The Rise of CBD: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction to CBD

No doubt you’ve realized the abundance in which CBD is being marketed and sold in the U.S. nowadays. From the beauty aisle, to the grocery store, CBD has become a household homeopathic go-to.

CBD can also be useful in some beauty and spa markets with the introduction of CBD-infused bath bombs and face masks. Kim Kardashian-West even recently had a CBD themed baby shower to celebrate the arrival of her fourth child.

Because CBD is everywhere and seems to have the ability to be put into its standard oil form, as well as lotions, foods, and other methods, the people who aren’t crystal-clear on precisely what it is and what it can be used for have a lot of questions. That’s to be expected. For a well-rounded definition, history uses for both health and wellness as well as lifestyle, and more importantly, the future of CBD oil in the global market, look no further. Everything you need to know is right here.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid compound found in cannabis. This is usually the major question having to do with CBD in that most people are asking: “Is CBD marijuana?” In short, the answer is: not technically. While marijuana contains THC, the component that will get the user high, CBD is non psycho-active.

CBD can come from both hemp and marijuana, meaning that not all CBD comes from just one source. As far as its legality, that will be discussed later. CBD is found in the cannabis plant’s secretions and is actually an organic substance (owing its heightened popularity to the health and wellness market).

Hemp is another of these secretions, which is also used to make clothing, certain foods, and other items. Hemp has been used globally for thousands of years and has been a long time favorite of the more alternative sector of American society. Often, hemp and CBD are used in combination to create the strong effects that most products are aiming to produce.

After much study on THC and hemp, scientists began to study the other most prevalent component of cannabis and were impressed by what they found in CBD. Once the media and marketing experts got a hold of this information, CBD began its journey towards trending. Now we see CBD all over the U.S. market. Much of this has to do with the popularity in legalized marijuana, as well as the push towards alternative methods of healing. Whatever the factor, CBD still has a long way to go now in its steady increase in popularity.

How Does CBD Work?

Now that we know what CBD is, it’s also useful to understand how it reacts with the body and brain to produce the desired effects health care providers, patients, and businesses are hoping for. CBD naturally plays on the fact that every part of our body already produces cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are generally referred to as the section of the brain that allows us to relax or feel good, that naturally perk up if we are feeling happy or calm.

These receptors are most centrally and importantly located in our brains and central nervous systems. These receptors, rather than being plant-based like in CBD, are called endocannabinoids. There is actually an entire endocannabinoid system in the human body that regulates various parts of the body’s functioning.

Not only is CBD useful and accessible for human beings, but has also been implemented for pet treatments, who have endocannabinoids in their bodies too! This revelation has expanded CBD’s commercial success even further. It’s also developed the treatment of animal’s ailments that may not have had such natural solutions. In fact, most of the research that has been done on CBD’s effects on the brain and body have been tested on animals first. While animal testing is not usually a positive plan of action for those seeking holistic solutions, it’s been proven to be safe and effective regardless.

Is CBD Legal?

This is one of the most essential factors in the widespread use of CBD, and one that is the most confusing for those trying to obtain it. You may have seen the various products that are now a staple in some health food and specialty stores across the country. These can come in the form of lotions, calming solutions that can be added to your bath, gummies, chocolates, and a myriad of other products that aim to ease the user.

Consumers are asking themselves first, “how is this store selling a substance that comes from marijuana?” and secondly, “is it legal to buy, then?” Since CBD does not contain the crucial “high factor” aka THC that affects the brain’s normal functioning, it’s not a drug. However, CBD is still illegal on the federal level. Just like marijuana is only legal in specific states, CBD is also a substance that is not entirely legal yet, and not regulated widely either.

After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, otherwise known as the Agricultural Improvement Act, there is a loophole used when it comes to sales of CBD in the U.S., which has also helped CBD gain widespread production and popularity. If the cannabinoid oil in question is derived from hemp, then it is deemed legal as, under the act, hemp is a viable agricultural product. However, if the CBD used is derived from marijuana, then it is not technically legal.

