Rooting through a gift bag from an event, a little bottle that looked like marijuana breath spray caught my eye. Since getting high and having fresh breath are two goals that I don’t immediately associate with each other, I figured I was probably missing something here.
I was right about the product being a spray for your mouth—but off the mark about why someone would want to use it. Made by CBD for Life, this oral spray claims to deliver a high dosage of CBD into your mouth, which, according to the description on their website, is the quickest, most effective way for your body to absorb it. But the stuff doesn’t get you high. Instead, the site claims it helps with pain management, inflammation, arthritis and even stress and anxiety.
But what actually is this stuff?
You’re probably used to hearing the term THC, the chemical responsible for the mind-altering effects of marijuana, thrown around in connection with the drug. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the next most common compound found in cannabis. According to Dr. Jordan Tischler of InhaleMD, CBD has been around for decades. But recently, it’s risen to popularity as the benefits of using cannabis to treat medical conditions have become more widely acknowledged.
“CBD was discovered, along with other cannabinoids (cannabis medical chemicals) in the 1940s,” Dr. Tischler explained. “Currently, it is very popular for political reasons. It’s non-psychoactive (doesn’t cause high, or intoxication), so politicians can rally around it and proclaim they are pro ‘medical cannabis’ while still bowing to law enforcement on issues around intoxication and ‘undesirable’ elements of our society.”
But, does it really work?
“Many claims have been made about cannabis and CBD in particular,” said Tishler. “Usually there’s truth in these claims, but they are often not biologically sound or practical. For example, it is claimed that CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory. This is partly true: There is good evidence on a chemical basis for this statement, but it has not been tested on humans. It is claimed that CBD is a good pain reliever. This has no basis in evidence; it’s THC that’s a pain reliever. It’s claimed that CBD is good for anxiety. This is true, but at doses that are not readily available in the real world. Studies that show CBD treats anxiety use doses of 800-1200 mg per day, whereas most readily available and affordable CBD products aim for 10-40 mg per day.”
Conveniently, there was no milligram amount listed on the bottle of CBD oral spray that I received. Though Tishler did make the point that ingesting CBD orally would be the way to go if I were going to try and reap any of the benefits touted on the product. “The method of use of any cannabis product is very important,” he said. “Right now creams, lotions and patches are very in, however, all evidence to date shows that, except under certain circumstances, CBD does not penetrate the skin. There’s a reason that most conventional medications are given internally (systemically), which is that this is the only way to really get the medicine to where it’s needed.”
I was curious enough to give it a shot. I spent a week spraying CBD in my mouth, following the recommended usage (spray 3-5 times under your tounge, 2-3 times per day or as needed). Here’s what happened.
It’s worthwhile to mention that this stuff tastes pretty vile. Not sure if this is due to the flavors coming through from the CBD, or if the all natural approach the company took when creating it meant there was no room for adding some kind of flavoring. But the spray tastes similar to getting lube in your mouth (that wasn’t made for consumption).
My first day with the CBD spray was pretty jam-packed. I sprayed it in the morning and hadn’t noticed any difference in how I was feeling come the afternoon. When a 5 p.m. meeting was put on my calendar at the last minute, I figured it would be a good time to hit my mouth with it again — since the site claimed it would help with stress and anxiety. But no dice—I was still feeling like my anxiety-ridden self by the end of the day (though I did spray a few more times before bed for good measure).
I was kind of hoping I’d wake up on day two feeling like some kind of CBD super hero. Instead, I was my typical “it’s only Tuesday?!” level of tired. I also was feeling the aftermath of a tough workout I had tackled the night before. Maybe the spray would help? I used it in the morning, again in the afternoon, and before I called it a night. Still no apparent changes—maybe the CBD really needed a solid 72 hours in order to start doing its thing.
I decided to take “as needed” very literally, and use the spray whenever something stressed me out. Or hurt. Or when I felt tired. We’re talking like, 15 or so sprays per day here. At the end of day five (Friday) my co-worker asked if I was headed on a hot date, and made a gesture toward the (almost empty) spray bottle on my desk. I spared her the details.
I was just about out of this stuff, and still felt like my typical run-down, tired, stress and anxiety ridden self. I used the spray lightly on day six in order to finish the week out with it, but I wasn’t holding out hope that I’d wake up the following morning feeling everything I had been waiting on.
I had no changes to report. On the last day, I did a search online to see if anyone else had had any success with this stuff. I found no reviews, but in doing so, I realized that this tiny, 10-ounce bottle actually retails for $25 a pop. Suddenly I was sort of relieved that I didn’t feel as awesome as the site claimed I would after using it—since it’s not a habit I could afford.
Does CBD Work?
Looking back on my week with CBD oral spray and taking Dr. Tischler’s information into consideration, I do think the reason why I didn’t feel the effects promised has to do with the fact that there’s likely not enough CBD in the spray to feel the effects. But to his point about the pros of CBD (health benefits sans staving off the munchies), I definitely plan to keep tabs on what’s next in the way of CBD products. And even though absorbing the stuff through your skin has been found to be ineffective, I’ve got big 4/20 plans with this CBD lube. You know, just in case.
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