You can drizzle it in your coffee, chew an infused candy or swallow a soft gel capsule. CBD is a cannabis compound that is gaining mainstream popularity and national store chains are planning to stock CBD in addition to their vitamins. But what IS CBD? What does it help with? What's the science behind it—and more importantly—how can it help an everyday mom?
We break it all down for you.
Here's what you need to know about CBD:
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol is one of the two most common compounds found in Cannabis plants, the other is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound with intoxicating properties, but CBD is not psychoactive.
It's used to treat things like anxiety and insomnia, and while there has been a ton of research already, there is still more work to be done. Many people are taking CBD because it helps them relax or get a good night's sleep without giving them the "high" that THC produces.
The World Health Organization notes that CBD isn't addictive and that "to date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
Does it work?
More and more people are taking CBD as a supplement, and while some doctors suggest it has a place in treating things like pediatric epilepsy, chronic pain and anxiety, the FDA cautions consumers not to believe other over-hyped claims. The FDA has approved some seizure drugs containing CBD, but has also sent letters to companies warning them not to make outrageous claims about what CBD can do (there is no evidence that it can stop cancer cells or cure diabetes, for example).
More research in humans is needed, but the anecdotal accounts of CBD's benefits as a treatment for anxiety, sleep issues and other conditions are stacking up.
"I think it's really important to listen to these people and to learn what they're saying," Sara Jane Ward, a preclinical researcher who has studied CBD for more than a decade at Temple University's School of Medicine tells the Philly Voice. "There is a lot of enthusiasm from the research community about the therapeutic potential of CBD for the treatment of diseases needing neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory effects and things like that."
What the laws are
Congress legalized hemp late last year, but more legislation is needed to untangle CBD from marijuana. As long as the CBD was derived from hemp and not THC-containing marijuana, you can legally purchase it in many forms across the United States.
Can kids use CBD?
Many parents are interested in CBD to help kids with conditions ranging from cancer to Autism, but the FDA doesn't want parents to administer CBD to kids, especially without speaking to a doctor first.
"With the exception of Epidiolex, Marinol, and Syndros, no product containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds (either plant-based or synthetic) has been approved as safe and effective for use in any patient population, whether pediatric or adult," the agency notes on its website.
What about pregnant and breastfeeding moms and CBD?
CBD is safe for mothers to take, though doctors caution against taking it while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Bottom line: CBD is something a lot of adults are exploring and finding helpful for managing anxiety, sleep and even boosting a yoga session. For adults, it could be a non-intoxicating alternative to a glass of wine, but pregnant women should proceed with caution and always talk to their medical care provider before taking any kind of supplement.
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