CBD food items are trending but the law will have the final say
Every year, the U.S. is hit with a whole new set of food trends. For instance, in 2017, some of the food fads revolved around gourmet tacos and consuming insects, the latter of which offers sustainability benefits.
In 2018, food sustainability trends continued, but this time with seafood versus bugs. This was also the year where new meat cuts — such as a Merlot cut, which comes from the heel of the cow — were introduced, as were more vegetable-centered dishes.
However, CNBC reports that three out of four chefs agree that one trend that will take the food world by storm in 2019 is foods infused with a non-psychoactive compound of the hemp plant known as cannabidiol, or CBD.
How CBD works
CBD and CBD food has been receiving a lot of press lately, especially with the federal legalization of hemp under the Farm Bill of 2018. This has prompted the promotion of this particular cannabinoid in a variety of products ranging from oils to tinctures to vapes and more.
The reason CBD is in the news more and more is because it is said to offer a number of health benefits for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes, autism, Crohn’s, and even skin conditions like acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.
The way CBD works is by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in a way that reduces inflammation and pain. But how has CBD crossed over from only being used in supplements and other health care products to now being added to our dinner plates?
CBD and food
According to CNBC, some of the top chefs state that diners are becoming increasingly curious about cannabis-related products. This has created an elevated demand for creating CBD food and drinks.
That said, foods in the U.S. are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in a statement issued by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, on April 2, 2019, Gottlieb shares that it is currently illegal to add CBD to food sources as there are no guidelines in place to regulate it.
While this may change in the future as public hearings are set on this issue, in the meantime some businesses are choosing to ignore this fact and sell CBD food products anyway. Therefore, it helps to know what to look for when it comes to consuming these items.
One of the concerns about adding CBD to food is related to dosing. Because different types of CBD have different dosages, it becomes more difficult to tell if the consumer is getting either too much or not enough of this substance that is derived from the hemp plant.
This is important because research published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research indicates that dosage impacts the effects CBD has on the human body. For example, a lower dose of CBD “has physiological effects that promote and maintain health, including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection effects” whereas higher doses are often more beneficial for conditions such as schizophrenia, dementia and diabetes.
Additionally, though this research also states that high doses are usually “well tolerated by humans,” knowing how much CBD you’re consuming is necessary if the point in purchasing CBD food with this substance is an effort to treat or ease a particular health condition.
Another issue when it comes to CBD food products is the quality of CBD being used, because the higher its quality, the safer and more effective this hemp derivative is.
For instance, if it is CBD oil that is added to the food source, the Ministry of Hemp indicates that this particular product is higher in quality if it meets these criteria:
- The CBD is processed through organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction, as these methods don’t require the use of toxic solvents;
- The CBD comes from hemp that is grown in the U.S., where farmers are required to be certified by a state department;
- The level of THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant) is less than 0.3%;
- The CBD is full-spectrum, meaning it is taken from the entire hemp plant versus a CBD isolate, which only utilizes one part of the plant; and
- The CBD is tested by a third-party lab to ensure the product being used contains the amount of CBD it says and has no ingredients that are not listed on the product’s label.
When dosage and quality aren’t regulated, this also creates issues surrounding CBD and CBD food potential effects.
For example, if the dosage isn’t right, the CBD may not have any positive effects, regardless of any health claims offered by the food manufacturer or preparer. If the quality of the CBD is too low, the food source may contain a number of other toxins or substances that could potentially do more harm than good.
Based on this, it may be safer to wait until the FDA is able to regulate these CBD-containing foods. This helps avoid the risk that comes with eating something with an unknown amount or quality of this specific cannabinoid.