Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in the flowers and leaves of industrial hemp plants that can be extracted and then refined into edible or topical oils. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), derived from cannabis, CBD has no psychoactive effects—in other words, CBD will not get a person high.
In most of the U.S., industrial hemp is defined as a variety of cannabis with no more than 0.3 percent THC content. One exception is West Virginia, where up to 1 percent THC content is legal.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, clearing the way for an increase in domestic acreage. According to advocacy group Vote Hemp, U.S. hemp acreage tripled from 2017 to 2018, ending the year around 80,000 acres across 23 states. All U.S. states have legalized CDB, though the ways in which it can be used vary by state.
Although laws and regulations around CBD products can be confusing, companies have been able to enter a marketplace once limited to prescription medicines. Studies suggest that CBD may alleviate symptoms or help in the treatment of epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Thus, CDB oil is being featured in new foods and beverages, including gummy candies, chocolates, baked goods, flavored drinks, and as a standalone cooking oil. Aside from producing oil, the hemp plant has other applications, including bioplastics, clothing, rope, and stationery products.