The fact that the maximum CBD content in an oil is limited by the THC present in the herbal material used makes it attractive to add an additional amount of purified CBD to boost the percentage advertised on the label. Unfortunately, the Novel Food Catalogue of the EU states that “extracts of Cannabis sativa L. in which CBD levels are higher than the CBD levels in the plant source are novel in food” . This means that enriching a natural hemp extract with pure (often synthetic) CBD makes it a Novel Food product, with the consequence that it must undergo significant safety assessment prior to being marketed. However, it is still unclear in many EU countries if extracts with no added CBD also fall under this regime.
Unlike with THC, CBD’s effects aren’t limited to that single receptor. These effects are not precisely known, though CBD certainly has some impact on CB1’s sister receptor (CB2) as well as a receptor called 5-HT1A. When the 5-HT1A receptor comes into contact with a material that agonizes it, the effects can include reduced anxiety and increased calmness.
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat nerves and anxiety, as well as other mood problems. CBD may help to improve both depression and anxiety, at least in part through its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. Research shows that CBD can reduce both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. A study of CBD given to people before a public-speaking event indicates that CBD can help reduce stress—this and other research has shown that CBD can be an effective treatment for social anxiety.
Preliminary research indicates that cannabidiol may reduce adverse effects of THC, particularly those causing intoxication and sedation, but only at high doses. Safety studies of cannabidiol showed it is well-tolerated, but may cause tiredness, diarrhea, or changes in appetite as common adverse effects. Epidiolex documentation lists sleepiness, insomnia and poor quality sleep, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.
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While the CBD latte dosage varies from coffee shop to coffee shop, the range seems to fall between two to 15 drops, or approximately 20 to 30 milligrams, says Blessing. That’s a lot less than what’s been shown to work in clinical trials for various conditions, which makes Blessing skeptical that a CBD latte could produce any noticeable effect. “There’s no evidence whatsoever that a small amount of CBD is actually doing anything at all,” she says. “An analogy I give sometimes is, you wouldn’t take 2 mg of ibuprofen. It doesn’t do anything.”
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.”
One of the strongest nutraceutical CBD oils is called Charlotte’s Web, with a 50mg dose. Charlotte’s Web is produced in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers, and named after Charlotte Figi, a girl who became famous in the US after her frequent seizures, brought on by the rare Dravet syndrome, were greatly reduced when she started taking CBD oil aged five. The company makes THC products too and is extremely successful, having just offered shares on the Canadian securities exchange, raising about $100m.