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Does cannabidiol (CBD) hand sanitizer work?

Hand sanitizer is a pretty common thing to carry around. You can find hand sanitizer stations throughout many schools, malls, and airports. Many women carry some in their purses, and it’s not unusual to see a bottle clipped onto a child’s backpack.

Recently, it has been easy to find cannabidiol (CBD) just about everywhere too. Products with CBD in them can be found in many different places, and there even have been CBD-focused stores opening up.

So, what happens when there is CBD mixed into the product? What’s the benefit of it?

Defining CBD

While it’s likely that you’ve heard about CBD, you may not know what it is exactly and why it’s so popular right now. Let’s cover that.

CBD is one of the chemical compounds found in hemp or marijuana. Compounds like CBD are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can have a number of effects on people. For example, one cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (you have likely heard of it referred to as THC) creates the psychoactive effect, or high, so commonly associated with Cannabis. CBD’s effect, on the other hand, is much different. In fact, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects on people. Most who use it report that at the most, it makes them calmer, but does not seem to have any effect on cognitive functions. 

Because CBD is found in Cannabis, its legality is often called into question. After all, marijuana is illegal in some form in most states. However, if that is a concern of yours, you don’t need to worry. While it is true that marijuana and marijuana-derived products are still illegal in many states, hemp (defined as Cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) was made federally legal in late 2018. This means that hemp-derived products are also legal. This change in policy was important to those interested in CBD as hemp is not only low in THC, but very high in CBD. As long as a CBD product was derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC, it is perfectly legal. 

Speaking of CBD products, there are a lot of different ones out there. Many people know CBD as an oil or a tincture. However, it is easily mixed in with just about anything. Some people like using CBD as a topical product where the CBD is mixed into lotions and skin creamsOther people prefer taking CBD orally such as a softgel capsule just like taking a vitamin supplement. Others prefer CBD edibles. Edibles can take on many different forms, found in everything from the “traditional” gummy to pasta made using CBD. No matter what form they take it in, there are a lot of people who are finding benefits from regular use. 

Now you know that CBD is a cannabinoid, is legal, and that it comes in many different forms, the real question is: why is it such a big deal? Ever since they first figured out how to extract CBD and identified it as a compound, researchers have been looking into what exactly it can do. So far, scientists have identified CBD’s calming effect is particularly helpful for those who struggle with anxiety and its potential ability to help with certain depression-linked symptoms. They have also found that CBD is very helpful with epilepsy. In fact, the first CBD-based medication to be approved by the FDA is used to keep epilepsy-induced seizures under control. 

With people using CBD for so many different reasons, it is only reasonable to wonder, what’s the catch? 

Risks associated with CBD

As with any supplement, there is concern that there may be some unsavory side effects that come with CBD use. However, this shouldn’t be a major concern.

There are some side effects associated with CBD use that include mild nausea, fatigue or decreased appetite. However, it should be noted that most of these side effects are mainly experienced by those whole take substantial doses of CBD over a short period of time. Most people, when taking normal doses of CBD, are not likely to experience any adverse reactions.  For those that do experience any adverse events are advised to lower the amount of CBD they are taking or stop taking CBD entirely.

It is also good to note that while CBD does not appear to be toxic to children or pets, any CBD product should be kept out of their reach. Some products look like normal food or candy, so they may be easy to mix up. Though it is unlikely to hurt children or pets, nobody wants to see $40 worth of CBD gummies get gobbled up by accident. There are also products formulated especially for kids or pets, but they should still be given in moderation.

We have also discussed that CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, though it is always good to reiterate. It so commonly gets clumped together with THC that sometimes it is hard to separate the two. However, most legal CBD products are going to have a THC level of 0.3% or lower. That is not enough to get most people high, so it is not likely that a CBD product will cause a decrease in cognitive functions.

Overall, though, it does appear that when used correctly, CBD is safe for almost anyone to use. Obviously, if you are allergic to CBD or any of the ingredients in a particular CBD product, you should not use it.

We have laid out what exactly what CBD is and the mild risks that come with using it, but it still does not explain a fundamental question; why are CBD manufactures even putting CBD into hand sanitizer?

CBD as a disinfectant

In the above sections, we took a brief glance at all the positive effects researchers are finding CBD can have, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. In the last decade, scientists have stumbled upon something that they and CBD manufactures have found very exciting: CBD may have antibacterial properties.

In 2008HYPERLINK “https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/np8002673”, the Journal of Natural Products published a study that was looking at how different cannabinoids interact with bacteria, specifically a more robust strain of Staphylococcus aureus. They found that most of the cannabinoids were successful in stemming bacterial growth. They gathered that if the cannabinoids were able to stand up to a strong strain of that bacteria, it stood to reason that they may be able to handle other bacteria as well. 

The odd thing about this study is that while the cannabinoids appear to have an antibacterial nature, researchers have yet to identify how they do it. Most disinfectants work through some form of oxidization or some other way of breaking down the membranes of the bacteria. However, no one can seem to pin down the exact way that cannabinoids get in the way of bacterial growth. It will be fascinating to see what future research is built on that study. Hopefully, it will not be too long until we do understand how CBD and other cannabinoids can hinder bacterial growth and survival. 

The research into CBD’s antibacterial properties is still preliminary. However, it seems very encouraging. In fact, it is encouraging enough that many CBD manufactures are experimenting with producing CBD hand sanitizers.

CBD in hand sanitizers

So, what about CBD in hand sanitizers? How does that even work?

Most of the manufacturers who are producing a CBD hand sanitizer include more than just the CBD for the product to work. Other compounds are included to help aid in killing bacteria. Most of these products also include ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol: proven disinfectants. This way, the CBD kills some of the bacteria, and the ethyl alcohol gets the rest. It is potentially increasing the chance of proper disinfection.

It is important to remember that while CBD does appear to have antibacterial properties, it also does not appear to be strong enough to work all on its own. Rubbing CBD oil into your hands likely will not have the same effect as a CBD hand sanitizer that is formulated with disinfecting in mind. The other ingredients in the hand sanitizer, along with the CBD, are what help provide that protection that we look for in those products. 

It is exciting to see this new development within the CBD industry. Some manufactures are going even further than hand sanitizer by also making CBD disinfecting wipes. It will be interesting to see what other products this will bring.

Want to learn as much as you can about CBD? Check out Panacea Life Sciences’ website. On there, you can find lots of articles looking at many different CBD related topics. You can also find some great CBD products on there. You can contact Panacea Life Sciences with any questions or comments on their website or by emailing [email protected].