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CBD Edibles: The Ultimate Guide (April 2020 Review)

Edibles have always been a favorite in the cannabis industry – and it’s no different in the CBD scene. Most brands dabble with non-psychoactive CBD edibles, which come in a variety of forms, including gummies, cakes, honey sticks, lollipops, hard candies and chocolate bars.

In this post, we’ll explore the different types of CBD edibles on the market, and look at the general effects of these products. We’ll outline how to use them, go through some much-loved CBD edibles recipes, and round up by answering a few frequently asked questions (FAQs). 

This comprehensive guide is great for experienced CBD users who want to learn something new. It’s also easy-to-digest for newcomers to CBD who are looking to find out more about hemp’s benefits and the advantages of edible products.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, and the main therapeutic component in hemp, a legal strain of cannabis sativa, which has very low amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD has been popularized as a substance offering the health benefits of cannabis, without the ‘high’. This is a slight oversimplification. CBD and THC have different sets of beneficial properties, and in a few cases work oppositely to each other.

However, broadly, CBD is useful for many of the reasons that people take marijuana, according to early research. We’re still awaiting important clinical studies on CBD’s mental and physical qualities. But scientists have made great leaps in our understanding of CBD in the past couple of decades.

Essential to these discoveries was bringing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) out of the biological dark. This long-hidden system was finally found in the early 1990s, and has helped to explain many of the mechanisms that CBD operates in. Having a better idea of CBD’s actions in the body means it’s easier to refine research and make more breakthroughs.

Popular CBD edibles at CBDVapeJuice.net 

CBDVapeJuice.net stocks a broad selection of CBD-infused edible and gummy products. Check out our full range by heading over to the store. We’ve selected four top quality edibles to review in this post. 

CBD Genesis Gummies

Our very own CBD Genesis Gummies contain pure CBD-isolate with no THC whatsoever. This is an organic, pesticide-free and third-party lab-tested product, so you know exactly what you’re getting. These gummies are crafted just like any other candies, and really do taste delicious. We have a few different gummies in our collection, with different dosages of CBD. 

The 500mg pack consists of 20 gummies, with 25mg of CBD-isolate in each. This mid-range CBD dose is good for beginners who are seeking relaxing effects from their CBD, and also for those looking to supplement their endocannabinoid system. We also have 1000mg packs of regular and sour gummy worms, which delivers 50mg of CBD per serving. The higher dosage is recommended for experienced CBD users who are familiar with the compound’s sedative effects.

CBD Genesis Gummies are the perfect way to dose up on CBD wherever you are. They don’t have any hemp or weed-like aroma, and look just like the gummies you’d find at the candy store.

Jolly Green Oil Party Pack 

jolly green oil gummiesFor a cost-effective, high-dose CBD option, look no further than the 1000mg Party Pack from Jolly Green Oil. Each one of these lab-tested, organic gummies has a hefty 50mg of CBD-isolate, and every pack comes with an assortment of CBD-infused treats. 

A 50mg dose is fairly high for first-time CBD users. However, because of the even distribution of CBD throughout the edible, you can easily split it in half and enjoy 25mg at a time. Indeed, a 25mg dose may be better in the daytime, when you can’t risk getting too relaxed from CBD! However, the full 50mg or even a double dose should work a treat for those who desire stronger relief. 

This product is called a ‘Party Pack’, and there is good reason to share! CBD has garnered attention for having anti-anxiety effects, which makes these edibles a potential social lubricant. Put these out a party and you’ll be offering your guests a non-psychoactive and non-addictive way to manage their anxiety and stress levels. 

Heady Harvest CBD Gummies

CBD Gummies from Heady Harvest are really popular with CBDVapeJuice.net customers, perhaps because of the wide variety. All of their gummies contain a THC-free, CBD-isolate hemp extract, and are completely organic. The Regular and Sour Gummy Bears are available in packs of 20, at strengths of 10, 25 and 50mg per serving. 

What’s more, Heady Harvest Gummies are more potent and bioavailable than many other CBD treats. That’s thanks to the inclusion of MCT-rich fractionated coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) help the body to metabolize CBD, so that a higher percentage of your dose becomes activated in the bloodstream. The more bioavailable a product is, the greater the effects of any individual dosage. 

Heady Harvest CBD Gummies are dependable, and an excellent starter product if you are yet to experience CBD edible effects. If you love CBD and gummy bears, then you’ll definitely love these!

