Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis that has found its way into many consumer oils, creams, candies and drinks. Many of its users claim the chemical helps relieve pain, stress, sleeplessness and a number of other ailments.

According to an article from CBS News, CBD is primarily sold online and is extracted from specially grown cannabis plants. CBD is rendered from a plant called hemp, which was recently legalized in late December 2018.

Hemp was reclassified under federal law as a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) yielding form of cannabis and cannot contain more than 0.3%. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets users high.

Senior James Megley said he has developed a fascination for CBD and its potential uses. Megley saw a lucrative opportunity in the chemical and began selling it to online customers late last year.

“I started Persistent Health, which is a distributor of pure CBD,” Megley said. “I’ve been selling for a couple of months now.”

Megley said his parents were the ones who introduced him to the potential benefits of CBD. He said his mother is a nutritionist and recommended CBD to many of her patients even before the chemical was legalized in the United States.

“If someone has an ailment like post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, there’s only so much that can be done for them on a physiological level,” Megley said. “So, when my mom would run into cases like that, she’d recommend CBD supplements under the table.”

Megley said he’s seen many people benefit from using CBD as opposed to prescription drugs to alleviate certain conditions. He mentioned David Wells, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, as one example.

“A lot of athletes use CBD for chronic pain,” Megley said. “I did a podcast with New York Yankees pitcher David Wells who had experienced shoulder pain because he’s a left-hand pitcher. His shoulder pain was nearly unbearable after 40 or 50 years of playing ball, so he went onto prescription drugs to numb the pain. We got him off of those by introducing CBD fluid.”

Some users claim CBD can even work as a dual-action solvent. Megley said one of his friends used it for multiple issues and found relief in all areas.

“One of my friends uses CBD for anxiety and depression, and it’s helped her a ton,” Megley said. “She also uses it for her pain. A lot of ailments aren’t singular. When you’re able to kill two birds with one stone with something like CBD — which has practically no side effects — it’s empowering.”

Freshman Ashley Scholz said she started using CBD last year after a doctor in alternative medicine recommended it to her. She said she uses it to help alleviate her anxiety and symptoms of a disease called hyperthyroidism, which can cause accelerated metabolism and severe weight loss in humans, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“My whole life I’ve struggled with chronic illness, specifically Hashimoto’s disease, a severe form of hyperthyroidism,” Scholz said. “I was willing to try anything that could potentially assist in relieving my symptoms.”

Scholz said CBD has affected her life in a positive way, and that she has never experienced negative side effects from using it. However, she is concerned about the purity of the product.

“The biggest difference I’ve noticed when using CBD is a significant calming effect,” Scholz said. “It really helps with my anxiety, stress and panic attacks. I’ve seen no drawbacks with using CBD. Not once have I had a bad experience with it. Many CBD oils are cut with other oils, meaning that we are not getting the most out of the product.”

Megley said CBD is versatile and can be ingested in a variety of ways.

“It mixes right into whatever beverage I have,” Megley said. “It’s super versatile.”

Scholz said her favorite CBD tincture comes in liquid form and packaged in a dripper bottle. She said she applies the liquid directly onto her tongue.

“My go-to CBD product is called Suthe,” Scholz said. “I typically use two drops on my tongue each day, which is one full dosage.”.

Senior Olivia Emele said she uses CBD products to ease her back pain. Emele started using CBD as an alternative to ibuprofen and other over-the-counter painkillers.

“I would rather use CBD as a painkiller than put something into my body that needs to be processed through my liver,” Emele said. “I started using CBD for neck pain. It was also really helpful in relieving pain from my coccyx (tailbone), which I broke during a snowboarding accident in my sophomore year.”

According to Learn Sativa University, an Orlando-based institution dedicated to teaching students about cannabis cultivation and medical use, there can be negative side effects to CBD usage. Fatigue, diarrhea and changes in appetite are a few of the cited examples.

Emele said she hasn’t experienced any of these symptoms. She sees negative stigmas surrounding the use of CBD as its major drawback.

“I think the only drawback is the stigma that comes with marijuana products,” Emele said. “Some people have negative social reactions toward CBD, so I don’t talk about using it with people that I feel might be judgmental. I also get a little scared that it smells like marijuana, even though the smell is very mild. I don’t want people to think I have been smoking when I go to work or school. I’m very careful about that.”

Emele said she uses a CBD shea butter product at least once a week or up to several times per day, if necessary. She said she’s found CBD products that pinpoint specific relief areas.

“I use a CBD whipped shea butter topically for joint pain, muscle tightness and menstrual cramps,” Emele said. “CBD is truly a lifesaver for cramps. I don’t even have to take Midol or ibuprofen.”

With controversy surrounding the legalization of marijuana in the U.S., it seems the benefits of CBD have the potential to sway public opinion on the plant. For now, students interested in learning more about CBD and its uses can visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website.