Coconut oil, you’ve had a good run. But it’s time to step aside and let someone else have the superfood spotlight.
We’re talking about cannabidiol. More commonly known as CBD, this healthy oil is about to hit the health and wellness scene in a big way because it’s been scientifically proven to have so many benefits.
As the name hints, CBD is derived from the cannabis plant—like hemp or marijuana. But unlike the well-known cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes psychotropic side effects, CBD doesn’t get you “high.” It contains zero THC—so you won’t get the munchies or feel like you’re sinking into the couch after using it. We repeat: It will not get you high! It also doesn’t have any of the risks that are associated with THC and marijuana use, like addiction and cognitive impairment.
CBD does, however, have tons of scientifically proven health benefits when ingested. It seems to be extraordinarily powerful for mental well-being; according to a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, a dose of CBD oil can significantly decrease levels of anxiety brought on by public speaking as well as decrease social anxiety.
Cannabidiol also impacts energy levels in pretty interesting ways. Taking a small dosage—about 15 milligrams—has been proven to increase alertness without that unsettling “wired” feeling. But taking a larger dose, around 160 milligrams, can help those with insomnia fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed. No negative side effects (like those crazy dreams you get when you take melatonin!) were reported.
You might have seen mentions of CBD in the news lately because it’s become a popular secondary treatment for people with epilepsy. Specific strains of marijuana have proven to have powerful anti-convulsant effects for those with debilitating seizures, and many in the epilepsy community have started treating their seizures with CBD oil instead of prescription drugs. A study at New York University’s Langone Medical Center revealed that after three months of treating 261 patients with a drop of cannabidiol daily, seizures were reduced by nearly 45 percent. In fact, GW Pharmaceuticals recently developed Epidiolex, a CBD-based anti-convulsant drug.
So what does it mean for us? Well, CBD is legal—you can buy it online and in some health food stores. It isn’t cheap, but as it becomes more widespread, prices are bound to become more competitive. We can see people adding the oil (which doesn’t have much of a taste) into morning smoothies to boost alertness, blending it into Bulletproof coffee to help with calm nerves before an important work meeting, and taking a spoonful before bed to get to sleep more quickly.
Some forward-thinking wellness companies, like Torii Labs, will even start including it in their health tonics. “Our Re-leaf tonic has organic hemp oil in it which has a high concentration of CBD and 0% THC. We are much more comfortable using a whole plant extract than an extraction. All the different phytocannabinoids work much better together to provide the desired health benefits.” says co-founder Giles Hayward.