Pinnacle CBD Honey Sticks 

Pinnacle uses a full-spectrum hemp extract in its tasty honey sticks, bringing together the benefits of CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC and an array of flavonoids and terpenes. These 10mg CBD honey sticks do have trace levels of THC (less than 0.3%), as is standard with full-spectrum CBD products. With five honey sticks per pack, this works out to 50mg of CBD. 

CBD honey sticks can be eaten as they are, or melted into hot drinks. Either way, the cannabinoids are taken orally, and are therefore gradually absorbed into the bloodstream. These low-dose honey sticks produce stimulating effects, especially for focus and concentration. If you suffer from brain fog in the workplace or elsewhere, Pinnacle honey sticks are ideal for decluttering the mind and promoting mental clarity.

CBD-isolate vs. full-spectrum edibles

Like all CBD products, edibles are infused with either a CBD-isolate or full-spectrum hemp extract. Both have upsides and downsides, depending on user preferences.

CBD-isolate 

The extraction process splits CBD compounds away from the rest of the hemp plant, creating a pure extract. CBD-isolate extracts are the base for THC-free products. These attract people who want guaranteed protection from drug tests. 

Some consider CBD-isolate more reliable against certain symptoms, as there are no external compounds interfering with the effects. A few CBD-isolate products also contain natural terpenes. These keep products THC-free, while topping up the overall benefits.

Full-spectrum hemp

These CBD oil edibles feature whole-plant extracts. Full-spectrum products are CBD-rich, but also have a nice helping of secondary cannabinoids, like cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBDV). Terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, omega-3, 6 and 9, vitamins and minerals are also present.

Full-spectrum edibles highlight that hemp is more than just CBD. This complete blend of helpful compounds makes these edibles more effective than CBD-isolate products. The benefits may be enhanced further still by the ‘entourage effect’. This is a proposed synergistic reaction that goes on in hemp and cannabis, when the plant is enjoyed as one.

So, if full-spectrum is better, why doesn’t everybody use it? These products do have a small concentration of THC, keeping with the theme of an entire hemp extract. By federal law, this THC content must be kept below 0.3% of the total product weight. Moreover, full-spectrum CBD is a little more expensive than CBD-isolate. However, this often pays for itself with all the extra compounds that embellish CBD edible effects.

General CBD edibles effects

How do CBD edibles compare with vape juices, tincture oils, cigarettes and joints? Firstly, edibles – like all orally-taken products – provide more measured relief, rather than a blast all at once. This comes down to how the CBD is metabolized and absorbed into the bloodstream.

CBD from edibles doesn’t get the direct entry that inhaled or sublingually absorbed CBD does. Instead, the compounds must go through the first-pass metabolism. The first-pass effect slows down CBD’s activation time and also reduces bioavailability.

Before cannabinoids are delivered into the bloodstream, they must go through the digestive system and liver. Many drugs, including CBD, are metabolized in the liver, and the organ reduces how much of the drug becomes active.

That said, the first-pass effect transforms cannabinoids into slightly different compounds – in the case of THC, this enhances potency. Therefore, oral administration does not necessarily reduce the effectiveness, but the first-pass effect does mean ingested CBD has a slower response time than sublingually absorbed or inhaled CBD.

In reality, this means users may be waiting for an hour or two before their edible dose is having the desired effect. Everyone experiences the benefits of edibles uniquely, with metabolism speed, size, weight and other variables having an impact. This can make dosing more difficult, as we’ll explain later.

The slow onset of effects may be frustrating, but edibles more than make up for this as the CBD lasts for a lot longer. These extended effects are an economical way of combating chronic symptoms. They also offer CBD coverage throughout the night, which is great for easing ailments that affect sleep duration and quality (e.g. sleep apnea, chronic pain, anxiety). 

CBD edibles for pain

Check any survey on CBD use in the United States, and chronic pain always heads the list of reasons for taking CBD. This is perhaps partially because the term is ambiguous, and covers a range of conditions. But there’s a more simple truth to be had: lots of people are using CBD for pain, and finding it helps!

Research on CBD’s effectiveness for pain – and it’s viability as a treatment option – is inconclusive. The studies we have suggest the ECS controls pain perception somewhat. CBD, and the endocannabinoid anandamide, also engage with vanilloid receptors that regulate how we feel pain. 

There are also many types of pain (e.g. chronic, neuropathic and inflammatory). Edibles are more useful for chronic and lasting inflammatory symptoms. The slow CBD delivery effectively rules CBD out as an acute pain treatment. 

