There’s an all-natural, alternative method of treating anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain, but not everyone has been introduced to the many health benefits associated with cannabidiol, or CBD.

Only in the past few years has the general public become aware of the benefits associated with using CBD products such as oils, edibles and tinctures. These products — derived from the cannabis and hemp plants — can be found in grocery stores, wellness clinics and cannabis shops all around the Yakima Valley and the state.

As the stigma around cannabis and hemp gradually disappears, people from all walks of life are now using CBD products to alleviate a wide range of mental and physical ailments. These products can also be used to limit anxiety in animals.

But before you rush out and stock up on CBD products, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of many compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in cannabis and hemp plants. These compounds interact with our bodies by binding to receptors in our endocannabinoid system in unique ways. When determining whether hemp or cannabis CBD is best for you, it is important to understand the differences between its two primary forms.

What’s The Difference?

While the hemp and cannabis plants are similar, their CBDs have one major distinguishing characteristic: Cannabis CBDs contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects — and hemp CBDs do not.

The cannabis (aka marijuana) plant has short, fat leaves and is grown for its flowering buds that contain THC. By contrast, the hemp plant grows tall, with narrow leaves. Unlike cannabis, hemp naturally contains very little THC yet contains high levels of CBD.

Cannabis CBD Benefits, Drawbacks

When cannabis is ingested or smoked, THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors and creates a high, which may include feelings of euphoria, elation and relaxation. There are many proven medical benefits to THC found in medical marijuana cannabis, including chronic pain relief, glaucoma treatment, muscle relaxation, nausea control and PTSD treatment. It has also been found to kill cancer cells and may help treat HIV. If sourcing CBD from marijuana cannabis, choose a strain with high CBD and low THC levels.

Hemp CBD Benefits, Drawbacks

Hemp CBD, meanwhile, offers similar benefits but without any potential mind-altering effects. Hemp CBD is highly concentrated and does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, essentially a trace amount that has no psychoactive effects and limited side effects. CBD research has shown a wide array of benefits from CBD use, such as treatment of anxiety and depression, different types of pain and inflammation, seizures, cancer and other conditions, both chronic and acute.

Because hemp CBD offers so many benefits without resulting in an altered psychological state, it can be used every day with no adverse physical effects.