Therapeutic uses of cannabidiol (CBD) are not new, although it may feel that way, with products containing the compound appearing on store shelves all over the country, seemingly overnight. There are stories in history told of public figures using CBD to relieve pain, but its modern rise followed the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996.
In the last few years, though, CBD has become mainstream, to the point where people in every corner of the United States can access CBD-laced food, beverages, oils, sprays, and more.
Today, we’re going to focus on CBD in food. What is it, what does it do, and what approach are regulatory agencies taking with it?
What Is CBD?
When people hear that CBD is a compound extracted from cannabis, it’s natural to get a hesitant reaction. After all, despite more states making marijuana legal every year, for medical and recreational use, there’s still a stigma around it that comes from decades of prohibition.
Unlike its cousin, THC, the compound of cannabis that most people know, CBD is not psychoactive. Still, like THC and other cannabinoids, CBD still has many federal restrictions on quantities sold and potency.
CBD In Food
CBD is in food and beverages is becoming more popular as more people discover it. In states where marijuana is legal, more and more retailers have CBD-infused products on the menu. For example, CBD-infused coffee is becoming popular in Colorado, where enthusiasts say it provides the alertness that you might expect from a cup of coffee but the addition of the CBD helps control the jitters.
CBD gummy candies have caught on as an over-the-counter “nutraceutical” solution to pain and anxiety, primarily, and depending on where you are, you can find baked goods, other candies, seltzers and more featuring CBD as an ingredient. The market is expected to become so profitable, even food and beverage giants like Coca-Cola are looking into producing their own.
What Are the Uses for CBD In Food?
There is a long list of purported benefits of consuming CBD on a regular basis, but it should be noted that like other nutraceuticals, none of the claims listed on the packaging of any of these products have been verified by the FDA.
CBDOrigin.com has compiled an exhaustive list of studies that suggest that CBD can be beneficial in treating or helping alleviate the symptoms of numerous health conditions, ranging from mental health diseases like anxiety and depression, several types of cancers, sleep disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and more.
Many of these studies are fairly limited in their scope, but still, it’s enough that proponents of CBD being added to food and beverages can back their claims with some degree of hard science.
Two of the most common medical and therapeutic uses for CBD lie in its more widely research-based claims of providing relief for chronic pain, as well as severe stress and anxiety.
Some studies have proven that CBD has some anti-inflammatory properties, which can explain its pain-relieving benefits.
Is It Okay to Use Recreationally?
Because CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive properties that some other cannabinoids have, it’s not as widely used recreationally than marijuana, and it’s difficult to differentiate between those who use CBD recreationally and those seeking its therapeutic potential.
With this in mind, there are people who smoke or consume CBD due to the belief that while it won’t get the user “high”, it provides a mellow effect.
Are There Any Risks?
Manufacturers and retailers of CBD-infused foods have gotten in trouble in the past for the claims they’ve made about products, and there are still warnings for users of CBD that if they haven’t cleared the use of these or other OTC “supplements”, they should exercise caution when using them.
How Are Regulators Handling It?
The US FDA has declared CBD illegal when added to prepared food, but federal agencies have mostly turned a blind eye to it. There is a resolution that has been taken up in the first half of 2019, wherein FDA regulators are beginning to hold hearings on legalizing the substance in food in drinks, but CBD advocates think the actual adoption is still a long way off.
Although this would mark the first adoption of legalized CBD as added into food products, it’s important to note that the FDA has not taken a hardline stance against CBD in general in the past. For example, it approved a drug called Epidiolex, containing CBD, for the rare seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
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