Even though research is promising, and anecdotal data is piling, the powers of CBD are still to be determined. Currently, the only clinically proven benefit of this buzz-free cannabinoid is to reduce seizures.
CBD Edibles: What Are They & What Can They Do for You?
With so many innovative products emerging every day, the CBD marketplace can be both exciting and confusing. But most of the time finding the best product boils down to your needs and preferences. Edibles are the flavored version of CBD that are rapidly becoming a favorite in this ever-growing industry.
And it’s easy to see why. They’re more enjoyable and you don’t have to deal with the distinguishing earthy flavor of CBD tinctures or the health concerns of vaping.
But edibles are NOT legal everywhere and they have inconsistent effects, so before you go on a shopping spree for CBD treats you need to learn the nuts and bolts of these products.
Let’s jump right in
Table of Contents
You’ve seen these three letters before but….
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is the second most abundant compound in the cannabis plant. Yes, it’s cannabis but it doesn’t induce psychotropic effects. Simply put, CBD doesn’t get you high. Cannabidiol or CBD belongs to a diverse class of compounds called cannabinoids.
According to their origin, cannabinoids are classified as:
- Endocannabinoids—made within the human body
- Phytocannabinoids—naturally occurring in cannabis
- Synthetic cannabinoids—made in labs
Cannabinoids have a special feature—they can interact with a cellular network widespread throughout your body named the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS promotes “homeostasis” a mechanism for restoring your body’s functions to their natural, working, healthy state.
This system is comprised by receptors that are embedded in the cell membrane—the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. They’re found almost everywhere in your body. This ubiquity makes them crucial for optimal health.
The ECS produces the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. They act as the messengers that signal the cannabinoid receptors to maintain your body’s normal function. These endocannabinoids are key for homeostasis but they’re on borrowed time.
Right after being used, endocannabinoids are quickly destroyed by regulatory enzymes. Experts believe CBD inhibits these enzymes promoting a longer supply of endocannabinoids in your bloodstream. This translates into better chances of having an ECS running at top notch.
That’s only one way CBD supports your health. Ongoing research suggests that this cannabinoid is a multipurpose molecule that also interacts with receptors outside the ECS to support:
- Better and calmer mood
- Healthy blood pressure
- Healthy levels of inflammation
- Better insulin metabolism
- Healthier and younger brain
What Are CBD Edibles?
They’re basically CBD-infused products that mask the strong earthy flavor of hemp so you can pleasantly eat them. Edibles can be as potent as other forms of CBD and can be used in a variety of ways that we will be addressing later.
Edibles can be made with oil infusions, tinctures, raw-plant material, butter or concentrates.
CBD edibles aren’t your college weed brownies. They’re popular because they can give you the CBD experience without the fazed out highs associated to cannabis.
Let’s explore more about the difference between CBD and marijuana edibles.
CBD Edibles vs. Marijuana Edibles
Alright, let’s talk a little science to understand the difference between marijuana and hemp. Yes, there’s a difference, even though both are varieties of cannabis. Marijuana can contain up to 30% THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid that makes you “high.”
Now, hemp, on the other hand, contains less than 0.3% THC, a much lower concentration. Basically, this means hemp, unlike marijuana, is NON intoxicating. No matter how much hemp you smoke or ingest it won’t alter your state of mind. This also means that hemp is legal under federal law in all 50 states of the union.
Hemp has negligible amounts of THC but it’s rich in CBD, which makes it the darling crop for farmers looking to supply the spiking demand for CBD products. For this same reason most of the CBD you find on the market is hemp-derived, although it can be sourced from all cannabis plants.
Using a number of techniques, these plant cousins can be infused into almost any type of food or beverage.
Marijuana edibles are an all-time classic, in fact, the word “edible” is typically associated with marijuana food and drinks. They’re produced to have significant levels of THC and are consumed for recreational and medical purposes. Marijuana edibles can induce a wide range of effects including euphoria, increased appetite, relaxation, fatigue, and anxiety.
Hemp-derived CBD edibles are associated with mood uplift and relaxation. They’re often enriched with other ingredients such as adaptogen herbs, Omega 3 and honey to enhance the effects of CBD.
Ways to Enjoy CBD Edibles
The market offers a wide variety of products, which surely can cater for every imaginable taste. Though, some are more popular than others.
Here are the most interesting ones:
Gummies are one of the most common products found on the CBD market. They come in all sort of shapes and flavors that are not only delightful but easy to use. For all the CBD-naive users venturing into this marvelous cannabinoid, gummies are a great way to get started.
