CBD Honey: The New “Mommy’s Little Helper?”
I’ve finally found the CBD product that works. And it’s delicious.
After trying a dozen products ranging from tinctures to flower to capsules, with inconsistent or even no results…eureka!! It’s sweet; can be used without smoking, swallowing a pill, or taking a bitter tincture; and can be titrated up or down almost infinitely to reach the perfect amount for the desired effect.
You’ve likely seen CBD products popping up everywhere, from Bed Bath and Beyond to your local food co-op. Let the buyer beware: like other supplements in the United States, CBD products are not monitored or tested by the Food and Drug Administration. In other words, you could be getting next to nothing for the higher price on your coffee, lotion, or chocolate, or paying for a tincture or oil with little to no CBD.
Like many products, going with a local business is often a better way to go when looking for quality: patronizing a small CBD provider in your area (if it’s legal to produce in your area) makes it easier to gauge the integrity of the operation and the dedication of the owner/grower/employees to creating a pure, high-quality product.
I found Able Hemp, LLC, the maker of the CBD honey, through a local acquaintance, and found that I knew one co-owner and was friends with a friend of the grower. After having good results from some of their other products, I enthusiastically decided to try their CBD-infused honey.
I’m extremely sensitive to THC, which has made it difficult to experiment with CBD in its flower form: since marijuana’s legalization here in Oregon in 2015, I’ve been able to find flower (the form typically smoked and often called “bud”) in ratios ranging from 3–8% THC to 17–22% CBD.
This is far too much THC for me: even using an amount that would do absolutely nothing for an experienced THC user would make me significantly uncomfortable for an hour or more.
Enter hemp, and subsequently, hemp-derived CBD. While the cannabinoid profile in marijuana comprises both CBD and THC, hemp naturally contains almost no THC while boasting a significant share of its weight as CBD, generally 12–30% (though the share of CBD can vary considerably higher or lower than this based on the strain).
I’ve experimented with CBD as an adjunct treatment for anxiety, pain, and difficulty falling asleep. Benefits claimed by other users include these and range from better concentration and enhanced mood to controlling epilepsy, though it is important to note that like other supplements, manufacturers are prohibited from touting any medical benefit, and all producers and purveyors of CBD products should advise seeking medical advice before using CBD for a particular illness or ailment.
If you are interested in whether CBD might work for your condition, check online: more and more research is clarifying the role of CBD to address different mental and physical issues. Try this post from Harvard, for example, to get you started.
So, what did the honey do for me?
I’ve tried several CBD products, with effects ranging from no noticeable impact to feeling significantly buzzed, even “high.” In general, the marijuana products I’ve tried with a high-CBD to low-THC ratio have all been too high in THC for me, even when I’ve used the product in very small quantities.
Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with local CBD products derived from hemp rather than marijuana, which, as mentioned, has almost no THC when taken in normal dosages (after all, 0.3% of a huge quantity will still add up to significance).
I’ve tried capsules from one producer: very little, if any, noticeable effect, even when taking several capsules.
I’ve tried tinctures from another producer: better results. A pleasant and subtle relaxed feeling, though the oil-based tincture was pretty bitter, with a strong cannabis taste.
I’ve tried smoking high-CBD flower and high-CBD hemp-leaf cigarettes from yet a third producer: good results, easy to adjust the amount used, and I enjoy the taste. I feel a sense of relaxation and better focus for an hour or two, and I sleep better that night. I don’t, however, like how smoking makes my lungs feel, so I don’t do it often.
Smoking is also impractical when around those who are bothered by smoke (most people!) and when in areas where smoking is prohibited (most places). It can also be mistaken as an illegal activity and can elicit judgment, even if you explain that it is CBD/hemp, not THC/marijuana. The very act of smoking anything will trigger judgment from many people in a way that, say, a Big Gulp of cola would not.
Then I tried CBD honey: what a surprise. The first dose was a littler bitter, but only compared to plain honey: with subsequent uses I find the taste very pleasant. The cannabis taste is the most subtle of any CBD form I’ve tried other than capsules, which are swallowed whole. The honey taste is delicious, and the honey used by Able Hemp is locally produced (just 45 minutes away from where I’m writing).
