Lance was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. His mother, Michelle, spoke of sleepless nights and extreme aggression trying to deal and take care of Lance. She wanted to avoid any form of pharmaceuticals. She didn’t want her child to be another product of big Pharma, and in her search for alternatives, Michelle discovered CBD. “I’d say that first year of using CBD, his aggression went down probably 60 to 70 percent. In the subsequent years, we’ve been able to get it down even further.”

It’s success stories like Lance’s that make headline news, making CBD an increasingly hot topic that is projected to combat pharma and pharmaceutical industry arms. Every major outlet in the world and their associated journalists or reporters are trying out test samples (where it’s legal to do so), promoting CBD as a life-changing alternative to aggressive prescriptions that are partnered with uncomfortable side effects. As a PR professional, understanding the science behind and the miracle that is CBD is crucial. Especially, when pitching the media and backing a product that could make a monumental difference to society. Let’s get to it, then:

CBD, formally known as Cannabidiol, is the second most active chemical compound found in marijuana. Unlike THC, which results in euphoric and psychoactive symptoms when consumed, CBD is not psychoactive. This is the stuff teenage stoners are not necessarily buying in empty parking lots from sketchy dealers. Let’s make it clear – it does not get you high. Users of CBD consume or ingest the chemical to relieve various forms of pain from epilepsy to anxiety.

So how does CBD work? According to Medical News Today, the human body naturally produces certain cannabinoids on its own, but mostly in the brain to deal with multiple functions such as movements, emotions and coordination. So let’s get scientific here for a minute. SSRIs, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, “work by blocking reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which increases the availability of serotonin in the synaptic space”. CBD  is similar to SSRIs. This is the naturally occurring chemicals within the hemp plant that are anti-inflammatory and patented by the U.S. government. Basically, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is recognized as a treatment with various health benefits; a natural and cheaper alternative.  

Leah Vanderveldt, a wellness journalist, tracked her 30-day trial with CBD and reported that, “As a relatively anxious person—especially in big groups or unknown social situations” taking CBD oil has given her the ability to feel more calm and relaxed. Additionally, she also discusses depression as a constant throughout her life that can creep at any moment. With doses of CBD, she claimed, “I felt like the heaviness of depression simply didn’t linger when I was taking CBD.”

But, what’s the evidence that CBD works? Leafly reported that following human case studies, a significant amount of participants reported a decrease in anxiety following the consumption of CBD. These studies reveal positive results and give hope for CBD as a treatment. It is important to remember, however, that CBD is still in early-stage research. Though it has the potential to play a significant role in treating various conditions, one must still apply caution as more studies are completed in the long-run.