Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Consumers looking for CBD honey don't have to look very far. From dispensaries to natural foods stores and online retailers, these products are everywhere and with varying degrees of quality. While there is an abundant number of products, CBD honey exists in a legal gray area.
According to Stem, hemp is currently legal in the United States as long as it doesn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC. So anything made from this, including CBD honey, would technically be legal. However, the act of processing the hemp into other forms may actually raise that original amount of THC.
“It's really gray right now,” she said. “You can still get a significant dose of THC from something that was 0.3 THC in its hemp state.” Though the 2018 Farm Bill just signed into law by President Donald Trump could clarify things on some level by federally legalizing industrial hemp cultivation, marijuana remains a controlled substance federally.
In terms of finding a high-quality product, Stem said the most important thing is making sure it is tested for potency, pesticides, and heavy metals. A company offering this information on its website or when asked is always a good sign. Secondly, Stem said that consumers also should check the label or ask the company if the product is made with activated CBD, which is supposed to be the most beneficial for the body.
Not all companies are using the same quality standards to make CBD honey. So a bit of research is in order for consumers looking for a high-quality product. Many CBD honey makers recommend using raw, or unheated, over processed (heated) honey because heat can degrade components such as digestive enzymes in the honey that are believed by some to benefit digestion in humans. “It is important to know both where the honey and the CBD is coming from,” said Jessica Gonzalez, of Happy Organics in Merced, California. “I would suggest getting a raw honey because it has not been heated or processed — processing and heating honey kills and removes all of the healthy properties found in honey.” Gonzalez, who is a beekeeper herself, recommends buying from beekeepers. “Knowing the beekeeper is important because you will know exactly where your honey came from,” Gonzalez said. “We start from the hive.” Why CBD Honey Is Trending It should come as little surprise that CBD honey has been gaining notice with consumers. According to Greg Shoenfeld, vice president of operations for BDS Analytics, sales of CBD-infused honey in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon generated $1.47 million with 139,000 units sold between January and October 2018. Though this is a small fraction of the $685 million in edibles sales across the four states over the same period, the category has grown 46 percent from January to October 2018.
The apparent popularity of CBD honey doesn't have one simple cause. For some companies, like Mana Artisan Botanics, it just seemed like a good idea. “One of the reasons we decided to highlight honey is because we have one of the rarest honeys in the world with our Lehua honey,” said Steve Sakala, CEO and co-founder of the Hawaii-based company that makes hemp body products, tinctures, and honey. Lehua honey comes from the Hawaiian tree of the same name. “It was part of our mission to highlight Hawaiian agriculture products in addition to making high-grade wellness products.”
Sakala explained that honey could serve as an entry point product to first-time users and older customers, offering a simple way to infuse teas or beverages with a product they're comfortable using. He added that they also want to help the bee population by supporting organic beekeepers — an idea shared by other companies, including Happy Organics. “We are beekeepers,” Gonzalez said. “We put our bees first and only take when the hive is producing in excess. Our small apiary allows us to help both the environment and provide local, sustainable honey.”
Nyer of Bee Delightful agrees. “We rescue bees in Texas and believe everyone should be aware that there is a bee crisis,” said Nyer. “Bees are critical to human beings. They are responsible for pollinating a significant amount of our produce and we rely heavily on them for the pollination of our food. If we don't all support products that are doing their part to help the bees, we will soon feel the effects of their decline.”
Of course, cannabis legalization in many states has likely played a role as well. “When we started making our infused honey, microdosed edibles like ours were not as popular as their high-dosed counterparts,” said Corey Thomas, founder of California-based Honey Pot, which makes cannabis-infused honey containing both CBD and THC. “There is a new cannabis consumer in California since the passing of Proposition 64. Those consumers are looking for entry-level edibles, doses they can control and ingredients like ours to infuse their own edibles at home.”Back to the original point, the potential health benefits of combining honey and cannabis can't be ignored. Nyer said honey has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant benefits. And he added that CBD has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. It may help with anxiety, stress, focus, pain, inflammation, sleep, and many neurological disorders, he said. Of course, many reported benefits of cannabis are anecdotal.
There is a lack of studies because of cannabis' current status as a federally controlled substance. “Because there are not long-term clinical trials on cannabis and its derivatives, people rely on anecdotal recommendations from family and friends,” Nyer said. “A lot of people who have not been able to find natural remedies for pain, anxiety and depression have found relief with CBD.”
Jessica Peralta Longtime journalist Jessica Peralta has and continues to work for a variety of newspapers, websites and magazines, including the Orange County Register, Coast Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Healthline and The Dodo. She has a deep passion for animals and health, and how cannabis intersects in all areas of life. She also runs a horror and Halloween news and lifestyle website, HalloweenEveryNight.com.
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