The best way to tell if CBD is legal for purchase is to know where the CBD in the product has come from (hemp or marijuana) as well as what the regulations are for recreational and medicinal marijuana use in the state you are purchasing it in. It’s best not to buy a product without knowing where the CBD comes from or whether it is legal in the state. CBD products can also be problematic in that there has been little regulation done on how much CBD can be in a particular product.

These regulations haven’t entirely protected against forms of false advertising of CBD in various products. While the management of marijuana has become less stringent for those with medical and psychological conditions, as well as those who use it recreationally, CBD’s popularity has risen correspondingly.

CBD is becoming just as popular and marketable as a way to ease pain or help combat stress and anxiety. However, as a consumer, you’ll want to be educated on where the CBD is coming from, and whether the product is adequate for your particular purpose or not. A little research can go a long way.

Where is CBD Legal?

CBD is legal in the 30 states in which marijuana is legal for recreational and/or medicinal use. That’s a significant majority of states in the U.S. There are 17 other states that have adopted laws specifically for the regulation and sale of CBD, which includes: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Utah, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.

What is CBD Used For?

CBD is still being studied as a treatment.

So far, most of these studies have been performed on animals and few humans. Many of the evidence of improvement comes from these studies, as well as from personal blogs, newspaper articles, and individualized experience. However, many of these independent researchers had come to the same conclusion: CBD was an effective treatment when nothing else seemed to work. It’s also worth noting that CBD is a naturally occurring substance that could offer more health benefits in the long term than pharmaceuticals.

Food and Beverage

A new trend in the culinary market is the use of CBD in coffee, food, and other consumable products. However, just as this trend started to take off in restaurants, cafes, and bars in major cities, the FDA has cracked down on the infusion of CBD in these treats and gourmet meals. In New York City especially, there has been a widespread banning of what was one of the biggest trends since avocado toast.

CBD is now being implemented in sparkling beverages, pre-packaged coffees, smoothies, ghee, and lemonade. They can be purchased at grocery stores, bodegas, and health food stores, all of which are banking on the fact that those who want to try are willing to pay a higher price for an easier to get and more quickly apparent form of relaxation and relief. Though they may be correct about that, it’s also worth noting that not all of these products are as transparent as they should be, and aren’t as impressive as they might boast that they are.

CBD is still rampant in other forms though, as there are plenty of CBD infused chocolates, gummies, and other snacks that are being sold in stores as widely known as Whole Foods. Where the trend revved up though, was in gourmet. In fact, some restaurants were serving entire meals infused with CBD, as the typical New Yorker is not only hyper-stressed but also extremely adventurous. After the crackdown though, they may have to find creative ways to make their own dinner parties more creative and relaxing. CBD is even being hailed as a superfood with the likes of avocados and kale. The wellness market is one of the largest in the U.S. at the moment and only seems to be growing–whether CBD is regulated or not. Some experts say that regulation would actually prevent CBD from making a serious mark in the health food scene.

In Los Angeles, the CBD trend is still alive and well. In fact, CBD lattes are a significant trend at local coffee shops, as Angelenos have less stress at work than New Yorkers, but more stress on the road. Stress is everywhere. L.A. even took CBD a step further by infusing it into their alcoholic beverages. While Angelenos are still just as absorbed in CBD’s positive qualities in the realm of digestion, they’re also exploring how CBD can interact with the already-altering effects of alcohol. There are now restaurants dedicating an entire part of their beverage menus to CBD infused drinks.

Lifestyle and Beauty Products

Coming back to Kim Kardashian-West’s baby shower, CBD is the next big thing in not only medicinal treatments and gourmet consumption, but also in lifestyle and beauty products. This hints at the more significant cultural point at play. CBD isn’t just accessible; it’s ultra-popular. Having CBD at a baby shower means that you’re not only promoting general wellness for you and your guests but also that you are on trend. This is important in the celebrity world and the culture at large–products are everything.

