You’ve probably seen the advertisements by now.
From bath-bombs to lattes, products infused with CBD seem to be appearing out of the woodwork, promising relaxation and relief from ailments ranging from stress to depression. The growing popularity of CBD even has celebrities, from former Celtics star Paul Pierce to Willie Nelson, jumping into the market.
But what exactly is CBD — and what makes it different from marijuana?
Below, four questions and answers about the popular ingredient being added to everything from pizza to cocktails to smoothies.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the two most prominent molecules found in the cannabis plant. But unlike the other more well-known cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties.
“[CBD has gotten] very popular because it has effects such as helping with insomnia, helping with pain, helping with anxiety,” Peter Grinspoon, a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in an interview. “So it just happens to be another one of the hundred or so cannabinoids that are in cannabis, but it’s one that has properties that people find very attractive, so it’s become very popular.”
The cannabinoid can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp, the doctor said, resulting with different makeups.
“Hemp-derived CBD has very low THC, usually less than 0.3 percent, so it is very hard to get high from,” Grinspoon said. “CBD in and of itself doesn’t have any psychoactivity. And if it has very low THC you don’t really get high from it. CBD-derived from marijuana can have higher levels of THC, so you can derive it either way.”
What is the science behind it?
Just like THC, CBD works on the cannabinoid receptors of the brain.
“We have this whole neurotransmitter system, the endocannabinoid system,