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Should you put CBD in your food?

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Photo credit: Ake Ngiamsanguan/Getty Images

If you haven’t already tried a trendy CBD treat from a local bakery or restaurant, it’s only a matter of time. In a survey by the National Restaurant Association, 77 percent of chefs polled ranked cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular culinary forecast trend for 2019, topped only by CBD-infused drinks.

So, maybe you’ve already sampled infused fare, in which case you’re likely wondering if you should put CBD in your own food and, more pointedly, how. DIY edibles? Yes, indeedy. But here’s the thing: As buzzy as this topic has become, it’s relatively new — after all, marijuana-derived CBD is still effectively illegal and lacks any substantial regulatory framework.

So, before you strap on your apron and get started, there are a few things you should know. We tapped several experts to spill the CB-Details, from how putting it in food affects absorption to how much cannabidiol should be consumed daily.

What is CBD oil?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis (aka marijuana). However, it lacks the elevated levels of psychoactive TCH, or tetrahydrocannabinol, found in marijuana. It reportedly gives you the mellow, balancing side of cannabis without the “high.”

Should you put CBD in your food?

Well, this is a tricky question, and we’ll tell you why. Or, rather, we’ll defer to Amy Abernethy, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner. In a series of tweets posted in late May 2019, Abernethy pointed out why CBD-infused food is problematic. “Other than one prescription drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, the FDA has not approved any other CBD-containing products. We want consumers to be aware that there is only limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.”

Abernethy went on to explain that the FDA has certain safety concerns centered on CBD. “There are many open questions about CBD, [including] safety questions,” she wrote. “In particular, we’re working to learn more about the potential risks of CBD, such as toxicity to the liver when someone ingests it regularly over a long period of time, perhaps from several types of CBD products.”

But you can put it in there, right?

As you probably deduced from the rapidly growing CBD-infused food market, yes, you can definitely put CBD in food. And in drinks for that matter. “You can absolutely put CBD in your food, and we recommend it based on the recipe you have in mind,” insisted Whitney Lofts, director of culinary studio for the all-in-one home-cooking platform SideChef.

“CBD comes in an isolate or powder form, or as an oil. Isolates/powders are best for infusing butter or oils, while oil is best for other culinary uses,” she continued. “The weedy, earthy flavors of CBD oil pair well with ingredients like chocolate or herbs, or incorporate well into strong flavors like tomato sauce. Smoothies (especially ones that include vegetables) and guacamole are great to add CBD to, as they typically already possess an earthy flavor. CBD oil also comes in flavors including mint, various fruits, and vanilla, which can easily be matched with recipes that will benefit from those flavorings.”

MORE: The best places to buy CBD candy & snacks online

How much CBD should you consume a day?

Again, if you’re hoping for a one-and-done response here, you’re out of luck. When it comes to figuring out your CBD tolerance, it’s probably best to start small and work your way up. “Everyone has different tolerances when it comes to cannabinoid medicine,” explained Mike Robinson, founder of the Global Cannabinoid Research Center.

“The biggest issue to consider when consuming CBD is whether or not it will interfere with pharmaceutical drugs you take for health issues. It is known to do that with various drugs as they both use the same pathways in our system to metabolize. Often CBD will decrease the availability in pharmaceuticals but with some it increases it. If you’re not taking prescription medications, it’s safe to consume up to several hundred milligrams if desired.”

Is there a certain brand or type of CBD that’s better than the rest?

Ask 100 different people this question and you might just get 100 different answers. While there are many, many different CBD oil products out there for purchase and consumption, the most important thing you can do is make sure you buy from a reputable company that sells pure oils. “The FDA has also tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. We have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing contaminants (e.g. pesticides, heavy metals),” says the FDA in a consumer update posted on their site.

Is there a certain way to eat CBD that is better?

While whipping up a batch of waffles infused with CBD oils sounds fun, you might be wondering if doing so delivers the full benefits of CBD. What’s the preferred way to ingest this stuff? “Generally speaking, CBD is placed in the sublingual cavity, under the tongue, for best absorption,” said Robinson, noting, “Ingestion of CBD [through food] will still give a consumer therapeutic benefits that are countless.”

Speaking to the specifics of cooking with CBD, SideChef’s Lofts has plenty of pointers, saying, “For the best absorption of CBD, consume CBD with a fat to fully experience its health benefits. When cooking with CBD, be mindful of cooking temperatures. CBD loses potency when it exceeds 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re cooking on the stove, we recommend cooking on the “low” setting to avoid any evaporation of the CBD.

MORE: CBD twice-baked potatoes is the ultimate holiday recipe

What research has there been on the long-term benefits of incorporating CBD into your diet?

According to Robinson, there are tons of long-term benefits that come from incorporating CBD into your diet. “There’s multiple therapeutic benefits to consuming CBD. The cannabinoid is known to modulate multiple internal systems including its own, including the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for homeostasis — that’s when all of our body’s internal organs are working in unison. By using CBD consumers are able to gain better health, increase stamina and athletic abilities, as well as enjoy a cannabinoid that doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects.”

How do you incorporate CBD into your diet? Let us know! Tag us on Instagram @makeitgrateful and #makeitgrateful!

The information presented on our site is in not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical treatment. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem, whether offered on our site or otherwise.

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