If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $22 billion by 2022, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
Numerous studies have found results that confirm the ability of marijuana to help anxiety and stress. In 2013 an Israeli study demonstrated that treatment with cannabinoids helped to control emotional responses and prevent stress-related responses for those that had experienced a traumatic experience. In 2015 a group of researchers found that cannabis treatments were effective in reducing anxiety in those suffering from PTSD.
Unlike THC, the psychoactive compound which is responsible for giving you that high effect, CBD, is non-psychoactive and a proven aid for nausea, pain, and anxiety (plus, if extracted from industrial hemp, it’s legal). CBD is also known to be anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, cell-regenerative, and anti–cell proliferative for bad cells. This means that CBD is a potential therapy for a range of medical conditions.
To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases.
Hemp oil (also called hemp seed oil) is extracted from the hemp seeds of the hemp plant and it contains very little or no THC. Cannabis, on the other hand, has THC levels above 0.3 percent (usually between 5-35 percent). Because of its low THC levels, you can use hemp oil without feeling “high” afterwards. Hemp is typically grown for industrial purposes, as it’s used to make clothing, paper, ropes, carpets, construction materials and plastic composites.
The cannabis plant contains a unique group of carbon compounds often referred to a phytocannabinoids. The most common ingredient is THC, which creates the euphoric high effect. Due to the THC element in the plant, marijuana is often associated with a stoner stigma of people only wanting to get high. But that is far from the truth. Cannabis also contains other medicinal compounds including cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabidiol, and cannabichromene.