history and even led, later in the 19th and 20th centuries, to widespread criminalization and ban in many countries around the world.
The dilemma presented by the potential medicinal value and the psychoactive effects started to receive a rational answer in 1964 when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, first discovered delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and identified it as the main psychoactive component of the plant.
But What is CBD in Weed?
That discovery, though a step in the right direction, was far from sanitizing the medicinal value of the plant. In fact, following this discovery, THC became the main compound of interest among producers, dealers, consumers, and even governments, to the detriment of other compounds in the plant, including medicinal CBD.
Farmers began to breed out CBD and other compounds to enhance the quantity of the psychoactive THC in the plant, because that was the primary selling point of marijuana at the time, and, without it, the substance was impotent. The more THC present in marijuana, the more valuable it was in the market. Consumers were interested only in getting high.
That has changed in recent years, however, due to more studies bringing out other characteristics of marijuana that were previously unclear. The focus of attention is now moving from THC to CBD.
Research has now implied that, while THC is responsible for the psychoactivity of marijuana, CBD may also be a healing compound. The former stimulates and induces hallucinations while the latter may work with body cells to help improve immunity and is even produced naturally in the human brain.
CBD has given rise to a medical marijuana movement in the United States and across the world. Over 20 states in the US have decriminalized marijuana in order to make CBD accessible to millions of people interested in trying it for themselves.
Even though marijuana is still illegal in some US states – and some nations around the globe – industrial cannabidiol and its products are, to a large extent, legal.