Knowing how many sick people spend their hard-earned money on CBD products hoping that it may help with their health issues, it is important to know some truths about most CBD edibles and why they may be doing more harm than good. Although CBD is considered by many as a natural medicine, if you're consuming it in candies or sugary treats, in this case, a spoonful of sugar does not help the medicine go down.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive compound in both cannabis and hemp that so many health benefits are attributed to. While cannabis (often referred as the female of the plant) is more rich in the psychoactive THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound, hemp (often referred as the male of the plant) is richer in CBD, which is why most CBD extracts are made from hemp plants.
Back in the day people made pot brownies and cookies to enjoy their psychoactive or sedating effects, but today many of the infused edibles available in the marketplace are made with non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD, for people looking for no 'high' at all. Rather, they seek the health benefits many studies have shown that this trendy compound might offer in a method that's safer and less intimidating than vaping or smoking. As cannabis and hemp extracts like CBD become more widely accepted and available as a potential natural health supplement, one will notice that many of the edible companies creating THC-infused candies and dessert snacks for the recreational market are simply swapping out the THC ingredient in their candy and dessert products for CBD. They are then sold to the medicinal market and to people looking towards CBD as a health supplement.
Unfortunately, many of the companies creating cannabis and CBD edibles might have lots of experience in methods of extraction and infusions but few have knowledge on food and its impacts on health, which is crucial information if creating CBD edible products as a possible medicine, especially to those who's health may already be compromised.
One of the major health benefits of CBD is how it can assist in reducing swelling and inflammation. CBD is also an immune-suppressant, meaning it limits the immune system's ability to operate which is helpful for people with auto-immune disorders, such as HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and many more.
Sugars on the other hand (especially processed sugars), when consumed cause insulin levels in the body to spike, which over time creates inflammation. Consuming sugars also affects white blood cell production and efficiency, meaning that the immune system is impaired for several hours. Some studies even show that sugar can impair your body's immune system's ability to function by up to 50%, making it twice as difficult for it to deal with any infection or virus (https://riordanclinic.org/2011/11/seasonal-defense-boosting-your-immune-system/). Given that CBD is already an immune-suppressant, consuming it with sugar will only further impact the body's immune system.
When consuming sugar, especially in high amounts such as in CBD candies and desserts, it can cause almost a hyperactive response, which isn't ideal for those looking to calm their anxieties using CBD. Also, after the "sugar-crash" caused by the high spike in insulin, you may be left with less blood-sugar than you started, leaving you feeling less energetic and more fatigued than you began.
It's also important to note that around 70% of the body's immune system lives in the gut. So considering how many CBD edibles are actually candies or sugary treats, although a convenient way to consume, it's no surprise if your CBD edible may not be helping you as you expected. While CBD may help with inflammation, it's effects are hindered by the body's negative response to sugar, almost counteracting the health benefits one will receive from what could be an incredibly healing compound. So if possible, stick to savoury CBD edibles.
CBD is an active compound that the body can absorb and make use of, but it is a fat-soluble compound, meaning that not only does it dissolve in fats and oils, but it is also stored in the fatty tissues in the body when consumed. This is why it's so easy to infuse into coconut oil or butter. If you're looking to get the most out of your CBD and increase the body's ability to absorb it ("bio-availability"), one should consume it with something fatty rather than something sugary. This doesn't mean that your CBD treats can't be sweet, it just means that sugars (especially processed) should be used sparingly with it.
Dessert recipes appropriate for a low-carb or "ketogenic" diet can work well and can still contain tasty and fatty (healthy fats) ingredients like cacao butter, nuts/nut butters, seeds and so much more. Avocados are super-healthy, high in fat, stabilize blood sugar, and can be used as a healthier and lactose-free alternative to butter. If you're looking to sweeten it, go for a healthy sweetener that's low-glycemic, such as stevia, monkfruit or yakon syrup, or at least a natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar. Alternatively, one can simply infuse pure CBD or CBD oil into the oil of your choice, which can then be added to any salad, meal or recipes (keep temperatures low or add the CBD post-cooking to prevent the compound from breaking down). Avoid canola and vegetable oils which offer no health benefits and are highly modified, and stick to healthier oils from coconuts, olives, grapeseeds or sunflowers to name a few.
Most CBD edibles available in the market also don't contain very high amounts of CBD and what many are not aware of is that most chronic health issues require very high amounts of CBD to be consumed regularly. Some natural health practitioners even recommend at least 100mg of CBD daily for chronic issues. But because the effects of CBD are harder to perceive and measure, despite there being no risk of overdose or over-consumption, most producers create CBD products with low amounts of CBD. Typically, for the price a customer pays for one CBD edible that is supposed to contain 300mg of CBD, they could get 1000mg of pure CBD and infuse it into their own food of choice.
Recently, there have also been some reports of CBD oils containing contaminants or not being as potent as labelled. So if purchasing pure CBD or CBD oils, try go with one that has a lab report.
Written by Gideon Bentata for Highlifemedia.ca.
Gideon Bentata is a graphic designer, consultant, writer and educator working extensively in the emerging cannabis industry. Learn more at www.GideonBentata.com