CBD. You’ve heard of it. You may have even seen it if you’ve been down State Street lately. But do you know what it is? Better yet, did you know you can purchase everything from CBD-infused facial oils to CBD-infused food and drink? Let’s break it down.

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis plants. Contrary to popular belief, it will produce a high like marijuana. Yes, CBD and THC both come from a cannabis plant, but their effects are different.

The difference is CBD is extracted as an oil, and does not contain THC, the property of marijuana responsible for psychoactive effects. CBD does, however, have many of the same calming effects produced by marijuana.

CBD is extracted from hemp plants specifically, which are bred to contain high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. Marijuana plants on the other hand are bred for the opposite, having low levels of CBD and high levels of THC. Despite their differences, they tend to be lumped together, which is unfortunate for CBD as it sometimes gets a bad rap.

So what’s the point? CBD is an all-natural and alternative solution to help with anxiety, depression, seizures, insomnia and more. There is some evidence on the positive effects of CBD consumption and usage, but more research needs to be done to support many of these claims. The FDA currently approves one drug containing CBD, which helps to reduce epileptic seizures.

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You can even cook with CBD in oil form! CBD oil is gaining popularity in the kitchen, as it can be added to smoothies, desserts, and even your morning cup of coffee. It’s not great to use for sauteing, however, as the oil evaporates at high temperatures and you don’t want to lose any of your precious CBD. Find out how much CBD is right for you before adding the entire bottle into your brownie mix.

Though cannabis is illegal at the federal level, CBD extracted from hemp IS legal on the federal level. Laws regarding CBD vary depending on which state you live in. Idaho, Iowa and South Dakota are currently the only states where CBD is completely illegal, but many states have various restrictions on production and use.

While CBD has a complicated past with the law, legality changes such as the 2014 Farm Bill and the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 lifted many restrictions on hemp growing and allowed for large-scale production of CBD. This explains the recent boom in CBD products and stores.

In Madison alone there are several stores specializing in CBD products where you can shop. In downtown Madison, you can buy CBD products at Community Pharmacy, Knuckleheads, Sunshine Daydream and Jacob’s Ladder CBD. At these stores, you can find everything from CBD pain creams to edible gummies to CBD-infused kombucha.

Different products contain different dosages, so again, make sure you research what amount is right for you. Though there has been no record of anyone overdosing on CBD, everyone is different and will need different amounts of CBD for the desired effect.

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CBD has also begun to make its way into the food and beverage industry, with some restaurants even creating special CBD menus. CBD is predicted to start appearing in grocery stores and mass retailers. CBD is going mainstream, and arguably the closest thing we will get to legalized marijuana for a while. So here’s your opportunity to hop on the CBD bandwagon before it’s cool.