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You might have seen it in your neighborhood health store, your local spa or your corner coffee shop. CBD, aka cannabidiol, is getting mixed into cocktails, lotions and drinks.
But what is CBD, exactly? Does it have real health benefits? Is it even safe?
To get a better understanding of the compound, TIME spoke to two scientists on the cutting edge of CBD research: Dr. Esther Blessing, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University, and Margaret Haney, professor of neurobiology at Columbia University Medical Center and director of the university’s Marijuana Research Laboratory.
Blessing and Haney agree that the current evidence suggests that CBD shows promise for helping to treat some illnesses. In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first cannabis-derived drug — Epidiolex, which contains purified CBD — to treat certain rare childhood seizure syndromes. However, much of the research on CBD is only in very early stages, and scientists still don’t know a lot about it — including whether it has negative long-term effects.