“CBD is extremely anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. A normal person may use it to prevent conditions such as arthritis or even topically to prevent acne breakouts,” Dr. Shivani Amin, a physician and cannabis expert who is a member of the AMMPA (American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association), says. “I think CBD shows great promise for the future. It all boils down to educating the public about the correct usage and understanding the plant better.”
I’m ordinarily not a chocolate or sweets person. But when it comes to edibles, this delivery method works best for me when I’m traveling and away from my kitchen. Kiva’s products are what I carry whenever work (or pleasure) takes me on extended trips. The ginger dark chocolate and espresso dark chocolate are my favorites. They’ve got just enough THC and CBD to help ward off jet lag and fatigue. I also take them when I’m extra sore from running or Krav Maga. (It really does wonders for pain and inflammation.) But it’d be a disservice if I only mentioned Kiva’s chocolates. The company also offers Camino gummies, of which the sparkling pear and wild berry, are superb. The THC-only Terra Bites chocolate-covered blueberries are a gift from the gods—they work, they fit nicely in my purse, and they’re delicious. Also: a single dose (5mg) is low enough so that when paired with a CBD-only confection, such as Lord Jones’ gumdrops, there’s not really a high. You only get a pleasant mellowness that radiates throughout your body, which is almost akin to a mild boozy buzz—in a happy and good way. (In budtender lingo, it’s called a body high.)
This is what you’ll want (or need) if you’re looking for a “light” reprieve from discomfort. Or if you’re trying a THC:CBD edible for the first time—without any of the unpleasant side effects. Or if you’re taking CBD on a daily basis as maintenance. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Plus’ pineapple and coconut gummies will do you no harm. It’s a safe bet for beginners.
“The most common symptoms I treat with CBD are inflammatory conditions and it is also often used for pain,” Dr. Amin says. “Dosing is patient dependent. I always start low and go slowly. I have found that 15mg of CBD is a good starting dose for most patients. You have to be careful after that and titrate each patient individually due to the chance of potentially increasing anxiety and depressive symptoms. I have found the most convenient way for most of my patients to consume CBD is through tincture form. But capsules and edibles are also great ways to consume CBD on a daily basis.”
So I went on a months-long mission to try various CBD edibles, tinctures, balms, and vapes. What I soon discovered was that cannabidiol is no lightning bolt cure. Think of it as taking maintenance meds: You have to consume it regularly—in a dose and delivery method that works for you—to notice the progressive increase of benefits. It also doesn’t leave you completely devoid of the misery of pain. Instead, CBD helps make pain infinitely more tolerable—downgrading it from ER-worthy agony to manageable discomfort.
But without clinical trials in humans, psychologists say CBD’s effect on depression is still a hypothesis, and not an evidence-based treatment.
Earlier research found fewer than a third of 84 products studied contained the amount of CBD on their labels. Some users of CBD have also failed drug tests when the product contained more THC than indicated.
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“If you take pure CBD, it’s pretty safe,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Side effects in the Epidiolex trial included diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, weakness, rash, decreased appetite and elevated liver enzymes. Also, the safe amount to consume in a day, or at all during pregnancy, is still not known.
This year, 1,090 people have contacted poison control centers about CBD, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Over a third are estimated to have received medical attention, and 46 were admitted into a critical care unit, possibly because of exposure to other products, or drug interactions. In addition, concern over 318 animals poured into the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center.
Some CBD products may contain unwanted surprises. Forensic toxicologists at Virginia Commonwealth University examined nine e-liquids advertised as being 100 percent natural CBD extracts. They found one with dextromethorphan, or DXM, used in over-the counter cough medications and considered addictive when abused; and four with a synthetic cannabinoid, sometimes called Spice, that can cause anxiety, psychosis, tachycardia and death, according to a study last year in Forensic Science International.
However, a double-blind study found healthy volunteers administered CBD had little to no change in their emotional reaction to unpleasant images or words, compared to the placebo group. “If it’s a calming drug, it should change their responses to the stimuli,” said Harriet de Wit, co-author of the study and a professor in the University of Chicago’s department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. “But it didn’t.”