Some products that have made their way to the mainstream from humble beginnings are CBD bath bombs, CBD oils in various varieties (Melissa McCarthy visibly used one to console her high-heeled feet at this year’s Oscars, and a multitude of CBD products were also included in that year’s Oscar swag bags). Once a trend moves into the world of celebrity, it is a bonafide hit.

This soar in marketability can also be attributed to hemp becoming an agricultural commodity after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. Regardless, it looks like CBD is here to stay.

More importantly, these products are especially being marketed to women, as they are more prevalent consumers in both the lifestyle and beauty industries. Martha Stewart has even jumped aboard the CBD train and will be developing a line of products first for dogs, and then for their human owners.

Like Martha, or influencers like Kim Kardashian-West, some companies are building their entire brands off of not only the wellness component of CBD infusion but also the market values. With recreational marijuana use becoming increasingly more widespread, brands are clamoring to implement a legal form of the cannabis plant into their projected popularity, and thus the products they produce. CBD being one of the hottest new trends can give them the visibility they so desire and need to succeed.

Criticisms of CBD

Mislabeling

While CBD is a new craze that is making its way to the top of several commercial markets, it doesn’t come without critique. In fact, one of the most significant problems with CBD production is actually the regulation of it. Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has opened the door for hemp, and thus, cannabinoid oil, to be produced and used legally, it is not stopping companies from using as much as they deem necessary, in whatever products they want. However, that’s not entirely safe for the consumers.

It’s true that there is so far little to no regulation of CBD in the marketplace. As we see the FDA moving closer to widespread regulation in New York City in the beverage and drink industries, that’s become just the start of the recognition that CBD is being used rampantly and without the necessary labeling or formula that a product needs to be transparent to consumers.

For example, it’s been noted that any company wishing to include CBD in their product can do so legally if it’s derived from hemp. But, it doesn’t prevent them from labeling a product as containing CBD when it actually doesn’t, or by selling a product that actually contains ingredients that are not natural or may cause side effects.

In a 2017 study by Bonn-Miller, they found that roughly 7 out of 10 products labeled as containing CBD did not actually contain the amount promised on the label. On a numbered scale, about 43% of products contained too little CBD, while 26% contained too much.

Bonn-Miller also found an even more alarming phenomenon in the CBD industry: about 1 in 5 products contained THC, which an unknowing user could accidentally get high off of. Worse still, these can actually increase the likelihood of worsening the symptoms the user is trying to prevent.

The study goes on to mention that the method of ingesting CBD is also a factor in how well the substance will work in the body. When ingested orally, CBD will not absorb in the manner that is most effective for healing. So, if the product is not made correctly, it cannot provide the user with the desired effects. If consumers aren’t educated about how CBD works, then they can’t properly use the products they are purchasing.

Because CBD has become such a marketable substance, it can be a tactic of business owners to mark a product as containing it, even if it contains something similar to CBD or even no CBD at all. They can also raise the price in order to adjust to the market value of CBD. And because there are so many products being marketed this way, federal regulation has yet to find a way to keep the sale and marketing of CBD under control.

Being a relatively new super product, kind of like legal marijuana has become a goldmine for states like Colorado and Oregon, granted with some blowback; the government doesn’t quite know how to handle this huge jump in popularity economically. On a state-by-state level, there is an economic struggle in regulation, as there is not enough money to ensure that these products are tested and labeled adequately.

Interaction with Other Medications

Adding another medication to an individual’s routine always carries a risk with it. As long as the medicines are compatible with each other, it should be perfectly acceptable to add. Knowing if a new medication is consistent with another is a matter of knowing the components of each medication. With these new CBD supplements being mislabeled, some individuals hoping to add it to their health care routine could be counteracting drugs that are also necessary to their lifestyle and health.

