This (Legal-ish) Marijuana Extract Is Basically Nature's Advil and Xanax


Isabella Behravan

Though the news was quite literally Trumped by the main event, this past election day, seven states quietly voted to legalize marijuana in varying capacities—which means that as of now, 29 states have legalized weed either medically, recreationally, or both. The ramifications of this legislation abound—not the least of which is that suddenly, our country has a rapidly growing industry that, according to scientists, medical professionals, and savvy businesspeople alike, is brimming with potential. And as research underlining the medical benefits of cannabis continues to emerge at breakneck pace, the beauty and wellness industries have been quick to capitalize on their apparent overlap.

On that note, chances are that no matter the status of your state, you've heard about something called CBD—probably the legality of it is technically more widespread. Unlike THC (the psychoactive component of the marijuana plant) CBD doesn't get you high. It's found in high concentrations in both marijuana and industrial hemp plans, and here's the kicker: It's also found naturally in the human brain.

According to current jurisdiction by the U.S. government, CBD sourced from industrial hemp plants is technically okay—though some brands opt to use CBD sourced from marijuana plants, which means that their products are only available in certain states. All in all, it's a bit of a legal gray area that only got murkier late last year when the DEA reiterated its classification of cannabis-sourced CBD as a Schedule I drug.

Regardless, CBD has popped up a lot in both skincare and wellness lately, since research shows that the compound is immensely useful in everything from pain relief to curbing anxiety. From a more anecdotal point of view, it's my secret weapon for alleviating menstrual cramps and getting rid of headaches on the fly. Topically, it's great for diminishing redness and inflammation.

So how exactly does CBD work? (And honestly, what is it?) Keep reading to learn about the research, the benefits, and how it might become a staple in your own self-care routine.

Have you tried CBD? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.