You’ve probably seen ads for all kinds of CBD-containing products, extolling the compound’s calming effects. There’s CBD oil, CBD gummies, CBD chocolate… and now CBD tea.
There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding what exactly CBD is, how it works, and the best way to consume it.
If you’re interested in the wellness benefits of CBD but wary of its effectiveness and safety, you’ve come to the right place.
What is CBD Tea?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound primarily derived from the hemp plant.
Both hemp and marijuana are members of the Cannibas Sativa plant family, but they do have one key difference: hemp contains very little or no Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive properties.
CBD tea may use true tea leaves or herbal teas as a base, and could include either actual hemp leaves or a water-soluble CBD extract. Simply adding CBD oil to your regular brew won’t work, as the oil won’t dissolve and could create an unpleasant taste and mouthfeel.
CBD teas may also be labeled “full spectrum” or as a “CBD isolate.” Full spectrum CBD products contain other essential oils, terpenes, and cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, which may have their own antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. CBD isolate products contain cannabidiol alone.
Your choice of CBD tea will depend on the specific taste and caffeine content you’re after. Keep in mind that blends including real hemp will produce a grassier taste and distinct cannabis aroma.
Does CBD Tea Make You High?
Because of its low THC content, hemp plants and the CBD products made from it don’t have the same effects on mood and cognition as marijuana.
Marijuana typically contains between 3% and 15% THC, while hemp has less than 1%. By law, CBD products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Simply put, CBD tea will not deliver enough THC to get you high.
CBD may, however, help to ease anxiety, relieve inflammation, and promote a better night’s sleep. To reap these benefits, consumers can ingest CBD in a few different ways. The most common format is CBD oil, usually taken under the tongue. While quick and easy, the oil doesn’t always have a pleasant aftertaste, which is why CBD has made its way into a variety of food products, including tea.
What’s a safe and effective dose of CBD?
The “right” amount of CBD will vary from person to person. A dose that helps your friend quell anxiety and fall asleep quickly may have no effect on you at all.
Dosages administered in studies of CBD’s various health impacts are all over the map. It’s best to start off with a small dose and increase gradually.
A good rule of thumb is the FDA’s guidance for its approved cannabis oil product: Start with 2.5 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight, twice a day. For a 150-lb person, that’s two doses of 170mg daily. After one week, the dose can be doubled.
CBD content also varies widely among different brands, from as little as 5 mg of CBD per tea bag to more than 100mg. Make sure to check the label and select a dosage that works for you. Also check with your doctor to determine if CBD will interact with any other medications or supplements you may be taking.
Is CBD Tea Good For You?
Studies are inconsistent when it comes to CBD’s health benefits, appropriate dosages, and overall product safety.
There is only one FDA-approved CBD oil on the market. Other products containing CBD are not subject to the same regulatory scrutiny, so it’s important to research brands ahead of time. Look for independent testing that verifies the CBD dose and THC content.
Though more research is needed, early findings suggest that CBD could have positive effects in three areas:
1. Anxiety Control
CBD has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety by acting on specific receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
In one study of people with generalized anxiety disorder, researchers gave the experimental group a 400mg dose of CBD and the control group a placebo. At a second session, the groups were reversed so effects could be compared. When given CBD, the study participants reported significantly lower levels of anxiety. 
Another review of both human and animal studies found similar results. CBD was consistently shown to reduce anxiety, though dosage was different from one study to the next. 
Many tea drinkers already view their daily cup as a chance to unwind. Adding CBD to the mix could help to enhance the calming experience, but consumers may have to experiment and gradually work their way up to higher doses to feel these effects.
2. Better Sleep
Partly due to its anti-anxiety effects, taking CBD at night may also help users get better sleep, meaning more hours of deep, undisturbed shuteye.
In a study of 72 patients experiencing both anxiety and poor sleep, two-thirds were able to achieve improved sleep scores within a month of regular CBD supplementation. Almost 80% also reported less anxiety. A review of clinical studies also found that CBD helped patients with anxiety and/or chronic pain fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and achieve more hours of REM sleep. 
A calming cup of CBD-infused tea before bed may just help to slow racing thoughts and prime both body and mind for more restful sleep. Just make sure to choose an herbal blend like chamomile over a true tea like black tea or green tea, which both contain caffeine and may counteract the natural calming effects of CBD.
3. Reduced Inflammation
Some research suggests that CBD may add onto the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidant-rich teas.
Most studies on CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects have been conducted in mice, so it’s difficult to draw direct links to the benefits for humans. The studies focused on mice suffering from arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, and were able to reduce markers of inflammation without harmful side effects. 
Many researchers conclude that CBD may have similar anti-inflammatory applications for people with the same conditions. More studies are needed to determine appropriate dosages and to learn more about exact mechanisms of action.
What Does CBD Tea Taste Like?
The taste of your CBD tea depends on which kind you choose. Blends that use a water-soluble CBD extract typically won’t have any noticeable difference in flavor or aroma. Blends that include hemp leaves, however, may benefit from a little added sweetener, citrus or dairy to balance out the grassy taste.
How you enhance your tea will also depend on the base. Warm spices like cinnamon usually pair well with a black tea, whereas lemon peel tends to complement green tea well.
CBD’s bioavailability – meaning the ease with which our bodies can absorb it — may also be increased when ingested with fat. If you’re not a dairy fan, try using a teaspoon or two of coconut oil instead.
CBD may help to ease anxiety, reduce inflammation and promote better sleep. Teas that include CBD extracts or hemp leaves are a delicious way to work CBD into your daily routine.
Start off with a smaller dose and gradually work your way up until you feel some of CBD’s calming effects. Keep in mind, though, that caffeine-containing teas like black or green tea could counteract those effects.
And don’t worry, CBD teas don’t have the mind-altering properties of THC found in marijuana.