What is CBD

CBD is an acronym for Cannabidiol which is a Cannabinoid

Abbreviations Used 
CB = cannabinoid
CBD = cannabidiol
CBDA = cannabidiolic acid
THC = tetrahydrocannabinol


Cannabidiol  is one of the chemically and phytogenetically related phenolic terpenes derived from hemp (Cannabis sativa L). It was first obtained in pure form in 1940 simultaneously from fiber-type American hemp and from psychotropic Egyptian hashish.  The chemical structure of CBD was determined by Mechoulam and Shvo in 1963.3 CBD is one of the 142 phytocannabinoids that have been isolated so far from hemp.

Strictly speaking, however, CBD is an artifact: the genuine natural product is cannabidiolic acid CBDA which under the influence of heat is decarboxylated into CBD in the plant material. 

Likewise, another major phenolic terpene of hemp, D9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is formed from the corresponding carboxylic acid THCA. Although CBD was isolated and characterized first, THC has been investigated more thoroughly: THC is responsible for the unique psychoactivity of marijuana, or cannabis, which is an internationally controlled substance, nevertheless widely used for recreational purposes or, more recently, for self-medication.

Synthetic THC has been available for three decades as a medicine, and pharmaceutical-grade herbal cannabis, as well as formulations of cannabis extracts containing THC and CBD in well-defined ratios, has also been registered as medicines in several countries (see chapters of Part 3 of Pertwee6 ). 

Due to its unique psychoactivity and therapeutic potential, both associated with the activation of cannabinoid (CB) receptors, as well as for forensic reasons, the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of THC is much better understood than those of the nonpsychoactive CBD, which for decades has been a neglected phytocannabinoid.

The chemistry and pharmacology of CBD, as well as the various molecular targets, including CB receptors and other components of the endocannabinoid system it interacts with, have adequately been reviewed.

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