NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states, but there’s another derivative of the cannabis plant that you don’t need a prescription for.
It’s in oils and edibles and there are claims that it can improve health, sleep, and more.
“It’s an alternative that doesn’t get you high,” cannabidiol user Christopher Michael said. “It’s really nice.”
The marijuana compound cannabidiol, or CBD, is a derivative from the cannabis plant known as hemp. Users liken the feeling “to a warm cashmere blanket” that “makes everything a little softer.”
“People are really looking for non-pharmaceutical remedies for pain,” Dr. Shari Auth said. “CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory.”
Auth is a doctor of Chinese medicine, and uses CBD in a variety of forms to treat insomnia, chronic pain, and to help patients feel better.
The Flower Coffee House in Queens is even countering their caffeine with CBD. CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez even gave it a whirl with reassurances that the java was free of THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high.
CBS2 was there when police checked lab results at Caffeine Underground in Brooklyn, where they also serve completely legal CBD coffee.
“It does have the ability of providing you with a better mood,” Caffeine Underground Ian Ford said. “It makes you a little zen, a little body relaxation.”
It goes far beyond coffee. There are CBD lollipops, jams, gummies for PMS, a variety of flavored oils, lotions for pain, and it’s even in mascara as an ingredient that’s vegan-friendly.
“Not that it’s legal in all 50 states, it’s amazing the acceptance that it’s getting,” business owner Alexandra Janelli said.
She sells CBD products at her spa, Modrn Sanctuary.
“The cannabinoids have been put into a topical cream which is good for pain,” Janelli said.
CBD oils are said to be popular at Greenwich Village spa CAP Beauty, where they offer an extra strength cream which relieves soreness from typing on the computer.
“It has a warming affect,” owner Amity Spiegel said.
Experts say CBD shows great promise for health and wellness, but advise caution for kids.
“Any substance used in a teenage brain primes them for potentially using more drugs down the line,” psychologist Carrie Wilkens, PhD and co-founder of the Center for Motivation and Change, said.
Wilkens adds she’s impressed with the benefits she’s seen, and has little worry about its use.
“There’s not a lot of evidence that people get addicted to it,” she said.
As for the taste, users say there’s definitely an earthy essence to it.
Before you try, experts say it’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor and of course remember that the products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.