Like many of my fellow New York City residents, I’ve recently grown aware of the presence of CBD in my surroundings. In particular, CBD at coffee shops. It started when some friends of mine were discussing a pilgrimage out to Flower Power Coffee Co., known for its “artisanal CBD-infused coffee.” Then, at a fancy matcha cart I went to for Instagram-related purposes, I noticed that alongside health food add-ins like oat milk was the option to include a one-dollar shot of CBD. I didn’t do it, because weed in most forms tends to make me sleepy and it was 1 p.m. on a Saturday in the middle of Brooklyn's trendiest neighborhood.
This pocket-sized salve is perfect for travel or for sports, when you need a quick fix for your sore joints and muscles. It is also infused with arnica, meadowsweet, elderflower, calendula, ginger, vitamin E, turmeric, and other nourishing skincare ingredients that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s good to know ahead of time that this salve is extremely hard to apply—there’s a lot of beeswax in there, which makes it difficult to melt enough to rub into your skin. (There is also a handy Topical Roll-On version so that you don’t have to even use your fingers—the problem is, the roll-on formula is also made with beeswax. It’s been 65 degrees in New York City all week and I still can’t get the formula to melt in the roll-on. Nothing that placing the container in a bowl of hot water won’t solve, but it’s not up to general skincare standards.)
High-CBD strains can be smoked or vaporized for immediate effects with little to no high, depending on the strain’s THC content. A strain may contain only trace amounts of THC for clear-headed relief, or it may have balanced levels of THC and CBD, delivering a mild high but potent relief. Explore the menu of your nearby dispensary for a full list of the offerings near you, or browse high-CBD strains on Leafly for an idea of popular varieties to look out for.
There are a few ways to get CBD into your body. The most common, used in both clinical trials and consumer products, is via an oil in which CBD, which is naturally soluble in fat, has been dissolved. CBD oil can be taken orally, inhaled as a vape, or applied topically. Topical application is supposed to work sort of the way Icy Hot does, affecting a local muscle area specifically to reduce aches and pains, but the other methods produce full-brain and -body effects.
The few CBD studies out there give us limited information, and hardly any about recreational CBD use. One study gave people different amounts of ingested CBD (100, 300, and 900 mg), as well as, for comparison, a placebo and Klonopin; those people then had to give a public speech, an action associated with high levels of anxiety in the broad populace. Neither 100 mg nor 900 mg, nor the placebo, had any effect. The 300 mg dose, though, did have a measurable calming effect on heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety. (The Klonopin also worked.)
Whether any of these CBD products will do anyone any good (or bad) is moot. “Cannabidiol is the hottest new medicine in mental health because the proper clinical trials do suggest it has clinical effects,” says Philip McGuire, professor of psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience at King’s College London. “It is the No 1 new treatment we’re interested in. But although there’s tons of stuff in the news about it, there’s still not that much evidence.” Large, long-term studies are needed; a 2017 review paper into the safety profile of CBD concluded that “important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied; for example, if CBD has an effect on hormones”.
Up until recently, it was the psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which received most of the attention for its medicinal benefits, as well as its ability to produce psycho- tropic effects. Now, with medical marijuana gaining ground across the country, researchers are discovering the amazing properties of additional cannabinoids. But what makes CBD so special?
^ Hayakawa K, Mishima K, Nozako M, Ogata A, Hazekawa M, Liu AX, Fujioka M, Abe K, Hasebe N, Egashira N, Iwasaki K, Fujiwara M (March 2007). "Repeated treatment with cannabidiol but not Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol has a neuroprotective effect without the development of tolerance". Neuropharmacology. 52 (4): 1079–87. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2006.11.005. PMID 17320118.
I used it on my mother's feet (she's 90). She is great for testing anything because she's in an incredible amount of pain and absolutely NOTHING works for her. Two hours after I applied it, she came into my room and said, "I can't believe that cream actually worked. I still don't have any pain in my toes and the bottom of my feet. It worked so well, I forgot about the pain after you put it on..." Needless to say, she looks forward to an application every evening.
THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance, is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. Thus, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD or CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp plants, as they only have minuscule traces of THC (<0.3%).
Although THC is best known for its mind-altering euphoria, it too has important medical benefits. There’s some overlap in what CBD and THC can treat, but THC is particularly effective in relieving nausea, appetite loss, insomnia, among other symptoms. Many patients find that a balance of CBD and THC offers the best symptom relief as the two work together synergistically.
The vast majority of CBD oils come in bottles measuring either 15 milliliters (mL), or 0.5 ounces; or 30 mL, or 1 ounce. However, CBD concentration is more important than bottle size. Concentration refers to the ratio of hemp oil solution (measured in mL) compared to the amount of CBD cannabinoid (measured in milligrams, or mg). A 15-mL bottle may contain 100 mg of CBD, 300 mg, 500 mg, or more. The higher the mg amount, the stronger the CBD oil will be. For this reason, the ‘mg’ measurement is also referred to as the oil’s strength; i.e., 400-mg oil might be called 400-strength oil.
Last but not least, the starring ingredient. I have both variations (Olive Oil and Mint Chocolate) of Charlotte's Web, and I've used both in my coffee mixtures. The Olive Oil flavor is invisible among the mix-ins. When I first began making my CBD coffees at home, I started in baby steps, using just a few drops and eventually graduating to one full dropper. It's totally up to each individual, and while the packaging says one to three droppers per day is recommended, I've found my sweet spot to be just the morning single. I simply squeeze a full dropper into my blender with the rest of my ingredients, add a few ice cubes, and blend until smooth. I'm obsessed with the Mint Chocolate flavor and also add it to smoothies. As with anything you ingest, especially supplements, it's important to be careful with sourcing and to know what you're ingesting. I 100% trust Charlotte's Web for providing a healthy and safe product. Again, this is what has worked best for me, but if you're interested in trying CBD in your coffee (or any CBD product for that matter), doing your research and experimenting with what feels comfortable and tolerable to your body and its sensitivities is crucial.
Many people say that you should scrub your body with leftover coffee grounds because the caffeine helps get rid of cellulite. (It is actually well documented in medical literature.) But if you feel weird about dipping into the coffee machine at the office, try this CBD-infused coffee scrub, made with coconut oil and shea butter for extra moisturizing benefits, instead. I like using it when I need a little bit of medication with my exfoliation (which the coffee grounds are for)—plus, the strong scent of coffee will wake you up if you use it in the morning. If you live with anyone else, just make sure to clean the shower afterwards—coffee scrubs can be messy and staining.
That said, both Blessing and Carson warn that CBD should still be considered a drug, which means it can interact with other drugs. “CBD does interact with drugs that people are taking,” says Blessing. “So if you’re taking an opioid cough suppressant, or you’re taking serotonin-based medicine, like an SSRI, you can have strong drug interactions.” While most coffee shops are likely using doses too low to cause such interactions, Blessing says it’s something to be aware of. “If a coffee shop happened to have a way of making a product with a lot of CBD in it, then that could really interact with the medication this person is taking, and the effects they think are due to CBD could partly be due to that medication interaction,” she says.
Though unflavored and priced higher than competitors, Green Roads CBD oils are made by a trusted manufacturer and use organically grown hemp. Following the CO2 supercritical fluid extraction process, board-certified pharmacists formulate the tincture by hand. Green Roads only sells CBD isolates, so if you’re looking for broad-spectrum products look to some of our other recommendations.
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