Everywhere you click these days, it seems like someone on the internet is talking about cannabidiol—also known as CBD, a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. Online retailers market the extract (also known as hemp oil) as a remedy for a variety of ailments, celebrities swear by its healing powers, and the ingredient is popping up in nutritional supplements and beauty products, as well. There’s even a new FDA-approved drug derived from CBD.
“It seems to have sort of a calming effect on the brain, although the precise mechanism by which it exerts these effects is not really well understood,” says Dr. Clauw. “I do recommend that patients try CBD first without THC, because you may be able to get the benefit without the side effects.”