Can CBD Really Do It All?
If it can’t be cured by CBD, was it even an issue to begin with? We look into why the compound is turning up in everything from dog treats to lube oil.
Guys, we're really into CBD...
There is a very good chance that we have reached peak CBD. A cursory search on the internet reveals: CBD dog treats! CBD chai lattes! CBD eye serum! CBD hotel pillow menus (you know, for late-night munchies, get it?)! CBD collagen powder! The list goes on and on and on.
This CBD over-saturation may be most visible in the beauty and wellness realm, where it’s being incorporated into all manners of lotions and potions. It bears promises of eliminating all traces of redness from your complexion, fixing your gut imbalance and thickening your lashes — among other things. But according to Google trends, CBD searches have been on an uptick since 2016, far surpassing those for THC. Couple that with a recent survey by Quartz, and it becomes clear: Americans are here for it.
Most interesting among Quartz’s findings: Women are more likely to turn to CBD for wellness reasons — It’s most popular as an antidote to our increasingly stressful lives. Additionally, over 80% of Americans support its use in general.
“CBD’s whole job is to create balance,” explains Jewel Zimmer, founder and CEO of JUNA. “It’s known to calm the mind, relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce inflammation and pain, and often once we relax, we can be present and receive.”
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of many naturally occurring chemical compounds within the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol), CBD is not as psychoactive and won’t get you “stoned” in the traditional sense.
“Think of CBD as THC’s calmer, more rational sister,” explains Matthew Gerson, founder of Foria. “Both substances are medicinal and beneficial, but while CBD will stimulate your serotonin receptors in a way that can feel quite euphoric, it won’t intoxicate you.” You may not feel high, but, if the CBD is legitimate, you will feel something.
And therein lies the rub: As CBD’s popularity has boomed, many have jumped on the bandwagon hawking products with questionable purity.
“The CBD market is a jungle right now,” says Gerson. “Spot checks have shown that some products out there don’t even have any CBD in them — and the cheapest ones are often sourced from countries with different standards, so you sometimes see heavy metals and pesticides in them.”
Much like the market for supplements in the U.S. (which operates largely unchecked), quality control can be an issue with CBD — one of the reasons skeptics have dismissed it as modern-day snake oil. However, CBD has a long history as a curative, points out Cindy Capobianco, founder of Lord Jones.
“It has been used for centuries as a topical pain reliever to help skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. When ingested, CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, offering pain relief and acting as a mood stabilizer,” she explains.
The potential for CBD — when coming from a trusted brand or source — as panacea is something the scientific community is starting to lean in on, too. Dr. Esther Blessing, an assistant professor at New York University’s School of Medicine told The New York Times that CBD is the most promising drug to come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years. It’s currently being studied as a possible treatment for infantile spasms, schizophrenia, insomnia, cancer, Parkinson’s and post-traumatic stress disorder. Last year, a CBD-based drug was approved by the FDA for epilepsy. (For an even deeper dive on CBD check out School of Hemp on the site My Hemp Benefits, which sells high-quality CBD products.)
CBD and Sex: Is it the second...coming?
While studies on CBD’s effects on libido are, as of yet, nonexistent, there is mounting anecdotal evidence of its sex-drive-enhancing power. This makes sense considering humans have an endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors (what grabs onto CBD and/or THC compounds) are present throughout the body — and present in abundance in women’s reproductive organs.
“CBD’s effects really vary depending on how it is used — topically, orally, vaporized, or in suppository form — but, it generally relaxes muscle tension and eases circulation of blood to the tissues while modulating overactive inflammation and pain signaling,” explains Gerson, whose brand, Foria, has both a pre-lube arousal oil (Awaken) and vape pens (Empower). “The resulting wave of relief, relaxation, and enhanced blood flow can heighten one’s genital sensation.”
Ready to get started?
No matter how you plan to consume CBD, experts advise starting with a conservative amount — and buy based on the recommendation of a trusted source.
“Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, and dosage can vary by individual to achieve the desired benefit. I always suggest following the recommended dosage without any alcohol in your system to serve as a baseline to see how your body reacts,” says Capobianco.
Opinions vary about whether the benefits of CBD can truly be experienced when isolated from THC and all the other active cannabinoids (Foria and Juna both offer products that combine CBD and THC too). Individual reactions to CBD can be wildly different from person to person and product to product, so some trial and error is to be expected.