CBD Will Soon Be a $5.3 Billion Business, But Does It Work?

What exactly are the benefits of this increasingly popular form of cannabis—if any at all?

If you haven't already heard much about CBD, you will be very soon. That's because the global CBD oil market is expected to grow from a $967.2 million business in 2020 to a $5.3 billion business by 2025, according to the latest market research projections. So, what exactly is it and does it really work? Well, first things first, it's important to clarify that while CBD comes from the same plant as marijuana, it is not the same thing. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound extracted from the cannabis or hemp plant that is marketed as a sort of catch-all remedy for everything from everyday aches and pains to anxiety and sleep disorders, according to Harvard Health. And while it's widely raved about as a way to treat many ailments by the masses who use it, much remains to be seen regarding the validity of these claims. One thing is for certain, however, for those in the CBD game, business is booming. Read on for the key facts you should know about CBD, and for more on the medicinal use of the hemp plant, check out More Women Are Using Cannabis to Treat Menopause, Study Shows.

You won't get "high" from CBD.

Woman extracting CBD oil

According to Harvard Health, CBD is the second most abundant chemical in cannabis—the first being tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. What's the difference? THC is psychoactive and causes feelings of intoxication, while CBD is non-psychoactive—meaning it doesn't produce the sensations commonly associated with being "high." CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant into oil form so that it is isolated from THC, which is likely a main reason for its mass market, almost entirely legal, appeal. And for more on OTC remedies, check out This Popular Supplement May Be Putting Your Heart in Danger, Study Says.

It's legal almost everywhere in the U.S.

CBD retail products

Because ingesting CBD will not produce intoxicating effects like the ones you'd get from THC, CBD oil and other CBD products like edible gummies, body lotions, and topical balms are, for the most part, completely legal in the United States. CBD is considered legal on a federal level in the U.S. and the same is true on a state level across the country except for three states. In Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota, all forms of marijuana and CBD are still considered illegal substances. But if you don't live in one of those states, chances are that CBD products can be purchased over the counter at your local drugstore. And for more on the effects of products you can buy without a prescription at your neighborhood pharmacy, check out This OTC Pain Medication Could Make You Take Dangerous Risks, Study Says.

There's little scientific evidence to support it's efficacy.

Doctor testing CBD oil

You'll have no problem finding someone eager to share the myriad benefits they claim to get from CBD, not to mention the countless celebrities and athletes who have given their personal endorsement of the extract. The most common reasons people use CBD are for reducing inflammation, easing aches and pains, mitigating stress and anxiety, and improving sleep. However, while there is plenty of research to show that THC can be effective at treating chronic pain, anxiety, depression, nausea and vomiting, and insomnia, the jury is still out on CBD.

"There needs to be more large-scale clinical trials where we can confirm that CBD is, in fact, effective," Krista Lisdahl, PhD, the director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Brain Imaging and Neuropsychology Laboratory, recently told ESPN. Lisdahl said she could not recommend CBD usage due to the limited amount of proof that it does what its marketers claim it can.

There's CBD products for pets.

Dog getting CBD oil

CBD products aren't merely marketed as remedies for humans; there are similar products designed for dogs and other pets that claim to have the same benefits as the ones offered to people. But before you go mixing a little CBD oil into your pet's food to calm them down during a thunderstorm, make sure to do your research. There have been several lawsuits regarding the validity and efficacy of CBD pet products and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently in the process of issuing a draft enforcement policy on cannabis-derived compounds. And for more of the latest health trends delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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