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.
Are you sure these work?
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How many do I have to eat?
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!).
Still, a survey found that that 40 percent of U.S. consumers age 21 and older are willing to give CBD a try. And current devotees including pro athletes like triathlete Andrew Talansky and an ever-expanding roster of weekend warriors aren’t waiting for science to play catch-up. Research results or not, they swear CBD can perform many small miracles. And because so, are all too happy to gobble up CBD chews and sip CBD-laced lattes.
There are a variety of ways to consume CBD but the most common product types are oral tinctures, topical solutions, and edibles. Oral tinctures are taken—you guessed it—orally, while topicals are used on the skin, and edibles are ingested like food. Typically, the word ‘edibles’ has been associated with marijuana. It often conjures up images of pot brownies or space cakes, for instance. But CBD edibles are quite different and include everything from gummy candies to protein powders.
What is CBD?
But a general guideline is to start on the low end, say 25mg or less of CBD a day, and work your way up from there if it is well tolerated. Most food and drink products on the market contain 5 to 25mg of CBD. During periods of ramped up training, many athletes will boost their daily exposure to help with endurance and recovery. (To date, no harmful side-effects have been reported from taking large doses of CBD, but that doesn’t mean you should follow up a hard run by stuffing in a handful of CBD candy.) Some patience is needed since CBD is likely not a one-hit-wonder and consistent exposure might be necessary to have a noticeable impact on the condition you are using it for.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is believed to deliver its expansive powers on the body by binding to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which is a system found in every organ of the body that in theory impacts numerous physiological processes. And, importantly, it does this without the psychoactive “high” and munchie-inducing effects of the most well-known cannabinoid, THC, found in marijuana.
How Do You Consume It?
In addition to considering if it actually works, there is also the matter of dosage. We still don’t really know how much CBD is needed to be effective, and it’s likely that useful amounts vary from both person to person and from ailment to ailment. Like our genes, receptors in the brain and other areas that CBD binds to could be unique to an individual leading to variable results.