CBD, the nonpsychoactive chemical found in hemp and marijuana plants, has been the wellness industry’s darling for a while. Used for everything from calming muscles to calming nerves, cannabidiol has been popping up in lattes, smoothies, and even body balms. The compound’s effects have been shown to be anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, among other positive effects, but experts suggest that research into the compound, which is often limited by federal regulations around cannabis, can’t definitively claim how and why these effects happen. (The exception to this is Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicationfor treating rare forms of pediatric epilepsy.) More research, however, is beginning to back up these positive effects. A study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology in June found that CBD may have treatment potential for depression by investigating CBD’s properties as an antidepressant in mice.
In the United States, antidepressants are among the top three most commonly utilized classes of therapeutic drugs, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The drugs can be taken to help treat depression, along with other conditions including anxiety disorders. Nearly 13 percent of people aged 12 and older reported taking an antidepressant within the last month, according to the report that tracked the most recent data available from 2011 to 2014.
CBD is a component of cannabis, derived from THC-free hemp plants. Despite its association with marijuana, CBD doesn’t trigger a “high.” A 2017 report by the World Health Organization wrote that, for humans, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” The report continued that, to date, there isn’t “evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”