CBD (and THC) works by interacting with our body's endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system made up of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. These endocannabinoids work like neurotransmitters, shuttling messages through the body to help maintain homeostasis. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system at two known receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are mainly present in the brain -- where they're involved with cognition, memory, motor skills, and pain -- but also in the nervous system, liver, thyroid, uterus and more. THC attaches itself to these receptors, inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters and possibly increasing the release of others, altering normal functioning.
CB2 receptors are abundant in the immune and gastrointestinal systems, as well as the brain and nervous system. Although the exact way CBD affects our bodies is still being researched, scientists believe CBD promotes the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids, which may help reduce anxiety, pain, inflammation, and more.