Those who are taking drugs that aim to counteract the effects of epilepsy should be cautious when adding CBD to their healthcare routine. CBD has blood-thinning properties that could affect the user negatively as side effects may occur. CBD could also affect the liver adversely for those who have existing liver issues or problems with alcohol or addiction.

Discussing the best mode of action with a doctor is the best way to decipher if CBD would be a suitable supplement for medicinal purposes. So many patients are looking for natural methods of healing as well as more accessible routes to take to improve health, that it’s worth researching how CBD could help with specific medical issues, and how it could adversely affect the individual. Before adding CBD to a patient’s routine, it’s essential to know how it will work in congruence with other medications.

The Future of CBD

Business-Wise

Now that the uses, downsides, and basics of CBD have been explained, it’s also useful to know how it will be used in the future, whether recreationally, medicinally, or a combination of the two. With the rise in marijuana legality and research into how cannabis can naturally suppress or relieve ailments having no end in sight, the best way to predict what will be next for CBD is through the experts.

Many retailers in the cannabis industry were ahead of the trends that followed the legalization of marijuana. Now that CBD is so easy to get a hold of and produce legally, it has opened up a whole new world of homeopathic healing and lifestyle and beauty updates. Business owners are always scrambling to get their hands on the next big thing, and it seems like CBD is it.

This, however, means that there are so many companies and small business owners clamoring to be the next big thing, that the market may become over saturated with retailers trying to fit themselves into this niche. There are also quite a few businesses who aren’t going about producing products in the best way for consumers. Like any resilient brand, only the best marketed with the best product will survive. With this surge in popularity, CBD will probably bring the failure of many businesses relying on its popularity.

Health-Wise

One hope is that CBD becomes more like a vitamin supplement for the general public. By giving the masses access to this seemingly vital source of well being, a community riddled by the stressors of political strife and cultural and financial barriers might have an easily accessible substance for solace that is both safe and legal.

As one of the most significant factors of backlash in the CBD industry is the lack of regulation, researchers and business owners agree that regulation of CBD will need to happen in some form (and maybe even at the Federal level) in order for the substance to come to a safer level of popularity and consumption. This regulation will have to come from the aftermath of rigorous research and study, as well as an agreement within the government about the benefits to the population.

Research-Wise

Speaking of research, the more research we do in regards to CBD’s positive effects, the more we can benefit communities struggling to afford pharmaceuticals and affordable healthcare in general. CBD offers another more natural avenue towards healing in a variety of arenas. CBD transcends commercial value (though it has that, too) and is worthy of being studied as much as marijuana and THC were. In fact, the more research that’s done, the better we’ll get to know the substance’s negative and positive aspects on the human body and brain.

Before making the leap towards legalization, marijuana was discounted as a substance that should remain illegal simply because it was seen as a drug. After being rigorously researched for its mind-altering abilities, as well as the danger of not only consuming it, but it’s long-term effects on the brain, it seems that marijuana is less of a taboo substance than ever, with other, more serious addictions coming to the forefront (pharmaceuticals being one of them).

CBD, because of its relationship to marijuana as well as the proposed healing it could bring to millions, could be an entirely new way of treating multiple ailments. There is still so much we have to learn.

Education-Wise

The best way to stay abreast on a subject is through knowledge. The only way to gain that knowledge is through extensive education. Because there is so much we’ve yet to learn about CBD’s healing and relaxation properties, education on it is essential. Once the research is done on how CBD can help the pet and human population, we’ll have to educate the masses on the best way to use it.

Just as marijuana was a very taboo substance to use, CBD is often dismissed as a form of marijuana. Though it has some of the same properties, it can bring a much-needed boost to the health care and the beauty industry, which is striving for more natural ingredients than ever. A push towards education on the substance will allow potential users to weigh their decision on whether or not it would be suitable and safe to implement into their regular routines.

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