Everything You Need To Know About CBD + Salted Caramel CBD Blondie Recipe
CBD….so hot right now.
The latest (legal) cannabis-derived wellness trend has been showing up in everything from oils and skincare products to cocktails and chocolate.
But before you jump on the CBD bandwagon, there are certain things you need to know in order to optimize your experience with CBD, fully reap the health benefits and get your money’s worth.
I recently spoke with Laura White, founder of Soul Addict, a conscious, organically-sourced CBD company, to ensure you get the full and accurate lowdown. I’m also personally a huge fan of her products, which I’ve been using and recipe-testing for awhile and can speak from my own experience. If you’re interested in trying them out for yourself, be sure to use the code sa_lauren20 to save 20% off your first purchase!
Read on for everything you need to know about CBD (+ a delicious recipe because duh).
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring component found in the resin of buds and flowers in both hemp and marijuana plants. Both hemp and marijuana fall under the umbrella term cannabis, but the federal government defines hemp as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight, while a cannabis plant with a greater THC content is what is often termed marijuana.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA?
Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabidiols (CBD), but CBD is typically sourced from hemp, as this is low-THC and legalized in all 50 states. Unless you’re buying your CBD products from a dispensary, you’re not going to encounter CBD sourced from marijuana as it may still have high levels of THC.
This is a big differentiator as THC is what provides intoxicating and psychoactive effects. Because legal, hemp-derived CBD is low-THC (0.3% or less), it allows you to experience the health benefits of cannabis without the feeling of being high.
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
CBD interacts with the endocannibinoid system (ECS), which is found throughout the human body’s nervous, digestive, reproductive and immune systems (aka almost every system within our bodies).
When external forces disturb the body’s homeostasis, the endocannabinoid system helps our body push back and regain balance. Cannabis compounds like CBD are thought to assist in this balancing act by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body. Here they mimic endocannabinoids, acting as a supplement to give you a boost beyond what your body can produce.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CBD?
A big part of CBD’s appeal is that it’s said to assist with a super broad range of wellness concerns. This is because CBD is rich in cannabinoids that interact with almost every system in our bodies, helping to balance and regulate our neurotransmitter function, inflammation, mitochondrial function and metabolism.
While many more large-scale studies are needed (and in the works) initial clinical research is showing it can:
+ Improve Your Mood & Sleep
CBD works directly on the brain receptors 5HT1A (serotonin) and GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter). Serotonin is a hormone that boosts mood and helps you feel good, while GABA promotes relaxation and restful sleep. Studies show CBD allows more of these “feel good” chemicals to be present in our brains, and that lower levels can contribute to anxiety and depression.
+ Reduce Inflammation
CBD has been show to suppress cytokine production and induces T-regulatory cells to protect the body from attacking itself, which can help autoimmune conditions. Because chronic inflammation is thought to the root cause of all health issues and diseases, lowering inflammation can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness (i.e. everything from your skin to your gut and brain health).
+ Reduce Stress, Anxiety & Depression
One study showed CBD can stimulate neurogenesis (the generation of new neurons) in the area of the brain associated with anxiety. More neurons mean a bigger hippocampus, which is associated with better moods and reduced anxiety. Another found CBD reduces stress and social anxiety.
+ Decrease Chronic Pain
CBD inhibits transmission of neuronal signaling through pain pathways and targets nerve receptors that help decrease the sensation of pain.. The cannabinoids in CBD also have also been shown to reduce production of inflammatory prostaglandins, which cause muscle and menstrual cramps.
+ Boost Gut Health
CBD helps heal the junctions in our intestinal lining that when ruptured (due to inflammation caused by processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, NSAIDS, sugar and other toxins) contribute to intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). It also decreases spasmodic activity common in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
+ Clear Up Skin
CBD has been shown in multiple studies to reduce lipid product from the sebaceous glands, and the overproduction of this sebum is what leads to acne.
