With my month of researching and trying CBD winding down, I had hoped to be able to write about CBD and food — specifically, baked goods.
People have been putting marijuana into brownies for years and given the relationship between hemp and marijuana, it made sense that food with CBD would be a thing.
As Chris Yeager at Appalachian Cannabis told me, “Who says you have to take a pill to get the relief you need?”
However, I had my doubts. Old friends, who knew a lot more about such things, used to tell me a pot brownie was kind of a waste of chocolate and marijuana.
Erin Adair at KALI Wellness, a CBD seller and hemp grower, didn’t go that far. It probably depended on the recipe and the effect, she said, but she agreed that cooking with CBD was less efficient.
“You’re probably going to lose about 5 milligrams in a 25-milligram dose due to digestion,” she said.
And some kinds of food items were better than others.
“The best is low glycemic and high protein,” she said. “Like granola. That’s good.”
She wouldn’t have been a fan of a basic chocolate brownie.
“Sugar feeds cancer,” Erin said.
But wait a second ...But the idea of eating something with CBD in it might be more effective for certain kinds of effects, like treating aches and pains across the body.
Erin is working with Rock City Cake Company in Charleston. Capitol Street’s go-to for insanely indulgent cookies, cupcakes and brownies posted several weeks back on Facebook that they were planning on offering CBD treats, but nothing much has happened.
Beyond confirming that Rock City was working on that, I didn’t get much out of them.
I called, sent messages and stopped in a couple of times (even bought a slice a cheesecake) and was only able to talk to a woman working the counter.
She didn’t know a lot, but said, “I think they’re still working out the recipes, but they’re still working on it.”
The holdup may not be the recipe, though, but the health department.
Rock City Cake Company planned to begin offering CBD treats months ago, Robert McComas at Green Infusion told me. He said his company was supposed to supply the CBD.
“But we did it the right way,” Robert told me. “We talked to the health department — and they said no.”
Stan Mills, environmental health services director for Kanawha County Health Department, said, “Until FDA approves this as a food additive, we are not allowing restaurants to add this to their food. As we find these places, we are having them discontinue the practice.”
However, if someone buys food and wants to add CBD oil to their sandwich, their milkshake or whatever, that wasn’t the health department’s problem.
Mills said, “If a customer buys the oil and adds it to their food, we do not get involved. Unfortunately, FDA is refusing to address this.”
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, they’re working on it, but there hasn’t been much new to report about that since the spring.
However ...Prepackaged goods are OK to buy. Bagged CBD-infused coffee, wrapped candies or gummy bears are outside the jurisdiction of the health department.
Mills said, “The FDA food code addresses the additives for food places because it is considered an adulterated product.”
However, it’s not going to be easy for health departments to keep up with who is doing what and when.
At different events in Charleston, businesses have offered products, like lemonade or home baked goods that supposedly contained CBD.
I bought a cup of lemonade at a CBD store for a buck. The lemonade was from a mix, not really cold, and if it contained CBD, I couldn’t tell.
Consumers want all the CBD options they can get, I heard over and over — and everyone seems to be looking for some new way to roll it out.
A few months ago, Keeley Steele, who owns Bluegrass Kitchen, did a CBD coffee-infused red eye gravy for about a week.
“It went over well,” she said.
The demand for CBD products was so great, the restaurateur added CBD products from Hudson Farms, a local CSA, to items for sale at Starling’s Coffee and Provisions, just down the street.
She said it wasn’t their usual kind of thing, but so many people are interested.
“It’s just ballooning.”
Virtually every CBD seller or grower I spoke with this month bristled at how they thought their product was being treated by the medical industry and the government. They adamantly believed in the effectiveness of what they sold, which seemed proven to them, and were baffled at the resistance to bringing CBD more into the mainstream.
“But we’re OK with pharmaceutical companies dumping pills by the tons all over the state,” Chris Yeager said bitterly, as we stood next to his hemp crop. “This is something that can ease suffering. I’ve seen it. I know it.”
As this month has gone on, I’ve been continually surprised by all the ways CBD can be consumed. Every time I turned around, there was some shop offering some way to use the stuff that had never occurred to me.
You can get CBD dog treats, and I even found the CBD suppositories that Robert told me was the most efficient way to use CBD. You can buy them at The Purple Leaf in South Charleston, if you’re interested.
I’m still passing on that one.
Some projects in some months I get more feedback than others. A lot of people stopped to talk to me about CBD. Either they were using some product and wanted to tell me their experiences or they wanted to know more about what I thought because they were considering trying the stuff.
One of my friends from the Kanawha Kordsmen told me he used an ointment for an ache in his hand.
“It works,” he told me. He’d received some relief, but he added, “It doesn’t work as well as they’d like you to believe.”
I heard a lot of stories about people using CBD for pain management of some type and even one story about someone who was using it until they could get medical marijuana to treat their epilepsy.
Almost everyone asked me what CBD was doing for me. My response has always been guarded and my skepticism is based on self-knowledge.
Still, I kept up with my daily doses of CBD and while you can’t call my method even remotely scientific, I feel like I benefited some.
I believe the CBD may have helped take the edge off some of my stress and anxiety — at least, for a little while. It may have even helped some with my occasionally achy knees, which — with my Spartan Race looming large during the writing of this column — feel somehow stronger.
I do have to add that while I think I might have gained some mood benefits from the oil, there may also have been a whiplash effect. Sometimes, if I used CBD oil in the evening, the next day I felt a little sad.
But like the perceived beneficial properties, the perceived negative property didn’t seem to last very long either, just an hour or two in the morning and then I felt like my usual goofy self, more or less.
It’s hard to say how much is real, imagined or just my natural emotional state brought on by the events in my day. Who knows?
But I believe I’m open to suggestion.
Three years ago, for “One Month at a Time,” I visited the allegedly haunted, former state penitentiary in Moundsville. I took the tour, heard stories of murder and mayhem, and then came back late at night to wander the grounds in the dark, on my own.
Nervous and in a hurry, I’d left my supplies, including my flashlight, on the kitchen counter inside my house. I had to borrow a penlight to get around the dark, dank and desolate facility.
Those were some of the longest hours of my life. I felt tense and knew my eyes and ears could not be trusted, that my head had been packed full of fantasy. I scared myself silly, all while saying to myself, “I do not believe in ghosts. I do not believe in ghosts.”
And then wandering around the prison yard, I saw something move past a high window where nothing should have moved, something in the shape of a man.
I don’t know what I saw, have a hard time believing I saw anything really, but I don’t know for sure.
CBD has been the same for me. I think it might be having some sort of effect, but I can’t say for sure. I’m not sure and will have to wait for people with much better methods to work that out and report.