It’s undeniable — CBD is a hot topic. But is it worth it? And is it legal? Us Weeklyexplores this emerging wellness trend.
First things first — what exactly is CBD? CBD oil, which is extracted from the hemp plant, stands for cannabidiol. “It’s the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant,” explains New York City-based nutritionist Brooke Alpert, who is currently becoming certified in holistic cannabis and launching Daily Habit, a line of CBD supplements in the fall. And, yes — it’s legal in all 50 states, with one caveat. “In order for it to be legal, it has to have 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or less,” notes Alpert.
Currently, CBD is being added to everything from smoothie powders, coffee, tinctures, gummies and tablets to salad dressing. Despite its lack of psychoactive components, which is typically credited for cannabis’ feel-good benefits, when taken internally, CBD has a similar effect — just without the high.
“CBD is the wellness vitamin that everybody can benefit from,” says Alpert, the author of The Diet Detox. “For someone who feels great already, it’s just gonna make you feel better.”
Eric Helms, founder of Juice Generation, says the company added CBD to salad dressing because “we like to hunt and gather new ingredients that may not be mainstream but give our salads a more evolved feel,” he tells Us. “Our new salad, The Chronic, uses CBD oil in the dressing. It’s the tastiest salad we’ve ever created, in my opinion. And if we can offer that flavor with a side of calming, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory benefits then it’s really a double win.”
Other wellness experts are getting in on the trend more explicitly. Sweat with Bec founder Bec Donlan, who tones the bodies of celebrities and models, recently launched Edibles: CBD ChocolateOpens a New Window., which she sells online alongside her SWB Booty Bands. The label of her two-pack gummies state these super simple dosage directions: “1 = CHILL. 2 = CHILLLLLL.”
CBD supplements can also help with symptoms caused by a slew of ailments — from decreasing anxiety and stress to autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. “We have in our bodies something called our endocannabinoid system, so we have a whole receptor system in our body that literally the one job it’s supposed to do is to reap the benefits from cannabis,” Alpert explains. “We have it. We are born with it. It is involved in every single process that we do. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body that are just sitting there waiting to get to work and use cannabis for what it can do for our body.”
Recently, CBD has also created a ton of buzz in the beauty and health arena, showing up in everything from topical sprays and creams to help lessen pain and inflammation to manicures and pedicures as well as hair treatments to decrease the symptoms of a sensitive scalp. Jessica Seinfeld and Olivia Wildehave raved about the pros of topical CBD. Back in January, Wilde told The New York Times that she let CBD help her after starring in the Broadway play 1984. “I’ve been using this body lotion that has CBD from marijuana. It’s called Lord JonesOpens a New Window.,” she said. “My body was wrecked. My neck was really tight. The CBD has relaxing benefits, and the idea is to avoid using too many painkillers.”
Alpert is seeing the benefits of CBD firsthand in her NYC office: “I have a client who is really anxious, which caused her to overeat. I said, ‘You need to take CBD. We have to start targeting the anxiety because I can give you great meal plans but if we don’t get to the root cause of what’s going on, we’re not gonna fix it.’ Two weeks later, this woman has lost another seven pounds, because her anxiety has calmed down and she can make smart choices at every meal.”
The most important thing to take into account is the quality of the CBD oil that you are consuming, notes Alpert, who recommends looking for terms such as “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” and to avoid “CBD isolate.”
“Broad and full spectrum means you’re getting everything from the plants including the CBD. When you get an isolate, it means that the CBD was isolated from the plant and that’s all you’re getting so you’re getting no other benefits besides the CBD,” explains Alpert. “And it’s not fully clear if the CBD will work as effectively on its own without all of the other parts of the spectrum.”
Alpert suggests that her clients who are new to adding CBD into their daily routine start with 15 milligrams “and see how that makes you feel,” she says. “I really feel like there is an epidemic of unwellness right now and we really need to make smart choices to start feeling better, which is what CBD can do.”