Up until now, we’ve only known Cannabidiol (CBD) as one of many naturally occurring compounds, or cannabinoids, found in hemp and cannabis plants. It’s a cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana plants. However, scientists have recently discovered that CBD may also appear in other plants. 

In particular, CBD was found in the flowers and fruits of a shrub called Trema micranthum. This plant actually covers so much of the country that many Brazilians consider it a weed. Could this discovery lead to more ways to create and produce CBD products?

Wait, Doesn’t CBD Come from Hemp?

Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent compound in both hemp and marijuana plants. Because of CBD’s positive effects, and because it doesn’t produce a high like delta-9 THC (the compound found in marijuana), it’s believed to have many healthy benefits. CBD is naturally an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Since inflammation has been recognized as a source for diseases, CBD does seem to have some promising benefits. 

CBD relaxes the nervous system, so it does produce calming effects. It can also help alleviate pain, induce sleep, and stabilize moods. Again, CBD is not intoxicating or psychoactive, but its potential health benefits are many. In fact, there is even an FDA-approved CBD based medication that assists with the treatment of epilepsy. 

While scientific research about the effects of CBD is still ongoing, anecdotal evidence is abundant. Many CBD consumers report that CBD is helpful in reducing and managing long-term pain caused by a variety of chronic conditions or injuries. It’s also commonly used to treat nonphysical ailments such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. In short, CBD can offer a wide array of uses and benefits.  

What Does This Discovery Mean for the CBD Industry?

For starters, the discovery of CBD in a plant that is so widely available means that CBD products can possibly be more easily produced and accessible in the future. Chemical analysis has shown that Trema micranthum contains CBD but not THC. This means that this new source for CBD wouldn’t face the same legal hurdles as cannabis, which remains illegal in many parts of the world, including Brazil. 

This legal, abundant alternative could be a simpler and less expensive source of CBD. The next step is for scientists to figure out the best way to extract CBD from Trema micranthum. They will then have to analyze how effective it is with patients. Although these studies may take some time, this initial discovery is promising! Perhaps one day CBD will be widely available and affordable, all over the world!

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Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A
Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A is a clinician-scientist and ophthalmic surgeon. Before attending Chicago Medical School, he worked as a Research Scientist in a Healthspan Pharmacology Laboratory at University of California, Irvine focused on investigating the impact of botanical extracts and dietary supplements that can slow the aging process and add healthy years to human life.

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