Unless you’ve been living in a cave these last few years, you’ve no doubt seen CBD touted in the news and across the web as the next big revolution in health and wellness.
Claims purported range from the cannabinoid being a “miracle cure-all”, to cautious optimism for its “potential” to help with a myriad of health conditions.
As with any new wellness supplement, increased adoption by the public, health and medical systems means that more questions (and answers) are bound to arise. While more information is generally a good thing, there has also been a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD.
We’re here to clear up that confusion, separating some of CBD’s most common myths and uncovering the facts you’ll need to make an informed decision about your health and well-being.
Let’s dive in…
Myth #1: CBD is the Same as Cannabis / Marijuana / Weed
Wrong. However, because CBD can be derived or extracted from cannabis AND hemp it is easy to see how this misconception could come about. To make matters even more confusing, some stores even sell “CBD flower” to smoke, leading some to think they are buying an actual form of cannabis to toke up with.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 200 uniquely known compounds found in cannabis and hemp. It can be extracted from either plant using several unique processes, and is available in full-spectrum and isolate forms. Full-spectrum versions contain other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, etc., but (unless stated otherwise and where legal) never contain more than 0.3% THC.
Myth #2: CBD is “non-psychoactive”
Most information on CBD from scientific literature to lay articles online will classify CBD as “non-psychoactive”. However, there is a major misconception by the public as to what this means.
What the literature means when it says “non-psychoactive” is that you won’t “feel it” like you would if you smoked a joint or drank a few beers. It does not negatively impact things like cognition, reaction time, critical thinking, reasoning abilities or motor coordination.
But that doesn’t mean it has no impact on the mind. Clinical and scientific research shows quite the opposite. Research has demonstrated CBD’s ability to lower symptoms of anxiety, reduce psychosis, lower cravings, improve cognition, enhance overall mood and sense of well-being, and more. In this way, CBD can be considered non-intoxicating and non-impairing.
Myth #3: If You Take Enough CBD you can Get “High” or a “Buzz”
CBD itself is not intoxicating and will not give you any type of “head” or “body” high by itself. This is why it is completely safe to take CBD while at work, when driving or handling any other adult responsibilities. Even full-spectrum CBD that contains other cannabinoids will not get you “high”.
But wait you say…doesn’t CBD contain a certain amount of THC?
Fair point. But we need to make some distinctions here. There are generally three types of formulations when it comes to THC and CBD.
- CBD guaranteed to be 100% THC-free
- CBD guaranteed to meet Federal guidelines of containing 0.3% or less THC
- CBD that intentionally has more than 0.3% THC (in states and jurisdictions where legalized)
CBD that is guaranteed to have zero THC will not get you high. CBD that has 0.3% (the Federal limit) does not have enough THC to elicit any psychostimulatory effects even when taken in supraphysiological doses (i.e. taking a whole bottle at once…which is NOT recommended).
This is due partly to there still not being enough THC present, and secondly due to CBD being a CB1 receptor antagonist. This means that it can block THC from binding to receptors that cause its “euphoric” effect. As such, some uses of cannabis add in CBD to “mellow out” the “high”, especially if marijuana gives them anxiety.
Myth #4: CBD has Zero Side Effects
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” and “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Despite its impressive safety profile that does not mean it is without any side effects. Even aspirin has a laundry list of potential side effects.
So what are the possible side effects of CBD?
- Dry mouth
- Lower blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
*It should be noted that side effects in most studies were found to be mild to moderate, less common and well-tolerated for most individuals.
Myth #5: CBD Will Make You Tired and Lethargic
Although some research has deemed CBD to have potential sedative effects, this is largely due to its purported ability to “calm” nerves and created a relaxed state that makes it easy for those who are already tired to get some much-needed rest. For many, CBD can be stimulating and help improve alertness when taken in certain dosages.
Myth #6: Dosage Doesn’t Matter Much
When it comes to CBD, dosage is incredibly important. However, optimal dosages are still being determined and current research shows that more is not always better, with some health concerns being better suited to smaller doses while others respond better to higher doses.
Other factors that may impact needed dosage may include:
- Individual physiology
- Other medical conditions
- And more
Myth #7: CBD can be Addicting
This myth is patently false. Research, including that from a 2017 Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence study revealed that CBD use did not indicate any signs of the potential for abuse.
That said, CBD’s cousin, THC, has shown the potential for abuse and addiction. While most CBD is THC free, or contains so little as to not be a concern, some CBD is sold with a higher ratio of THC in states where it is legal to do so. In such cases, high TCH levels in CBD could be addictive.
Myth 8: CBD is a “cure-all” Miracle
CBD has demonstrated the potential to be a useful therapeutic aid in the treatment of a wide range of conditions and ailments. However, it is not a “Cure-all” and is not appropriate for all individuals to use. Further, for some conditions, more research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms through which it works, ideal dosing and more.
With the amount of misinformation out there it is easy to get confused about what CBD is, what it is useful for, and what precautions you should take. Before buying a CBD product make sure you’ve done your research and are using a reputable supplier that tests their products for purity and potency. And always discuss with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.