Your Guide to Legit CBD: And how to avoid getting scammed

By:  Laura Entis

There’s evidence CBD could provide relief for a range of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and arthritis. “Could” is the key word.

The wider the disconnect grows between vertiginous expectations and science-backed evidence, the higher the probability that CBD will disappoint. The compound is being painted as a cure-all, says Jason DeLand, an advertising executive and the co-founder of Dosist, which makes vapes with CBD and THC. “It’s not.”

What CBD is actually good for

The literature on CBD’s effects on humans is sparse. That’s large because studying cannabis remains a major challenge. While hemp-derived CBD is legal, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug, which means the U.S. government restricts its availability for research.

What to look out for

Unlike marijuana-based products — which are subject to state regulations that often require laboratory testing — hemp-derived CBD has little oversight, leaving the onus on the customer. Federal health officials released a report in 2018 that showed 52 people were sickened with nausea and seizures in Utah over a four-month period from synthetic products that were falsely labeled as CBD.

If you’re interested in trying the compound, your best bet is careful experimentation.

If you’re purchasing CBD from a store or coffee shop, ask questions, says Raeven Duckett, co-founder of Community Gardens, a cannabis dispensary in Oakland, California. “The people who are serving it to you should be able to tell you that or direct you on where you can find it.”

What form to take it

If you’re looking to try CBD, there’s a dizzying array of options to choose from, including vapes, joints, gummies, chocolate, tinctures, face masks, and infused lattes.

How much to take at a time

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get granular on how high to go; the research on dosing is slim. Experts advise to start with a dose of CBD of around five milligrams or less and slowly work up from there because, like coffee and alcohol, CBD affects everyone differently.

What to know about the health risks

CBD is nonpsychoactive and nonaddictive, and there is no “abuse liability,” says Sumner Burstein, a professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. However, there is evidence CBD affects the way the body metabolizes drugs, which could alter the effects of other medications, like blood thinners. It may be worthwhile to mention to your doctor that you’re taking CBD.

Like coffee and alcohol, CBD affects everyone differently.

The bottom line

Since CBD is relatively benign and there’s a dearth of scientific-backed advice on dosage, if you’re interested in trying the compound, your best bet is careful experimentation.