It’s hard to say exactly when boosting your morning latte with cannabidiol (known commonly as CBD) became acceptable, but seemingly suddenly it was just that—mainstream. Maybe it was when Target (America’s favorite department store for well, anything) started selling Charlotte’s Web hemp extract items back in July 2017. The mass market retailer stocked and then quickly removed the brand from its online store after questions were raised about the legality of allowing people in states without legislation to buy it. Sure, Target may have jumped the gun a little, but the message came through loud and clear: CBD was no longer niche.
Or, maybe it was when Clean Market—an upscale wellness emporium that serves Manhattan’s elite made-to-order smoothies post sub-zero cryotherapy treatments—opened this summer and sold out of Thorne, a hemp-derived CBD supplement that touts itself as a “synergistic, clean blend of phytocannabinoids” within minutes. Along with growing federal support for the legalization of marijuana in US, it was around this time, too, when Canada announced plans to decriminalize the special “herb” back in October 2018. In the local news, Canadian reporters applied bandit terms to the country’s last pot frontier in Toronto like it was a wild Western.
The opportunity for celebrities to capitalize on CBD moved the needle of public acceptance further, still. Case in point: Gwyneth Paltrow. Following the third installment of her In Goop Health summit in June 2018, the actress-turned-health-guru announced a new joint venture with marijuana dispensary chain MedMen in Los Angeles. In their newest store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, she curated an entire wall of slickly packaged cannabidiol-containing goodies. Unlike some of the other unlikely lifestyle trends Paltrow has adopted (anyone remember yoni eggs?), the collaboration was widely applauded. MedMen called it “a milestone” and thanked her for helping further eliminate “stigma.”
Now experts are predicting that CBD is one of America’s fastest-growing industries. According to a report by Brightfield Group, the sector is expanding faster than straight cannabis and is likely to hit the billion dollar mark as soon as 2022. That’s a steep growth on this year’s figures, which are estimated to land around 1 million come the end of 2018. But does rapid popularity equals efficacy, or have we all still got some learning to do? At the same time, what is the efficiency of the product in a city where THC-containing CBD is currently illegal? Is that booster in your morning latte or your hemp-infused face oil actually doing you any good?
The answer is kind of, but not necessarily. “When it comes to buying CBD in somewhere like New York, it’s important to look for quality,” Jewel Zimmer, a former fine-dining pastry chef and the founder of a new line of CBD oils called Juna tells CR. She recommends asking the following questions as a litmus test before investing: Where is this from? Is this organic? Has this completed third party lab testing? If the product passes all three points satisfactorily, then it should have a cumulative effect on your general wellness. Zimmer’s hemp-derived CBD tincture (the only of her products currently legal in NYC), promises just that: It enhances mood and releases the body’s stressors over time, without challenging your ability to operate heavy machinery.
Downtown facialist and licensed esthetician, Sofie Pavitt hosts hands-on CBD education classes to help confused consumers in her beauty studio on Canal Street. The events, which teach students how to use CBD on its own or combined with other products to enhance their properties, typically sell out quickly. “I started offering CBD events back in September  after discovering the many benefits it has when applied topically, and they’ve been really popular,” she says. “Until recently, the focus had been on CBD for pain management, but it can also be really beneficial for inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, eczema, bug bites, and rashes.” Pavitt’s litmus test includes reading the ingredients list closely: “The one thing to really look out for in CBD is what carrier oil is being used. A lot of the time brands will mix in coconut or even sunflower oil, both of which are comedogenic and will clog your pores if applied topically.” She lists Kana Skincare, Liquid Sky, Lord Jones, and her husband’s line of full spectrum oils and soft gels, called Brain Dings, among those she uses regularly.
If you’re after medical-level benefits, however, it’s unlikely you’ll find a CBD in Manhattan to treat serious symptoms without a prescription. GW Pharma’s epilepsy treatment, Epidiolex, is one of the few containing CBD that currently has FDA approval, but it comes with a ,000 price tag to patients annually. One thing that could change all of that is the 2018 Farm Bill. In a somewhat confusing but ultimately positive turn of events, Donald Trump has set in motion plans to reclassify the term “marihuana” in the 1972 Controlled Substance Act to exempt hemp which contains less than 0.3 percent THC. If passed, the bill will open up the CBD industry to higher farming standards and more in-depth data studies.
Until then it remains largely unregulated, but that doesn’t phase CBD advocates like Zimmer and Pavitt, who believe that the success of the industry lies in educating the consumer. “I think it’s great that you can order CBD in coffee, cocktails, and cookies as it’s introducing people to the idea of CBD,” says Pavitt to close, “but the amounts they add to commercial beverages etcetera isn’t enough to have any real impact.”
So it’s over to you: Micro-dose your way through Manhattan’s booster menu—or save four bucks until you can afford the real thing.END
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