Eddie Irby vapes CBD oil at Virgil Grant's dispensary in Los Angeles, California.

Eddie Irby vapes CBD oil at Virgil Grant's dispensary in Los Angeles, California.

It’s in chocolate, cocktails, soap, gummies and bath bombs. These days, it seems like you can buy cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, mixed in with just about every product imaginable.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It’s supposed to make a user feel calm while relieving aches and pains. And CBD products are everywhere.

Consumer sales of CBD were worth an estimated $350 million in 2018, according to Cashinbis. They project that the entire market will be worth over $1 billion by next year.

The lack of psychoactive effects from THC, while providing medical relief to many conditions including epilepsy, makes CBD oil a strong option for children and elderly patients.

While CBD is still federally illegal in food and beverages, the Drug Enforcement Agency said it’s not going to spend time and resources tracking down anyone who orders CBD cookies online or buys a CBD smoothie. Some argue that the 2018 farm bill legalized CBD, as it approved of the use of industrial hemp — hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC. CBD can be derived from hemp or cannabis.

Rod Kight, an attorney and cannabis advocate, says “cannabis and hemp are, scientifically speaking, the same plant. They share the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Sativa … The difference comes in breeding and use.”

Researchers are just beginning to study the compound’s effects on pain relief and relaxation.

What do we know so far? Does CBD actually work? How do consumers know they’re getting the real deal? And — why are some people giving it to their pets?

We unpack the deal with CBD.

Produced by Kathryn Fink.


  • Jayne O'Donnell Health policy reporter, USA Today; @JayneODonnell
  • Ziva Cooper Research director, UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative; @zivacooper
  • Laura Fuentes Co-founder and CEO, Green Roads CBD; licensed pharmacist; greenroadsworld.com
  • Mandy Bloomingdale Patient family using CBD for a variety of medical benefits, including helping reduce seizures

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