Cannabinoid edibles – which are food products that have been infused with activated/heated cannabinoids, often CBD – might seem like a bold new trend, but they have been used by humans for thousands of years.
CBD and cannabis edibles are entrenched in our history. In Eastern Europe, women often made candies out of cannabis plants, which they consumed and even gave to their children as medication. In India, a traditional cannabis beverage called Bhang has been used since as early as 2000 B.C. for spiritual and health-related purposes.
Today, cannabidiol (CBD) is still widely utilized for its therapeutic benefits, and it’s been gaining traction around the world as the go-to natural remedy for a myriad of common ailments. There are many different ways to consume CBD such as vaping, smoking flowers, oils/tinctures, topicals, and so on.
Today, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at CBD edibles – how they’re made, how they work, and where you can get them. Nowadays, you can find CBD in everything from coffee, to pastries, to pasta sauce, olive oil and more. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the latest wellness trend.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s also the second most prominent cannabinoid, next to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that most people are relatively familiar with. CBD can be extracted from both regular cannabis plants (those with all cannabinoids including THC, and often what you’d find in a medical cannabis dispensary) and hemp plants (classified as having less than 0.3 percent THC and often used for more industrial purposes).
When talking about CBD extracts, there are a few terms that frequently get thrown around: isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. Isolate is pure CBD without any other compounds. Broad spectrum extract contains CBD and most other terpenes and cannabinoids, minus the THC. Full spectrum has all of the cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC at levels of 0.3% or less. Most people opt for broad or full spectrum because of a phenomenon known as the ‘Entourage Effect’, where all the plant compounds work together for the best effects.
In recent years, studies showing the tremendous potential of CBD have been popping up left and right. Initially, it was used to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy, but now it’s said to help people with chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and more.
The reason CBD can impact so many different physiological functions is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors that can be found throughout the bodies of all mammals. We naturally create cannabinoids which bond to these receptors to regulate different processes in our bodies and maintain homeostasis.
The ECS helps manage things such as immune function, appetite, sleep wake cycles, pain response, and the list goes on. However, when we are ‘cannabinoid deficient’ our bodies become destabilized and no longer function optimally. This is where supplementing with plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) comes into play.
Why choose edibles?
What you chose as a delivery method will depend entirely on what condition you are trying to treat. Edibles are best for someone looking for long lasting relief from chronic symptoms rather than acute manifestations. For example, if you’ve been dealing with ongoing back pain and want something inconspicuous with which to manage your symptoms, CBD edibles should definitely be in your arsenal.
Someone might also choose CBD edibles simply for convenience. Aside from being extremely discreet, they’re also very user friendly being already pre-dosed. Rather than having to worry about getting the right amount of oil in a dropper and into your food or beverage, one can just eat a gummy and know that they’re getting however many milligrams it says on the label.
That said, choosing a good product from an established company is key. This will guarantee that the label is accurate and thus, the correct dosage can be easily determined. There are a lot of companies and individuals out there selling ‘snake oil’, because the industry is largely self-regulated at this point. It’s important to look for transparency when shopping, so your best bet is buying from a company has publicly available test results from a third-party lab.
As of now, cannabis edibles are in this type of regulatory limbo throughout the world. In the United States for instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees products like food, supplements, medications, cosmetics, and some pet items. As of now, the FDA is trying to limit the sale of CBD-infused edibles and many other products unless they have been tested and approved by them.
As a result, the FDA is facing pressure from all sides to figure out a fair resolution for this dilemma. We can likely expect to see some progress within the coming months.
Food is sustenance, but this trillion-dollar industry is multifaceted and there are many reasons why people tend to gravitate towards certain products and not others. These days, food can both healthy and trendy – and CBD fits comfortably into each of these categories.
In Los Angeles for example – which is one of the largest cannabis markets in the world – one could obtain CBD-infused smoothies, kombucha drinks, coffee, gourmet sweets, organic pasta sauces, high-quality olive oil, and even non-GMO paleo snacks. It’s fairly basic, mix some CBD oil into an already finished product or at some point in the cooking process – so the possibilities are endless.
One specific food item that deserves a mention would be CBD gummies. Think multivitamin gummies, but with cannabidiol instead. These are extremely popular and have become healthier over the years. While many gummies used to contain things like corn syrup and various dyes, now you can find brands with no sugar or artificial sweeteners and using only food-based coloring.
