You’ve definitely heard the buzz online. You may have even seen your friends trying it. But what is CBD, exactly, and why are people eating it like candy?
CBD, short for “cannabidiol,” is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. THC, for example, is the cannabinoid known to make you feel high when you smoke marijuana or eat edibles. Medical marijuana has grown increasingly popular over the past few years, and for good reason due to its ability to alleviate pain and other symptoms. Unlike its more famous sibling, though, CBD is not an intoxicant, so people love its numerous health benefits without feeling “stoned.”
The rise of CBD’s fame is rife with misinformation, unfortunately. While it is indeed a powerful substance that provides genuine relief from a multitude of ailments, seedy companies have started capitalizing on people’s ignorance by making outlandish claims that it can cure cancer, depression, and other conditions. CBD is only for treating symptoms of said conditions, not curing them. While cannabidiol products present a viable alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, your friends who pop a CBD gummy after lunch are only using it for temporary relief.
How does CBD work?
Your body has something called an endocannabinoid system. Do you recognize the root of the first word? That’s because this system was discovered long after the plant, but they both produce similar compounds. “Endo” means “inside,” so your body produces endocannabinoids on its own, while CBD and THC are examples of phytocannabinoids, “phyto” meaning “plant.”
The endocannabinoid system is integral to your body’s health. Composed of cannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes, your ECS helps your body maintain homeostasis; or its state of equilibrium for optimal functioning. When you are hungry, your ECS plays a role in making your stomach growl so that you know to refuel. When you’re hot, it signals to your sweat glands to cool you off. Your ECS is involved in all kinds of functions, such as appetite, inflammation, mood sleep, motor control, reproduction, pain, memory, pleasure, and more.
And that is why people take CBD—to give their endocannabinoid systems an extra boost. Do you suffer from an anxiety disorder? Then a dose of CBD can help calm your mind with its positive psychoactive qualities. However, CBD will not make your anxiety disorder disappear, never to return. It will only provide you with relief as long as the dose you ingested is in your system, which may last a few hours. Likewise, CBD can alleviate cancer-related pain, but will not make the tumor shrink.
So, no, CBD is not a wonder drug. It is simply an alternative substance to help you get through the day.
Why do people take gummies?
So, do people always take CBD in gummy form? Not at all; there are countless other ways to get cannabidiol into your system. Oils and tinctures are especially popular, but additional options include vape pens, sprays, topical lotions and creams, bath bombs, other edibles, and more. CBD products can taste a bit earthy, though, so infused gummies are a favorite choice because they taste delicious.
Gummies are also popular because you can take them whenever you need to. Do you feel anxious in the middle of the day? Not a problem, you can pop a gummy into your mouth, and no one will question it. Cannabis-related products are still stigmatized (though it’s about time we change that), so you’d draw some weird looks if you dropped a bit of oil under your tongue while sitting at your desk.
There are all kinds of flavors on the market, so you can check out Verma Farms for tasty CBD gummies and a dosage you feel comfortable with. Both Forbes and Entrepreneur also list their top recommendations of the best CBD gummies around.
Be careful of the industry
The CBD industry, unfortunately, can be a dangerous place. There is only one FDA-approved brand of CBD currently in existence (which is to treat pediatric epilepsy). The 2018 Farm Bill allows hemp-derived CBD products to exist at a federal level as long as they contain less than .3 percent THC, but each state is free to make and enforce its own laws, which can vary widely.
The FDA does not keep a careful watch on CBD, though, so there is no organization holding companies accountable. Hemp absorbs toxins from its environment, which can bleed into derived CBD products. Not only is CBD not a wonder drug, but it can also be outright dangerous if you buy from a company trying to cut corners. To avoid this risk, only purchase from reputable businesses that are transparent about where they grow their hemp (such as in places like Colorado) and post their Certificates of Analysis online (COAs are the results from third-party lab tests; it’s imperative you learn how to read them).
CBD gummies are not a cure-all. If you encounter a company claiming otherwise, take your business elsewhere. Though the FDA is not militant about watching the CBD industry, it has issued warnings to companies making unfounded health claims (and as it stands, CBD requires much more research into its properties; most evidence is anecdotal, especially in humans). So be careful out there, know that CBD is only for treating symptoms, talk with your doctor first, and find some delicious flavors.