In most cases (and in all cases in which the coffee shop doesn’t want to risk being sued), coffee shops can’t advertise CBD as doing much of anything, one way or another. While clinical trials attempt to determine an effective dose for a particular condition, says Esther, the growing “wellness empire” is free to leave the effects to your imagination. “People who are selling CBD don’t even have to make specific claims. The relationship between the actual amount of CBD and the effect doesn’t have to be very specific, because there is no specific effect that they’re talking about,” says Blessing. “So if I have a CBD latte, I might feel a little relaxed, or a little less neurotic, or who knows.”
I tell several sellers of CBD food and drink what I learned from Blessing and ask what they think. “Return customers who come back, and swear by it and love it, buy two at a time to stock up for the week because they do find it to be very helpful,” says Tavares. Clancy echoes this: “We rely a lot on consumer feedback and testimonial, and generally it’s positive when taking that minimal amount. Now, that very well could be a placebo effect, but either way, people have come back and reported significant benefits when it comes to easing social anxiety.”
The second method of pain relief centers around the damage you do when you work out. When you strength train, you create micro-tears in your muscles, which is why you feel sore as you heal. Once your immune cells detect damage, they release inflammatory mediators in order to repair the tissue. CBD, though has the ability to limit the release of some proinflammatory signals, thereby helping with pain without thwarting the healing entirely, Gerdeman explains.
The Alchemist’s Kitchen makes it a point to tell customers everything they know, or think they know, about CBD, and to emphasize that if CBD is going to be a regular part of their lives, they should consult with a doctor to make sure they won’t have any adverse reactions. Your bodega guy, who’s selling a little jar of CBD oil right next to the Dentyne Ice gum, almost certainly isn’t doing the same.
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Though a CBD latte might not do much for you — at least not beyond what caffeine and the placebo effect combined can do, which isn’t nothing — it’s also probably harmless in most cases, says Carson, and may even have positive benefits we aren’t yet aware of. “I suspect there’s probably some antioxidant benefit to CBD like there is with coffee,” says Carson. “There’s tons of good things in coffee that we still don’t fully understand, and I think the marijuana plant is much the same way.”