If you believe all the hype, CBD sounds like a miracle drug. Its popularity has exploded in the last five years and is now even sold at your local CVS. Its users have touted it as a cure for everything from chronic pain and anxiety to depression and even acne. But are these claims true?
First, let’s start with the basics.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, the full name for CBD, is one of 113 chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. But don’t let that scare you. CBD doesn’t contain THC, another cannabinoid found in marijuana that makes people feel “high,” so you can take it without fearing any psychoactive effects (or getting the munchies!). It has also been found to have no abuse or addictive potential.
Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant and is typically diluted with carrier oils like coconut or hemp seed. It comes in varying strengths and can be infused with natural flavors like peppermint or lemon to enhance the taste on its own. However, CBD oil is also becoming a food additive, and you can find CBD-infused gummy bears, chocolates, coffee, and even gelato in most cities across the country. You can also get it in pill form and even in lotions and balms.
Is CBD oil legal?
One of the most-asked questions about CBD is the legality – after all, marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, and state-by-state laws can leave many feeling more than a little confused. The short answer is “mostly, but…” and might change even more in the near future.
After the passage of the latest farm bill in December 2018, hemp is no longer a schedule I controlled substance, however the DEA still maintains that classification. Thus, individual states could potentially make CBD illegal if they chose to do so. Currently, CBD is legal in 44 states, however the exact legality can vary – check out this map to see where your state stands.
Does CBD Oil actually work?
CBD users often claim that it helps with medical issues ranging from anxiety to pain and even eczema. However, the scientific research has not caught up to the immense popularity of CBD. There have been studies showing that CBD helps with symptoms of certain kinds of epilepsy in children, and the FDA has recently approved a CBD based epilepsy drug called Epidiotex. However, when it comes to treating other ailments, there is much more research to do. Most CBD studies until now have been very small, tested mostly on animals and not people, and done for short periods of time. There have also been few to no studies done on the effects of different doses and chronic exposure, as well as which ingestion methods are most effective.
Even with little scientific data, many people are still very interested in trying CBD, and doctors have begun prescribing it in certain patients who have failed to make progress with other medications. If you want to see what it’s all about, check out our 5 tips before venturing into the market.
How can I be sure I’m buying a top-quality product?
CBD products can be expensive, with 1-fluid-ounce bottles of oil running around $60-$75, so you want to make sure you’re buying a quality product that’s going to deliver the benefits you’re seeking. To do that, you’ll have to do a little groundwork. This article offers an excellent guide on what to look for when purchasing CBD oil, including these three key elements:
- Purchase products that use organic or all-natural ingredients.
- Buy products that were sourced from U.S.-grown hemp — especially if they are grown in states like Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee or Vermont, which produce some of the highest-quality hemp.
- Avoid products claiming to be derived from the seed and stalk of the hemp plant. According to Project CBD, “CBD is not present in hemp seed and barely any CBD is present on the stalk of the hemp plant.”
- Look for companies that put thought behind their philosophy. Is it transparent about the ways in which its hemp is sourced? Does it share a passionate, well-written statement about their beliefs and standards in CBD production? Never be afraid to contact a company before buying. If owners are serious about their product, they’ll be happy to answer a few questions.
It’s best to err on the side of skepticism when purchasing CBD products. As the legality of CBD is still a bit murky, most of the CBD products found in stores are unregulated. A 2017 study found that 70% of CBD products, particularly those sold online, are mislabeled. Some have ingredients not stated on the label, some misrepresent the amount of CBD in the product (both higher and lower than labeled) and some even contained THC.
The only states where you can be sure of what you are getting are states where recreational marijuana is legal and regulated, as CBD products sold in those states have to go through similar government testing.
What CBD varieties are best for me?
CBD has become so popular that you can get it in a variety of ways — from oils and vape cartridges to gummies and soft gels. The best way to take CBD varies from person to person, depending on the benefits you’re seeking. Project CBD offers a few pointers: Vaping is best if you’re looking for an instant effect, like to ease pain or help you sleep. It generally kicks in quicker and lasts for a couple of hours. Ingesting it — whether it’s oil or a CBD-infused gummy — can take longer to take effect — anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes — but it can last for four or more hours.
How do I find my optimal dosage?
As previously mentioned, there is not a scientific consensus about what dose of CBD is considered “effective”, but a general rule of thumb is to begin with 10 to 15 milligrams a day, and then increase it gradually until you achieve your desired effect. It will vary from person to person, depending on weight, body size, and seriousness of symptoms.
Is there such a thing as “healthier” CBD oil?
Just like salt-laden kale chips and candied walnuts, health products like CBD oil can sometimes be combined with unhealthy ingredients to enhance their flavor. As such, check the labels on your CBD products to make sure they don’t contain icky add-ins. Steer clear from vape cartridge products that contain toxic thinning agents like propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. The same concept applies to CBD treats like gummies or chocolates. Skip the ones made with corn syrup and artificial colors.
Should I consult my doctor before trying CBD oil?
It’s always a smart idea to consult your doctor before adding any new supplements like CBD to your daily regimen to see if it’s your best form of treatment, and to make sure it won’t interact with any drugs you may already be taking. CBD is considered safe, but at significant doses it has been shown to deactivate an enzyme found in some prescription drugs, like painkillers, statins, blood thinners and insulin.
CBD is believed to benefit people suffering from a variety of diseases and common day-to-day ailments, but it can’t fix everything. If you find yourself under the weather, in pain or in need of a measles vaccine or X-ray, vybe urgent care center is here to help. Stop into one of our locations in the Philadelphia region. We’ll work to fix you up in a jiffy.