What is CBD?

Reading time: Min.

In a nutshell

  • Cannbinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) are extracted from hemp.
  • CBD is currently being intensively researched because of its many positive effects.
  • The consumption and sale of CBD is legal in Germany.
  • If you want to buy CBD, you should look for high-quality products.

Explanation: Cannabis, cannabinoids and cannabidiol

Cannabis is the name given to the hemp plant. Cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) are extracted from hemp.

Admittedly: With the many terms surrounding CBD, even scientists can easily get confused. But it is actually quite easy: Cannabis is the scientific name of the hemp plant. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are the botanical names of the plant. All kinds of things are made from hemp: Ropes and clothing from the fibres, edible oils from the seeds or scented oils from the leaves and flowers.

A total of over 100 cannabinoids are currently known to be extracted from the hemp plant and to act on our endocannabinoid system. Humans produce cannabinoids themselves, which are then called endocannabinoids. The best known is anandamide, which is very similar to THC. However, it has a much lower effect and is already passed on to the infant via the breast milk of the nursing mother.

Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids dock on the same receptors and are very similar in structure.

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been somewhat discredited by THC. But only very few cannabinoids have an intoxicating effect. Cannabinoids therefore include many more substances that are not psychoactive. Among them is also cannabidiol (CBD), to which a very great health-promoting potential is attributed. This does not surprise naturopaths, because cannabis has a very long tradition as a medicinal plant.

Not all cannabinoids can necessarily be obtained in large quantities from one plant. Due to different goals in breeding, plants can differ greatly. Commercial hemp, for example, contains almost no THC at all, because this cannabinoid may not be cultivated in Germany and in many other countries, or only to a very limited extent.

Cannabinoids cannot simply be filtered out of a plant. This is because many of the compounds are first present in a preliminary stage. Only through heating or drying do they transform into the respective cannabinoid.

Many of the cannabionides have very similar names: There is cannabidiol and cannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabitriol or cannbicyclol. It is easy to get confused. The names are so similar because the cannabinoids also look very similar. This is because they all stem from a substance called geranyl pyrophosphate. The cannabis plant changes this substance into further precursors, which are then transformed into other cannabinoids by heating, drying or even internal processes in the plant. They differ in seemingly minor details, but these are crucial for the effect in the body and determine their name. We have summarised the most important points for you. Here, however, you will learn everything you need to know about it.

CBD stands out among cannabinoids

There are currently almost 150 known cannabinoids. It is believed that there are thousands of cannabinoids. CBD is said to have particularly many health benefits and is the first cannabinoid to be discovered.

There are currently almost 150 known cannabinoids. They all act on our cannabinoid receptors. However, on the one hand there are several of them and on the other hand cannabinoids can act in different ways.

One example would be anandamide, which docks at the CB1 receptor and triggers a small mood high there or relieves pain. Other cannabinoids like CBD block this receptor and lower appetite, for example. CBD can apparently even change the activation of the CB1 receptor. In this way, they mitigate unpleasant side effects that can occur when the CB1 receptor is activated. An example of such a side effect would be feelings of anxiety.

The interaction is complex and that is why the different cannabinoids each have their own effect. Because there are indications that there are also many health-promoting effects, cannabinoids are currently being intensively researched.

Lucky Hemp CBD-Öl

CBD is a particular focus of attention. This is because this cannabinoid is said to have particularly valuable effects. The therapeutic potential of CBD seems to be even greater than that of other cannabinoids. Moreover, it is not addictive and does not have an intoxicating effect. The side effects are limited, if they occur at all. That is why CBD is currently being researched in connection with various diseases such as migraine, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain or epilepsy and is also being approved in more and more countries.

CBD was first isolated in 1963 by the Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam. CBD has thus been known even longer than THC, which Mechoulam only isolated the following year. Mechoulam is considered the "grandfather" of medicinal cannabis use and also discovered the endocannabinoid system in humans. He was convinced of the medicinal effects of CBD and conducted numerous studies with the cannabinoid. It is thanks to Mechoulam that CBD research got off the ground so strongly in the first place.

The effect of CBD in the body: Even better in the association?

CBD does not only act in the endocannabinoid system, but also on other receptors. And cannabinoids do not only act on their own, but also with each other. You can only expect this phenomenon, known as the entourage effect, with genuine full-spectrum products.

The effect of CBD in the body, as with most substances that affect our nervous system, is not yet fully understood. What is clear is that it can influence the endocannabinoid system in the body. Studies suggest that CBD can act with the CB1 receptor in different ways: Inhibitory, Activating and Modulating. However, inhibition or modulation, i.e. alteration of this receptor, seems to be much more common. But CBD also inhibits the breakdown of endocannabinoids such as anandamide, which in turn have an activating effect. It also docks onto receptors outside the endocannabinoid system. This is how it inhibits inflammation. It is currently assumed that it regulates inflammation at the CB2 receptor. Via the 5HT1A receptor, it can apparently have a soothing effect on anxiety. However, it is not conclusively clear which effect can be attributed to which receptor, especially since CBD has a pleiotropic effect. It therefore acts in more than one way, making it very difficult for scientists to "pin down" the effect to one receptor.

