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The Ultimate Guide to CBD

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CBD products are everywhere and are projected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2024, according to Business News Daily. But what is CBD? Does it work? Is it safe? And is it right for you? Reader’s Digest collaborated with Project CBD, The Healthy, and Taste of Home to bring you an all-inclusive look at CBD, including essential information you need to make informed decisions about this compound and the products that contain it.

Read on to learn more about CBD, its risks and side effects, as well as the potential benefits for wellness—including anxietypain, sleep, and more. Plus you can find out how to cook and bake with CBD, learn how CBD may benefit your pets, and consult a smart CBD buying guide to ensure you’re using the right stuff.    


What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike THC—the other main compound in marijuana—CBD does not make you high. Most CBD comes from hemp plants, which can be legally grown in the United States if they don’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC. However, CBD is in a gray area—legal in some states and not others, and products are not regulated by the FDA. Why are so many people interested in CBD? The compound interacts with the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in mood, pain, metabolism, and more. That means CBD has a lot of promise, but the science is still out on all of its risks and benefits.

types of CBD infographic denoting oil/tinctures, gummies, powder, capsule, gel/cream, water, skin patch, spray, and vaporEmma Kumer/rd.com

CBD Benefits

Potential Benefits of CBD infographic denoting anxiety, pain, sleep, adhd, and migrainesEmma Kumer/rd.com

You may have heard that CBD can help ease anxiety and arthritis. But published scientific papers are showing how the compound might help with a spectrum of medical conditions from pain to sleep to even ADHD and fractures. There’s certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence.

The Essential Guide to CBDLearn your ABCs about CBD—what it is, what it helps, and how to take it—inside the all-new book from Reader’s Digest, The Essential Guide to CBD. Get your copy now →

Cooking with CBD

Food equation cooking with CBDEmma Kumer/rd.com

Yes, you can cook and bake with CBD products! And with the perfectly balanced flavors in these recipes, you won’t have to worry about any herbaceous overtones. Here’s what you’ll need to make fudgy CBD brownies, CBD gummies, and “cannabutter,” a multipurpose ingredient that can be used in any recipe that calls for butter.

CBD Benefits for Pets

CBD plus treats equals happy pet equationEmma Kumer/rd.com

There’s been an explosion in CBD products for pets, and pet parents are warming up to the idea of giving these products to their cats and dogs for everything from anxiety to arthritis. Read about one dog owner who swears that CBD helped her dog live longer, and another who believes CBD helped treat a suspicious growth on her cat. Here’s what you need to know before giving your pet a CBD treat or dropping a tincture onto their kibble.