Even if you don’t live in an area that has legalized weed, odds are you’re starting to see CBD oil pop up. Perhaps you’ve seen the colorful dropper bottles emblazoned with illustrations of bright-green cannabis leaves on the kitchen table of one of your cool friends. Maybe you’ve noticed the acronym on a list of supplements available at your local health food store. I’m sure you’ve heard it mentioned in at least one wellness influencer’s Instagram stories in the past few months. While it won’t get you high, CBD oil is a cannabis-derived supplement that claims to help soothe everything from anxiety to inflammation to chronic pain.
First things first, let’s get science-y. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis sativa (also known as the marijuana plant). CBD is not synonymous with THC, another component of cannabis which causes psychoactive effects when ingested. Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, which are are chemical compound that react with cannabinoid receptors in cells. Cannabinoids alter neurotransmitter release in the brain, but that doesn’t mean they get you high.
CBD is an extraction of Cannabidiol from the cannabis plant. It can be made into oils (both topical and edible), creams, tinctures, pills, and more. Though scientific evidence is still minimal, CBD has been used to successfully treat the symptoms of a number of people with severe medical conditions like epilepsy and schizophrenia. Even if you’re not living with quite as debilitating a medical condition, many people have found that CBD helps soothe physical pain and discomfort from migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and menstrual cramps. Additionally, CBD is used to treat symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and nausea—conditions many people have tried to soothe with THC.
Unlike THC, which can get you high, CBD cannabinoids are much more mild, and therefore won’t impede your daily function. While taking CBD, it should still be completely safe to do daily public activities like your job or driving a car; whereas doing these things high is decidedly not great.
So, go ahead and order that CBD-fortified latte at your local cafe tomorrow (yes, that’s really a thing), or buy a package of whatever form of CBD you think might be effective for you. Of course, it’s always best to read the labels closely for side effects, and consult a health professional before adding a new supplement to your routine, especially if you have a medical condition.