CULTURE
CBD Syrup: WTF Is It and What the Hell Is It Used for?
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CBD syrups, a blend of CBD and sweetened simple syrup, can be used to create mocktails and elixirs with a variety of health benefits.
Published on May 19, 2021

A decade ago, most people outside of the cannabis industry had never even heard of CBD. But since then, the CBD industry has grown to a $2.8 billion market, and you can walk into any smoke shop, bodega, or grocery store today and find a dazzling array of legal CBD products. In addition to natural hemp flower and oil extracts, you can find CBD-infused beer, smoothies, body lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, lube, gummies, vapes, and more beverages and foods than you could possibly even list. 

And even though there are seemingly millions of different CBD options on the market today, hemp businesses keep dreaming up innovative new wares. CBD syrups, for example, have just recently started popping up in hemp stores all across the country.

What Is CBD Syrup and How Is It Made? 

Just like the name suggests, CBD syrup is a thick, sweet liquid that has been infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid naturally found in hemp and some strains of marijuana. Most of these products start off with simple syrup, which is made by mixing water with sugar, agave, honey, or other sweeteners. Additional flavors, botanicals, or natural herbs are usually added to the mix to improve the flavor or add extra health benefits.

Once the syrup is blended, CBD can be added to the mix. Some syrups contain pure CBD isolate, while others include full-spectrum extracts. The potency of these products varies widely, depending on their intended use. Some syrups offer doses as low as 10mg per serving for beginners, but at the other end of the spectrum, you can find products with as much as 1,000mg per bottle.

How Do You Use CBD Syrup?

CBD syrups can be mixed with water, soda, or any other beverage that you can think of. Some people even mix these syrups with alcohol, which can potentially amplify the relaxing, sleepy effects of booze. This combo is not ideal for everyone, of course, so it's actually more common to find CBD syrups being added to alcohol-free “mocktails.” 

What Do People Use CBD Syrup For?

Many of these syrups leverage the relaxing, antiinflammatory properties of CBD to create products to help people relax and sleep. Some of these syrups include herbs like lavender to help promote relaxation, while others add natural sleep aids like melatonin and valerian. Other companies choose to stick to the basics, offering only pure CBD mixed with sweeteners and flavors to allow for easy beverage mixes.

Are There Any Downsides to Using CBD Syrup?

One thing to watch out for when shopping for CBD syrup is artificial sweetening. While many of these products incorporate natural sweeteners like honey or agave, others use corn syrup, which is not exactly healthy. And even when natural sweeteners are used, the sugar content is not ideal for people with diabetes. 

Another thing to consider is that CBD is more effective when smoked or inhaled than when it is consumed orally. When CBD oils, syrups, or edibles are eaten, they must pass through the body's digestive system and liver before they can take effect. After this process, only about 10-20 percent of the total CBD content actually makes it into your bloodstream. In comparison, smoking or vaping has a higher bioavailability rate of 30 percent or more.

Are CBD Syrups Even Legal?

Like most cannabidiol products, CBD syrups exist in a legal grey area under US law. CBD itself, along with all other hemp-derived products containing 0.3 percent THC or less, has been federally legal since January 2019. This law only directly applies to CBD flower and pure, unadulterated extracts, though. 

All infused food, beverage, and medicinal products fall under the domain of the US Food and Drug Administration, and this agency still hasn't gotten around to regulating CBD products. Technically, this means that all CBD-infused products, including syrups, are still prohibited by federal law. Fortunately, the feds have mostly taken a hands-off policy toward enforcing these rules, so you should have no trouble buying CBD syrup from your favorite hemp shop or online retailer.

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Chris Moore
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Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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