Three letters have radically transformed the national discussion about cannabis and its potential as medicine – CBD.
Like the rest of the more than 80 active cannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD existed beyond the margins of public awareness – obscured by the looming shadow of THC and its famous effects. Then the media took notice of the legal battles facing parents of children with drug-resistant seizures that respond to CBD. That publicity inspired 15 states to adopt CBD-only legislation in 2014.
Now CBD is the talk of the cannabis community, with dozens of companies, cultivators and extractors focusing their efforts on high-CBD offerings ranging from topical ointments and oral tinctures to CBD-rich strains and concentrates.
Stoney Steve, former purchaser at Harborside Health Center and ringleader of the spectacular dab circus bearing his name, is an avid advocate of CBD dabs, which he characterizes as “magical.”
“The CBD molecule directly interacts with your endocannabinoid system,” he said. “If you have a headache, it’s gone. Stomach issues, gone. Problems with your equilibrium, balanced. It literally just makes you feel how you are supposed to feel – free of all pain and nausea.”
Steve gave me my first CBD dab during an interview some months ago – a shatter with roughly 80 percent CBD and a taste strongly reminiscent of cherry cough syrup. But we were also dabbing spoonfuls of 96 percent THCa at the time, and the aggressively psychoactive impacts of the latter blotted out the subtler benefits of the prior, at least in my memory.
So to get a clearer picture of how my own mind and body respond to CBD dabs, I enlisted the help of a regular fixture at the Stoney Steve Smokeout, Guild Extracts. Guild’s ever-expanding line of top-shelf concentrates includes a shatter called “Vitamin CBD,” which tests at roughly 45 percent THC and 17 percent CBD. Steve and several cannabis patients who use CBD regularly suggested I check it out, so I picked up a gram.
The shatter itself is physically remarkable, with light golden clarity and sturdy but flexible stability. It packs a pronounced citrus zest that nicely counteracts the cloying medicinal flavor of CBD and delivers a smooth, enjoyable cloud of vapor on the nail.
I find myself alert but relaxed, like the effect from a strong cup of tea, only with deeper, sharper clarity of focus. The muscles of my neck, shoulders and back, usually wracked with stress and tension, feel loose and limber, like I just stepped out of a hot soak.
Inside my mind, the deafening roar of anxiety and distraction – a thousand shrieking deadlines, debts and disappointments – are swallowed by a bottomless sea of tranquility, and the only sound that remains is my own voice, carefully articulating this sentence.
CBD dabs don’t get you high, but they heighten your awareness. In a world where the human mind is constantly bombarded by stimulus, it’s easy to lose track of where your own thoughts end and where the static chatter of social conditioning and media messaging begin.
But a concentrated hit of CBD conjures a quiet clarity that borders on monastic. It carves out a sanctuary for your genuine self, one where you can recuperate from the constant onslaught of external pressures. It’s like an instant spa treatment for your unconscious mind.
Dabbing THC provides novel effects that inspire everything from relaxation to creativity, and I have no plans of giving it up. But CBD dabs tap into something deeper, offering less of an intoxicant than a restorative, and immediately after dabbing it, I feel like a truer, less distorted expression of myself.
So while I remain skeptical of those touting miraculous benefits (cancer panacea, anyone?) I’m convinced CBD concentrates have a major place in the future of cannapharmacology. But don’t take my word for it, try a high-CBD dab for yourself and experience the powerful effects of this once-ignored cannabis compound.