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Animal studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects and works on the endocannabinoid and pain-sensing systems to relieve pain.

Conclusion: CBD shows promise for improving the quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease but larger trials are needed.

2. Pain

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. 2

Animal studies have shown that CBD has a positive effect on serotonin levels in the brain, and serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are thought to play a key role in mood as well as pain. 11

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.

Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.

CBD oil may reduce the risk of heart disease by alleviating hypertension (high blood pressure) in certain people, suggests a 2017 study in JCI Insight.  

Heart Health

There is some evidence that CBD interacts with seizure medications such as Onfi (clobazam) and boosts their concentration in the blood. Further research is needed.

According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, rats injected with inflammatory chemicals in their hind feet experienced less inflammation and neuropathic pain when treated with an oral dose and spinal injection of CBD.  

In an analysis of 14 published studies (nine involving animals and five involving humans), scientists with the University of Montreal concluded that CBD showed promise in treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant addiction.

It's a naturally occurring substance that's used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.

First, a little background. Industrial hemp was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. ("Some of our early presidents grew hemp," notes Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, a cannabis industry attorney based in Oklahoma.) Nearly 80 years later, the 2014 Farm Bill took the position that states can regulate the production of hemp and, as a result, CBD. Then last year, President Trump signed a new Farm Bill that made it federally legal to grow hemp.

So you’re saying CBD won’t get me high?

The takeaway? "I think CBD is a safe thing to try," says Dr. Danesh. But he urges patients to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it.

There's no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. If you live in a state where it's currently legal, you might feel like CBD has gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, beauty companies are rushing to release lotions with CBD or hemp oils in their formulas. And everyone from your anxious coworker to your arthritis-suffering dad wants to get their hands on some CBD gummies.

There are two possible exceptions to this. The first is that some people, for unknown reasons, just react differently to CBD. According to Dr. Chin, about 5% of people say they feel altered after taking CBD. "Usually they're the same people who have side effects from Advil or Tylenol," she says. You never know how your body will react to any new supplement, so when taking CBD for the first time, do so safely under supervision.