artil Explains: The CBD Craze

Emily Hemming

Cannabidiol (CBD) is taking over. Whether you’re a new convert, just curious, or totally clueless, we have the breakdown for you  —  because we know you want to impress people at your next dinner party (you trendy thing, you!).

What is CBD?

Alright class, are we ready for today’s horticulture lesson?

CBD is one of the hundreds of chemicals found in a cannabis plant. You have probably heard of two kinds of cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana. CBD usually comes from a hemp plant, meaning you won’t have a psychoactive reaction. This is because hemp contains less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol — the mind-altering element we know Snoop Dogg loves so much!

If cannabis contains more than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it is considered marijuana, which can have psychoactive effects.

CBD is sold in many forms, including lotion, vapes, capsules, and gummies.

How did CBD become so popular?

CBD has generated a wave of enthusiasm based on the idea that it harnesses numerous health benefits. Will it transform you into something resembling a unicorn? Probably not (insert devastated full-body-slump here).

But companies and individuals have claimed that using CBD can help reduce acne, relieve pain, improve your mood, and even act as an anti-epileptic medication. Some have said that CBD has been used successfully to improve the health and quality of life for people undergoing cancer treatments. It sounds like the only thing it can’t do is clean the house!

What should I be aware of when buying CBD?

Now, before you run a bath of pure CBD, you should know that it can be rather costly. Depending on the brand, you could find yourself paying more than 100 euros for a small vial of oil!

Moreover, the taste is rather intense. I have been placing two drops of oil under my tongue, and after ten seconds, the hemp taste is overwhelming. You might get used to it — or even love it, but I’ve heard of people who dislike CBD due to the ‘offensive taste’.

The boom in popularity aside, this product is controversial, mainly because the claims made by companies are lacking in substantial research. The product’s success is largely anecdotal, with some small group human and animal studies. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have even found that some CBD companies have mislabeled their products, which either contain none of the actual CBD they claim to or contain THC in illegal amounts.

If evidence of its validity is lacking, how did CBD become SO popular?

It is my belief that CBD’s popularity can be summarised by these crucial elements:

  1. Eliminating marketing constraints of age and gender, CBD appeals to a population rather than a demographic. Any treatment which can claim benefits for multiple ailments at once — such as acne, stress, and poor sleep — is appealing to a grand-scale of consumers.
  2. Conscious consumers are increasingly attracted to products that are natural or organic.
  3. Increasing levels of anxiety and depression have caused concern in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added further stresses to the lives of millions. CBD offers a quick solution for stress-relief and deeper sleep, without the perceived inconvenience of seeking professional advice.
  4. As with any supplement or medicine, there may also be an element of the placebo effect. That is to say, you may believe you notice positive effects after consumption, though these may not, in reality, be accurate nor measurable.

Though the rise of CBD will surely continue, I won’t repurchase until further supporting research emerges. In the meantime, will someone please hand me a glass of red wine and some chocolate?

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