CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of over 200 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. It is the second most prevalent active compound found in cannabis, behind THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the compound in cannabis that has psychoactive properties and gives people a high.

Cannabis is a plant of which there are two main types: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Both marijuana and CBD can be derived from both types, but hemp is only derived from Cannabis Sativa. By law, hemp must contain no more than 0.3% THC (the oil in marijuana that gives you a high) to be called hemp. Otherwise, growers are at risk of prosecution under federal law. Hemp is a great resource for making 100% biodegradable, environmentally-friendly products such as clothing, packaging, biofuel, building materials, and paper.

CBD derived from hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC and is legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws.

Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties and will not give you a “high”. There is no evidence it has any abuse or dependence potential and to date, there is no evidence that it is associated with any serious side effects, according to the World Health Organization.

Instead, CBD has been credited with relieving numerous medical conditions. Although “credited” does not mean proven. Because of the historical regulatory landscape, there are hardly any well-conducted trials backing up those claims, although research is expected to ramp up now that laws distinguish between hemp and marijuana.

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