Facts Matter: 15 CBD Myths Debunked
CBD is the star ingredient in many health products nowadays. They promise to cure every ailment under the sun, and people seem to be more and more eager to buy them.
But most CBD use isn’t backed up by science. Surveys show that most people don’t know what it actually is, and marketers who don’t know any better are making exaggerated health claims.
With so much misleading information cropping up in search engines and social media, it’s worth discussing the most popular misconceptions surrounding this hot health trend.
Table of Contents
First things first, let me introduce you to….
The Basics of CBD
CBD IS CANNABIS WITHOUT THE HIGH
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a natural compound of the cannabis plant that belongs to a class called “cannabinoids.” This means CBD is able to impact specific receptors in your body known as “cannabinoid receptors.” But these interactions don’t result in feelings of intoxication or highs.
Cannabis is a family of plants home to many chemicals. It produces over 100 different cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, ketones, waxes and chlorophyll. This greenery comes in different varieties including hemp and marijuana. The major difference between these two varieties is the THC content.
THC is, indeed, the cannabinoid that gets you high. Thus, hemp is any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. Not enough to alter your mental sharpness.
On the other hand, the average marijuana strain contains anywhere from 5-20% THC, and it can go up to 30% in some modern strains.
YOUR BODY IS DESIGNED TO WORK WITH CBD
Your body has a powerful system that interacts with all cannabinoids, termed as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In a nutshell the ECS is a network of messengers, receptors and enzymes that regulates vital biological processes in your body to establish and maintain health. And CBD may help the system do its job successfully.
It’s worth noting that your body produces its own cannabinoids called “endocannabinoids.” They work in similar way as the cannabis compounds.
CBD IS LEGAL-ISH
CBD can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana, but these varieties have a different legal status. Buying CBD that comes from a hemp plant with less than 0.3% THC is federally legal in the 50 states of the union. However, marijuana-derived CBD remains as a controlled drug at the federal level.
Now let’s debunk the most popular myths.
CBD Can Only Be Extracted from Cannabis Plants
Pulling out CBD from cannabis isn’t the only way to source this prominent cannabinoid. Researchers have engineered new alternative ways to extract CBD and other cannabinoids.
Believe it or not, today CBD can be sourced from:
CBD FROM YEAST
Yeast is a fascinating group of living microorganisms. It has fed and boozed humans since before civilization. But yeast can make more than bread, cheese and alcohol, it can also make top notch cannabinoids.
Isolating a specific chemical from cannabis is expensive and complicated because of the vast diversity of chemicals found in this plant. Also because cannabis produces them at different ratios. But from yeast they can be produced one cannabinoid at a time.
Researchers can control which cannabinoids to produce by adding genes from the cannabis plant to brewer’s yeast, and feeding it with specific fatty acids. As a result, they obtain a cheap, pure, and high-quality isolated CBD with no traces of THC.
CBD FROM CITRUS
This CBD is made from the peels of citrus fruits, more specifically from limonene a terpene present in the cannabis plant and in many citrus fruits. Limonene is chemically similar to CBD, and scientists can now turn this terpene into a pure, 100% THC-free, isolated CBD.
CBD Isn’t Psychoactive
By definition any chemical that can alter your mental state and affect your brain and central nervous system is considered “psychoactive.”
CBD is well-known as a therapeutic drug to treat seizures, meaning it can affect the brain somehow, therefore it’s psychoactive.
Some marketers label CBD as “non-psychoactive” because it can’t get you high. However, this is NOT accurate, and CBD should rather be labeled as non-intoxicating because, even though it impacts your brain, it doesn’t alter your state of mind and reasoning.
CBD Blocks the CB1 Receptors
These are two very common misconceptions: “CBD binds the cannabinoid receptors” or “CBD blocks the CB1 receptors.” Neither of these are accurate.
The way CBD displays its therapeutic effects is by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In a nutshell, the endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors, ligands, and enzymes that work together to keep your body and mind healthy.
The receptors that researchers have found as part of the ECS are CB1 and CB2. They’re widespread throughout the body, and that ubiquity is the reason this system is involved in nearly every aspect of your health.
Cannabinoids are known for their ability to interact with these receptors, but CBD is the exception to the rule. Surprisingly, CBD don’t have a strong affinity for CB1 and CB2, and it’s not able to bind them directly.
What this rockstar cannabinoid really does is to tone down the activity of these receptors by activating other channels—the TRPV channels—which are involved in regulating pain, body temperature, and inflammation.
It turns out that the activation of the TRPV channels dampens the psychoactivity of CB1. Overstimulated CB1 receptors are associated with psychosis and schizophrenia, and that’s why CBD is target of cut off research for these conditions.
A study conducted by Dr. Daniele Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine, found that CBD was as effective as major tranquilizers prescribed to treat schizophrenia but without the typical side effects of these anti-psychotic drugs.