However, for relieving pain during the day, so it’s possible to focus on mental and physical tasks, edibles are ideal. With up to eight hours of relief from one dose, there’s no need to top up four or five times a day. And as we’ve already explored, if nighttime relief is a priority, the longer relief produced by edibles (and also capsules and syrups) is the only relief that’s worth having!

Hopefully we’ll get more high-quality studies soon to confirm the analgesic value of CBD, especially in regard to CBD edibles for pain. 

Edibles for sleep

A good night’s sleep is key for a number of reasons. Obviously, it stops us feeling fatigued and being mentally and physically below par. But a healthy sleep pattern with a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night is also important for the brain. Studies show that during deep sleep, the brain removes harmful toxins and plaques which accelerate the progression of neurodegenerative illnesses.

There is optimism around CBD as a sleep remedy. For one, the non-addictive, sedative effects are just what’s required to promote better sleep. And two, CBD is arguably better than other sleeping tablets that can cause dependence and are riddled with side effects.

Taking CBD edibles for sleep makes sense, and particularly if an ailment is causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. The lasting relief from insomnia, and sleep-disrupting factors like pain and anxiety is ideal. Most find edibles better than other CBD products for sleep.

CBD edibles for anxiety 

CBD products with a rapid speed of delivery are generally seen as best for anxiety. However, gradual effects of edibles may also have benefits for some users. Perhaps the most significant research on CBD and anxiety to date was conducted with capsules, an orally-taken treatment that works in the same way to edibles.

Participants received either a 600mg CBD dose or a placebo treatment, with the CBD group performing better in all areas on a simulated public speaking experiment. This intriguing study highlighted the real-life potential of CBD for anxiety, and showed how the cannabinoid may reduce social anxiety symptoms. 

The gradual onset of CBD edible effects means you’ll have to be savvy if using these products for anxiety. For example, if you have an anxiety-triggering social event coming up, take a dose about an hour or so beforehand. This will help prevent anxiety from arising in the first place, rather than simply suppress symptoms. 

It’s not always possible to predict which situations will cause anxiety. However, with a discreet product like edibles, you can have CBD on hand for whenever you need it – you can even take edibles on a plane to aid with anxiety!

Edibles for arthritis

CBD has interesting anti-inflammatory properties that may help bring forth a new era of arthritis medication. Research suggests the compound may assist with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, and osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis caused by wear and tear to the bones and joints, and severe levels of inflammation.

It all comes down to how endocannabinoids and cannabinoids influence the body’s immune system, courtesy of interactions within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Discovering the ECS has introduced researchers to a novel way of accessing the immune system. In the long run, we may see the emergence of cannabinoid-based anti-inflammatory drugs to replace existing non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Both CBD and THC, along with numerous other secondary cannabinoids, have exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in tests.

This emphasizes the benefits of taking full-spectrum edibles to manage arthritis. And with symptoms often chronic and ever-present, edibles could be the best way of dealing with the condition. Some find value in combining edibles with CBD-infused topicals. Applying creams to the affected area engages CB2 receptors in the part of the body where its most crucial to regulate inflammation, in order to reduce symptoms.

CBD edibles for headaches and migraines 

Look back through the history books, and specifically Western pharmacopoeias of the mid-19th century, and you’ll see cannabis proposed and even recommended as a remedy for migraines. At this time, psychoactive cannabis was a curious drug to the West, having been brought back by merchants from South Asia.

Nearly 200 years on, and those early medical experts may have hit the nail on the head! The latest research on the ECS indicates that dysfunction in the system could be the underlying cause of migraines. As such, a regulating compound like CBD is a possible treatment option.

We know that CBD likely has an analgesic effect, which may alleviate the pain of headaches and migraines. It’s also mooted that regulating CB1 receptors in the ECS helps tackle photophobia and phonophobia (increased light and sound sensitivity). These are the ‘aura’ symptoms many migraine patients suffer from.

Headaches and migraines can rear their ugly head at any time. The discretion provided by edibles means you don’t need to sit and suffer with symptoms. Moreover, the longer effects of CBD oil edibles may prevent a migraine from coming back once it has subsided. 

Edibles for low mood

Low mood and motivation adversely affects all aspects of life. If your head isn’t the right place, reaching your full potential becomes impossible. Thankfully, if you are in a slump, there are safe and natural ways to help break out of it! 

CBD edibles have two positive effects that may reduce low mood and depression. Firstly, CBD is an anandamide reuptake inhibitor. Increasing availability of this antidepressant endocannabinoid in the brain theoretically boosts mood. 