+ Help To Treat Seizures
CBD may relieve epilepsy in children.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS/SIDE-EFFECTS OF CBD?
The World Health Organization recently published a report that CBD is safe for almost everyone and non-habit forming, but I still recommend checking with your doctor before starting any CBD product, especially if you’re pregnant or taking any other medications.
Some people have also reported mild, dose-dependent side effects ranging from nausea to diarrhea and bloating. If you experience any of these it’s recommended you stop using CBD immediately and consult with your doctor. It’s also important to note the quality of the product, so make sure to read below for best tips when purchasing to avoid unwanted side effects.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN PURCHASING CBD?
Now here’s where it gets really tricky. Similar to supplements, CBD production and distribution are not regulated by the FDA. That means it’s important to choose wisely in order to know exactly what you’re getting. Also, because cannabis is quickly rising in popularity, you need to be on the lookout for companies making false claims to simply cash in on the trend.
The best way to find out the quality of your CBD is to discuss directly with the company you are purchasing from and make sure they check the following boxes —
CBD can be formulated as either a full-spectrum or isolate product. Isolate is shorthand for a CBD molecule standing on it’s own, while whole-plant CBD contains other compounds from the cannabis plant. These active compounds optimize results by reducing any negative side effects while enhancing the plant’s benefits.
This means that in order for you to get a pure and potent CBD product, you should be choosing a whole-plant, full-spectrum hemp extract. Soul Addict’s CBD is 100% full-spectrum.
+ Farms in Alignment w/ Oregon + California Growing Regulations
These two states have the strictest regulations in regards to cannabis and require products to undergo extensive testing and meet high safety regulations. Soul Addict’s learning from Oregon and California and following their regulations as these states have had ample time to grow hemp (due to being legalized longer) and learn the best safety protocols + organic processes.
+ Cold-Pressed (CO2) Extraction
Much like buying a juice that’s been cold-pressed to minimize damage and maximize nutrient absorption, you want to look for CBD products using a clean, cold-pressed (CO2) extraction method versus the use of harmful solvents. CBD products that use a more refined process are also more likely to contain heavy metals and pesticides. Soul Addict’s products use the cold-pressed CO2 extraction method.
+ Transparent Farming Methods
While a certified-organic hemp label is reassuring, it can be tough to find at this early stage of the industry’s development (the application process is slammed due to hemp’s recent 2018 nationwide legalization).
So, in the absence of a USDA label, look for independent testing results from any brand you’re considering (including levels of CBD and lack of contaminants). The maker should be open about where and how the source material was grown. Soul Addict uses High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) as well as a Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) systems to test for any residue that may compromise purity or potency.
+ Hemp Oil NOT Hemp Seed Oil
To make it even more confusing, companies have begun to make products sourced from Hemp Seed Oil and falsely claim this is the same thing as CBD.
While there’s nothing wrong with hemp SEED oil, the bigger issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, with different makeups and benefits. Marketing them as the same thing isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are paying more for what they think is CBD. Soul Addict is sourced from hemp.
+ Made Primarily From Flowers/Buds vs. Stalk or Leaves
Another thing to watch out for is companies that primarily use the stalks and leaves of the cannabis plant vs. the flower/bud due to a lower cost production. This is important because the majority cannabinoid content (i.e. the active compound linked to all the health benefits) comes from a resin that sticks to the triclomes, which is in the sticky part of the flower. Looking for brands like Soul Addict labeled “whole-plant CBD” ensures you’re getting all of the plant’s medicine.
HOW SHOULD I USE CBD?
There are plenty of ways you can use CBD, including ingesting it, applying it topically or even smoking/vaping.
If you’re new to CBD, starting out with a topical cream, lotion or face mask could be a good place to get an initial sense of how your body reacts and then adjust as needed. They’re also great for alleviating pain, soreness or skin conditions (I’ve been using Soul Addict’s face mask and I swear my skin has never looked better)!
