Some say it treats anxiety. Others claim it’s the newest answer to Parkinson’s disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though, cracked down on its marketing while also approving it for treatment of two forms of severe epilepsy.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is popping up on shelves across the country in oil, extract, vaporized liquid and capsule form, according to the Mayo Clinic. Interest in the product skyrocketed after Congress passed the Farm Bill last year, making some cannabis plants legal.
Here is USA TODAY’s breakdown of what you need to know about a substance that appears in products from lip balm to gummies:
Is CBD marijuana?
No. CBD is non-psychoactive and shouldn’t contain THC, the chemical that produces the “high” feeling in marijuana.
Like THC, CBD is a chemical extracted from cannabis plants. It can be found in both hemp and marijuana plants — both are technically “cannabis” but hemp must have less than 0.3 percent THC present.
That doesn’t mean CBD products never contain THC, especially because the laws regulating CBD are murky. In one study of 84 CBD products purchased online, THC was found in 18 products, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Where can I find CBD products?
CBD oil has expanded into natural medicine, cosmetics and even food. Both Walgreens and CVS announced in March that they would begin carrying CBD products in some stores.
Walgreens will sell the product in creams, patches and sprays in Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana.
“This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers,” Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith said in a statement to USA TODAY.
CVS will sell CBD in topical products, including “creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves,” in seven states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee).
CBD is also being introduced in popular cosmetic and skincare brands, with stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty both carrying CBD products.
One CBD product, Epidiolex, has been approved by the CDC to legally treat two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a June 2018 statement.
The FDA has also approved three “cannabis-related” drug products, including Marinol, Syndros and Cesamet. These improve nausea related to cancer chemotherapy and “anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS,” according to BlueCross BlueShield.
Is CBD safe for your pets?
Pet owners and vets around the country are also using CBD products for their furry friends.
CBD oil has been linked to pain relief as well as treatment for anxiety, so the chemical has been given to pets suffering from ailments from hyperactivity to arthritis and cancer.
Martha Stewart announced in February that she is partnering with Canopy Growth to release a line of CBD products, beginning with animal health treatments.
Are there side effects?
Yes. Side effects may include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue, the Mayo Clinic reported.
The chemical can also interact with other medications. If you have a heart condition or take blood thinners, some doctors recommend staying away from CBD.
What’s the law on CBD?
Despite the Farm Bill making hemp plants legal across the country, that doesn’t mean all CBD products advertising weight loss or anti-anxiety properties are legal.
The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission can still regulate any product that make false health claims. The agencies sent letters to three companies Tuesday, including Advanced Spine and Pain LLC, Nutra Pure LLC and PotNetwork Holdings Inc, for “making unsubstantiated claims related to more than a dozen different products.”
Examples of claims include stopping “cancer cells in multiple different cervical cancer varieties,” slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reducing the “rewarding effects” of morphine and heroin.
The FDA is holding a public hearing for “stakeholders to share their experiences and challenges” with CBD on May 31.