Last year, “CBD gummies” was the third most-Googled food in the entire U.S. So yeah, you’ve likely heard of these little nuggets that contain cannabidiol (aka CBD), the part of weed that chills you out but not the part that inspires you to down a party-size bag of Doritos. Maybe you’ve even heard reviews—from stoner and non-stoner friends alike—about how the non-hallucinogenic bites are ideal for erasing Big Stress Energy or helping you wind down before bed. And you’ve probably still got questions. Great, ’cause we’ve got answers.
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Are you sure these work?
It does sound kinda like a scam, but solid scientific studies show that CBD can latch onto cells in your gut and immune system, relieving anxiety, pain, and inflammation, says Joseph Maroon, MD, a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But that’s the pure stuff—there’s no legit research on the effectiveness of CBD in gummy form. In other words: They maybe work (at least, they did for our editors—see our own reviews below!).
Figuring out whether you’ll need 2 or 10 to calm the hell down is (you guessed it) also a mystery, says Jeffrey Bost, a clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Start with one gummy per day. Nada? Try two. Still nada? Slowly up your dose until you get some results. It’s pretty tough to OD on CBD, says Bost. The worst side effects of very high doses are drowsiness and mood changes. (And pls note that the long-term effects are still TBD.)
If you live in a state where all types of devil’s lettuce is legal, you can buy CBD gummies almost anywhere—even at some gas stations. For everyone else, there’s the interwebs. Amazon sells them and can ship to your door for about $40 (yeah, chillin’ ain’t cheap).
Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.
According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, rats injected with inflammatory chemicals in their hind feet experienced less inflammation and neuropathic pain when treated with an oral dose and spinal injection of CBD.
If you are thinking about using CBD oil to treat a health condition, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is the right option for you.
What to Look For
Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In low doses, CBD may act as an agonist to several receptor sites, meaning it acts similarly to surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor, enhancing the signalling of those receptor sites. At higher doses, however, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to an opposite effect, negating the beneficial effects of CBD.
Instead, CBD is thought to influence other receptors, including opioid receptors that regulate pain and glycine receptors involved in the regulation of the “feel-good” hormone and neurotransmitter serotonin.
CBD oil can interact with certain medications, including some drugs used to treat epilepsy. CBD inhibits an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP450), which metabolizes certain drugs. By interfering with CYP450, CBD may either increase the toxicity or decrease the effectiveness of these drugs.
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes (a marker of liver inflammation). People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution, ideally under the care of a doctor who can regularly check blood liver enzyme levels.