Secondly, CBD also combats neuroinflammation (or inflammation of the brain). Of late, depression experts are realizing the disorder is not merely a result of chemical imbalance – indeed, that may not even be the key factor. Instead, the physical damage caused to various brain regions by inflammation could be what’s causing prolonged periods of low mood and depression. CBD works to heal these affected brain regions, restoring damaged circuitry and supporting neurogenesis (brain growth) in areas where atrophy (shrinkage) has occurred, such as the hippocampus. 

Neuroscience is complex stuff. But the key takeaway is that CBD has unique antidepressant qualities, compared to existing drugs. Edibles are perfect as the lasting effects will help keep your mood up all day long!

Edibles as supplements

Looking for a new supplement to add to your stack? CBD is not like any vitamin or mineral you may already be using. Very few compounds are known to interact with the ECS, and CBD is especially beneficial for this system, which has such a critical role in promoting good overall well-being. 

CBD edibles have a range of benefits, from reducing pain perception, to improving cognition, regulating sleep and even enhancing reproductive health. Supplementing the body with CBD ensures the ECS has enough endocannabinoids to regulate both CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD perhaps has numerous other health benefits that researchers are yet to come across.

All in all, CBD is a safe, non-addictive and non-psychotropic supplement with subtle, but seriously good effects.

How to use CBD edibles 

Dosing with CBD edible products is really, really simple – you simply decide what dosage you want, and eat it! However, it can take some time to get used to edibles, if you aren’t currently a CBD user, or have previously only taken fast-acting products, such as flower, e-liquids and sublingual oils. Taking the wrong amount of CBD doesn’t pose any negative health risks, as cannabis edibles may do. But regularly consuming higher doses than needed makes taking CBD more expensive than it should be.

Whether you have or haven’t taken CBD edibles before, we recommend starting at a low dose. This is not just for precautionary measures, but because of the different way CBD is absorbed into the body with edibles. A 20mg vaporized dose will affect you differently than a 20mg edible dose. Furthermore, edibles hit more slowly, because absorption takes longer. Inhaled or sublingually absorbed CBD kicks in after just a few minutes, but the initial effects from edibles can take an hour or more to show. 

Hence why starting small is the best course of action. If after two hours or so you find that the first dose wasn’t strong enough, then feel free to top it up. You can always add to your dose, but you can never take from it! Again, there are no significant side effects to be had from taking too much CBD, but it could make you feel very sedated and sleepy. 

Keep a journal of your edible experiences

It may sound a little cheesy, but keeping a written record of your experiences every time you take CBD edibles provides you with valuable, personalized information about how these products impact you. To say is to forget, to write is to remember, according to a famous Chinese proverb! 

Knowing to the letter how your body responds to varying CBD dosages helps a great deal when it comes to fine-tuning. After a few edible sessions, you’ll have a good understanding of what dosages you need for certain ailments. And this will make your CBD edible use more economical and efficient. No longer will you be taking too much, and rarely will you have to top up your dose!

CBD edibles recipe 

Ready to make your own CBD edibles? It’s much easier than you’d think, and there are a couple of ways to go about it. There’s nothing stopping you from adding CBD-isolate crystals or CBD oil to your recipes, although many edible lovers prefer starting from scratch. For this, you’ll need some CBD flower buds. Decide whether you want an energizing, relaxing or balanced experience, and choose a sativa, indica or hybrid strain accordingly. 

Decarboxylation is the first step – heating the flower is necessary to turn cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) into CBD. Simply break up your CBD-rich flower buds into small chunks and heat in the oven for 45 minutes at 250F. On average just under 90% of the CBDa is successfully turned into CBD. 

Step-by-step guide

Now it’s time to make the extract which can then be infused into oil or butter, and used in recipes. For every cup of butter, you’ll need between 7 and 10 grams of CBD flower. 

After decarboxylating the CBD herb, grind it up finely. Melt a cup of butter with a cup of water into a saucepan, and simmer. The water is necessary to stop the butter from burning, and to provide control over the temperature. As the butter starts to melt in the pan, mix in the ground-up decarboxylated flower.

Continue to simmer (at around 200F) for at least two and a half hours. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes. Ensure that the mixture never boils over, as very high temperatures will burn off the cannabinoids, making the extract useless.

After allowing the butter and flower to simmer for a few hours, it’s time to strain the mixture. By now, the cannabinoids should be infused into the butter. Get a jar or container, position a funnel over it and line the funnel with cheesecloth. Gradually pour the butter into the funnel, allowing it to strain into the jar. Let this process happen naturally, as forcing the butter through the cheesecloth could give the butter a foul taste.

