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March 2022

Is PEA the New CBD?

CBD has been a hot topic for many years now. It’s been proposed as a treatment for countless conditions. And regulations for both CBD and cannabis keep changing, creating more questions and confusion, with rules varying from state to state. Enter: Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) – a chemical that’s produced in the body in response to stress, inflammation and injury. It can also be obtained from fat that’s found in foods like egg yolks and peanuts. It’s important to understand why PEA is being suggested as a better alternative to CBD.

PEA and CBD seem to target similar pathways in the endocannabinoid system. But PEA demonstrates potentially better efficacy and reduced safety concerns and doesn’t come with the regulatory headaches. Meta-analyses show that taking 300-1200 mg of micronized or ultramicronized PEA by mouth daily for up to 60 days reduces pain in people with various types of chronic pain. It also seems to be safe when used appropriately, short-term. The most common side effect is nausea. Despite product marketing campaigns and headlines suggesting otherwise, research on the use of CBD for acute or chronic pain remains limited and unclear.

Research is ongoing, but keep your eye out for an uptick in interest in PEA. There’s growing demand for products with similar effects to CBD, but without the regulatory and safety hurdles. Check out our monograph to learn more. Also, make sure you don’t confuse palmitoylethanolamide with phenethylamine - both are commonly abbreviated as PEA on supplement labels.

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