No, CBD doesn’t get you high. But it’s made from the cannabis plant—the letters stand for “cannabidiol”—and, as such, is subject to the same laws as marijuana in the U.S. It got a major boost when the December 2018 farm bill legalised the production of marijuana’s nonpsychoactive sister—hemp—and interstate transfer of hemp-derived goods, opening the floodgates for a legal CBD market that could surpass $20 billion by 2022, according to researcher Brightfield Group LLC.
As legalisation has spread, so has CBD’s fame. Depending on which marketing materials you read, it can provide relief for just about every malady known to modern humans: anxiety, chronic back pain, menstrual cramps, postworkout muscle soreness, dandruff, even chapped lips.
Lack of regulation, however, gives some of these products the feeling of a late-night infomercial for oregano cleanses. “Seventy percent of products don’t have what’s written on the label,” says Davey Napoli, one of three co-founders of White Label, a site that sells CBD products after diligent research. Jon Brandon, co-founder of Foria Wellness, a brand that uses CBD for better intimacy, remains optimistic. “There is much to be excited about,” he says, “and much research to be done.”
We tested some of the most popular—and strangest—applications so far.