After straining the butter, refrigerate it for at least one hour before draining out any excess water. The strength of your butter will depend on how much butter and flower you have used. Keep this in mind when deciding how much to use in your recipes. When cooking with CBD-infused butter, always keep temperatures below 250F to avoid burning off the cannabinoids.

Are CBD edibles legal?

Yes, CBD edibles are legal in the United States, providing they conform to regulations surrounding industrial hemp. All industrial hemp products must have less than 0.3% THC, as per the 2018 Farm Bill. It is this strict ruling which prevents CBD products from having a psychoactive and intoxicating effect. 

Are CBD edibles safe?

Overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that CBD is a safe substance. Research into the compound has picked up a lot over recent years, and now even the World Health Organization is paying attention. The WHO states that CBD has “no abuse potential” in its pure form. Further to this, studies have shown that the body can handle very high dosages – much more than anyone would need to consume – without any health problems. 

A high CBD edible dosage may leave you feeling very sleepy for several hours. If you are experiencing strong sedation, you should avoid driving and using heavy machinery. However, this advice is applicable when it comes to taking any supplement. 

CBD may interfere with certain prescription drugs, as molecules appear to deactivate enzymes in the cytochrome P450 system. Slowing down activity in this system reduces the body’s ability to break down various substances, essentially subjecting the user to an increased dosage of the drug in question. This could be problematic in certain cases. 

If you are currently on medication and are worried about taking CBD alongside it, speak with your doctor first. Getting legitimate advice from a medical professional who knows your health situation carries much more weight than any generalized advice you may read online. 

Is it safe to mix CBD edibles with alcohol?

There is nothing obviously risky about mixing alcohol with CBD edibles, or any other CBD products. There are no known adverse effects from combining the two, which is logical since CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating effects. This is in contrast to mixing alcohol with psychoactive cannabis, which could cause negative and unforeseen effects.

However, just because it seems safe to mix CBD edibles with alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. A strong edible dose combined with multiple alcoholic beverages could leave you feeling rather sleepy after a few hours. This may or may not be a problem depending where you are. And, of course, you should never drive after drinking alcohol. 

Mixing CBD edibles with alcohol isn’t something we’d recommend, but nor is it something we would warn against. Use your discretion and assess how your body reacts to having both in your system at the same time. If you are intent on taking the two together, just be sensible!

Can CBD edibles cause nausea?

CBD is not linked to nausea, and if anything, research suggests the cannabinoid actually helps with nauseous symptoms. That said, there may be anomalies and scientists still have more to learn about CBD. It’s possible that CBD edibles won’t work for you, which is why you should always start with a low dose. Minimize your chances of having a bad experience with CBD edibles by purchasing only from trusted vendors that comply with third-party testing practices.

Can I travel with CBD edibles? 

Travelling with CBD edibles is legal! Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp-based CBD products are legal according to federal law. Therefore, it’s perfectly fine to take CBD into airports and cross state boundaries with products. Taking CBD edibles to another country could be an issue, depending on where it is you’re travelling. Always confirm that CBD is legal at your final destination – and any locations you may be passing through – before attempting to fly with products. 

While we’re discussing travelling, CBD edibles are the ideal form of CBD to take on a flight. Flying can be troublesome for many reasons. Perhaps the lack of legroom exacerbates the pain in your dodgy knee, or maybe the flying itself leaves you drowning in anxiety. With CBD edibles, you can get the relief you need without being bothered by anybody else. There’s no aroma to get concerned about, and most edibles look exactly the same as standard candies and gummies. And if you’re fretting about somebody seeing the CBD packaging and asking unwanted questions, just mix the edibles in with your regular sweets!  

Final thoughts

Historically, edibles have always been the second-most popular cannabis and hemp product, coming in just behind flower. That may have changed somewhat with so many new products hitting the market in recent times, but edibles are still special, and offer a unique CBD experience. And for many symptoms, the drawn-out effects are much preferable to the shorter relief provided by other CBD products. 

We hope this detailed guide to CBD edibles has helped you become more familiar with the various types of products on sale and what they may help with, and also given you food for thought on making edibles from scratch! We also hope we’ve addressed any pressing questions and concerns about edibles and CBD in general. 

If you are confused about anything or have something to add about CBD edibles, please leave a comment – we would love to hear your thoughts!

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