As mentioned above, cannabis and hemp differ in the levels of naturally occurring THC that they contain. THC is a cannabinoid like CBD. However, its properties are very different and often antagonistic to the effects of CBD. Hemp is naturally high in CBD and low in THC; the reverse is true of cannabis. In fact, hemp contains only about 0.3% – 1.5% THC, while cannabis contains about 5% – 10% or more THC.
Hemp-derived CBD definitely had an effect on me. At Caffeine Underground, I ordered a CBD oat milk latte—smooth and delicious with no trace of CBD flavor—and toast made with CBD-infused jam. After two hours plugging away on my laptop with full concentration, I was still so completely blissed out, the walk back to the train in 30-degree weather felt like it took no time at all.
Like many of my fellow New York City residents, I’ve recently grown aware of the presence of CBD in my surroundings. In particular, CBD at coffee shops. It started when some friends of mine were discussing a pilgrimage out to Flower Power Coffee Co., known for its “artisanal CBD-infused coffee.” Then, at a fancy matcha cart I went to for Instagram-related purposes, I noticed that alongside health food add-ins like oat milk was the option to include a one-dollar shot of CBD. I didn’t do it, because weed in most forms tends to make me sleepy and it was 1 p.m. on a Saturday in the middle of Brooklyn's trendiest neighborhood.
This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
Flower Power, which sells CBD-infused coffee to cafes like Caffeine Underground in New York City, puts 5 mg of CBD in each serving of coffee. The company, like many involved in the sale of CBD, is extremely careful about what it says regarding CBD’s effects for fear of FDA intervention. The standard language for CBD packaging and website documentation is similar to that of many supplements (think: milk thistle, echinacea, elderberry, turmeric) and is some variation on: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment.”