CBD has become a craze but most people know little more about it than it comes from the hemp plant and it’s believed to be very good for your health. All types of brands are racing to get involved. CVS and Walgreens both recently announced plans to sell CBD products. Coca Cola seems to be exploring the idea to add CBD to their beverages. Even Oreos has jumped into the mix.
The potential of CBD is exciting for business owners and consumers alike. In the past few months, I’ve become involved in the space when I invested in Nature Box, a healthy snack startup. Our line of CBD snacks are poised to become one of the most popular snacks we offer. Initial interest in our prelaunch has been staggering. For consumers, CBD has the potential to be a great source of healing and daily wellness.
Yet for all the potential profits and healing that could come with CBD, there are still many questions about what CBD actually is, why its important and how legal it actually is. I was taken back when my team at Nature Box proposed a CBD snack. I thought CBD was a type of marijuana or something illegal. I read everywhere online about it and got conflicting stories so I decided to set the CBD facts straight here.
Here’s a complete guide to the things you need to know about CBD right now.
1. THC gets you high, CBD doesn't.
Despite what many people have written, no, CBD will not make you high. While both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, THC is the psycho-active compound that creates the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD has an entirely different effect on the body.
2. CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil
CBD oil is an oil that contains Cannabidiol. CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and usually combined with a base oil (often olive, coconut or MCT).
Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and should not contain CBD, or any other cannabinoids. Hemp oil is associated with its own list of health benefits.
3. CBD is in a legal gray area
The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products on a federal level. With regard to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), CBD oil from hemp is no longer a Schedule 1 controlled-substance, or drug. Per section 10113 of the Farm Bill, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC by weight.
However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not legalized CBD for sale as a supplement. The agency has stated it wants more information on CBD and time to consider how it might regulate production, marketing, labeling, distribution and dosage recommendations. I'll update this as more laws are passed.
4. The FDA is becoming more involved
The FDA recently issued a statement from commissioner Scott Gottlieb M.D., clarifying the next steps for evaluating the regulatory pathways for CBD. They’ve also schedule a meeting on May 31, 2019 and have made it easier for researchers to conduct studies on CBD. It’s clear that the FDA is waiting to assess more data before approving CBD.
5. CBD is safe and non-habit forming
While the FDA has not formally made statements for CBD’s safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided data, and stated a position, that pure cbd is safe for consumption.
6. There are two main methods for extracting CBD
Most CBD is extracted from the leaves, flowers and stalks of the cannabis plant via solvent or heat extraction methods.
The first method, solvent extraction, uses solvents to separate the compounds from the plant. On the high end, CO2 (Carbon dioxide) is used as the solvent. On the low end, harsh chemicals (ethanol, butane, kerosene, etc) are used as the solvent. In the second method, steam is used to extract the oil in a gentle and effective way.
The extraction method directly impacts the quality of the oil you purchase. Steve Raack, an industry expert and CEO of Vitalibis, explains why. “Hemp is a natural, yet delicate, plant full of amazing elements,” said Raack. “When creating a premium, full spectrum oil, it’s essential to extract CBD, and other plant compounds, without causing damage during the process. If the cannabinoids or terpenes are destroyed or damaged, then the product will have less efficacy or will require added flavors to mask the taste.”
7. CBD is finding its way to consumers in many forms
As the hype around CBD increases, consumers are finding a wide variety of ways to consume it. The most common forms of CBD products include oils, tinctures, cosmetics, topical creams, gummies, chocolate, powder and off-the-shelf beverages. You might also come across food and beverage establishments adding CBD to cocktails, coffees and shakes.
8. The purported health benefits are remarkable
While additional research is underway, CBD is believed to help with anxiety, inflammation, headaches, head trauma, epilepsy, insomnia, arthritis, gut health, chronic and acute pain and a number of other health conditions. Athletes and performers are exploring CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties to aid in recovery while the medical community is even exploring the medicinal uses of CBD, including its potential as a anti-cancer solution.
While all of these potential remedies are exciting, it’s likely that additional studies need to be conducted on humans before the FDA will approve CBD as a supplement or medicine.
9. There’s a big difference between full spectrum and CBD isolate
CBD isolate is a term that describes a crystalline powder that contains only CBD. This form of CBD endures the most amount of processing and can be sold in products that include synthetic or natural flavor additives. initial research from Israel indicates that the efficacy of CBD isolate falls along a bell curve, limiting its effectiveness at many dosage levels.
Full spectrum describes a plant oil that includes more than just the actual CBD itself. The additional compounds include other important cannabinoids, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, terpenes and flavonoids. Current research on full spectrum oil suggests that CBD with additional compounds creates an “entourage effect” that is more effective than CBD on its own.
10. Know what you’re buying
Since the FDA has not set standards for quality, content and marketing, it’s important that consumers research the products their buying. Yet industry experts suggest a few best practices.
- It’s a good idea to buy from providers that have independent third-party testing.
- Ask if the product is made with CBD isolate or full-spectrum oil. You want full-spectrum oil as it has more of the plant compounds and nutriants. It's like eating an orange or taking a vitamin C pill. Eating an orange is more natural and healthier. You get more nutrience other than viatmin C.
- You can ask about the method of extraction, and if it is solvent based, you can ask which solvent is used.
11. People are giving CBD to their pets
It’s not hard to find anecdotal stories of CBD having a positive impact on dogs and ailments like separation anxiety, arthritis, join pain and aging. That said, it’s important to understand the benefits and precautions when giving cbd to your pet.
12. Some cities are cracking down on CBD
Even though hemp CBD was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, some city governments and regulatory bodies are restricting some CBD distribution. The New York City Department of Health has cracked down on restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other food service establishments from adding CBD to food or beverages. “Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat,” a department spokeswoman said.
It’s reasonable to expect that CBD will continue to flourish in 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for businesses and consumers to get more involved. Projections for the industry, and projections from individual businesses, point to a robust industry unfolding before our eyes. Everyone will be watching the FDA to see how they proceed in regulating the market – and how states and cities will follow their guidance.