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Have you been hearing all the buzz about CBD products, but found yourself wondering: just what is CBD anyway, and why is it suddenly all-over my newsfeed? If so, you’re not alone—we’ve been noticing the CBD boom on our own website and we a found ourselves feeling a little undereducated about the possible benefits and uses for CBD oil. So to help answer our own questions (and hopefully yours as well), we put together this quick primer on CBD that outlines exactly what it can (and can’t do) to help you feel better.

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What is CBD?

CBD is a naturally-occuring compound extracted from the flowers and buds of the cannabis sativa plant, one of the many species of cannabis plants that exists. It stands for cannabidiol, and is one of 104 different compounds collectively known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the same plant.

What is CBD used for?

Scientists have long been aware of the pain-relieving benefits of marijuana. But they only recently discovered that those pain-relieving effects can be attributed to a specific compound in cannabis: cannabidiol.

Studies have suggested that CBD may help to alleviate the pain associated with certain medical conditions such as arthritis and muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. But even newer research suggests that the compound might be able to help other conditions as well. Studies have shown promising results using CBD to treat anxiety and depression, sleep disorders, epilepsy, alzheimer’s, diabetes, smoking cessation, issues related to inflammation, and even acne, though additional research is needed to determine just how effective CBD is as a treatment for any of these conditions.

Does CBD get you high?

No, CBD cannot get you high. In fact, the majority of cannabinoids present in cannabis (there are 104, remember) have no psychoactive properties. The main cannabinoid responsible for getting you high is tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC.

CBD products contain no tetrahydrocannabinol, and therefore cannot get you high. THC does have some medical uses, and may be combined with CBD in certain prescription drugs, such as some oral sprays used to treat multiple sclerosis. But that’s very different from the type of CBD product you’re likely to use to treat your anxiety or achy joints at home.

Are there any CBD oil side effects?

CBD is generally considered very safe and, so far, only minor side effects have been documented. These include fatigue, changes in appetite, and, in rarer cases, diarrhea. CBD may interact with other medications, however, so check with your doctor before adding it to your treatment plan.

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