Over the last several years, the substance known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been growing in popularity. From wellness supplements to infused water, CBD has started to appear in a slew of everyday products. But if you’re not tuned in to the current zeitgeist, it can be a bit confusing. What is CBD? What does it do and why has it become so popular all of a sudden? Here’s a brief explanation of what CBD is.
What is CBD
CBD belongs to a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the receptors in your brain responsible for physical processes such appetite, pain, mood, and memory. Although it can be found in a variety of sources, such as mushrooms, the highest concentrations of CBD are found in two plants: cannabis and hemp.
Why Use Hemp for CBD?
Although you can get CBD from both hemp and cannabis, hemp is by far the most popular source and there are several reasons why. The biggest reason is that hemp is legal. Late last year, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which, among other provisions, legalized hemp and hemp-derived products; including CBD. Cannabis, on the other hand, is still considered a Schedule I substance.
Simply put, there are far fewer legal liabilities when it comes to cultivating hemp than there are for cannabis and so businesses prefer to use hemp as their go-to source for CBD. Another reason why hemp makes a better source for CBD is that it is easier to grow. While cannabis requires constant care and attention, hemp can be grown outside in a field like any other agricultural product; making it much cheaper to cultivate than cannabis.
Why is CBD So Popular?
One of the reasons why CBD has become increasingly popular is for its purported health effects. CBD has been used to help treat chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, autism, PTSD, and more. However, the most widely known, and proven, health benefit of CBD is its ability to combat intractable seizures.
Last year, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a drug whose active ingredient was CBD. Named Epidiolex, the drug was developed by the UK-based pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals.
After years of exhaustive medical studies, Epidiolex was shown to significantly reduce the number of seizures in patients suffering from a disease called Dravet Syndrome. Epidiolex is currently the only FDA approved CBD-based drug on the market.
In addition to its health benefits, one of the reasons why CBD use has become popular is that does not produce any sort of discernable high. Because it is non-intoxicating, people have become more comfortable integrating CBD into part of their daily routine.
Companies like Kroger, CVS Pharmacy, and Wal-Mart are starting to consider stocking CBD products on their shelves; and even the beverage giant Coca-Cola is rumored to be seriously considering launching a line of CBD products. Over the next several years, expect to see hemp-CBD products popping up in retail stores more and more.