If you’ve stepped into a spa or food co-op lately, you may have noticed dropper bottles of CBD oil lining the shelves.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound in hemp and marijuana plants that many people tote as an aid for seizures (the research here is solid!), pain, anxiety, addiction, insomnia—and, just maybe, anything else that ails them. CBD won’t (or shouldn’t) get you high: THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, exists at much lower concentrations in hemp.
CBD most often comes in mint-flavored oral tinctures (most people take half a dropperful) and topical creams. The stuff is not cheap—a 500 mg tincture will set you back around $60, while a 250 mg lotion jar can cost about $40. (More than aspirin, less than a chiropractic visit?)
CBD laws vary by state, and the research on human-CBD interactions remains thin. The FDA doesn’t regulate or test it. (What’s actually in the bottle and at what strength? Caveat emptor.) But that hasn’t discouraged the many vendors of CBD teas, lotions, oral tinctures, and pet treats (yes, really).
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties have fueled a hemp-based beauty boom. Salons and spas like Tula Spa in South Minneapolis offer CBD facials and massages, and the Wedge and Linden Hills co-ops sell a range of CBD face masks, serums, and beauty balms.
So, is it a miracle drug or a snake oil? Here are a few things to know before you start squirting CBD drops in your coffee.
Ann Philbrick, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in both the College of Pharmacy and Medical School, offers a quick lesson on the workings of endocannabinoids, which exist naturally in the body.“If there’s injury or insult to the body that throws homeostasis out of balance,” Philbrick explains, “the body produces more endocannabinoids. CBD oil helps those natural endocannabinoids return the body to a normal level.” Got it?
Confused but curious? Learn from the pros. Stigma Hemp, a new locally owned CBD store in the North Loop, instructs customers on the potential benefits of CBD through one-on-one store tours and public events (want to make a CBD bath bomb)? “The goal of our store is to create experiences and educate the public,” says shop owner Josh Maslowski.
Bear in Mind…
Since the FDA doesn’t yet regulate CBD products, look for brands that conduct third-party lab testing to ensure you’re getting the right stuff. And while it might seem easiest to click Add to Cart online, it may be wiser to buy products in-store. A quick Google search will garner 100-plus CBD brands, some more legit than others. A few that CBD connoisseurs seem to trust (and which you can buy locally)? Select CBD, Siskiyou Sungrown, and Stigma’s own brand.
The New Advil?
CBD should be nonaddictive and doesn’t carry a laundry list of side effects. So it’s an attractive route for people wary of opioids and some other conventional pharmaceuticals, according to Minnesota Hemp Association founder and Nothing But Hemp shop owner Steven Brown. (Please promise us you’ll talk to your doctor before switching or stopping medications!)