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CBD does not get you high, but the idea that it’s not psychoactive is something of a misconception in his opinion. It does change your consciousness. You may feel mellow, experience less pain, and be more comfortable. In addition, some CBD products do contain small amounts of THC.
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The safest way to take CBD is orally, as a tablet, chewable, or tincture (a concentrated liquid typically administered with a dropper). Steer clear of any illegally sold synthetic CBD products, sometimes called “spice” or “bath salts.” These products have induced psychotic reactions in some people and pose a major health risk.
CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution
But many people still don’t really know what CBD is. Is it marijuana? Is it legal? Does it actually work? Is it safe?
Evidence regarding CBD is still building. Now that some states have legalized recreational and medical use of marijuana products, including CBD, scientists are finding it easier to conduct research. More will be known in the next 5 to 10 years, including whether there are yet undiscovered problems associated with long-term use.
Also, keep in mind that CBD products aren’t standardized and will vary. It helps to keep a journal recording what type of CBD product you took, how much, and your response to it. This will help you track what works and what doesn’t for your condition.
Does CBD work?
Yes, there is evidence that CBD works for some conditions, but certainly not all the conditions it is being promoted for these days. There’s no evidence, for example, that CBD cures cancer. There is moderate evidence that CBD can improve sleep disorders, fibromyalgia pain, muscle spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.
If you are interested in trying a CBD product, it’s best to seek one through a dispensary, which is an establishment legally licensed to sell marijuana, if they are available in your state. Dispensary products must be labeled so you can see exactly how much CBD is in the product and whether it also contains THC. A small amount of THC in a CBD product isn’t typically problematic. But larger amounts could cause a “high” and may present a risk if you are going to drive.
Hudson Hemp caters to high-end CBD companies, and its accountability is unusual. Vast amounts of CBD products are sold online and in stores without any documentation or transparency. Online retailers say whatever they want. Big marketplaces, from eBay to Alibaba, sell mysterious vials of oil with odd labels, and people buy them.
“Not all CBD on the market is created equal, and there is really a lack of understanding about even what cannabis is, let alone CBD,” says Melany Dobson, the chief administrative officer of Hudson Hemp.
CBD is most commonly consumed via an oil in which the compound has been dissolved. AFP/Getty Images
The dosages in consumer CBD products are very low
One study found that placebos sometimes work even when the subject knows it’s a placebo. Another, using that same public speaking setup that CBD studies have used, found that anxiety treatments are particularly susceptible to the placebo effect, with 40 percent of placebo-treated patients showing a decrease in anxiety symptoms while tasked with speaking to a crowd.
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.”
Researchers like Blessing are legitimately excited about CBD. It shows real promise in treating previously intractable disorders like schizophrenia, and without the destructive side effects of existing drugs. Still, that doesn’t mean CBD is harmless. Research on drug interactions with CBD is in its infancy, but what is known within the medical community is that CBD can cause serious problems for people taking certain classes of drugs, namely SSRIs (a group of antidepressants including Zoloft and Prozac) and opioids.
We know basically nothing about CBD
The fast-casual chain By Chloe recently introduced a line of CBD baked goods called Feelz by Chloe. Leslie Kirchhoff/By Chloe
So is it possible that despite all this anecdotal evidence, low-dose CBD is a placebo? Sure, because, say it with me: We don’t know anything about CBD. “Unfortunately,” says Baron, “we are nowhere near close to having any definitive trials on effectiveness for most symptoms claimed to benefit from CBD with trials that are scientifically relevant, such as prospective randomized placebo-controlled trials.”