There is evidence that many cannabinoids work better together than single cannabinoids. This phenomenon is also called the "entourage effect". It is not just a matter of two cannabinoids being more potent than one. Instead, the combination is more than the sum of its parts. They condition and potentiate each other. So the overall effect is different from what you would expect if you knew the individual effects.

Why this is so is not yet clear. The endocannabinoid system is very complex; hemp contains countless cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. But the individual components act in different ways in the endocannabinoid system and thus also influence each other.

In 1998, Raphael Mechoulam first put forward the thesis that the components of the cannabis plant are not as effective in isolation as they would be together. At that time, he described the entourage effect mainly on a cellular level, but in the meantime this concept is applied to the entire pharmacological effect.

However, this transfer is not completely scientifically proven. For although many scientists work with the concept of the entourage effect as a matter of course and many cannabis users know it from their own experience, it has not been scientifically proven in the form used today. On the contrary, a recent review study rather doubts that the effect is so extensive. However, a cannabis plant contains more than 400 different substances and not all of them act (only) on the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Proving the entourage effect scientifically is therefore just as difficult as disproving it.

CBD vs. THC Lucky Hemp

Some scientists assume that the entourage effect is not limited to cannabinoids. Instead, other substances that are also found in the hemp plant are important: Terpenes and flavonoids, whose pharmacological effect has also been proven.

For you, this means that full-spectrum products are produced carefully and elaborately and contain many more cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes that are crucial for a truly lasting effect. Compared to isolates, they are therefore the better choice. This would be true even if there were no truth in the entourage effect, because the effects of the individual substances remain after all.

Where is CBD used?

CBD is used as a medicine and food supplement for various diseases and complaints.

As CBD capsules, hemp flower or oil with stated CBD content, it is offered in online shops, speciality shops, drugstores (as aromatic oil) or in pharmacies.

Beyond that, however, it is already being used in the first medicines. CBD is a component of Nabiximol. The hemp extract is available as a mouth spray and helps people suffering from multiple sclerosis as a spasmolytic. In other words, it relieves spasms. Because it also contains THC, it is subject to narcotics regulations. Another hemp extract without THC is approved as Epidyolex for the treatment of certain forms of epilepsy in children. It is available only on prescription.

Full-spectrum products from Lucky Hemp, on the other hand, can be obtained without any prescription because they do not intoxicate.

How is CBD different from THC?

CBD and THC have a lot in common, but a different effect on the body. Important: CBD does not make you high.


CBD vs. THC; der Unterschied von THC und CBD


At first glance and to a rather untrained eye, CBD and THC look very similar. And both substances are even composed of the same atoms: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms.

But the finished molecule is supposedly minimally different at one point. And that makes for a completely different effect. Because CBD and THC no longer fit the same receptors, which work according to a lock-and-key principle.

And that has decisive consequences:

  • THC activates the CB1 receptor, while CBD seems to block it.
  • THC triggers a high, CBD does not.
  • THC can be addictive, CBD is not.


And the effects also differ. THC is said to increase appetite, slow down reaction time and impair memory and coordination. CBD is said to rather inhibit appetite, strengthen the immune system and have a beneficial effect on sleep.

CBD is also suspected of reducing the effects of THC and possibly making it more pleasant by reducing anxiety. One clear difference is the legal situation: THC is considered a narcotic and is therefore not legal, whereas CBD is much more relaxed in most countries.

The effect of CBD convinces even critics

CBD has been described as having many positive effects: It is said to have a relaxing and decramping effect, help against anxiety and promote sleep. Its anti-inflammatory effect also helps with skin diseases and even chronic pain is said to be alleviated with CBD.

The effect of CBD has not yet been fully researched. Both in terms of the mode of action and the actual effect, there are still some uncertainties and pending research results. Many positive effects have been described, which are now being further researched:

  • Relaxing
  • Antispasmodic
  • Sleep-inducing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anxiety-relieving

Therefore, there is a whole range of possible effects and diseases in the context of which CBD is currently being researched very intensively. For example, CBD could be used to relieve chronic pain. Immunologists are interested in the effects on the immune system and the anti-inflammatory effect. This is also of great interest to dermatologists, because CBD could help against psoriasis and < href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40257-018-0410-5#citeas">other inflammatory skin diseases. Psychiatrists and psychologists, on the other hand, are particularly interested in CBD's effect on anxiety disorders, psychosis and addiction to other substances.

In short, CBD could potentially help with many different diseases. Its anticonvulsant effect as a medicine has been proven, although at least partially with simultaneous administration of THC. In any case, the effect is quite complicated to derive cleanly from studies because of the frequent combination with THC. Also important: The dosage and quality of CBD are decisive for the effect. Here, studies already indicate large differences.

CBD in Germany: Not entirely uncomplicated, but legal

The consumption and sale of CBD is legal in Germany. However, it is important that the THC content must be at 0 %.

