Whitney Curtis / The New York Times

January 30, 2020

Somewhat Sober | CBD: What’s the Use?

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My motto for these last four months is “never turn down an invite,” so when my editor offered me this column, I immediately decided to do it. Without further ado, welcome to my column, Somewhat Sober: A Guide to Eating and Drinking. Like most of my ideas, this one is not well thought out at all, and I’m not even entirely sure what I’ll write about. Regardless, I hope you’ll follow along as I eat and drink (responsibly) through my last semester here at Cornell! Or don’t — I don’t really care — I’m a second semester senior after all.


Our very first edition of this column already breaks whatever loose motif it had in the first place. Today we’re going to be talking about CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in strains of cannabis, particularly hemp. Note that CBD is different from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the cannabis compound responsible for psychoactive activity. What that means is that CBD does not get you high; consuming CBD keeps you completely sober, despite what this column’s name may suggest. CBD has official medicinal uses, with the FDA approving epilepsy drugs containing CBD in 2018. Currently there is a lot of clinical research on using CBD to treat anxiety, cognition, movement disorders and pain.  But there is no sufficient evidence that CBD is an effective treatment for these conditions. Moreover, we don’t have a clear picture of what the long-term effects of CBD usage is. Obviously as the years go on, we’ll learn more and more about these effects, but none of this research exists yet (thanks to the terrible decision to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, but I won’t get too political here). So keep this in mind! The reason I’m writing this is to provide my perspective and recommendation.  Hopefully, you’ll have another source to look at when making your own decision about using CBD. (Of course, if you have serious medical conditions, you should consult your doctor first).

In the United States, CBD is derived from hemp, which has less than 0.3% THC, and is legal. More and more stores nowadays have CBD products on their shelves. Here in Ithaca, getting CBD-infused oil is as easy as going to Greenstar in Collegetown. Behind the cashiers is a small selection of CBD oils that you can look through if you ask the cashier. The cheapest bottle is a Chocolate Mint flavored oil that has 600mg of CBD for $30 (10mg/ml).

In New York State, food and drug products with CBD infused in them are technically illegal since the FDA has not approved them for consumption. You could use the stopper to drink the oil directly, but I much prefer adding it to some homemade tea. To be honest, CBD oil doesn’t really taste that great but adding it to tea makes it tolerable. Unfortunately, oil and water don’t mix well (darn you chemistry) but I keep a spoon nearby to mix the tea before a sip. Many websites recommend starting with a 20-40mg dosage and increasing it until you start to feel the effects. Personally, it takes about 100mg for me to fully feel the CBD and I would recommend starting at 60-80mg and going from there.

But why take CBD in the first place? What’s the use? About 20 minutes after drinking CBD tea, the first thing I notice is how relaxed my body feels. Cornell, and I guess life in general, is pretty stressful. My shoulders are always a little tense from all the sitting and my legs are always tight from all the walking. Plus there’s always some general soreness after working out. (This makes it seem like I never stretch, but I promise I do). CBD makes all these dull aches and pains fade away. Your whole body feels as smooth as butter and you just feel calm. Since your body is super relaxed, your mind is also super relaxed. And lying down is an actual game changer. You may have a terrible mattress but CBD will make things feel like a soft, fluffy cloud. One of my friends puts it perfectly, “If you are interested in experiencing the extremely subtle yet wholly soothing sensation of having your entire body feel as smooth as a spaghetti noodle — without having your thoughts turn into a bowl of pasta — make some CBD tea.” CBD tea unwinds my whole body and I’ve only had positive experiences with it.


So the next time you want to have a nice, relaxing night in by yourself, make some CBD tea. Put on some smooth music (I highly recommend this RnB playlist) and lay in your bed. Feel that tension in your shoulder disappear and the intense comfiness of your sheets as you fall asleep. I’d highly recommend it.



Murali Saravanan is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]Somewhat Sober runs periodically this semester.