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What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many molecules known as cannabinoids that are found in different varieties of the cannabis plant, including marijuana and hemp. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known cannabinoid that’s responsible for marijuana’s high, CBD is not intoxicating, even in large doses.

In recent years, CBD products have seen a surge in popularity—due in part to an increasing body of research on the cannabinoid’s potential benefits for body and mind. As a prescription medication (Epidiolex), CBD is FDA-approved to treat two severe forms of childhood epilepsy. Commercially, CBD is sold as oil, capsules, and topical creams, or added to foods and beverages. Many who purchase it seek to reduce inflammation, soothe pain, or ease anxiety.

CBD is well tolerated in most individuals—in contrast to THC, which can induce anxiety or psychosis-like symptoms. It’s also thought to be safe by most researchers who study it. But experts caution that some commercial CBD contains THC or other contaminants, either of which may trigger negative reactions.

Can CBD Help Me?

CBD has shown promising results as a potential treatment for a wide range of mental and physical ailments, including anxiety, opioid addiction, insomnia, schizophrenia, and chronic pain.

But evidence of its benefits is still highly preliminary, experts warn. More research is needed both to be sure of its effects and to establish appropriate dosing recommendations.

Currently, CBD’s only FDA-approved indication is as a treatment for epilepsy. Though some companies have claimed their CBD could cure cancer or ward off Alzheimer’s, there is often little evidence behind such claims.

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