CBD Is a Supplement
The FDA has been clear about this, CBD is approved as the active ingredient in Epidiolex—a drug to treat epilepsy.
Drugs are NOT allowed in supplements, food, or beverages, because they fall under a different set of regulations.
Drugs must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before being advertised, while supplements don’t need approval from the FDA before they hit the market.
What does all this mean? Well, CBD is currently in a grey zone, it can’t be marketed as a supplement and it’s only approved as a drug in Epidiolex. So, besides reducing seizures, health claims for other conditions are considered unlawful in the eyes of the agency.
There’s No Proof that CBD Has Medical Value
As noted before, CBD is an approved drug to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Approved drugs must undergo the FDA’s approval process which includes hard evidence and large studies.
Studies on Epidiolex compared CBD with placebos and its effects in people. These studies determined CBD was safe and provided a real benefit to treat seizures. That’s why this drug is fully approved and free to buy in all 50 states.
But we need more back up science to understand all the other targets CBD hits in the human body, and how they translate into real health benefits.
CBD Is a Snake Oil
If it can treat severe seizures, it’s obviously NOT a snake oil. Yes, there are shady products out there that don’t contain nearly what their labels say. Actually you should never buy CBD unless you’re 100% certain that it’s, thoroughly vetted and made with high-quality ingredients.
However, top-notch CBD is showing positive results for many people around the world.
Early data is promising and is luring researchers to believe this compound has medical value. Growing anecdotal evidence is vouching for the use of CBD to treat a wide variety of health issues. Anecdotal evidence is often regarded as an unreliable source of proof, but it shouldn’t be completely ignored.
One problem with anecdotal evidence is the “placebo effect.” People who expect good outcomes are more likely to see benefits. Your brain is great at anticipating outcomes, even when info is missing. That’s why placebo is such a powerful drug.
Your thoughts play a role in your healing, and sometimes they might be enough to help you overcome disease and sickness.
More than 65 molecular targets have been attributed to CBD. So, are we onto something of unimaginable medical value or just placebo? Nobody really knows just yet, but if placebo is what has helped me for the last 4 years, I’ll keep taking it.
CBD from Hemp Is Legal Everywhere
The legal status of CBD is less than straightforward. It largely depends on where you live and where you plan to buy it. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, were de-scheduled as class 1 controlled drugs, meaning they’re federally legal now.
Most of the CBD products you find on the marked are hemp-derived; however, they don’t have the FDA’s approval, which has fostered a sort of “Wild West” mentality among vendors.
Lack of regulation and oversight from the agency is the reason individual states are setting their own rules for CBD manufacturers, sellers, and buyers.
Currently, it’s legal to buy hemp-derived CBD in 43 states. It’s completely illegal in Nebraska and South Dakota.
In Idaho, only CBD with virtually zero CBD is allowed.
In Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, you can only get CBD with a doctor’s order.
CBD Is a Miracle Cure-All Drug
Every decade has its own miracle drug, and CBD is having its extended 15 minutes of fame. The potential medical value of this compound has us all excited, but the research done in humans is still scarce and NOT impressive at all.
The only current hard evidence of the benefits of CBD is for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy.
So, no, CBD is Not a cure-all drug. It actually doesn’t work for some people, but it works wonders for others, like me. Only time and more research will tell what this molecule can really do to help us live better and healthier lives.
CBD Has No Side Effects
CBD is a gift from Nature, but natural doesn’t mean 100% safe. Some people have reported drowsiness, upset stomach, or diarrhea after consuming CBD. Other people have experienced lethargy and fatigue when taking it in large doses.
The higher the dose, the greater the chances of unpleasant effects. CBD is NOT recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
This remarkable compound is well-tolerated by most individuals, but it has a biphasic action, which essentially means that CBD may have different sets of effects at different dosage levels.
So, the side effects could be negligible, but if you take too much CBD, they still can give you a crappy day. Even though there’s evidence that it’s non toxic, the market is unregulated and pretty much anyone can sell whatever and label it as CBD.
The FDA recently issued a consumer’s update, warning about the safety of CBD products, which completely disagree with the claims of the World Health Organization.
The FDA’s concerns come from its work on Epidiolex. During the development of this drug, evidence of liver damage on rats that were administered high amounts of purified CBD was shown. Toxicity is a concern at high doses, as is the case with most drugs out there. Fortunately, CBD works great at small doses.
CBD can interact with some drugs and can heighten the effects of alcohol. As noted above, CBD is NOT 100% safe, and you should be especially cautious if you’re taking crazy amounts of purified CBD or if you mix it with alcohol. Never skip a doctor’s recommendation about the risks of combining this cannabinoid with other drugs.
CBD Works for Everyone
This doesn’t apply to CBD. We already addressed how too much CBD might provoke side effects. It’s always recommended to start with the minimum dose possible when trying it for the first time and build up your dose accordingly.