The legal situation is currently still quite complicated in most countries. This is due to the fact that hemp has led a shadowy existence apart from its use for ropes, seeds and co. and CBD products have only been entering the market for a few years. Due to the intoxicating effect of THC, the cultivation and use of hemp is heavily regulated and monitored in the EU. But CBD has no intoxicating effect and therefore does not fall under the Narcotics Act. But because it has not yet been extensively researched and an isolated substance is of course also something different from a hemp plant, the legal situation of CBD is still somewhat shaky.

The THC content of CBD extracts, flowers and the like is a headache for most sellers. If it is greater than 0%, the entire product falls under the Narcotics Act and is thus prohibited. In addition, the products must not be intended for medical purposes.

If these requirements are met, however, the sale and consumption is completely legal.

CBD has hardly any negative effects

CBD is well tolerated and has hardly any side effects.

CBD is generally considered to be very well tolerated. The WHO certifies that the cannabinoid has a good safety profile (p. 6). It assumes that side effects are due to interactions with other drugs.

However, the side effects of CBD are in any case rather minor and strongly limited in time. Drowsiness and diarrhoea are more common. Drowsiness, loss of appetite and slight malaise can also occur. Rarely, users also report skin rashes, sleep disorders, insomnia and inner restlessness.

Mann in Laborkleidung überprüft Hanf-Pflanzen

State of research: CBD in the focus of science

Research on CBD has intensified in recent years, but there are still many unanswered questions.

CBD research has gained considerable momentum in the last twenty years. Since 1963, for example, NCBI's PubMed scientific database records 8,363 publications on CBD. 5,144 are from the last ten years, 1,403 are published between 2020 and 2021. So there is a lot going on at the moment.

But research is still in its infancy. This is not least because pharmacology is very complex and it is not always easy to determine where a molecule can exert which effect. Even though there are still some scientists who are interested in basic research around CBD and other cannabinoids, research has shifted very much into the medical field in recent years.

Nevertheless, the effect of CBD has not yet been extensively researched. In many cases, there are no confirmed scientific findings, but there are certainly indications that justify further research. Many of the studies are still at a stage where animal experiments play the most important role in gaining knowledge. For ethical reasons, these always come before studies on humans. However, the results cannot simply be transferred to humans. And even in studies with human volunteers, many factors play a role that influence the significance: The dosage and type of administration, the size of the study or methodological deficiencies often mean that one study is not enough to stick a "scientifically proven" label on CBD products.

The situation is different, especially when researchers want to approve a medicine. Here, the effect and safety must be sufficiently proven, because otherwise the preparation cannot receive approval. Drug studies are not infallible either, but they are carried out in a standardised manner and thoroughly tested. The effect is then considered proven.

Nevertheless, research still lags behind demand. Many important questions have not yet been sufficiently clarified. On the one hand, this concerns the positive effects such as relaxation, the effect on sleep and anxiety, but on the other hand also possible negative effects such as on the liver. Although the people affected in one study took antileptics at the same time, this is of course something that needs to be researched further.

Tips & tricks for purchasing

If you want to try CBD, make sure to buy a high-quality full-spectrum oil from a reputable supplier and start with a low CBD concentration.

  • If you want to try CBD, a full-spectrum oil is the best way to start. It is not complicated to use, you can dose it well and do not need any aids.
  • Make sure it's a reputable manufacturer who can clearly tell you what kind of plants their CBD comes from, how they extract it and how they ensure the quality.
  • Check reviews you can find online about the products and the manufacturer. Rating portals like Trusted Shops and others often give you important clues about the quality of the products and the customer service.
  • If the CBD manufacturer makes healing promises and advertises specific medical benefits, stay away from the product. This is not allowed in Germany and therefore the supplier is not serious.
  • Pay attention to laboratory analyses. They should come from an independent laboratory and be up-to-date. Because every batch needs a new analysis. Accordingly, they should definitely be less than a year old.
  • Accredited laboratories are significantly more expensive and an indication that the CBD seller attaches great importance to proving its high quality.
  • Look for full-spectrum oils if you want to see the entourage effect for yourself.
  • CBD oil is offered in different concentrations. Between 5 and 30% are common concentrations. With a 10% oil, you would find 100 mg of CBD in one ml of this oil. One drop is usually 0.03 ml. So 10 mg is 3 drops and there are about 333 drops in a 10 ml bottle.
  • If you are just starting with CBD, a five percent oil is enough. It is easier to get the right amount by increasing the dosage.
  • CBD oil has very different flavours. The exact flavour depends on the terpenes and flavonoids contained in the oil, which vary in strength depending on the plant and species. The flavours are not only determined by the quality of the plant and the extraction, but can also be completely different due to the carrier oil. So if you don't like the taste of CBD oil and hemp, flavour oils like lemon, almond or vanilla might be an alternative for you.




Most people associate cannabis with THC. CBD has been in the shadows for a long time, although it was discovered first and it has been suggested for several decades that this cannabinoid could have many beneficial effects on human health without being intoxicating. This has also reached the research community, which has been intensively studying CBD and other cannabinoids ever since.

CBD has hardly any side effects and can be legally purchased and used in Germany. Buyers have to pay attention to the quality of the products and the seriousness of the manufacturers in order to benefit from the positive effect of CBD.