The problem is that gummies usually come packed with ingredients that don’t do any good to your health, like tons of unnecessary added sugar and artificial food dyes.
Luckily, brands are now stacking on healthier versions of CBD gummies to support your diet. They’re natural snacks containing zero sugar but sweetening alternatives like maltitol or stevia.
Lozenges are sucking candies that provide a discreet oral dose of CBD with a slow-to-medium release of the compound. Harnessing the mucous membranes of the mouth these tasty candies dissolve and go into the bloodstream in 20 to 40 minutes, bypassing the digestive tract.
CBD lozenges come in sugar-free versions or honey-based.
CBD PROTEIN BARS
You know exercise is good for you and protein supports muscle. CBD, on the other hand, is often used to mellow you out, ease inflammation and for general pain relief. Pro athletes are pretty aware of the importance of proper recovery after intense workouts and are now endorsing CBD products for this purpose.
Adding CBD protein bars into your workout regimen will not only help relax sore muscles but also uplift your mood and fix your ravenous post-workout hunger. Best CBD protein bars are mixed with delicious ingredients such us nuts, pecans and hemp seeds that also promote a better absorption of the fatty-loving CBD molecule.
Look for bars that are filled with high-quality protein alongside a healthy dose of CBD.
Chocolate is the most beloved sweet treat in the world and for good reason. This antioxidant superstar taste delicious, boost feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain and helps you relax. CBD hosts similar features but not the delightful taste, so why not to combine them, right?
CBD chocolates are usually made with organic chocolate. They contain 10 to 45 mg of CBD and include other ingredients like adaptogen herbs, nuts and seeds.
CBD DRIED FRUIT SNACKS
As the name implies this delicious CBD-infused snacks are made of a variety of dried fruit such as bananas, raisins, cantaloupes, strawberries, apricots, ginger, pineapple, blueberries and much more.
These snacks are a great way to reduce everyday aches and pains. They’re the perfect on-the-go snack and a healthier alternative to other CBD treats.
CBD BEVERAGE ENHANCERS
These are CBD drops that you can add to any drink or beverage. They come in a variety of flavors, but you can also find tasteless ones. These products use an advanced delivery system called “nanotechnology” to increase the bioavailability of the compound.
For the cup of joe lovers, the disruptive CBD market has created a combination that will give you the focus boost of coffee without the jitters. But experts are skeptical of this novelty as CBD use is more intended for relaxation, and users reviews are mixed.
Many people rely on alcohol to unwind and reduce stress. So it make sense for beer brands to brew with CBD. These beers come with lower levels of alcohol to avoid the characteristic hangover, which makes the interaction between alcohol and CBD safer and also favors a reduction in calories.
There’s no doubt beer is the world’s most cherished drink and with the increasing popularity of cannabidiol—CBD beer is set to become the “next big thing.” However things are not so rosy since the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has determined that CBD currently is not a permitted ingredient in beverages in the U.S.
Despite being the first state decriminalizing personal possession, Oregon is also the first state to ban CBD beer. Thought, it’s well-known for its craft beer, the Beaver state is keeping alcohol apart from CBD and any other cannabis compound.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Edibles?
CBD edibles have some advantages over other popular forms of CBD such as vape pens and tinctures.
If taste is a relevant factor for you, the added flavors of edibles can enhance your CBD experience. But this isn’t the only advantage of these treats.
Here I’m listing other important benefits.
EDIBLES ARE DISCREET
Nobody would suspect a bag of gummies or a chocolate, that’s why CBD edibles are the most convenient way to get your daily dose of CBD in public places, at work or during a long flight.
THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS
CBD is on the cusp of becoming an everyday treatment for a range of ailments, the demand is skyrocketing, and people can’t enough of it these days. As more retailers enter the market, the variety of edibles making their way on to shelves is quickly increasing, and more new options you have to get your daily CBD fix.
THEIR EFFECTS ARE LONG-LASTING
CBD edibles must be digested before entering the bloodstream. After ingestion they go through the first-pass metabolism, so the CBD in them gets to the stomach, passes into capillaries in the gut, and then travels to the liver, where it’s metabolized by enzymes.
From the liver, CBD goes through the venous system to the heart, then to the lungs. Then it returns to the heart to travel to the rest of the body. This long journey slows the release of the compound, as a result it stays active in your system for longer periods and you can feel its effects up to 9 hours.
