With any new nutritional supplement, there’s always going to be some misconceptions, concerns and questions raised when it starts to gain popularity. When that product is something that has an association with a banned substance, we can understand why there might be a few more than usual. CBD has been experiencing quite the buzz lately and with that, a few myths and misconceptions have arisen too. We’ll separate the facts from the fiction and clear up the grey areas where the confusion usually stems from.
"CBD will get you high"
This one is a hard no, CBD products will not get you high. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which won’t affect cognitive ability or motor function. THC is the psychoactive counterpart to CBD and arguably the most well known cannabinoid from the hemp plant.
Many people associate CBD with marijuana because they’re both a form of “cannabis.” The key difference here is that CBD is from cannabis sativa. Also referred to as industrial hemp, cannabis sativa has negligible amounts of THC but is naturally high in CBD. While both THC and CBD interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, they have a different effect. Marijuana is a different kind of plant that has been selectively bred to have some CBD but significantly higher levels of THC which is what causes the high.
"CBD is illegal"
In the UK up until 2016, CBD was illegal. Since then, providing it has less than a 0.2% THC content, it’s legal to sell, purchase and use. If you’re in the States, the limit is marginally higher and can contain up to 0.3% THC. While THC can collect in your system after prolonged use over time, it’s unlikely with such low levels you’ll notice any effect. Many products are entirely THC free, particularly the ones made with CBD isolate.
If you’re concerned about the legality or THC content but want to use CBD, look for products with third party lab testing. When manufacturers of CBD products make things like tinctures and vape liquids, they test their cannabinoid levels. Generally speaking this is done by a third party lab and most manufacturers will have a certificate or results sheet you can look up for every batch they’ve made to check THC levels.
"CBD is the same thing as medical marijuana"
The key difference between CBD and medical marijuana is the THC and CBD levels. CBD products alone will have a maximum THC level of 0.2% and can be bought in stores on the high street and online. Medical marijuana contains more than 0.2% THC but also often has a high level of CBD but can’t be bought or sold, you need a prescription from a medical practitioner to obtain it.
This myth links back to legality again, CBD on its own when derived from an EU approved cannabis sativa hemp strain has been legal since 2016. Medical marijuana was shifted from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 category drug in November 2018⁽¹⁾. This means it went from being listed as a drug with no medical or therapeutic value to a substance that can be legally prescribed and possessed for certain conditions.
While CBD alone is used by many people for things like stress, supporting normal motor function, relieving nausea and pain it’s a much more mild cannabinoid. Strains with both THC and CBD need more precise dosing and have a more potent effect, hence why they’re available only on prescription.
"CBD is a fix all and can cure X, Y and Z"
On the other end of the myth spectrum is that CBD can fix anything - from cancer to arthritis which simply isn’t true. CBD is not a wonder cure, rather it’s a nutritional supplement that works to support the systems in your body that regulate a number of functions.
While many people experience remarkable improvements in a number of areas by supplementing with CBD, it’s not actually a medicine. Your body has something called an endocannabinoid system with receptors spread predominantly throughout your brain, nervous system and immune system⁽²⁾. These receptors synthesise cannabinoids to regulate how you experience pain and inflammation as well as supporting motor function, mood and cortisol levels.
When this system is supplemented during times of high stress or injury, you’ll have an ample amount of cannabinoids that your body can use to regulate stress and repair damage. It works in the same way as a vitamin D supplement works in the winter. When you lack sunlight, your body has a deficiency of vitamin D so you take more to make up for the shortfall. CBD isn’t a cure, but it does help your body work in the most optimal way to support recovery and normal bodily function.
"All CBD oils are the same"
While it can be tempting to look for the cheapest option possible when you’re looking to try CBD, not all oils are created equal. There are multiple factors that go into making a high quality CBD product. The first of which is the extraction process. Generally considered to be the best way of getting CBD from the hemp plant is supercritical CO2 extraction. It doesn’t use any chemicals or solvent to remove the CBD from the plant, gets a high yield and maintains the integrity of the compound too.
The other thing that’s important to look for is lab testing for both purity and to check THC levels. While you may be paying for a certain strength or concentration, without third party lab testing you can’t know for certain if you’re actually getting what it says on the label. If the CBD in an untested tincture is from a non-hemp strain there may also be significantly more than the legal 0.2% limit of THC. It’s always best to purchase your CBD from reputable brands that offer full disclosure.
"CBD doesn’t work"
Unfortunately, some people try CBD and feel it just doesn’t do anything for them. The key part here comes down to dosage and what’s right for one person might be too weak for another. While it’s not a cure-all, once you get the dosage right you’re much more likely to notice a difference. Getting the right dose for you which includes a lot of factors including your weight, condition and how you take it. If you’re not sure whether you’re dosing correctly, we’ve explained everything in detail over on our dosage guide.
- Drug Licensing Factsheet- Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids - assets.publishing.service.gov.uk
- An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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