At the start of 2019, in a survey of chefs across the country, CBD-infused food and beverages emerged as the most anticipated food trend for the year.
Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a chemical substance found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical substance, meaning it does not create a feeling of euphoria or a “high” when consumed. While marijuana contains high levels of THC, hemp contains high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. Hemp and CBD have gained much attention since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which redefined hemp as a legal substance, granted that its THC content is less than 0.3%. In Ohio, Senate Bill 57, which passed in July, allowed licenses for hemp cultivation within the state.
Some individuals use CBD to treat anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, acne and other conditions, although more evidence is needed to support its health claims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that more investigation is also needed to establish its safety, appropriate dosing, and how it may affect different groups of people such as children, pregnant women, and seniors. Questions about whether too much CBD could be toxic or how CBD may interact with prescriptions medications are largely unanswered. Furthermore, the FDA warns that some companies market products containing CBD in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, so consumers need to beware of misleading or false claims and inaccurate labels.
If you want to try CBD, do so with caution. If ordering a CBD-infused food or beverage from a menu, know that you are paying extra for an unknown quantity of the substance, and there is limited scientific evidence that it will benefit you. Whether CBD-infused food and beverages prove to be a helpful remedy or another passing fad is yet to be seen. This is a topic worth paying attention to, however, as it holds promise for treating chronic ailments that affect many people across Ohio and beyond.
(Author: Lisa Hillmann, MS, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University)
Pat Brinkman is the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator for Ohio State University Extension Fayette County.