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OPINION

Blissed out on CBD

Good grief, why wouldn’t you want to take the edge off?

Sparkling water infused with CBD.
Sparkling water infused with CBD.NYT

Is there anybody in America not high — sorry, “blissed out” — on CBD? If so, that person and I could start our own little anhedonic affinity group, No-Bliss Obliged. You get the picture.

I am perhaps overreacting to the news that domesticity diva Martha Stewart pops about 20 CBD-laced treats a day. CBD stands for cannabidiol, a cannabis byproduct. America’s most fabulous felon reports that “it’s not a high like a marijuana high. It’s a CBD high, like, relaxed.”

It will come as no surprise that Stewart just started hawking her own line of CBD-infused, gourmet flavor wellness gummies, which “closely resemble the French confections, pâte de fruits,” according to her website.

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Cannabidiol supporters say it offers palliative relief from the ill effects of such ailments as muscle soreness, acne, and insomnia. Big Medicine seems to grudgingly concede that the flavorless compound has some salutary, if still unstudied, properties.

Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the sale of cannabis products, CBD-infused toilet paper, CBD toothpaste, and CBD-tinctured bed sheets have appeared on the scene. Wow, Fido has stopped barking at squirrels; he seems pretty relaxed lately. Must be the Pet Releaf Sweet Potato Pie Edibites we got at Petco.

In Blissed Out On CBD,” according to The New York Times, Stewart says the rapper Snoop Dogg alerted her to the virtues of cannabis (“Snoop must have smoked 10 giant fat blunts”) at a Comedy Central event about five years ago. I thought Snoop had forsworn weed in order to coach Little League football, but I now realize that was a transitory phenomenon.

In terms of CBD hippitude, Stewart and Snoop may be behind the curve. Rob Gronkowski, the second-greatest football player who ever lived, plighted his troth to CBD last year, partnering with CBDMedic to promote a topical pain reliever. Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, Megan Rapinoe, Morgan Freeman, and Whoopi Goldberg have all boarded the CBD train.

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Kim Kardashian is said to be “addicted” to CBD salves. “Anyone that knows me knows I am obsessed with CBD everything,” quoth the lifestyle goddess. “Let’s zen out for a Saturday.”

Let’s! Good grief, why wouldn’t you want to take the edge off? How can you face “reality” (“one of the few words which mean nothing without quotes” — Vladimir Nabokov) without a crutch? The president of the United States, Scarlett O’Hara-like, spends two hours each morning fixing his hair. The Arctic is melting, and the West Coast is on fire. The confidence-uninspiring Joe Biden is the imperfect vessel in which we’ve invested our hopes for the Republic.

And, oh yes, the coronavirus pandemic, which stubbornly didn’t disappear over the summer, even though we asked it to. Sadly, quite the opposite.

If you are willing to face this world straight up and sober, you have more psychic fortitude than most of us.

It’s lucky that no one reads books any more, because they might recognize the CBD craze in the pages of Aldous Huxley’s famous 1932 novel “Brave New World.” The citizens of Huxley’s fictional Word State ingest soma, a feel-good drug that has “all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.”

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In larger doses, soma takes users on diverting mental holidays — “two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon.” In a famous scene, a retrograde character condemns soma as “poison to soul as well as body.”

Astonishingly, Huxley thought a society of self-medicating serfs oblivious to the totalitarian controls surrounding them was a bad thing. Silly old coot.


Alex Beam’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @imalexbeamyrnot.