If you’re experiencing gut issues, chronic illnesses or overall inflammation, an oil or tincture will target the issue most effectively. This is my personal favorite method, and I’ve been using Soul Addict’s hemp elixir in everything from smoothies to brownies.
If you need to tackle an issue quickly, like stress or anxiety, a vape or preroll might be your best bet, as they are absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly for immediate relief.
If you’re interested in trying out any of Soul Addict’s CBD products, don’t forget to use the code sa_lauren20 to save 20% off your first purchase.
BEST CBD RECIPES?
This should come as no surprise, but my favorite way to enjoy CBD is in sweet or chocolatey recipes. Because potent CBD products (i.e. not diluted by MCT oil, which tempers the taste as well as the benefits) like Soul Addict have a slight earthiness/bite to them, I find the richness of chocolate/and or caramel to balance it really well. Plus the more enjoyable it is to consume, the more likely you are to consistently make it a habit!
To date, my favorite way to enjoy CBD are these Salted Caramel CBD Blondies (paleo/refined-sugar-free). They’re gooey, “buttery” and pure bliss (both taste and how I feel after eating). Legit food that tastes good and makes you feel good too. Try whipping up a batch whenever you’re feeling stressed or craving something sweet. Recipe below!
You can also try making my CBD Feel-Good-Fudgey Brownies or CBD Honey Lavender Hot Cocoa. Just make sure with recipes that require cooking you’re incorporating the CBD in at the very end to limit exposure to heat in order to preserve all of the CBD benefits. There are lots more recipes in the works so be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get updates (and share with anyone you think might benefit from a little CBD TLC in their life).
Any other questions? Things you want to know about CBD? Recipe ideas? Leave a comment below or contact me at email@example.com.
CBD Salted Caramel Blondies (Paleo/Gluten-free/Dairy-free)
These CBD Salted Caramel Blondies have a decadent, gooey and "buttery" taste and texture, despite being completely void of all grains and gluten, dairy and refined-sugar. But the best part is the CBD Salted Caramel Sauce, which adds the ultimate bliss in both taste and vibes (as the CBD helps to reduce stress and inflammation and improve your mood). Consider this the ultimate feel good food to make when you're stressed or craving something sweet.
For The Blondie Batter:
- 2 cups creamy/smooth nut butter (I love Ground Up PDX's Smooth Almond, Cashew + Coconut Butter -- use code SOFRESH15 to get 15% off your order)
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup nutpods dairy-free caramel creamer or other non-dairy milk (use code SOFRESHNSOGREEEEEN to get 15% off your order)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, or chocolate chips
- Finishing flaky sea salt to top
For the CBD Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 1 ½ cups nutpods dairy-free caramel creamer (or other non-dairy milk such as coconut)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Soul Addict Hemp Elixir -- use code sa_lauren20 to save 20% off your first purchase
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all blondie batter ingredients together (except for the finishing salt and chocolate chunks) in a large bowl and mix (I used beaters) until well-combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips with a spatula, reserving a bit extra for topping.
- Spread the batter evenly in a parchment lined 9x12 baking pan. The batter should be thick and sticky.
- Top batter with remaining chocolate chunks and sprinkle with flaky finishing salt. Pop in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes (check at 20 by sticking a toothpick or knife in center, if still too gooey bake 3-5 minutes more). You want the center to be gooey but not undercooked.
- While brownies are baking start your caramel sauce. Add non-dairy creamer or milk, maple syrup and coconut sugar to a medium-sized stovetop pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to a strong simmer, stirring frequently until thickened, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Once thickened, remove from heat, then stir in vanilla, sea salt and CBD oil. This is important to do at the end in order to preserve the integrity of the CBD. Let both sauce and brownies cool, then drizzle caramel sauce over brownies to enjoy. Try topping with more flaky sea salt or a scoop of dairy-free ice cream or coconut whip for the ultimate treat.