There's something in the water.
It's also in smoothies. And chocolate. And dog treats, moisturizers, deodorants, bath bombs and bug sprays.
Only a few years after the first states legalized recreational cannabis, the most ubiquitous three letters on the market aren't THC but CBD. Cannabidiol—the non-intoxicating compound that provides all the mellowing effects of weed, minus the red eyes, foggy head and insatiable munchies—is everywhere, and being infused into everything, from food to skin care products.
It's on the shelves at Walgreens and New Seasons. Barneys in New York is selling high-end CBD makeup, candles and perfumes. Carl's Jr. even rolled out a CBD hamburger recently. In Portland, you can't operate a coffee shop, bar or health food restaurant without offering some form of it on your menu.
It's fair to be skeptical. Research is still in its early stages, and the market is largely unregulated. But with sales projected to hit $22 billion in the next three years, CBD is only going to get more inescapable.
This week, some of the leading minds in cannabis will gather in Portland for the fourth annual Cultivation Classic, the world's most scientifically rigorous organic cannabis competition. (Full disclosure: Willamette Week puts on Cultivation Classic.) So we thought the time is right to put together a guide to the biggest wellness trend to come along in years—call it the ABCs of CBD.
We consulted with local experts to help us sort medical fact from marketing fiction. We also spoke to the founders of Oregon's first CBD-infused beverage company, Ablis, about staying competitive in a rapidly expanding marketplace. One writer attempted to integrate CBD into every part of her daily routine, from her morning espresso to her post-work cocktail.
We've rounded up the highest-end—and, frankly, ridiculous—CBD products on the market, including "beauty serums" and protein powders. And for traditionalists, we also compiled a list of the five best high-CBD strains you can find in dispensaries right now.
So kick back, grab that infused chocolate bar, gummy or chamomile face cream, and relax. It's time to get chill.