The rapidly accelerating interest in the health benefits of CBD oil has made its way into the food business. CBD is starting to show up in food products, coffee, cocktails and even high-end private dining experiences.
But just when the trend of CBD in food and drink products started to become widely popular, a backlash began in some states. In January 2019, the New York City Health Department prohibited the use of CBD in food and drinks. Business have also been threatened with fees or lower grades on their Health Department inspections if they don't comply with the new regulations. Health departments in the states of Ohio and Maine have taken similar actions.
New York City officials claim that CBD has not received FDA approval yet as a safe food additive, and it can’t be offered in food or drinks until it is. Some merchants in other states have had CBD-infused baked goods and other CBD products embargoed, or have been ordered to stop sales of anything containing CBD.
These merchants argue that since hemp-derived CBD is now legal in many states, why should it not be legal to sell food containing it? The answer may be that when CBD is added to food, the consumer has no control over the amount of CBD they’re getting. The consumer also typically doesn’t know about the quality of the CBD or have assurance of the product’s certification.
While some government officials are trying to stop the use of CBD in food and drinks served in businesses, a bipartisan group of 12 lawmakers in the House of Representatives are calling on the FDA to clarify their position on its use and establish guidelines for legal use of products containing CBD.
CBD and Gourmet Cuisine
The highly respected gourmet food magazine, Bon Appetit, devoted several pages of its January 2019 issue to combining food and CBD. This was not the first time the magazine covered the benefits of CBD. An article published in the fall of 2017 touted CBD’s promotion of a good night's sleep.
Other articles to appear in Bon Appetit include a February 2018 overview of CBD oil and why is it in everything right now. Among the products mentioned are high-end chocolate bars, chocolate covered marshmallows, and foraged Icelandic berry CBD gumdrops.
The author of this recipe, Andrea Drummer, is a partner in a Los Angeles dispensary and catering company that serves food infused with cannabis at private dinners, including dishes like heirloom tomato bisque and poulet roulade.
How Effective Is CBD in Food?
Since there is still very little research on the effects of CBD on human subjects, there is a lot to discover about how it’s used and what ideal dosages may be for an individual. Adding it to food adds other considerations, like which foods enhance bioavailability—how quickly and efficiently it is absorbed by the body— and what processes can make it less effective.
When CBD oil is added in the cooking process, the temperature food is cooked at makes a difference. That's because very high heat can degrade the oil’s potency. It is also generally accepted that CBD is better absorbed by the body in liquid form, rather than solid, and that it’s more effective when taken on a full stomach. So it might work best of all as dessert.
Taking CBD oil orally passes it through the body’s digestive system. When it enters the liver, the other foods present in the stomach affect bioavailability. The metabolites in CBD are better absorbed when foods containing medium and long-chain triglycerides have been eaten, like the oils from coconut, olive, soybean, and sesame, and foods like nuts, fish, meat, avocado, and eggs.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different, and some people are more sensitive to the effects of CBD than others. However, some things are true for everyone. If you’ve eaten a big, greasy meal, the amount of heavy fats lining the stomach may limit how much CBD anyone’s body can process.
Effectiveness of CBD oil on a full stomach indicates that food and CBD go very well together. But the kind of food you eat makes a difference, too. Combining it with ingredients that already conjure up feelings of pleasure, like sugar or chocolate, can intensify the effect of the CBD.
Combining CBD with food is a popular new trend that is starting to show up in mainstream media. Businesses all over the country are introducing new CBD-infused food products. Restaurants, cafes, and bars are adding CBD to their menu items. CBD-infused options include baked goods, chocolates, gummies, coffee, cocktails, and savory foods.
Even though hemp-derived CBD products were made federally legal in December 2018, the FDA has retained the right to monitor all products on the market for consumer safety. These federal and state regulation may slow down the growth in the CBD food market. It will certainly be an interesting ride.
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