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Two ways to use CBD are by mouth (oral) and applied to the skin (topical).

Studies of CBD are ongoing, but some benefits have been found.

Types of CBD

CBD is the primary cannabinoid in hemp. It has various healing properties. For example, it seems to lessen inflammation, the body’s response to illness or injury. In this way, it may be helpful in treating many different diseases.

CAUTION: Since CBD may cause tiredness or drowsiness, people should be very careful when driving, using tools or other equipment, or performing other risky activities.

Observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the effectiveness of cannabinoids in chronic noncancer pain found a 30% reduction in pain in 1 out of 3 of those using cannabinoids. This was considered significant.

Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.

In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.

Common Side Effects of CBD

“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

CBD is one of the many chemical compounds that is found in the cannabis plant—referred to as cannabis sativa. There are two primary parts of the plant that humans use. One is THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other is CBD. Though they’re from the same plant, THC and CBD are quite different from each other.