Cannabidiol (or CBD) is a chemical compound extracted from the hemp and cannabis plants. The CBD from hemp is preferred as it contains less of another compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the well-known psychoactive effects. There’s a vast range of perceived benefits associated with the use of CBD. It’s used for anxiety, pain relief, lowering blood pressure and even epilepsy. Currently, the CBD market is worth more than $400 million, and it’s growing every day. CBD products have launched all over the world, with new food and drink products emerging in Europe and the US.
Although the sale and use of CBD (derived from the hemp plant) is legal in most countries, adding it to food and drink, is still somewhat of a grey area.
In Europe, there is a lot of variation between the different countries. In some, the sale of any CBD products is illegal (e.g. Croatia and Slovenia), while in others CBD products may be sold only if it does not contain a THC level higher than 0.2% (e.g. Cyprus, Greece, and the Netherlands). In Finland, CBD is considered a medicine, and therefore you’ll need a prescription to buy any CBD product.
In Asia, the countries that do have laws in place, are extremely strict and have a zero-tolerance on even the smallest amount of THC in the final product.
In the United States, the FDA has not yet approved the use of CBD in food products. There are a few CBD products on the market, but most of them are not authorized or even monitored. Studies have not shown yet what the long-term effects of CBD use is, and authorities are worried that it may interact with other medicines, or even damage the liver.
There are many people that have praised CBD for its therapeutic benefits, saying that it helped them manage pain or other ailments. Research is still limited, but some U.S. studies confirm that CBD in small amounts is safe, with only minor side effects reported (tiredness, diarrhea etc.).
Remember that the safety of CBD will depend on your own health, weight, and the form in which you take it. It’s also important to note that regulation on CBD is not yet tight enough in all countries. So, if you decide to try out CBD products, get it from a reputable source to ensure that the product is not tainted with other harmful compounds.
Long-term studies for both the safety of CBD and possible side effects are underway, so hopefully, consumers will know soon in which products they can indulge!
FDA, Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD) and What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.