Cannabis Watch: An entire industry is being built around CBD, but we really don’t know that much about it


An entire industry is being built around cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the many chemical constituents of the cannabis plant. Advocates of the compound say it confers all sorts of health benefits, from mitigating the symptoms of depression and anxiety to treating glaucoma. It’s cropping up in protein powders, bath salts, makeup and even jelly beans.

But scientists are still unsure of exactly what the benefits — and pitfalls — of CBD are.

“Society has jumped way ahead of the science on this,” said Margaret Haney, a professor of neurobiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Reported benefits have mostly been anecdotal, or they have come from studies involving animal models. CBD isn’t well understood, nor have there been sufficient studies done in humans, she said.

Cannabis plants produce a group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The best-known are tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the so-called psychoactive

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