CBD has a cumulative effect and works better over time. This means the CBD molecule is a fatty acid, and it gets stored in the fatty tissue of your body until it’s metabolized. So figuring out your serving size slowly is key to avoid over-saturation, therefore, unappealing effects.
I’ve found out that, instead of increasing my dosage when things aren’t working as usual, it’s better to decrease it a bit to bring back the benefits, which is not only convenient but cost-effective.
CBD Has Instant Effects
This is the case for some lucky people but for most of us, a bit of testing and tweaking is needed before getting the desired results. It’s likely that you will need to experiment with different products in different amounts to find out what product—if any—suits you better.
CBD works in subtle and unique ways. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system where your body needs it most, so the effects are highly individual. Several factors like your health goals, your weight and the method of consumption play a role in how this compound is absorbed. But in general, people are reporting relief after a few days of using it daily.
Since CBD is NOT a band-aid, you need to stay consistent, the longer you take it the better it will work with your ECS. Remember that this system is like a bridge between body and mind and your health depends on how well it’s running.
More Is Better
This doesn’t apply to CBD. We already addressed how too much CBD might provoke side effects. It’s always recommended to start with the minimum dose possible when trying it for the first time and build your dose up accordingly.
CBD has a cumulative effect and works better over time. This means that the CBD molecule is a fatty acid, and it gets stored in the fatty tissue of your body until it’s metabolized. So figuring out your serving size slowly is key to avoid over-saturation, therefore, unappealing effects.
I’ve found out that instead of increasing my dosage when things aren’t working as usual, it’s better to decrease it a bit to bring back the benefits, which is not only convenient but cost-effective.
Purified Isolated CBD Is Safer
For decades, scientists have isolated chemicals to develop drugs. But what some cannabis researchers have found is that the many chemicals present in this plant need to work as a team to reach their full potential.
This phenomenon has been termed the “entourage effect.” This effect describes how all the compounds found in cannabis work better in synergy than in isolation. Synergy not only helps the compounds amplify their therapeutic effects, but it also counteracts the adverse effects of each other.
According to their content, CBD products are classified as:
Products that contain all the chemicals from the plant are known as full-spectrum and they have shown to have fewer side effects than pure CBD at higher doses. A full-spectrum formula has better bioavailability, meaning more CBD will be absorbed. Full-spectrum might also work better to treat anxiety. But these extracts also contain traces of THC, the infamous chemical that gets you high.
For individuals with THC sensitivity, a broad-spectrum formula is better. Although Broad-spectrum products don’t contain THC, you still can enjoy the entourage benefits because all the other chemicals from the plant are still present.
Purified isolated CBD is best suited for rookies, for people who undergo drug tests regularly and for individuals with plant allergies. But these extracts have shown to be less potent and riskier at high doses.
CBD Makes You Sleepy
CBD is great for sleep because it stimulates the endocannabinoid system to promote relaxation. It helps your body achieve a state of calm by decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. Your sleep may be improved as a result of these anti-anxiety properties.
But CBD alone is a non-intoxicating molecule. Its use doesn’t necessarily result in feelings of sedation, drowsiness, or sleepiness. Some people report feeling energized after taking this compound, while others feel relaxed.
This might be related to your body chemistry and to the type of CBD you use. A Full-spectrum formula is more sedative because of the presence of chemicals like myrcene. Myrcene is a terpene known for its pain-killing effects and for its sedative properties.
The amount of CBD you take may also have an impact on how it makes you feel; very high doses can be sleep-promoting.
You Won't Fail a Drug Test for CBD
Workplace drug testing is a reality for many employees and job applicants around the world. And this is a major concern when they want to supplement with CBD.
Cannabinoids can easily show up on these tests—even after weeks of being consumed—because of the cumulative effect.
Usually, a common workplace urine drug test for cannabis looks for THC metabolites in your body, because THC is the compound that alters your mind.
Technically, CBD doesn’t trigger a positive result on your drug test, but there’s a chance of THC exposure if your product has traces of this compound. This may yield a cannabis-positive screening.
If you regularly undergo drug-testing, your go-to is an isolated CBD formula. You just need to be extra careful when you purchase, since the market is flooded with mislabeled products.
Make sure your product contains CBD and only CBD by checking its Certificate Of Analysis (COA), which is a third lab party report that ensures what you’re buying is accurately labelled.
Touted as “the next big thing,” CBD is surrounded by many myths, and I bet there will be more to come in the future, which makes it crucial to educate yourself and do your own research, so you can discern between what actually is or is NOT a myth.
Look for reliable brands with reputable websites and ask the experts who make and sell their products or reach them out by phone. Good brands are very responsive and always ready to help. They will give you the facts you need to make an informed decision before you add products to your cart.
Remember that, here at CBDety, I strive always to bring you information that is timely, comprehensive, unbiased, and based on reliable sources. But I also encourage you to discuss important matters related to your healthcare with your physician, so you can feel confident in making the right decision along your wellness journey.
To your well-being!