Food and beverage products containing CBD were introduced in the United States in 2017. Similar to energy drinks and protein bars which may contain vitamin or herbal additives, food and beverage items can be infused with CBD as an alternative means of ingesting the substance. In the United States, numerous products are marketed as containing CBD, but in reality contain little or none. Some companies marketing CBD-infused food products with claims that are similar to the effects of prescription drugs have received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration for making unsubstantiated health claims.
The extract known as CBD oil sold in the U.S. falls into one of two categories. Crystalline isolate exclusively contains CBD, as other cannabinoids have been removed; full spectrum oil, on the other hand, retains THC and other cannabinoids, and is only sold in states where marijuana use has been legalized. CBD oil can be consumed several different ways, including ingested capsules and food products, vaporizing, tinctures, and topical creams. The soporific effects of CBD oil are linked to its concentration; low-concentration oils will produce minimal effects, while high-concentration oils will produce strong effects.
People suffering from other neurological disorders might also benefit from using CBD oil as part of their treatment. Several studies involving Parkinson’s disease showed that participants slept better after treatment. Furthermore, their overall quality of life increased. Amazingly, CBD also showed positive benefits in treating or preventing Alzheimer’s disease. As CBD lowers inflammation, it helps prevent nerves from degenerating. During one study, scientists used mice with the genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease. They found that CBD helped by preventing the mice’s cognitive decline.
CBD has noted effects on many systems the brain uses to send signals to your body. One of these is the endocannabinoid system. When used, CBD can have beneficial effects on people who suffer neurological disorders. The research in this area is still new. However, there were many studies where CBD was tested for its effect on treating MS and epilepsy.
Carson, too, speculates that CBD might be able to reduce some of the jitteriness associated with caffeine intake, thus complementing it rather than canceling it out. “I can’t say I’ve spent much time in New York, but when I was thinking about talking to you, I got this vision in my head of a stereotypical taxi driver drinking a huge cup of coffee and being really alert but irritable,” he says. “And now if you add in a little CBD, they’re really alert but maybe a little more calm, and not as apt to honk the horn. I think that’s a potential area where there could be something good that comes from adding CBD to the coffee.”
Users speak of a “body” high, as opposed to a mind-altering one. “Physically, it’s like taking a warm bath, melting the tension away,” said Gabe Kennedy, 27, a founder of Plant People, a start-up in New York that sells CBD capsules and oils. “It is balancing; a leveling, smoothing sensation in the body mostly, and an evenness of attention in the mind.”
Having run infusion workshops in Denver for the last 3 years, I have played with several recipes. Just Add Herbals has kits that include hypoallergenic mediums that you can infuse with kief, which they give you a way to extract from cannabis. Even lower quality cannabis can be used, the key is to pay attention to the genetic you are using. Kief makes dosing easier and these kits are a simple way to infuse not just salve, but tincture, massage oil, and cooking oil as well. The salve may be ideal for folliculitis – I’d be curious to hear how it does for you.
This non-greasy formula is a lightweight counterpart to all those heavy hemp salves and balms that you tend to see on the market, so much so that you could use this every day on your entire body without worries about staining your clothes. Along with the Colorado-grown CBD oil, it has a lotion base made with aloe vera leaf juice powder (good for antioxidants), lactic acid (good for exfoliation), and other reputable skincare ingredients. Keep this by your shower and use it while your skin is still moist, warm, and soft for the best results.
So far, by far the best medicinal relief I have found for my systems is a particular strain of cannabis flower called Harlequin — it contains an almost 3:1 ratio of CBD:THC, which is extremely rare and unique in the cannabis world. There are multiple studies you can find online showing the SYNERGISTIC effects of CBD combined with THC. When they are used together, they are much more medicinally effective than other one is on their own. Most cannabis strains today have zero CBD because growers realized everyone just loves their THC, but the Harlequin strain is a god send.
They may be safe, but there's one massive problem: There's practically no scientific data to support the idea that a CBD-infused topical cream is any more effective than other topical pain relievers, like Tiger Balm, BenGay, or Icy Hot. Michelle Sexton, a San Diego-based naturopathic doctor and medical research director of the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy says that her patients do seem to have a great interest in CBD ointments, and roughly 40 percent of them have indeed tried one. However, these people are in her office now because the topicals didn’t work for them. "As a medical professional, my opinion is there’s little evidence to back up the claims being made—it’s all marketing for now," she says.
An important issue in the discussion around cannabis-derived oils is: how much THC is a legal CBD product allowed to contain in order not to be considered a narcotic? Authorities sometimes choose to deal with these regulations in a pragmatic way, recognizing that laws once designed to control marijuana abuse may not be fully applicable to hemp. For example, in the Netherlands, a maximum level of 0.05% THC is allowed in CBD products, even though, formally, any detectable trace of THC is illegal according to Dutch narcotics laws. This approach is based on the fact that even hemp varieties of cannabis produce a small amount of THC, and therefore naturally derived CBD extracts will carry some THC in the final products.
There has been a lot of hype recently, especially throughout the media, regarding the rising-in-popularity CBD, but still plenty of confusion may exist regarding this naturally occurring chemical’s abilities, composition and why exactly it works. Probably the two most common topical forms of CBD are oils and creams, so these are the two products we will be focusing on.
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”.
That lines up with one of the rare instances of FDA testing. In 2016, the FDA tested several “CBD oils,” ultimately issuing warnings to eight companies. Some of those oils were found to contain no or barely any CBD, and many contained illegal quantities of THC. For example, Healthy Hemp Oil’s “Herbal Renewals 25% CBD Hemp Oil Gold Label” contained 8.4 mg/g of THC. Sana Te Premium Oils, which sold 25 mg “CBD oil” capsules on Etsy, contained between 13 and 19 mg/g of THC and less than 0.1 mg/g of CBD.
Cost is another consideration. Most CBD oils are sold in concentrations of 300 to 750 mg, although this may range from less than 100 mg to more than 2,000. A good indicator of price-point is the cost per milligram. Low-cost CBD oils usually fall between five and 10 cents per mg; mid-range prices are 11 to 15 cents per mg; and higher-end oils cost 16 cents per mg or higher. Given these varying per-milligram costs, a bottle of CBD oil may be priced anywhere from $10 or less to $150 or more.
While there are producers who will tell you the difference between legal and illegal CBD comes down to whether your batch is derived from marijuana or hemp—both are plants in the cannabis family, but hemp contains very little THC compared to marijuana—the truth is that even hemp isn’t legal everywhere. In Massachusetts, for example, you’re allowed to grow marijuana at home, but it’s still a crime to grow hemp.
Interestingly, the memo argues that while California is willing to challenge the federal government’s authority when it comes to legalizing cannabis, it’s not willing to challenge the federal government when it comes to hemp. The memo states: “Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”
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.”