CBD tea is a drink that uses various concentrations of CBD to induce relaxation or support other purported CBD health benefits.
Cannabidiol tea is not a medication or a supplement. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to warn consumers of potential contaminants and side effects associated with CBD products.
However, traditional medicine practitioners have used hemp and cannabis products for thousands of years to manage many health conditions. Supporters argue that it works and is safe. The main problem with these products is that researchers have not thoroughly tested how well CBD works or whether it is safe.
CBD teas come in a variety of formulas and flavors. Some include additional ingredients with claimed health benefits, such as mint for congestion or chamomile to aid sleep.
Similar to all food, beverages, and dietary supplements, CBD teas must contain the ingredients on their labeling and not contain harmful or toxic chemicals. However, there is little oversight of CBD products.
At the federal level, while CBD is no longer considered an illegal narcotic, the FDA warns that CBD-containing products are prescription drugs, and retailers cannot sell them as food, beverages, or dietary supplements. Different states have enacted different rules governing the sale of CBD products.
States, such as Arizona and Colorado, for example, allow the sale of products containing both CBD and THC, meaning consumers do not need a prescription or prove a medical requirement to obtain them. However, some states, including Kansas, prohibit the sale of both THC and CBD altogether.
Different types of CBD teas
Like other teas, CBD tea comes in a wide variety of flavors. Consumers can choose the variant that best suits their needs.
Additionally, some types of teas or tea components may have additional health benefits. Green tea, for instance, is an antioxidant, and small studies have shown it may help with numerous health conditions, including genital warts, cancer, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
Manufacturers may blend CBD with other ingredients, so a person should check the product label for this information. They should also research any potential health benefits of these ingredients.
Some teas, particularly in states where cannabis is legal, may also include THC. According to the FDA, CBD products from hemp may sometimes contain trace amounts of THC, but generally not enough for a person to feel “high.”
However, even trace amounts of THC could theoretically produce a positive drug test. Therefore, people who use hemp CBD products need to be aware of this risk if they undergo drug testing for cannabis.
What are the health benefits and risks?
Numerous studies are underway on CBD products, including tea varieties. To date, there is very little data that nonprescription CBD products available on the market can treat any specific medical condition.
Anecdotally, some individuals report potential benefits of CBD tea, which include managing:
- sleep disturbances
- symptoms of mental health conditions, such as anxiety
The FDA has approved CBD to treat certain types of seizures in children. However, this is the only approved medical use for the drug.
The FDA has only approved one CBD product to treat certain complex seizures in infants over the age of 12 months. It is illegal to market these goods as dietary supplements or label them as medication.
Still, many users report the health benefits of CBD products. It can take time for scientists to develop findings that may correlate with anecdotal experience, especially when designing extensive, well-controlled studies. So neither the absence of FDA approval nor the shortcomings of scientific evidence mean that CBD tea does not work.
A 2020 study of social media posts found that many CBD users and advocates mentioned treating or managing anxiety, including panic, post-traumatic stress, anxiety-related insomnia, and similar issues with CBD products.
Another 2020 study of young adults found that popular uses of CBD included stress relief, relaxation, and achieving better sleep. For people who find relief from CBD, the health benefits might include:
- lower medical costs
- reduced reliance on drugs that cause unpleasant or harmful side effects
- improved quality of life
However, some potential risks include:
- Driving or operating machinery: Although CBD tea does not cause a person to feel intoxicated, it can still induce sleepiness and slowed reflexes.
- Breastfeeding and pregnancy risks: There is insufficient research testing CBD in pregnant or lactating people to know if it is safe.
- Drug interactions: CBD may interact with alcohol and other drugs and intensify intoxication. It can also increase the risk of serious side effects. Interaction with prescription drugs is possible, while there is insufficient research to determine which medications are safe to use alongside CBD.
- Reproductive issues: Animal studies suggest CBD may lead to reproductive damage or infertility.
- Long-term effects: Researchers do not know the long-term effects of taking CBD.
Medical marijuana is gaining popularity as a complementary medicine to help with many symptoms associated with chronic illnesses. While many people are curious about how marijuana (or cannabis) may help improve their symptoms, they are also reluctant to smoke the substance. However, there are ways that medical marijuana can be administered, including in tea form.
Marijuana has been associated with pain relief for centuries. Researchers have found the cannabinoids in marijuana dampen pain signals by binding to the pain receptors in the central nervous system (CNS).
In contrast to opiates such as morphine or codeine, cannabis is not addictive and poses no withdrawal symptoms to patients. Cannabis-infused tea is delivered to the whole of the body through the digestive system so the effects are longer lasting and more efficient than smoking.
Medical marijuana has been found to reduce inflammation associated with many autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus. It also helps to temper the body’s immune system making it less likely to attack itself.
Protects the brain
Studies of cannabis’s effect on the brain have found that the drug has a neuroprotective effect and appears to slow down or even block the beta-amyloid protein build-ups associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Promotes digestive health
Many chronic illnesses present symptoms which affect the gastrointestinal system. Cannabis has been found to improve digestion and relieve symptoms such as cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, constipation and acid reflux.
While smoking cannabis may produce mind-altering effects that most people are wary of, drinking cannabis tea can help with stabilizing mood and helping to relieve emotional symptoms associated with chronic illness such as depression and anxiety.