THEY’RE EASY TO MAKE
If you don’t want to purchase products or prefer to skip the empty calories from the added sugars they usually contain, then you can make your own CBD edibles. They can be surprisingly easy to make, and you can find recipes all over the internet.
Adding a few drops of a high-quality tincture to cooked and baked goods, your post-workout smoothie or your favorite ice cream may help for pain relief, relaxation, or provide the focus boost that make your workday better.
DOSAGE IS EASY TO ADJUST
Most CBD edibles on the market come in pre-measured servings, making it easier for you to calculate your daily dosage. However dosing can be a bit tricky if you’re making them at home.
As noted before, hemp-derived CBD contain less than 0.3% of THC. This is far less than the amount required to induce the intoxicating effect marijuana does.
When you eat CBD edibles, you can enjoy the most sought-after health benefits of this compound—enhanced mood, reduced stress, pain relief, lower inflammation levels—without the mind-altering experience associated with cannabis.
PERFECT FOR CARRYING ON THE GO
Do you want something that’s easy to take with you wherever you go? Well, nothing is easier than throwing a bag of candies, gummies or chocolates into your bag and take it with you everywhere.
Are Edibles the Best Way to Get Your CBD Fix?
People love CBD edibles because they’re fun, discreet and they give users new and exciting ways to get their CBD dosage. However there are some drawbacks with them.
THEY TAKE LONGER TO KICK IN
We already talked about the long journey CBD edibles go through after ingestion. Oral ingestion is the slowest route for CBD to reach its targets and it also provides the less amount of CBD per dose, meaning edibles has the lowest rates of bioavailability—ranging from 6 to 19%.
Bioavailability refers to the actual amount of CBD that provides an effect when it’s absorbed and how fast it kicks in. With edibles, the timeframe is usually much longer than putting a few drops under your tongue or inhaling CBD.
Edibles can take anywhere from one to three hours to produce an effect in your body.
Another caveat you need to be aware of is that their effects are inconsistent, a range of factors can influence the metabolism of a CBD edible in your body, including the various foodstuffs mixed with the compound.
EASY TO OVER-CONSUME
If you have a sweet tooth, you may end up eating a whole bag of gummies and candies during a bout of anxiety. Be cautious, eating more than one edible can increase the risk of unwanted side effects from over-consumption.
NOT THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Remember bioavailability? Well, the rate of bioavailability is indirectly proportional to the price of the product. The higher the rate, the less product you need, therefore, the cost per milligram of CBD is lower. CBD edibles are not exactly cheap, and their bioavailability rates can be as low as 6%. Meaning you may have to swallow a hand full of CBD gummies or chocolates to feel the desired effect.
If you have the cash and want to have fun with your CBD consumption, then this is not a concern.
Are CBD Edibles Legal?
Unfortunately they’re not legal in the U.S. In fact, the FDA has not allowed the use of CBD in food and beverages. But that hasn’t stopped vendors from rolling out new CBD-infused products all over the internet.
The FDA prohibits them because the compound is considered a drug. Epidiolex is the first CBD-based drug that enjoys approval from the agency. This medication treats severe forms of epilepsy in children.
Drugs are NOT allowed as a food additive, even if the FDA already determined that they have medical value. This has created a big gray area for CBD products, especially edibles.
Playing by the rule, a few states had already placed a ban on CBD edibles, including New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Surprisingly, California, Maine and Washington—where recreational marijuana is legal—have also banned CBD edibles. So psychoactive edibles in dispensaries are legal in these states, but CBD-infused foods and drinks from hemp are not.
How to Choose the Best Edible for You
So you weighted up the pros and cons and have decided that you want to try CBD edibles. Now you need to determine which product is your best fit.
To make a better decision keep in mind these factors:
TYPE OF CBD
Hemp has many therapeutic compounds beyond CBD, and all of them work together in synergy which increases their individual strengths and the way each compound benefits your body.
Hemp-derived CBD products fall under these 3 categories that refer to the components present in the content and they are:
Full-spectrum products are made from whole hemp plants. Nothing is added or removed from the hemp’s natural chemical composition. These products contain THC, less than 0.3% and are usually more expensive.
Broad-spectrum formulas account for whole plant products without THC. They go into a distilling process that removes the compound that gets you high.
Isolate formulas contain CBD solely. These products are the most affordable option among all three types of CBD.
Most people prefer full and broad-spectrum products because they seem to work better. But if you’re drug tested often, you live in a state with tight restrictions or your body is too sensitive to THC, an isolated product might cater your unique needs.
