CBD: Hot New Wellness Trend Or Mental & Physical Illness Cure-All?

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Cannabidiol, a substance more commonly referred to as CBD, has recently gained popularity among young people who tout it as a cure-all for anxiety, sore muscles, and even pain caused by otherwise incurable diseases. CBD is seemingly everywhere — in the form of cocoa butter, oils, CBD-infused lattes, optional add-ins in smoothies, bath bombs, and even pet treats. It’s undeniable — CBD is 2018’s hottest wellness trend.

What exactly is CBD, and why has it taken over the internet? Many tout CBD’s calming, anxiety-reducing properties, but what about this substance actually helps anxiety and relieves pain? Read on to discover whether this fad will lose its steam, or if we’ll all be enjoying the effects of CBD for years to come.

What even is CBD?

CBD is a huge moneymaker, especially among millennials. According to industry analysts, the market for CBD products (some containing trace amounts of THC) in the U.S. will reach $1 billion a year by 2020. CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis — or what we would probably just call weed. Cannabidiol is one of two essential components of medical marijuana, right along with THC, and it is derived directly from the hemp plant. Though hemp is a close cousin of a marijuana plant, CBD does not get you “high,” but rather gives you all the body-relaxing, mind-easing effects without any paranoia or snack cravings.

CBD’s Rise to Popularity

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Walking down any New York City or LA street, you will undoubtedly come across dozens of stores and coffee shops advertising CBD shots, oils, or other products. In a stressful time where personal, professional, and political uncertainty abounds and we could all use a chill pill, CBD appears to be a miracle drug. When speaking with twentysomethings who use CBD regularly, I found that many young people living with anxiety are inclined towards the more “natural” reputation surrounding CBD, plus the added convenience of not needing a prescription from a doctor. Others use CBD more sparingly, putting a few drops into their tea at the end of a stressful day or biting into a delicious CBD chocolate on their day off.

byChloe, a vegan and gluten-free restaurant with locations across the United States, recently opened their “Feelz byChloe” pop-up that offers a lineup of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and more, all infused with CBD. Chillhouse, a popular coffee shop and wellness haven in New York City, offers CBD-infused lattes on their menu, as well as an option to add CBD oil into your massage package — adding to research that argues using the oil topically may be more beneficial for muscle soreness than simply ingesting it. This trend is not only reaching urban areas like New York and Los Angeles but has also reached more rural states like North Carolina. Lincoln’s Haberdashery, a coffee shop in Charlotte, NC , has also come out with a CBD-infused latte.

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Those interested in trying out CBD oil can purchase it from any local smoke or vape shop, or at a variety of online retailers. While cannabidiol and weed originate from the same place, CBD has been hailed by medical professionals and the mainstream media as a more “acceptable” version of the plant, most likely due to its absence of THC — the psychoactive part of marijuana and the part that makes one get high. With CBD, users receive the same muscle-relaxing, anxiety-soothing aspects of marijuana without the mental effects.

Moreso, this substance is legal for consumers to use on a state level. CBD is legal in the 30 states that have legalized medical or recreational use of marijuana and in 17 other states that have legalized some form of CBD. Though CBD is not yet legal at the federal level (which is pretty surprising considering it doesn’t even get you high), most states have laws that say users 21 and over can purchase and use CBD products completely legally.

CBD and Chronic Illness and Pain

Beyond simple relaxation or a cure for muscle pain, patients who may not be able to aid their sickness through typical medical tactics turn to CBD as a medical alternative. This homeopathic method is especially useful for Miranda Levy, a senior at Elon University who uses cannabidiol to treat the pain resulting from Celiac, a disease that is largely untreatable through methods other than a diet change.

“I began using CBD pretty late in the game. I was diagnosed when I was 18 years old and did not begin using CBD until I was about 20. I saw more and more people on Celiac forums, which is where I often go for advice, claiming that CBD has tremendous effects on chronic stomach pain. I quickly went online and bought CBD oil … and put it under my tongue. From there, I never looked back.”

CBD oil can help with a number of symptoms and has even been recommended by the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. CBD can also be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, according to a 2015 study by four New York University School Of Medicine professors.

The physical effects of cannabidiol can differ from person to person. Overall, users describe the experience as relaxing and pain-relieving. When asked to explain the effects of CBD, Levy described “almost like Advil or other over the counter pain medications.” Miranda also explained that it can “make you a little sleepy every once and a while. It tends to relax your body and your brain without feeling high or unable to function normally.”

CBD is the latest wellness trend, popping up in cafés, holistic medicine stores, and — naturally — your local smoke shop. CBD can rightly be called Mary Jane’s good girl cousin. But whether you choose to try out CBD in the form of ingestable oils, infused lattes, massage oils, tasty chocolates, or homemade desserts, sit back and enjoy the relaxing, body-calming benefits of this natural pain reliever.

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