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Figuring out whether you’ll need 2 or 10 to calm the hell down is (you guessed it) also a mystery, says Jeffrey Bost, a clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Start with one gummy per day. Nada? Try two. Still nada? Slowly up your dose until you get some results. It’s pretty tough to OD on CBD, says Bost. The worst side effects of very high doses are drowsiness and mood changes. (And pls note that the long-term effects are still TBD.)
Last year, “CBD gummies” was the third most-Googled food in the entire U.S. So yeah, you’ve likely heard of these little nuggets that contain cannabidiol (aka CBD), the part of weed that chills you out but not the part that inspires you to down a party-size bag of Doritos. Maybe you’ve even heard reviews—from stoner and non-stoner friends alike—about how the non-hallucinogenic bites are ideal for erasing Big Stress Energy or helping you wind down before bed. And you’ve probably still got questions. Great, ’cause we’ve got answers.
How many do I have to eat?
It does sound kinda like a scam, but solid scientific studies show that CBD can latch onto cells in your gut and immune system, relieving anxiety, pain, and inflammation, says Joseph Maroon, MD, a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But that’s the pure stuff—there’s no legit research on the effectiveness of CBD in gummy form. In other words: They maybe work (at least, they did for our editors—see our own reviews below!).
If you live in a state where all types of devil’s lettuce is legal, you can buy CBD gummies almost anywhere—even at some gas stations. For everyone else, there’s the interwebs. Amazon sells them and can ship to your door for about $40 (yeah, chillin’ ain’t cheap).
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Is cannabidiol legal?
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CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.