YOUR HEALTH ISSUES
What’s the desired outcome you’re looking for, do you want to reduce anxiety? Are you trying to sleep better or need more pain relief? Most edibles come with different blends of CBD and adaptogen herbs or other ingredients that can support more effectively your health goals.
Identify what issue you’re trying to alleviate before settling on a specific product.
Potency tells you the level of CBD in the product, so it’s key to see how much CBD an edible contains per serving. CBD potencies vary widely, from 100 mg to up to 5,000 mg. If you’re a newbie, consider a product with a lower potency so you can easily build on to add more when needed. Always test how it makes you feel before adding more.
The wide range of CBD edibles already on the market gives you plenty of choices to consume the compound with your favorite foods, drinks and treats. Do you prefer sweets or a free-sugar product? Sodas or water? You’ll be surprised at the variations you can find today.
Maybe you prefer to try something new? No problem, there are edibles springing up every week and you won’t ever sacrifice taste.
Do you have food restrictions or allergies? Then look for products that prevent these issues. This won’t be difficult with the wide variety of goods available. You can easily find CBD edibles that are vegan, kosher, sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
FIND A RELIABLE BRAND
Now that you found the best CBD edible for you, it’s time to purchase from a trustworthy company.
Follow these steps to find the brand of your dreams:
- First, ensure that the company offers a friendly website with helpful information that honestly educates people in the most important CBD facts.
- Then, check for detailed product info, all the ingredients included in the product should be clearly listed on the label.
- In their website look for lab reports for each product you’re considering. These reports should match all what the product’s label says.
- Keep an eye on reviews the product has, check out customer satisfaction and how the company responds to all kind of inquiries.
- If you’re still on the fence, reach out to customer support and ask questions. Good brands are always ready to help.
How to Accurately Dose CBD Edibles
Dosing CBD for your particular needs is not an easy task. No matter the method you use, dosing effectively requires trial and error, as well as a heavy dose of patience and consistency. A variety of factors play a role in how CBD affects your body, including, your health goals, weight, genetic makeup, body chemistry, the quality and potency of the product you’re taking and even what you eat.
Although cannabidiol is considered safe to consume, exercising caution when trying a new substance is a must. The general recommendation is to start slow and go slow. This means you start with the lowest dose, notice how you feel and slowly adjust upward until you reach the desired outcome.
One of the difficulties with edibles is that they need to be digested first. So, you may feel like they’re not working because the CBD in them is being metabolized and it’s still not active to produce an effect. You probably think you need more, and this leads to over-consumption.
As a rule of thumb, don’t eat another edible before three hours of consuming the last one.
Commercial edibles usually come with a pre-measured serving of CBD which makes it easy to calculate how much of the compound you’re actually consuming. Then, you can determine how many edibles you need to reach your serving size.
If you’re a beginner pick edibles in the lower ranges of CBD content, 5 to 10 mg per unit.
Homemade edibles on the other hand, are more difficult to dose accurately, especially if you’re using raw plant material, because it’s impossible to determine exactly how much CBD you’re putting into them. Therefore, there’s no way you can tell how potent your edible is.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD Edibles?
Although CBD is well-tolerated for most people, some side effects have been reported and they include:
- Changes in appetite
- Low blood pressure
- Altered liver enzymes
These side effects are usually associated with high amounts of CBD. The higher the dose the greater the risk of experiencing them with any CBD product.
However edibles may bring you an additional undesired effect. If you’re ingesting a full-spectrum product, it contains traces of THC. They might be negligible amounts to produce a high—but since edibles stay active in your body for a longer period, each full-spectrum edible you eat adds to the level of THC that’s already circulating in your bloodstream.
This is not ideal especially if you’re sensitive to THC. A strong reason to be careful about how many CBD edibles you eat during the day.
Despite the legal issues and lack of guidelines, CBD edibles are making a name for themselves in this fats-growing industry because they’re the most enjoyable way to consume this cannabinoid. The options are so varied that anyone can easily find their perfect CBD-infused snack, food or drink.
CBD edibles are fun and tasty but they’re not perfect, I encourage you to weight up the pros and cons presented in this post to find out if they suit your needs. Don’t forget to discuss with your doctor or any other healthcare professional if you want to try a CBD product.
Remember that the CBD industry is fairly new and highly unregulated, so it won’t hurt to do a little research before purchasing.
To your well-being.