When it comes to CBD products, the FDA is still trying to get its arms around the issue. The agency is just starting the process of hashing out some rules regarding CBD sales. Officials recently formed a working group to create guidelines that could allow companies to legally market CBD products. Currently, CBD products are considered supplements, which aren’t FDA-regulated, and it is illegal for companies to make health or therapeutic claims about the products in their marketing. In announcing its effort to set CBD marketing rules, the FDA also signaled that it is cracking down on CBD companies that are using “egregious and unfounded claims” to market their products to “vulnerable populations.”
For adults, CBD appears to be a very safe product. CBD does produce side effects for some people, including nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It may also interact with certain medications, so always check with your doctor before use.
Where should you purchase CBD products?
By now, you’ve probably run into a product containing cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It’s in everything from drinks and pet products to lotions and chewable gummies. Even major drugstore chains have announced they will start carrying CBD products in certain states.
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The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious
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“The emerging UK CBD industry, inspired by the successes of the legal cannabis industry in the USA, has adopted a similar marketing strategy, and whilst the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency rules mean products can’t make direct health claims without going through formal licensing, the language of ‘wellbeing’ allows them to bypass regulation.
"CBD is actually hard to cook with. It has a disgusting taste", says Greg Hanger, head chef at Kalifornia Kitchen in London, who has created an entire CBD afternoon tea . Greg pays attention to the type of oil that the CBD is mixed with, saying "coconut oil CBD is great in Thai cooking balanced with coriander, ginger and lime. Olive oil CBD is great for Middle Eastern foods like hummus or you could even mask the flavour with rosemary and put it in cheesy sauce or mashed potatoes ."
So why are we increasingly seeing CBD-labelled coffees, cakes and croissants in shops, cafes and restaurants all over the UK?
CBD is normally sold in combination with a base oil, such as olive or coconut, as a supplement, vape, gel to be applied to the skin and more recently, in food and drink.
"But there is no good scientific evidence that these consumer products have any real benefits.
It's not the psychoactive cannabinoid that gets you high, called THC. Instead it's a product believed by its high-street users to have medicinal properties, such as relaxation and pain-, nausea- and anxiety-relief, although studies are not conclusive.
“When you cook with CBD, you have to be careful not to heat the mixture at too high a temperature”, advises Meg. A search on CBD websites brings up details of CBD evaporating and losing its 'health' properties past 160–180C, though "there is also little understanding of what happens to CBD when you cook it or add it to a drink", says Professor Sumnall.
“Businesses have picked up on growing public awareness and have been promoting their products online, in high-street retailers and increasingly in food and drink,” says Professor in Substance Use, Harry Sumnall, Liverpool John Moores University. We spoke to chefs at two restaurants who use CBD on their menus in completely different ways.
What is it doing in food?
“CBD tends to work well in foods with a stronger, earthy taste, such as chocolate and coffee”, says Meg Greenacre, head chef at Erpingham House in Norwich. "I’ve been inspired by menus in London to create a delicious CBD brownie for our customers here. I was surprised that during taste tests, no one could tell which brownie the CBD was in and actually, most people thought it was the batch that did not contain it. I am looking into adding CBD to more sweet bakes such as nutty flapjacks and beetroot chocolate cake , which naturally have a deeper and richer flavour, complementing the earthy, almost bitter, taste and smell of CBD oil.
Coffees and cakes may contain between 5–10mg of CBD. But clinical trials administer doses of around 100–1,500mg per day, with medical supervison.