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CVS and Walgreens announced they’ll be selling products containing CBD. So what the heck is CBD? What’s up with CBD from hemp and marijuana, what it does, and what to know before you buy it at your local drugstore. [email protected]

What to Know About the CBD at Your CVS

What it is, what it does, and what to know before you buy.

CVS and Walgreens announced they’re going to sell products containing CBD, best known as the component of marijuana that won’t make you high, in certain stores. CVS is currently selling CBD topicals—creams, sprays, and lotions—in eight states. Walgreens announced its intention to sell CBD products days later, but “isn’t sharing additional details at this time,” according to a spokesperson.

If CBD hadn’t already reached fever pitch, with products like CBD-containing gummies, beer, coffee, eye creams, and even (no kidding) suppositories flooding the market, this announcement legitimizes the compound further.

But market share and the veneer of legitimacy doesn’t mean there’s a lot of clarity around the stuff. Here’s what to know about CBD before you buy:

More From Men’s Health

The CBD in CVS is derived from hemp, not from marijuana

To the government, that makes a difference—the rules governing the growing and selling of marijuana are much stricter than those governing hemp (although hemp’s are still pretty murky). To your body, where it was derived doesn’t make a difference at all. “CBD is a molecule and is the same regardless of whether it is derived from cannabis or hemp or synthesized in a lab,” says David J. Grelotti, M.D., medical director of the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research, based at UC San Diego.

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Products touting “hemp” on the label may contain CBD. But might not

Plenty of stores sell products containing hemp, but there’s no guarantee it contains CBD. “You see a lot of business not using CBD on their labels in favor of the word ‘hemp,’” says Ricardo Baca, the former “cannabis editor” for The Denver Post, now in the thick of regulatory challenges and changes as founder of the PR firm Grasslands. “I think it’s in an effort to hope it attracts less regulatory oversight. There’s a feeling that the FDA is very much looking at these product labels.” Baca also points out “a lot of the hemp grown and used for products sold on the unregulated market are coming from hemp cultivated in countries that have even less strict regulations.” So it may contain pesticides or other impurities. To protect yourself from this, “choose products sourced from domestically-grown hemp,” he says.

Right now, we know CBD is good for…sales?

The CBD market is predicted to grow to $22 billion by 2022—because or in spite of definitive evidence that CBD has a positive effect on your health. There’s a lot of “sciency noise” around CBD, says Timothy Caulfield, research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta and author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness. The World Health Organization says that when it comes to CBD, “for most indications there is only pre-clinical evidence.”

Marty Munson, currently the health director of Men’s Health, has been a health editor at properties including Marie Claire, Prevention, Shape and RealAge. She’s also certified as a swim and triathlon coach.

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