CBD goes mainstream as bars and coffee shops add weed-related drinks

The Alchemist’s Kitchen in Manhattan’s East Village hosted a CBD 101 class for about a dozen adults in December.

After covering the basics, instructor, Zach Clancy, asked for any questions.

“What’s the modern history?” “Why has it been popular in the last few years?” “What’s a safe dosage?” “What’s the safest way to extract it?” “Will it treat my arthritis?”

One attendee said she first tried CBD in California earlier in the year. She said she struggles to fall and stay asleep, but the CBD helped her with both issues. She declined to be named, citing the compound’s still-taboo reputation.

The farm bill signed in December legalized hemp. Most CBD hitting shelves is derived from the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive chemical in weed. Hemp’s close cousin, marijuana, can contain upwards of 10 percent THC.

So you can’t get high from CBD products if the proper dosage is followed, but the industry isn’t regulated on a federal level so the amount of THC can vary.

Doses can vary, too. Some shops recommend six milligrams of CBD when taken as a tincture or added to food. Others recommend at least 30. Again, since there isn’t much clinical research on CBD, most of the recommendations are based on trial and error.

As more people dabble with CBD, more people are following the money, worrying some that bad products will enter the market and taint CBD’s allure. Or worse, harm consumers.

“There does need to be some sort of regulatory framework for overall product safety and to protect the customer from purchasing products that contain false advertisements or make unsubstantiated claims,” said Pamela Hadfield, co-founder of HelloMD, a medical cannabis company, while cautioning against strict regulations that would be “too difficult for most manufacturers to comply.”

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