Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

The CBD Trend: Placebo or Pure?
Feeling out a fad

By Aerin Spruill

April 5, 2019

The nightlife and social scenes of Charlotte have been through their fair share of fads. From game bars and dog bars to alcoholic “soccer mom” Capri Suns and pour-your-own-beer venues, there are very few trends we haven’t seen reach the point of saturation. The latest bandwagon to hop on? CBD oil and CBD-infused products.

Aerin Spruill

Is it just me or have we been riding the wave of marijuana legalization for so long that it felt like the supposed legalization and integration-via-gray-area of CBD legislation happened overnight? As a skeptic who loves the idea of being a yogi without renouncing meat, I rolled my eyes with every new announcement of the latest CBD-infused drink, doughnut or açaí bowl. But when I started reading and hearing about the po-po saying no-no with regards to CBD, I was like, “Yeah, let me try that.” Go figure.

Let’s bring it back. In case you’re confused, CBD is not the same compound as THC. While CBD — or cannabidiol — is a naturally occurring compound found alongside THC in the cannabis flower, it does not have the same psychoactive effects that THC causes. Bummer. I kid, I kid. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of research out there that reveals CBD helps people dealing with anxiety, pain, depression, seizures, Parkinson’s, Autism and the list goes on.

Combine the fact that alternative treatments are hard to come by without a prescription with the fact that the po-po has been sending out cease-and-desist letters left and right and you have skeptical and rebellious Aerin saying, “Why not try it?” *insert evil laugh and devil emoji* I convinced the boo to go with me on a CBD adventure to a “local spot” in NoDa for a now-illegal CBD-infused cocktail (snitches get stitches).

Spoiler alert: No one really has a grasp on the challenges we’re facing with CBD. I asked the bartender as I purchased my $18 cocktail (yes, $18!) how they’ve skirted the ”rules” and he told us they leverage the gray area by saying that a person purchasing a drink can pour a small capsule of CBD (25 milligrams) in their drink on their own volition but they won’t put it in there for them.

Meanwhile, this decision was made in the middle of the chaos that was All-Star Weekend. Creative, if you ask me.
And upon review, with limited investment in legal jargon, the cease-and-desist letter that’s been the topic of conversation left room for interpretation if you ask me. In layman’s terms — read: Aerin’s terms — CBD is an active ingredient in a drug that has been approved by the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. As a result, it’s technically illegal to sell and/or advertise CBD-infused food products. Whew, now that that’s over, challenge accepted.

I proceeded to drink the drank and sat back for the experience. I thought to myself as I drifted in and out of a state of relaxation characterized by a feeling of heavy limbs, a good mood that wasn’t present when I’d arrived and a desire to be lovey-dovey with my man, “Is this a placebo effect of epic proportions?”

Like I said, to believe or not to believe is the true question. After all, a strong cocktail can produce the same effects. I let the thought drift away but kept my heightened intrigue in the back of my mind.

The following week, while running lunch errands I decided to give CBD another try. I stopped in at a local smoothie and açaí bowl shop to try a CBD-infused smoothie. I posited the same question as I did while sipping on my CBD cocktail, “So how are you still able to sell your products?” To which I received the response, “Well, we’re just waiting on our letter.” *insert shrug*

Half a smoothie later, anxiety about daunting day-job tasks fell away and I was getting shit done. The crazy part? I didn’t even realize how focused I was. Needless to say, you can go ahead and peg me as a CBD proponent.

The takeaway: the future of CBD in Charlotte is uncertain. Granted, we’re not talking about the real fun stuff so who knows how much the fun police will actually crackdown. But business owners may get scared into avoiding the issue completely by taking CBD-infused items off the menu. So you know what I say? Better get your CBD while you can and decide whether or not you believe in its mysteries.

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