This is why Amanda Oliver, 31, a career consultant in Charleston, SC, pops a CBD gummy bear each night before bed. “I used to lie there tossing and turning as my mind raced from work projects to whether I had set the home alarm,” Oliver says. One piece of candy with 15 milligrams (mg) of CBD is enough to shut off her brain and facilitate sleep. She also swears by the CBD oil she takes at the height of her period, which she says quells her debilitating cramps.


In fact, CBD is therapeutic in nature, and will work to manipulate bodily systems at the cellular level to return afflicted organ systems, tissue systems, and even chemical systems in the central nervous system back to a state of health and homeostasis. This is precisely why it has been capable of treating conditions such as depression and anxiety, to chronic physical ailments such as pain, inflammation, arthritis, and more.
In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex (a drug made with a purified form of CBD oil) in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years of age and older. These two epilepsy forms are known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana.
More human studies are needed to fully understand the range of risks and side effects that CBD oil may cause. Studies of CBD oil aren’t common. This is partially because Schedule 1 substances like cannabis are highly regulated, causing some obstacles for researchers. With the legalization of marijuana products, more research is possible, and more answers will come.
However, if it was sourced from actual marijuana (i.e. cannabis that contains more than 2% THC by volume), then it is technically illegal. Most of the best CBD oils for pain that you find in dispensaries in states like Colorado, California, and Washington (as well as other states where weed is legal) will have been extracted from marijuana plants — not industrial hemp plants. Unfortunately, this means that these products are not allowed to be sold online and shipped across state lines to “non-legal” states.

If you live in a state where CBD is legal for your condition, it’s best to buy it from a state-regulated dispensary. But even there, oversight is uneven. “I feel safe being a cannabis consumer in Colorado, since the state tracks everything from seed to sale, but I didn’t the first few years after cannabis became legal,” when the rules were still taking shape, says Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the Boulder author of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features recipes for cannabis edibles.


Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.
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