Cannabinoids are various chemical compounds that work through receptors for the end effect of altering neurotransmitter releases in the brain and body. What does that mean? Well, the parts of the human body communicate with each other via nerve cells, and neurons pass information from one another through a tiny electrical signal. The cells don’t actually touch one another, so to cross these gaps (called synapses), they rely on chemical messengers. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and their role in cell talk is called neurotransmission. In a nut shell, cannabinoids alter how our body and brain internally communicate and pass on information.

There are some different brands of cannabinoids. There are endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body by animals),  phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis and other plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (artificially created in a lab). These different types of cannabinoids are processed through cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, and are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain, memory, and mood. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2 (probably there’s more, but scientists aren’t sure yet). CB1 receptors are found in the brain,  the lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is expressed mainly on the T cells of the immune system, in hematopoietic cells, macrophages, and on peripheral nerve terminals.

A Map of Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body

How does CBD affect the body and the brain? In order to understand how CBD affects us, we must first understand Cannabinoid Receptors. Note that this diagram doesn’t include the non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptors, the existence of which, is debated.

The most famous cannabinoids are the phytocannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).THC is the compound which is responsible for the “high effect” of cannabis – along with other effects – and CBD is notable for its many medically beneficial properties. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects, and this is just in the category of phytocannabinoids.

So, in summary, CBD activates your body’s various cannabinoid receptors and goes onto alter neurotransmitter releases in the brain and body. Sure, that’s great, but what does it actually mean? How does Cannabidiol (CBD) actually effect my body and brain?

THE EFFECTS OF CBD ON THE BRAIN AND BODY has compiled an ongoing list of the effects of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is claimed to…

  • promote relaxation
  • reduce anxiety
  • alleviate depression
  • reduce pain
  • reduce inflammation
  • treat menstrual cramps
  • treat headaches
  • reduce inflammation
  • treat neuropathic pain
  • treat arthritis
  • reduce joint inflammation
  • reduce spontaneous pains
  • protect brain cells
  • treat neurodegenerative diseases
  • treat Parkinson’s disease
  • treat Alzheimer’s disease
  • treat forms of dementia
  • reduce brain damage caused by trauma
  • reduce reduce oxidative damage
  • treat and minimize excitotoxicity
  • treat epilepsy
  • treat seizures
  • treat schizophrenia
  • decrease in psychotic symptoms
  • treat dystonia
  • prevent graft versus host disease (GVHD)
  • help quit smoking
  • counterbalance the negative effects of THC
  • reduce Acne
  • treat ADHD
  • treat Atherosclerosis
  • treat Arthritis
  • treat Bipolar disorder
  • fight Cancer
  • treat Diabetes
  • treat Heart disease
  • treat Huntington’s disease
  • treat Inflammatory bowel disease
  • treat Insomnia
  • treat Liver disease
  • treat Multiple sclerosis
  • treat Nausea and vomiting
  • treat OCD
  • treat Osteoporosis
  • treat PTSD
  • alleviate Spinal cord injury
  • alleviate strokes

Sources for the above list:, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,,, and others. We recommend you do your own research for each specific condition that may be of interest to you. This list will expand and/or contract as more studies are conducted and findings are released.



There is not a single known case of death due to cannabis overdose. Of the phytocannabinoids, CBD has a safer reputation than THC. At doses of up to 1500 mg/day, no significant central nervous system effects, effects on mood or effects on vital signs have been seen with CBD use, LeafScience reports. CBD is known to cause the undesired side effects of gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, sleepiness, dizziness, and changes in appetite.

CBD is metabolized by liver enzymes which metabolize other drugs, and, as a result, CBD may affect the levels of other drugs in the body. For example, in patients with Parkinsonism, CBD was found to worsen symptoms at doses greater than 300 mg.

The long-term effects of CBD have not been extensively studied, and although there is emerging evidence that chronic use of THC may lead to long-term impairment in cognitive functioning, studies have not yet been conducted on CBD use alone. It also is important to note that while CBD may be quite safe, the ingredients and solvents used in preparations of CBD may pose additional risks.