CBD sales seem to be on a never ending rise, with Brits believing the cannabis derivative to be a miracle cure for everything from anxiety and insomnia to chronic pain. Whilst this assumption might be a little premature (studies into its efficiacy are still ongoing), there are promising signs that it could have beneficial purposes in the field of health and wellness.

But what exactly is CBD oil? Well, it’s a product naturally sourced from hemp plants, and is usually extracted from hemp paste, which is made from the leaves and flowers from the hemp plant. Its use in cooking is becoming increasingly popular because of its reported health benefits and versatility. Below is a short guide that will help you understand a bit more about this increasingly popular supplement and how you can cook with it. Here’s what you should know about cooking with CBD oil.

THE SMALL PRINT

CBD oil is legal in the UK as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. It also needs to be sold and advertised as a ‘nutrition supplement’ rather than as a medicine, so check the label to make sure it is from a legitimate supplier. However, bear in mind that the guidance varies from country to country so make sure you check the law if you are travelling abroad to stay on the right side of it. 

Should you be looking to add CBD oil to your diet for nutritional benefits or reasons of wellbeing, do consult with your GP or nutritionist first.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?

The potential health benefits of CBD oil have been well-documented, and range from claims that it’s a possible alleviator of anxiety to a reducer of acne and beyond. That said, it’s important to acknowledge that studies are still in their infancy. 

Though there has been hugely promising progress in treating the ‘’cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications’’ (according to the Harvard Health Blog), its wider application, for helping mitigate anxiety, inflammation and other issues is still being researched.

That said, early studies do look encouraging. More recently, CBD has been prescribed to help adults suffering from nausea caused by chemotherapy and people experiencing stiffness brought about multiple-sclerosis.

Great stuff, but if you’re keen to try CBD oil in your cooking, either to test out those potential benefits or even for its flavour (hmm), then your questions might be answered below.

WHAT CAN YOU COOK WITH IT?

You can infuse CBD into your daily diet at lunch or dinner. Anything that you would normally add oil to can be made using CBD oil. From pasta and meatballs to chocolate chip cookies and gummy bears, all can be created using CBD oil. Cold dishes such as salad are also nice with CBD oil included as part of dressings such as vinaigrette or dips like guacamole. 

TIPS FOR COOKING WITH CBD OIL

When cooking with CBD oil, you’ll want to add other fats – CBD oil is fat soluble, so your body absorbs it best when it is mixed with other fats. Olive oil and coconut oil are fantastic, healthy accompaniments. Alternatively, look for a vegetable oil that already contains CBD oil and you won’t have to buy them separately.

However, note that CBD oil starts to break down if the temperature is too hot. This means that you won’t be getting as much of it as you think you are. You should not expose the oil to a flame or to direct heat and it is best not to let the temperature get above 93°C (that’s 200°F).

ADD SMALL AMOUNTS, INCREMENTALLY

Also, don’t use too much at once – it is best to start with a small amount of the stuff, although it might be tempting to use more. CBD oil can taste quite bitter and you don’t want to add too much at once. Use a dropper so that you can add the oil a couple of drops at a time. You can always add a little more if you want to, which will be easier than trying to take some away if you don’t want your food to taste too strongly of it.

DON’T EXPECT SUDDEN EFFECTS (OR ANY AT ALL)

Cooking with CBD oil will not give you a quick hit or instant pain relief. When you infuse it with food (or rather, food with CBD oil), anything digestible must pass through your gut and then through your liver before it reaches your bloodstream, so it is not going to be fast acting. Be warned that the change to your wellbeing or outlook may be imperceptible.

STORING CBD OIL

Lastly, CBD oil should be stored away from direct heat and light and not in direct contact with moisture. Putting it in the fridge can help to extend its shelf life.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The uses of CBD oil in cooking are almost limitless. As long as the recipe incorporates fats but does not call for a high cooking temperature, CBD oil can be used. Though the health benefits are still being investigated, there are promising signs of its effects on pain relief, wellbeing and more. Always consult with your GP or nutritionist prior to adding CBD oil to your diet.