Cannabidiol, or CBD, is not “pot.”

It is a component of the cannabis plant but does not produce a “high.” What it does appear to do, among other benefits, is effectively treat childhood illnesses such as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut epilepsy syndromes.

“In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether,” writes Dr. Peter Grinspoon, contributing editor for Harvard Medical School publications. He adds that CBD often is used for anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. Grinspoon emphasizes more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and proper dosages.

“If you decide to try CBD,” he writes, “talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.”

Two businesses that offer CBD recently opened in Eau Claire — Evolution Hemp and Your CBD Store.

“To be able to see people get an answer to their pain problems ... it feels really great,” Jesse Bates, Evolution Hemp general manager, told the Leader-Telegram’s Julian Emerson.

Your CBD Store owner Melissa Bellovary told Emerson the dangers of opioids is one reason CBD interest has grown. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 130 people in the U.S. die each day after overdosing on opioids. “Doctors are taking people off of their opioid pain medications because of concerns about that,” Bellovary said, “and this offers people another alternative.”

Trepidations about recreational marijuana are understandable and research into CBD risks is warranted, but the possible benefits of medical marijuana — and the relatively innocuous CBD — can’t be ignored.

Liam Marlaire, assistant editor