With 4/20 comes a heavy dose of cheesy stoner-themed brand promotions that make cannabis consumers nationwide sigh deeply.
The latest travesty against both cuisine and cannabis is the new Carl’s Jr. “Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight,” which features two beef patties stacked on top of fries and laden with a CBD-infused “Santa Fe sauce.” It’s topped with cheese and picked jalapeÃ±os.Â
The burger retails for a predictable $4.20 and will only be available at one location in Denver on Apr. 20. You also have to be at least 18 years old to purchase it.Â
Strip away the annoying marketing, and there’s another problem with this mushy meat pile: The Rocky Mountain High burger sauce will only contain 5 mg of CBD per serving. That’s a smidge when it comes to CBD servings â€” especially for a CBD edible â€” and likely will have no impact on you whatsoever. Beyond that, CBD won’t get you high!
A quick recap on the difference between THC and CBD: Both are compounds found in cannabis plants, but THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. THC and CBD are found in marijuana, along with a variety of other cannabis compounds. Hemp-derived CBD, which is what Carl’s Jr. is using, has less than 0.3 percent THC â€” again, not enough to get you high. It’s legal to sell hemp-derived CBD in several states, including Colorado. Although hemp-derived CBD products are widely available, the industry is largely unregulated nationwide. (Colorado passed a law last year to apply food manufacturing rules to hemp-derived products.)
And although there are plenty of unknowns when it comes to CBD (it’s been shown to help people with epilepsy, inflammation, and anxiety but scientific research is still severely lacking) â€” let’s put all that aside. Eating 5 mg of CBD won’t do much because, one, most CBD manufacturers recommend starting at a higher dose and two, eating CBD reduces its effectiveness.
When ingested, CBD is absorbed by the fat in your body. That means when you drink a CBD-infused smoothie or smash a CBD-infused burger, much of the CBD will stay in the fat in your digestive system instead of getting to your brain. When you consume CBD by vaping, however, it doesn’t hit your digestive system and isn’t slowed down by your fat and liver. CBD oil is taken under your tongue â€” don’t swallow it â€” so that it hits your bloodstream, not your gut.Â
Esther Blessing, an NYU professor who researches CBD effectiveness in treating a variety of mental health issues, told Vox, “[Ingested] CBD has a very low bioavailability, something between 6 and 15 percent, which varies between people.” Bioavailability is the amount of a drug that has an active effect when introduced into your system.Â
Since orally consuming CBD is less efficient than inhaling it, you’d need to consume high doses of CBD to feel anything. Blessing says the “lowest clinically effective dose of CBD for reducing anxiety is 300 mg.”Â
Suggested doses for CBD for various ailments vary wildly, from 40 mg to 150 mg before bed for treating sleep disorders to 1 mg accompanied by 2.5 mg of THC for bringing back appetites in cancer patients. You also have to account for how THC and CBD interacts, and how experimenting with ratios can help you achieve more desired effects.Â
CBD oil manufacturers recommend starting out with a 10 mg to 20 mg dose and working your way up until you get the desired effect. Some people may feel no effect at all; CBD’s effectiveness varies from person to person.Â
Now when it comes to THC â€” which has a rep for “couch locked” highs when consumed as an edible â€” there are a few things to keep in mind. Sometimes they work for people, sometimes they don’t. THC from edibles also gets absorbed in your fat, but it gets broken down into another potent psychoactive molecule; this same reaction doesn’t happen with CBD.Â
This is a lot to take in, but here’s the bottom line: The Carl’s Jr. burger will likely do nothing besides give you some grease-related indigestion.
Now that hemp-derived CBD is legal, it’s a trendy way to promote “wellness.” That doesn’t mean you have to fall for snake oil cure-all promises â€” or questionably marketed fast food.Â
Let’s call this burger what it is: a dumb stunt.Â