I started with the recommended one-teaspoon dosage, adding it to my jasmine green tea, which I sipped over the next 20 minutes or so. About an hour after my first sip, I realized I felt pretty buzzed, actually, which was a big surprise.
Feeling “high” isn’t a common result of hemp-CBD products because of their extremely low THC, which is well known to be psychotropic. Of course, if anyone is going to feel high from undetectable THC, it’s me! However, my guess is that the buzzed feeling I experienced was the full-spectrum affect of the honey: in other words, the combination of lots of CBD, trace amounts of THC, and a plethora of other, lesser-known cannabinoids. Research will continue to elucidate how these other cannabinoids influence us.
It is also important to note that CBD, while not psychotropic (“high” producing), is psychoactive, which means it alters brain activity. Before you let this dissuade you, remember that many psychoactive compounds are regularly consumed in our society, such as caffeine.
And while I’ve said THC makes me uncomfortably affected, this was a good feeling, different in essence though comparable in intensity with having two strong drinks.
There was none of the chest tightness, panicky feeling, constricted breathing, and frustrating pinball brain that I get from even very low percentages of THC in high-CBD flower.
Still, I decided that the 42 mg in a teaspoon of Able Hemp’s high-CBD honey was more than I needed for a therapeutic dose, and that I’d reserve that amount for the occasional recreational endeavor, as when I have a couple drinks with friends.
I’ve tried a half teaspoon and ¾ teaspoons multiple times each. Not surprisingly, the lower dosage is more subtle, but still provides a noticeable relaxation effect and/or reduction in anxiety if I’m experiencing it.
I try to manage anxiety with mindfulness, reframing, meditation, and exercise, and all of these help immensely. Still, I have a prescription for the lowest dose of a common, generic anti-anxiety medication, which is very helpful when I fly and for the occasional panic attack and longer-duration anxiety that is resistant to my other tactics (as is more likely to happen around menstruation).
For me, the half teaspoon dose of CBD honey (21 mg of CBD) worked just as well at reducing anxiety as the prescription medication. This is anecdotal evidence, your body is different than mine, and do not stop or add any medication/supplement without reviewing with your physician. I usually notice about a 10% effect of the CBD honey almost instantly, with the balance of the effect coming in around 20–30 minutes later, and it usually lasts about an hour and a half to two hours or more.
Like many compounds (including prescription medications), using CBD with alcohol may intensify or dampen the effects of one or both of the substances. Again, this will be a trial-and-error situation. I’ve actually experienced both effects, but never to an uncomfortable level.
Remember that CBD is not tested or approved by the FDA. Like any medication, supplement, or recreational compound, you must keep this product safely away from children and anyone incapable of realizing it is a supplement rather than simply a food (I store mine with my supplements, NOT my sweeteners).
That said, its ease of consumption makes it the smoothest mode of use for children and pets, when appropriate: for example, CBD has been used for many years to decrease frequency of medication-resistant seizure disorders in children (obviously, ALWAYS consult a physician for any product you are interested in using for a medical condition).
Pets may respond to CBD as they do to “doggy downers,” the anti-anxiety meds some veterinarians prescribe for animals frightened by loud noises, like July 4th fireworks. Again, speak with your veterinarian first.
Ease of use is a huge advantage of CBD honey. It’s effortless to adjust dosages to find what works for you, which is less easy with other forms of CBD: you can’t really split a gel cap in half, for example. Tinctures generally don’t taste good, and might taint any food you add it to. Flower isn’t optimal for those who don’t like to smoke or can’t because the environment prohibits it.
You can eat the honey right out of the measuring spoon (my go-to method), add it to tea or coffee, spread it on toast, even bake with it for a special occasion or to share with friends.
So, if you’re curious about whether CBD might help with a physical or mental health issue, or even if you’re looking for a recreational “mellow” feeling, do a little reading around the internet to see what researchers are saying. They might just advise a spoonful of honey to help the medicine go down.