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CBD: Natural Healing Elixir or Just Snake Oil?


Move over kombucha, there’s a new health trend in town, and it’s becoming just as famous. Cannabidiol (CBD), an oil derived from the cannabis plant (marijuana), has cropped up in health stores, cocktail bars and farmers’ markets across the Hudson Valley. If you believe the hype, it’s an elixir that relaxes and calms almost instantly—stress relief in a bottle. Is it too good to be true?

In most health food stores, CBD can be found somewhere between the natural supplement and personal care aisles (we found it near the lavender essential oils and anti-inflammatory turmeric pills). At farmers’ markets, look for it between mainstay produce vendors and cheese mongers. Record stores, head shops, vape shops and some pet stores also carry the oil.

Tinctures complete with glass droppers and infused lotions allow for diverse, individualized applications. CBD lotion can be applied directly to the skin for targeted pain relief, for example, or it can be mixed into a soothing cup of tea for a full-body effect. Italian ices containing CBD provide cool relief from summer heat. Chewy sweets reminiscent of gummy worms wrapped in bonbon-esque packaging deliver sweet, stress-relieving CBD for the candy connoisseur.

Behind the bar, CBD has infiltrated the cocktail scene with Instagrammable presentations and punny names like Hemptation, but there’s no proof whether CBD truly aids relaxation, combats the sugar rush from mixers and juices, or just imparts a perfect placebo effect. Recess, a non-alcoholic CBD sparkling beverage, made headlines for its “antidote to modern times.” The drink exudes good vibes through pastel, color-coordinated cans and unique flavors developed by Beacon’s own Drink More Good team. Lemonade, iced tea and even bottled water adorn store shelves in glass bottles, drawing in clientele looking to unwind with style.

Beyond its trendy, photogenic draw, whether CBD in any of its many forms will capture the hearts and minds of consumers and go mainstream, remain a niche product within a specific market, or run its course and fade away like a purple dream is yet to be determined.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!