CBD: Beyond the hype
Friday, October 11, 2019
Is CBD going mainstream? It sure appears that way. I live in the Western North Carolina mountains near Asheville, and CBD seems to be everywhere. Every time I turn around, I see another store selling some form of the beloved remedy.
In an article earlier this year in Forbes magazine Nick Kovacevich confirms my observation, "CBD is being infused into face creams, bath bombs, makeup and dozens of pet products. Proponents say it works on everything from headaches to aching joints, relieves anxiety and skin conditions, and relaxes and rejuvenates all parts of the body. It’s even said to soothe hemorrhoids and stop menstrual cramps. A large part of this expanding category is the edibles market, where CBD is being touted as a superfood as it’s infused into products such as honey, salad dressing, baked goods, snacks and a whole host of beverages." He goes on to say that even Martha Stewart is stepping into the industry.
In the midst of all the buzz and media frenzy, many of us are wondering: Is there really something to CBD? Or is it just the latest health craze that, like lots of fad diets and quick-fix remedies, will come and go?
What’s stopped me from jumping on the bandwagon is the high cost. I regularly use supplements as part of my health regime, however, when I calculate the monthly cost of using most CBD products, I find it significantly more expensive than any other supplement I currently use.
Perhaps I’m waiting for the market to settle and the price to come down. Or I’m not convinced yet that it’s worth the investment.
You may feel the same, so join me as I dig into this a bit to learn more.
First, let’s start with the market: New York-based investment bank Cowen & Co. estimates that the revenue of the CBD market will reach $16 billion by 2025. BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research are more bullish: $20 billion by 2024.
With projections like this, no wonder Martha Stewart doesn’t want to be left out. But rather than reassure me, these big numbers make me wonder how I will be able to distinguish the legitimate companies that create high-quality products from those simply throwing products on the market to make money. The typical consumer has no easy way of sorting through the vast inconsistencies in the quality and quantity of active ingredients in CBD products.
Second, let’s look at the stated benefits: There is a whole range of information out there about CBD uses, all of which I cannot get into here, but the most promising applications seem to be for seizures, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.
The research is, in fact, quite daunting, which means that we still have a lot more to learn before anything definitive is known. Personally, I have only tried CBD cream and full-spectrum honey. The CBD cream worked really well for me on minor physical aches and pains.
I noticed the effects within 10 minutes and was pretty impressed with the results. But I’m not sure if it’s significantly better than other types of pain cream on the market. I didn’t really notice much from ingesting the CBD honey. The rest of what I know is what I hear from the people that have used CBD to relieve anxiety and insomnia. All have raved about it.
Third and finally, let’s look at the legality: To determine whether you currently live in a state in which CBD is legal, you can do a quick Google search and dozens of sites will show up. The laws are confusing at best, and it requires educating yourself to even begin to understand what’s what.
According to an article on the website CBD Central, "There are approximately 113 unique cannabinoids in cannabis plants, which can be classified as hemp plants or marijuana plants (there’s a difference!). CBD is one of them and is the second-most prevalent cannabinoid found in the plant; THC is another. This distinction is absolutely critical to understand because THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high’ produced by traditional marijuana; it’s where the negative connotations and associations generally begin."
The good news is that the THC which gets you high and CBD which has health benefits can be separated. The bad news is that the legality of CBD is still somewhat muddy.
Based on what I’ve learned, CBD has extraordinary potential to significantly impact health and well-being. What still needs attention is reducing the cost to make it more accessible, establishing standards to make sure the quality and quantity is consistent in products and clearing up the legal confusion around it.
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