And while it seems like the sheer volume of products available on the market can be overwhelming, this isn’t the only type of diversity you will find among food items. CBD edibles also come in a huge range of dosing options, anywhere from 1 to 100 milligrams per serving.
It’s good because it gives people different options for how to medicate with edibles. They can decide between a 10mg gummy every few hours, a CBD smoothie in the morning and afternoon, or just getting a really potent brownie and splitting it into quarters.
How does it work?
Just like anything else that goes through our digestive systems, CBD edibles need to metabolize before the effects can be felt. It’s not an instant sensation like vaping or smoking would be and it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Food and supplements need to be processed by the liver, meaning more of the cannabinoid will be filtered out of your system because of the slower absorption time. There are also some individual factors that impact the onset and intensity of the effects, such as the person’s metabolism.
Although it takes a while before CBD edibles begin their symptom relief process, the results are much longer lasting than with vaping and inhalation. Because the active compound – CBD – is mixed with various food ingredients, it is released slowly as the food is digested. Typically, the effects of a standard dose last between two and four hours.
The long-lasting nature of this compound makes it well suited to treat conditions that have chronic symptoms, especially pain. Many people who have multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, nerve damage, and sports related injuries, could benefit from the all-day relief achieved through the use of CBD edibles.
It’s also worth noting that at the moment, there are no known side effects to taking CBD regularly and it’s not believed to create tolerance in the body like opioids or THC. More research needs to be done to determine whether CBD has any kind of interactions with pharmaceutical medications.
CBD Edibles in the mainstream media
Carl’s Jr, an American fast-food chain, tested out a CBD burger that was available for one day only – 4/20 of course – at one Denver location. The burger features two beef patties over fries, topped with cheese and jalapenos and loaded with a CBD-infused “Santa Fe sauce.” It was wildly successful by the way, sold out within hours.
Mondelez, maker of popular cookies like Oreos, Nutter Butters, and Chips Ahoy, might be getting into the CBD industry. The company’s CEO, Dirk Van De Put, said in a recent interview with CNBC, “We’re getting ready, but we obviously want to stay within what is legal and play it the right way.”
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is also on board; this is what was mentioned in a press release from the company: “You probably already know that we’re fans of all things groovy — think: Half Baked and Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies. So it’s no surprise that we can’t wait to get into the latest food trend: cannabidiol, or CBD. We are open to bringing CBD-infused ice cream to your freezer as soon as it’s legalized at the federal level.”
And it’s not just big brands that are jumping into the CBD market, you can also get delicious food at cannabis-themed restaurants too. Take the Mint Dispensary for example, a 12,000 square foot cannabis dispensary in Arizona with a full kitchen and 3 chefs on site. The possibilities are limitless and we’re certainly getting a taste of it now.
Products/brands to look out for
All the products on this short list are made with CBD extracted from high-quality hemp, combined with other healthy ingredients, minimal sugar, and no dyes or corn syrup. Additionally, all these companies send their products to a third-party, unaffiliated lab for testing.
Most like a Vitamin: CBDMD premium gummies. There are two different strengths, 10mg and 25mg each and they are made with high-quality, broad spectrum CBD.
- Best Beverage: Willie’s Remedy Coffee Beans. These medium-dark beans are sourced from small farms in Columbia and infused with CBD oil from domestically grown hemp.
- Just a Snack: To Whom it May, Gourmet Chocolate. These delicious chocolates combine high-quality ingredients with CBD and wine for a uniquely relaxing confection.
So let’s quickly summarize our delve into the world of CBD Edibles. It’s a trend that has been taking the food industry by storm, but they’ve been used by humans for centuries. Because of their slow-onset and long-lasting nature, they are best used for patients suffering from conditions with chronic symptoms.
CBD edibles come in a large variety of doses and food types. You can find doses ranging from 1mg to 100mg per serving, and CBD can be infused into various candies and sweets, cooking oil, coffee beans, and so much more. CBD gummies are especially popular at the moment.
Despite their widespread use and availability, they’re in a legal limbo as the FDA decides exactly what course of action to take regarding these products. However, experts believe the tides will soon turn and CBD edibles will have the law on their side – making them more available to the curious consumer.