CBD – Balancing therapeutic potential and caution

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

Cannabidiol (CBD) is exploding in the coffee house market as a magical elixir. It is popularly believed to help treat many conditions including anxiety and coffee houses are far from the only place you can find it. It is currently available in dog treats, bath bombs, and even pharmaceuticals. All in all, it is worth taking a closer look at it.

CBD products- with cannabis as the predominant ingredient- have grown exponentially in terms of popularity and availability over the past year. Sales of the products are expected to skyrocket to over $706 billion in 2019, which would mark a 706% increase over the previous year.

CBD is oil extracted from the cannabis plant and is a member of the cannabinoids. However, unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary ingredient in marijuana, CBD lacks psychoactive ingredients responsible for making people “high.”

Instead, the trending “feel good” product is purported to provide relaxation and relieve pain and is finding its way to Chicago menus as well as those across the world. Recent scientific research suggests that CBD has the potential for helping to treat and manage chronic conditions such as depression, epilepsy, stress, migraine, and anxiety.

According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, the properties mean manufacturers should treat CBD like other medicines – in pill form, in pill bottles, with specific labeling that specifies exact dosages, so that people would more likely to treat it as medicine and that helps to control their craving behavior. However, in the coffee shops, managers, staff, and customers have numerous positive things to say about CBD.

“I think it’s (CBD) totally fine. If it’s not a traditional medicine why made it tastes like medicine, and if it tastes good why make it tastes bad,” said Kate Constable, a CBD coffee consumer, who gets her cup at Elaine’s Coffee Call, 1816 N. Clark St., Chicago.

Maria Meade, the manager at the Werewolf coffee bar, 1765 N Elston Ave. in Chicago, also suggests that adding CBD to coffee is good for the coffee consumers because the CBD counteracts with the caffeine, and it can help people focus and be more alert. She also mentions that it is different for everyone, and people should be more responsible and consult their doctors before trying CBD coffee. Moreover, she often informs the customers who want to buy CBD drinks about the possible side effects because CBD can affect the metabolism of drugs and could interfere with your medications.

“If someone tries to order CBD, I try to say this is what it is and I’m not going to push them to buy,” Meade said. “And we do give a small amount, so it’s very subtle.”

tea and cannabis in treating ailments such as malaria, loss of memory, rheumatism, and gout.

So what’s next? Researches and scholarly studies should be conducted to determine the actual efficacy of CBD for specific applications and the correct amounts to take.

Photo at top: Maria Meade, manager of the Werewolf Coffee Bar, makes a charcoal latte with CBD oil added. See the charcoal latte above. (Xinyi Zhang/Medill)