Guest Opinion: Why CBD works

  • by Ali Stoddard
  • Wednesday August 30, 2023
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Ali Stoddard. Photo: Courtesy Ali Stoddard
Ali Stoddard. Photo: Courtesy Ali Stoddard

There are many, many reasons why CBD, or cannabidiol, works, and a few reasons why CBD might not work for you.

CBD comes from a plant, a weed that is indigenous to every continent on this earth. The CBD molecule that is extracted from the cannabis plant acts just like the CBD molecule that we already produce in our body. That's right, we make a CBD-like molecule and a THC-like molecule through an amazing system called the Endocannabinoid System. The CBD-like molecule is called 2-AG and the THC-like molecule we produce is called anandamide. The cannabis plant produces phytocannabinoids called CBD and THC.

So, the answer to "Where Does CBD Come From?" is twofold — we make it in the body, and it is extracted from the oils of two different plants.

Both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant contain CBD. The difference is, the marijuana plant has THC in it and is regulated by the state, and only available through dispensaries. (THC is the part of the marijuana plant that creates the euphoria and paranoia; but also acts as an anti-inflammatory). Because dispensary CBD contains THC, it will fail a drug test, cannot be taken out of the state, and is considered a Schedule 1 drug.

Conversely, the hemp plant contains virtually no THC, and is considered a dietary supplement or a vitamin, and can be sold and distributed online and through stores like CVS.

Besides legislation, it is all so confusing because the hemp plant looks exactly like the marijuana plant, smells and smokes like the marijuana plant, but cannot get you high or paranoid or dizzy because of the absence of THC. Historically, the hemp plant was used for its fiber, and only in the last two decades, has it been grown specifically for its medicinal benefits.

CBD is readily absorbed through the skin and by CBD receptors located throughout the body, including CBD receptors in the brain, the immune cells, and every organ in the body. In fact, there are more Endocannabinoid receptors in the brain than all the other brain receptors combined. The Endocannabinoid's system of receptors, neurotransmitters, ligands, and pathways, are woefully under researched, and yet make up the most powerful, magical system in the human body.

On a minute-by- minute, hour-by-hour basis, this powerful system is dedicated toward producing balance, or homeostasis, within the body. Meaning, if we have anxiety, the Endocannabinoid System is trying to keep the neurons in the brain from over-firing. If we sustain an injury, it is the Endocannabinoid System that is attempting to send out anti-inflammatory cytokines or molecules to help contain and protect and heal. But most people's Endocannabinoid System is dysfunctional or not working at all.

It is the CBD molecule that can awaken or jumpstart this very complicated system. CBD is one of only a few molecules or super nutrients that can awaken this system. Therefore, we see that CBD can, through the Endocannabinoid System, reverse disease states, downregulate negative gene expressions, and quell a host of conditions, ranging from ADHD, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, to seizures, chronic pain, and autoimmune issues.

CBD feeds and strengthens this complicated system in our body that oversees perception, such as to pain, mood, inflammation and a thousand other subtle, yet important, functions in the body.

The short answer as to why CBD may not work for you is that your Endocannabinoid System needs to be awakened or strengthened; or perhaps the CBD strain you tried was not grown under organic conditions; or was extracted with toxic solvents; or formulated with chemicals.

For most of us, the CBD molecule needs to come from the plant and should be grown under organic conditions and third-party tested for heavy metals and toxins like pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Since this plant contains over 800 bioactive nutrients like omega 3s, vitamins, and polyphenols — it is best to ingest a full spectrum, whole plant, cold-processed, emulsion, tincture, capsule, or beverage. And remember, since your skin is your largest organ, make sure CBD cream has gone through the same rigorous testing.


Using a clean, plant-based CBD product ensures you will not see side effects. There has never been a reported death from an overdose of CBD or THC, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This is because when one overdoses from chemicals or opioids, the respiration, located in the brain stem, shuts off. There are no endocannabinoid receptors in the brain stem, therefore the respiration will not shut off during an overdose. The Endocannabinoid System excretes the THC and CBD naturally and easily. The human body is wired to accept and use CBD, and there does not seem to be a toxic level for CBD. This, however, is not true for THC, and research is showing that aggressive, daily use of highly concentrated THC products are causing digestive pain, dysbiosis, and more.

CBD seems to be the safest, most natural drug on the planet and is worth a try.

Ali Stoddard spent 25 years in orthopedics and pain management before learning about nutrition and plant medicine. She offers free consults, in-depth health consults, supplements, and CBD on her website: This column is not intended as medical advice.

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