Most of these products promised to relieve pain or otherwise enhance well-being, and none of it was cheap. (Prices started at about $30.) But I wanted to know: Does any of this stuff really work? After a deep dive into the scientific research, I learned that the answer was a big fat maybe.
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nearly 500-page report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. A committee of 16 experts from a variety of scientific and medical fields analyzed the available evidence — more than 10,000 scientific abstracts in all. Because so few studies examine the effects of CBD on its own, the panel did not issue any findings about CBD specifically, but it did reach some conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids more generally. The researchers determined that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” supporting the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain in adults, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity (a kind of stiffness and muscle spasms), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The committee also found “moderate” evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can reduce sleep disturbances in people with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, as well as “limited” evidence that these substances can improve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, increase appetite and stem weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs, and improve symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds that interact with receptors throughout your body. CBD is just one of dozens of cannabinoids found in cannabis, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the one responsible for marijuana’s famous high. Medical cannabis is technically any cannabis product used for medicinal purposes, and these can contain THC or CBD or both, said Nick Jikomes, a neuroscientist at Leafly, a website that provides information about legal cannabis. “A common mistake people make is to think that CBD is ‘the medical cannabinoid’ and THC is ‘the recreational cannabinoid.’” That’s inaccurate, he said, because THC is a potent anti-inflammatory and can be helpful for pain.
Those warning letters aside, there’s not a lot of federal oversight right now over the claims being made or the products that are being sold. Cohen warned against buying CBD products online, because “there’s a lot of scams out there.” Yet his clinic sells CBD, and he admits, “I say ‘Don’t buy online,’ but ours is worth doing, because we know what we’re doing. We ship all over.”
Still, as the saying goes, absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence, and there’s a reason we don’t have a ton of solid research on CBDs yet — “to study it, we need a good source, ” said Ziva Cooper, who is an associate professor at Columbia University and was on the National Academies committee. CBD is hard to get because it’s still technically a Schedule I drug, which limits its availability, Cooper said.
One product to avoid is CBD oil that has been adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids. These are lab-created chemical compounds that bind with the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain that THC and CBD do. But they can be as much as 100 times more powerful than THC, and have been known to cause extended psychotic episodes and even death. They’re often sold under the brands Spice and K2 (but there are many others) in truck stops, head shops and convenience stores. Sometimes they’re sold as vape juice in bottles marked CBD.
It’s possible that some users feel the presence of any amount of THC when it’s mixed with CBD. That’s the well-known “entourage effect” theory, which basically says cannabinoids combine to create more than the sum of their parts. It’s worth experimenting with different kinds of CBD products to see what feels best to you.
CBDfx Terpenes Vape Pens are disposable vapes filled with 50 mg of full spectrum cannabidiol and flavored with real terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds found in plants that give each hemp strain its own unique flavor and character. CBDfx Terpenes Vape Pens come in four natural strain-specific varieties.
How does CBD make you feel?
Interestingly, marijuana strains that have significant quantities of both CBD and THC rarely produce the undesirable effects—like paranoia and anxiety—sometimes experienced with weed that’s high in THC but has low CBD content. CBD apparently “competes” with THC on the CB1 receptors, and thereby moderates the psychological effects of its racier relative.
Although CBD may alter your mood—providing a deep sense of calm and relaxation—it doesn’t change spatial and sensory perception or create euphoria, like THC does. In that sense, both cannabinoids are psychoactive, but only THC is intoxicating. This also applies to delta 8 products, THCA and all other forms of tetrahydrocannabinol.
In addition to CBD-rich flowers, CBD can be consumed in vape juice (e-liquid), CBD oil tinctures, edible products like gummies and drinks, in capsules, and in a wide variety of topical lotions and creams. CBD e-juice can be vaped in a regular vape mod or pen, or taken orally like a tincture. But even if its label calls CBD e-liquid “oil,” it isn’t really oil; e-liquid is made with propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Tinctures are made with actual CBD oil and carrier oils like MCT or coconut oil, and can only be consumed orally, never vaped. Inhaling real oils can be dangerous.
CBD is thought to be helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia. And while the scientific research isn’t absolutely clear, anxiety, stress and sleep problems are the most common reasons consumers use CBD. For many people, CBD is relaxing.
There are a slew of benefits that hemp oil could potentially offer someone when properly implemented into their daily routine (with the correct dosage), but among the many things the cannabis substance can do for your body, hemp oil won’t make you feel high.*
Hemp extract does contain terpenes and flavonoids, organic compounds present in all plants, fruits, and vegetables that give off specific aromas and tastes. These elicit particular responses in the body and often act synergistically with cannabinoids to boost their effects. So while the supplement can make your body feel good and relax your mind, hemp oil won’t make you feel high—even when taken in large doses.
On that note, the number of benefits you’re able to reap from a hemp product ultimately depends on how much of the hemp plant is incorporated into the formula.
Why you won’t feel “high” after taking hemp extracts.
Happy 4/20! These days, cannabis is in high demand (pun only slightly intended). But it’s important to note that there are many types of products that come from the cannabis plant, and only some contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to get you high. Hemp oil is not one of them.
So, if hemp oil doesn’t get you high, what does it do, exactly? Research shows that it can provide relief from everyday stress and anxiousness, promote feelings of calm, support healthy immune function, and help with sleep, for starters.* It’s also becoming a popular ingredient across the cosmetic industry as it’s said to help promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.*
Full-spectrum hemp oils are comprised of the whole hemp plant, meaning they’re high in cannabinoids, like CBD, and phytocannabinoids, which, renowned integrative physician Robert Rountree, M.D., tells mbg, “affect the [human body’s] endocannabinoid system, the body’s master regulatory system.*” Together, all these working parts of the plant produce what’s called the “entourage effect,” magnifying the product’s effects on the body.*
Hemp extract is rich in beneficial plant compounds called cannabinoids including CBD, but it’s very low in THC—the psychoactive compound that causes you to feel “high” when smoking weed. “There is very little THC in hemp products, less than 0.3% verses up to 30% in marijuana,” explains functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D. (In order to be a legal product, hemp extracts must contain less than 0.3% THC, which the USDA considers a ‘trace amount.’)