CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most well-known compounds in cannabis. People have used cannabis to treat physical and mental health symptoms for thousands of years, but the use of CBD has become especially popular in recent years.
Like cannabis as a whole, there’s lots of misinformation about CBD. If you’re interested in using CBD, you should understand what’s fact and what’s fiction, so you have the right expectations. Here are 10 of the biggest myths and misconceptions about CBD:
1. CBD gets you high
This is probably the biggest and most common misconception about CBD. Because people associate CBD with marijuana, they assume that the compound causes a high. However, the psychoactive component in cannabis is THC, not CBD. If you consume CBD that’s free of THC, you won’t experience the psychoactive effects.
CBD does have an effect on the brain, though. Research has found that CBD has significant anti-anxiety properties and can be beneficial for people with mental health disorders. It may even decrease the anxiety and other negative psychological effects caused by THC, although studies have found conflicting results on this topic.
2. CBD is a cure
CBD can have powerful health benefits, but it’s risky to refer to it as a “cure.” While it may help alleviate symptoms of a variety of physical and mental health issues, it doesn’t eliminate disorders or illnesses entirely. CBD is more of a therapy or a supplement than a cure, and calling it a cure may be misleading for people who are desperate for a solution to their illnesses.
3. CBD oil is the same as medical marijuana
Although both have medicinal benefits, CBD oil is not the same as medical marijuana. CBD oil often comes from hemp, which is a different variety of cannabis than marijuana. Some medical marijuana strains are high in CBD and low in THC, but most medical marijuana products do contain THC. CBD oil does not contain THC, so it has different mental and physical effects.
There are also different laws and restrictions on CBD and medical marijuana. CBD oil that’s derived from hemp is legal in all 50 states, but medical marijuana laws vary from state to state. Because it contains THC, medical marijuana is typically much more strictly regulated than CBD oil.
4. CBD is only safe for adults
States with legal medical or recreational marijuana have age restrictions on marijuana, but CBD oil that’s free of THC is safe for all ages. It isn’t psychoactive, and it has a wide variety of health benefits for kids. For example, research supports the use of CBD to reduce the frequency of seizures in children with epilepsy.
Dr. Leslie Iverson, who works for the Oxford University department of pharmacology, even states that cannabinoids like CBD are safer than aspirin and will not cause side effects after long-term use. However, even though research shows that CBD is safe for children, you should always consult with your family doctor before treating your child with CBD oil.
5. Single compound CBD is better than whole plant CBD
Single-compound CBD is isolated CBD that contains no additional cannabinoids or other components. When CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, everything else is removed. Whole plant CBD, as its name suggests, is made with the entire plant and includes terpenes, extra cannabinoids, and other plant compounds.
Because it contains a higher concentration of CBD, single-compound CBD may seem like a more powerful option. Research suggests that whole plant CBD is actually more effective, though. In 2015, scientists in Israel discovered that single-compound CBD creates a bell-shaped response curve. When the dose exceeds a certain point, its effects dramatically decline. Whole plant CBD, on the other hand, does not create a bell-shaped response curve. Its dosage directly correlates with its effects no matter how big or small the dose is.
The researchers also discovered that it takes less whole plant CBD to get the same anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory effects as single-compound CBD. This is probably because the other plant compounds interact with the body to enhance the effects of CBD. Scientists have labeled this the “entourage effect.”
6. CBD is more effective without THC
For the treatment of many health conditions, CBD and THC are both more effective when they’re combined. For example, a combination of CBD and THC tends to be best for treating neuropathic pain. One study also found that the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis are enhanced when CBD is combined with THC. However, if you don’t want the psychoactive effects of THC, don’t worry. CBD can still have powerful effects on its own.
7. CBD can convert to THC in your stomach
This myth comes from a paper published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal in 2016. Researchers reported that they saw the potential for a CBD-to-THC conversion in artificial gastric fluid, which raised concern among patients and physicians that CBD could convert to THC in an actual human stomach.
There is plenty of research that doesn’t support this claim, though. In one study from 2007, researchers found that less than 3 percent of a CBD dosage converted to THC in the body, which is not enough to create any psychoactive or adverse effects. Even in studies that used high doses of CBD, no significant amount of THC was found in the participants’ bodies. Most researchers agree that the artificial gastric fluid used in the 2016 was not an accurate representation of the human stomach, so the effects are not the same.
8. CBD is a sedative
While THC is proven to have some sedative effects, CBD does not. CBD can ease anxiety and improve sleep quality, but it typically won’t make you feel drowsy. In fact, it may even promote alertness and wakefulness. In one study, CBD was shown to increase wakefulness in rats, and researchers concluded that this was because the compound activated the hypothalamus.
9. All CBD is the same
Just like any other product, CBD can vary widely between different manufacturers. CBD goes through a long production process, and manufacturers may have different protocol for growing, extracting, storing, and packaging their CBD products. Cannabis grown in different regions of the world may be exposed to different compounds in the soil, which can have a major impact on its effectiveness. Depending on how the manufacturers extract the CBD from the plant, products can have different concentrations of CBD, too.
It’s important to do careful research before purchasing a CBD product. Some products are better for certain purposes than others, so you have to make sure you buy the right CBD for your needs. You also must make sure that the company you buy from is safe and trustworthy, so you experience the full benefits of CBD without the harmful effects.
10. CBD oil is illegal
There are many misconceptions about the legality of cannabis, hemp, marijuana, and CBD. In some states, all forms of cannabis are legal for recreational and medicinal purposes. Other states have stricter regulations on cannabis. People often mix up cannabis, hemp, and marijuana, which creates confusion on which products are legal.
There are four states where CBD oil derived from marijuana is completely illegal: Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The other 46 states and Washington, D.C. allow CBD oil derived from marijuana, but many states require that the THC concentration be below a certain amount. This amount varies from state to state, so you should research your state’s regulations.
CBD products derived from marijuana may not be legal where you live, but CBD oil derived from hemp is legal everywhere. Hemp contains such a low concentration of THC that it cannot cause psychoactive effects, so there are no legal issues involved.
Only in recent years has research on CBD become more common and widespread, so many people have false beliefs about the compound. However, studies have proven that CBD is a safe and powerful treatment for many ailments as long as it’s used properly. If you’re considering using CBD, you should do your research carefully, so you avoid being misled by one of the many myths and misconceptions.