CBD products have hit the market in a big way, and journalist Katie Couric decided to find out why for this episode of Next Question. CBD seems to have magical properties attributed to it, alleviating sore muscles and nausea as well as anxiety and depression, but with no intoxicating effects like users would get with cannabis. And there’s no lack of options for ways to try it out - CBD products are available as gummies and tinctures, but also lotions, bath bombs, olive oils, even tampons and dog treats. Katie tells us the market is projected to hit $20 billion in revenue by 2024; with so much money to be made, and not much research or regulation yet, how do we know we’re getting what we pay for, or if CBD even has such beneficial properties? Katie talks to CBD users, experts, and extractors to find out everything: why the market is growing so quickly, the medicinal effects, the difference between CBD and THC, and more.
Kristen Bell, star of NBC's The Good Place, is just one of many celebrities who have championed the use of CBD. “It was like nothing I had ever tried,” she tells Katie, saying she’s always been an anxious person, stressing herself out with mental to-do lists. Since there are no psychoactive properties, she didn’t really notice a difference right away, but “after the first week or so....I was simply a calmer version of me that didn’t need to worry frantically...I wasn’t having these targeted bouts of anxiety.”
So what’s the difference between CBD and plain ol’ cannabis? Dr. Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and a professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, and pharmacological science, breaks it down: “THC is a psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. That’s why people get the high...that binds to the cannabinoid receptors in our brain and our body.” CBD, rather than binding to those receptors, “will alter those transmitter systems that are involved in many different functions…pain, mood, anxiety. So it has a broad mechanism of action.” But she finds the wide range of CBD products frustrating, saying, “For me, that does trivialize the potential medicinal properties that CBD is showing to have.” And there are a lot: besides relieving pain and anxiety, it’s also proven to alleviate seizure disorders and epilepsy in children, and there’s evidence that it can help people battle opioid addiction. But without regulations, consumers can buy CBD products that have pesticides or lead in them, or perhaps don’t actually have any CBD at all. “I absolutely think that no company should be allowed to say that CBD can do X, Y, or Z unless they prove it,” Dr. Hurd says firmly.
She won’t get a fight from Rob Rosenheck of Lord Jones, a cannabis company that sells CBD tinctures, edibles, and skincare products, who says he’d welcome more regulation. “Consumers need to know that the products that they're buying are safe, that they're manufactured in a safe way, that they're properly labeled, that the dosage is accurate,” he says. “Just like any other food or any other drug, people want a regulated system. They want a set of rules to play by.” The demand for CBD products is so high that for legitimate companies, regulation will help them move their products, not hurt them. Rob says they began as a medical marijuana company, but once they started experimenting with CBD, it was obvious where the money really was. “In one month the business grew larger than our entire THC business, and we realized that was our future.”
So what’s next for CBD? And what can the everyday user do to protect themselves from the CBD snake oil out there? Join Katie on this episode of Next Question to find out.
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