A quick reminder that CBD is the grounding counterbalance to THC, which is the psychoactive element in weed that gets you high. In metaphor: THC is hosting the party, and CBD is driving you there. Some legal(ish) CBD products on the market, including a couple of these chocolates, source CBD from cannabis without THC, aka industrial hemp. The others on the list contain various amounts of THC and are only available in some states.
Tasting notes: Leif chocolates are vegan, fair trade, and come in bright, zigzag packaging that matches their eccentric flavors. The peanut butter and jelly bar is whacky—my tasting-friend described it as “shocking”—the dust of strawberry powder on the outside tingles while the elevated-Reese’s part melts. The mint hibiscus flavor is similarly super rich, and the mint lingers for a while. I snuck a few bars into Eighth Grade, so my shoulders were practically eaten by my ears in empathetic cringes, but the tastes were so wild that I had excitement giggles about them.
You might think that eating CBD chocolates for the taste is like subscribing to The Economist for the pictures. While I’m always here for that gravitas and the deep content, I also love a frivolous and delicious delivery system, especially because the effects of CBD are subjective. If the CBD in these chocolates affected me, it was in a deeply subtle way. So it’s especially important that they taste unsubtly delicious.
And so, here is my rigorous, yet very relaxed, taste test of CBD chocolate varietals and their various promises:
What is the party that they’re driving you to? These bars are driving us to a very thorough, intricate D.I.Y. party with extravagant installations, where everyone is dressed for a sleek spaceship-wreck.
Pet owners treating their animals is another big growth area for CBD, and another example of consumers often crossing into illicit territory and maybe not realizing it.
That didn't stop a salesperson at Calyx Wellness, another unlicensed CBD store in Toronto, from making bold claims about CBD: "From what I've heard, it depends on your situation, but it'll help with anything," she told the undercover Marketplace crew.
CBD products sold on the black market don't undergo the same rigorous standards of testing that licensed CBD products go through.
CBD metabolizes in the liver, and both Clarke and Busse want to see more research done on how CBD can interact with medications like blood thinners, antidepressants, opioids and benzodiazepines, as well as anti-seizure and chemotherapy drugs.
U.S. tests find half of CBD products contain undisclosed THC
Health Canada did not say whether or not it will be declassifying CBD as a controlled substance.
The lack of strong scientific evidence around CBD hasn't stopped the black market from offering everything from tinctures, oils, creams and chocolate to shampoo, face masks and personal lubricants, with claims CBD can help with everything from writer's cramp to "halting the duplication of cancerous cells."
"These products can be acquired by anyone in Canada with an internet connection and a credit card," Busse said. "But you can't actually test what all these people are using, which seems very counterintuitive."
The Truth About CBD
In the U.S., legislation around CBD was relaxed with the 2018 Farm Bill, removing CBD derived from hemp (CBD with less than .3 per cent THC) from the Controlled Substances list. Sales of CBD in the U.S. grew to US$ 4.7 billion in 2020.
Clarke, who is director of Pain Services at Toronto General Hospital, is also running an observational study on how cannabis, including CBD products, can help with chronic pain, sleep, anxiety and depression.