CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis that possesses enormous therapeutic potential. The cannabinoid has recently exploded in popularity and a study from the University of California San Diego and John Hopkins found that “CBD” and “cannabidiol” were searched 6.4 million times in April of 2019. It’s being widely touted as a panacea or a cure-all even though clinical research remains limited. However, cannabidiol has already demonstrated neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation may explain its effectiveness in providing pain relief.
People are highly optimistic about the future of CBD and other cannabinoids in the treatment of various diseases and conditions such as cancer, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Today we’ll investigate the five most common myths surrounding CBD and give you a straight answer with science to back it up.
#1. CBD Is Not Psychoactive
CBD doesn’t intoxicate or produce a notable “high” when consumed, creating the misconception that it’s not psychoactive. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that’s responsible for the euphoria or “high” after consumption. Cannabidiol may not be as psychoactive as THC, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t produce an effect on the psyche. Those who get anxiety relief from taking CBD can attest to the calming effect that it has. So yes, CBD is psychoactive, but it’s very subtle and not nearly as intoxicating as THC.
#2. CBD Is Better Isolated
Cannabidiol is frequently processed into oil, where additional terpenes and cannabinoids, primarily THC, are removed to produce a pure distillate. This is done to prevent intoxication from THC. However, several clinical studies are finding that CBD appears to increase the therapeutic properties of THC while reducing negative symptoms like anxiety and paranoia. One 2018 study found that CBD-enriched cannabis extracts containing THC and additional cannabinoids were more effective for treatment-resistant epilepsy than CBD-pure extracts.
PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) CBD oil contains all the natural terpenes and cannabinoids found in hemp. These compounds demonstrate synergy in animal studies, particularly with CBD boosting the anti-cancerous properties of THC. This is known as the “entourage effect,” which refers to the synergistic increase in positive effects from compounds that would not occur or to a lesser extent, if isolated.
Cannabidiol alone may provide symptom relief, but if it’s available, legal, and desired, combining with THC or other cannabinoids could result in increased effectiveness. The Institute of Neurological Sciences located in Germany published a study in 2019 that found that a spray containing a combination of THC and CBD proved to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for those with chronic pain.
#3 CBD Is Completely Legal In The U.S. Now
Not exactly. The recent 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the cultivation of hemp and hemp extracts in the United States, removing CBD from the Controlled Substances Act and the sights of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, cannabidiol remains illegal to sell as a dietary supplement due to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not approving the cannabinoid for anything except for treating seizures under the drug name Epidiolex. Hemp is defined as cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
If cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis containing more than 0.3 percent THC, it’s reclassified as marijuana. Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance under the Control Substance Act as defined by the DEA, making cannabis illegal to grow, sell, purchase, or possess. However, many states have already legalized both medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, with several states following in their footsteps.
CBD remains legal to buy as long as it’s derived from industrial hemp instead of THC-producing cannabis. Always check your local and state laws regarding CBD as they do vary. For example, you need a prescription to buy CBD in Virginia.
#4 CBD Is Regulated
Thousands of CBD products are hitting the market with the recent legalization of the growth and sale of industrial hemp and its extracts. Unfortunately, these products do not always contain what they say since many labs are testing positive for THC in products claiming to contain only CBD. This is mostly attributed to poor-quality sourced CBD products that are not regulated or 3rd-party tested. Poor quality products usually contain little cannabidiol but large concentrations of less desired cannabinoids from the biomass of hemp leaves. Unregulated products may also contain pesticides and chemicals.
Officially licensed cannabis dispensaries sell CBD products ranging from gummies to topical creams, and it’s highly recommended to only purchase products from these reputable facilities instead of online or headshops. These products are strictly regulated and ensure that the products are sourced from high-quality hemp and contain exactly what the label says. Washington State recently banned CBD in foods and drinks, but licensed dispensaries are not affected by the ban.
#5 CBD Works Better In Higher Doses
Not always. CBD-pure extracts may require larger doses than CBD-enriched cannabis oil extracts to be effective. However, consuming CBD oil enriched with additional beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids can a more effective treatment by increasing the range of effects on the body. THC directly binds with cannabinoid receptors, whereas CBD doesn’t, which is why they produce different effects. By combining CBD with THC and other cannabinoids, you create a broader therapeutic impact on the body compared to taking cannabidiol alone. Treatments that consist of a combination of THC and CBD also have been demonstrated to be effective at dosages as low as 2.5 mg. Certain conditions may require larger doses to achieve adequate symptom relief.
There are no clinically established guidelines for dosing cannabidiol to treat any disease or condition. We need more studies to determine the optimal dose of the cannabinoid or CBD-combined mixtures for treating symptoms relating to pain, inflammation, stress, psychiatric disorders, and more. However, everyone responds differently to drugs and compounds, so experiment with the dose to find what works best for you. CBD is well-tolerated and rarely produces side effects in the majority of individuals, so there’s little concern with accidentally taking too much.
CBD For Pain Relief
Research on CBD remains limited. However, the current literature suggests that CBD may be effective in providing pain relief for a variety of conditions and diseases. Learn about CBD and how CBD can help relieve pain symptoms.