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You’ve probably seen it at a gas station or bodega, or maybe even a health store, if we’re using the word “health” lightly. Hell, you might have come across it in food at a trendy restaurant.
CBD is everywhere now, a wildly popular potential solution to a litany of health problems. Can’t sleep? Have some CBD oil. Knee pain? Rub some CBD lotion on it.
Kim Kardashian just had a fully CBD-themed baby shower, which means we’re nearing peak CBD.
But what is it? Is CBD legal? Does it work? Does it get you high? Let’s take a look.
What is CBD?
CBD is an easier way to say cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals found in both hemp and marijuana, which both fall under the broader classification of cannabis plants. Both contain CBD. The biggest difference is in another compound, called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. Put another way, it’s the chemical that gets you high.
Marijuana is typically high in THC, while hemp has only trace amounts of the compound — less than 0.3 percent.
Is it legal to use?
CBD derived from marijuana plants is illegal for anyone in New Jersey to have or use, unless they are part of the state’s medical marijuana program. People who have a doctor’s recommendation and have registered for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program are able to buy CBD products at the state’s licensed dispensaries.
But hemp-derived CBD is much more widely available in New Jersey, plus it’s legal to buy and use for people outside the medical marijuana program. It might actually be harder finding a place that doesn’t sell CBD these days.
The recent proliferation of places that sell CBD goes back to the signing of the Farm Bill late last year. Basically, that law legalized hemp and its derivatives.
How effective is it?
This gets a bit tricky. Anecdotes abound on the supposed miracle properties of CBD, but it is not a cure-all, according to Harvard Medical School.
Partly because of its tricky legal past, CBD hasn’t been thoroughly studied as a medicine, but it’s understood to be effective in managing epileptic seizures. A 2017 report from the World Health Organization found that both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD are useful in treating epileptic seizures.
There is also some evidence that CBD can help reduce anxiety and minor pain, as well as help people with insomnia, but this hasn’t been fully substantiated.
“Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting,” Peter Grinspoon wrote on Harvard’s health blog.
Can I get high off CBD?
Since CBD is non-psychoactive, the short answer is no. But it depends on which product you’re using. Some marijuana strains are high in CBD, but do also have some THC, which means the user could and probably would get high.
The stuff you can buy at a health store? Nope, not gonna get you stoned.
Will it make me fail a drug test?
If you’re using hemp-derived CBD, you almost surely won’t fail a drug test. But there have been instances in which heavy CBD use triggered false positives on drug tests.
Most pre-employment drug tests are measuring for THC, not CBD. But if you’re using marijuana-derived CBD that also has THC, you could very well fail a drug test.
What does CBD go into?
Almost anything. It’s common to see CBD oils, tinctures and lotions for sale, but the available CBD products are expanding rapidly. Products like CBD gummies, suppositories, capsules and beverages, to name a few. By extracting CBD oils from the hemp plants, CBD can be added to almost anything.
One thing to be aware of regarding CBD is that it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning it’s not clear if the products on sale at the health stores have the ingredients that are listed on the label.
Grinspoon also warns that CBD products could contain other unknown chemicals and that the proper dosage of CBD is also not known.
Bottom line: Don’t believe everything you hear about CBD. Do your research.
Payton Guion may be reached at PGuion@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaytonGuion.
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