Let’s be real: 2017 is shaping up to be a bucket of stress, and many of us need help coping. Thankfully, we have the miracle plant known as cannabis to save us all from dissolving into a pile of tension-filled dust. But despite the legalization that’s sweeping the nation — eight states have authorized recreational and medicinal marijuana, with more likely to follow — not every form of cannabis is completely kosher, at least according to Johnny Law. Now there’s an option for folks who want to experience some of the healing benefits of Mary Jane, while also keeping things pretty much legal.
THC, the compound in cannabis that produces the “getting high” effect, is the most famous of marijuana’s 60-plus compounds, but there’s an unsung hero on the scene: CBD. Also known as cannabidiol, it’s not psychoactive, so it doesn’t produce the same stoned feeling as THC, but it’s still got purported benefits including relief from pain, anxiety, nausea, and inflammation. Not only that, researchers and scientists are also studying CBD oil for its therapeutic potential when it comes to cancer, arthritis, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and more. The most famous strand is called Charlotte’s Web, named after Charlotte Figi, a little girl in Colorado who was given CBD oil to help reduce and control her grand mal seizures.
However, CBD is not without its controversy. First, while marijuana and its extracts are classified as Schedule 1 narcotics in the United States, as of now, it is considered legal to sell CBD derived from hemp. The issue is that the highly chemicalized process involved in extracting CBD oil from hemp can render the oil virtually useless. This hasn’t stopped the proliferation of online hawkers of hemp CBD oil and even the FDA has tried to curb sales on websites making false claims about its supposed cancer-curing properties. That said, there are some reputable online retailers of hemp CBD oil for those of us who aren’t #blessed to live in a cannabis-friendly state, like CW Hemp (cwhemp.com), created by the Stanley Brothers who originated the Charlotte’s Web strain.
If you’re in a cannabis-legal state, know that much of the marijuana-derived CBD oil — available at any dispensary— undergoes independent, third party-certification, meaning it can be much more effective and potent. In either case, it’s smart to know where the stuff you’re putting on or in your body comes from, so ask questions before you buy.
The most common ways to consume it include vaping, smoking, in tinctures, applying topically, or, my favorite, cooking it into your favorite foods —I’ve found adding a little CBD oil to my brownie mix is a great way to soothe my nerves after a long day. I call it bake and chill, and it just might get us through the next few years.
BY LAURA HOOPER BECK
ILLUSTRATION: MAYA ISH-SHALOM
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!