Thanks largely to the stigmas formed by staunchly opposed state legislatures and interest groups, many people still believe that CBD users are simply using the extract as a stepping stone to legalize cannabis. Even CBD supporters are liable to believe one of many CBD myths created by increasingly fact-bending online communities, often claiming that CBD can cure cancer and so forth. What say we use evidence to cut through this fog of misinformation and two-way bias, eh? Such is the beauty of facts: they don’t care who or what you are voting for.
In the interest of fairness, and to educate future CBD users, we have debunked four of the most common CBD myths held by supporters AND the opposition below.
CBD “Knocks You Out”
The perception that CBD “knocks you out” is not completely unfounded, but it technically belongs in the “CBD myths” category. Yes, this very blogger authored a post on this very blog describing the potency of CBD as a sleep aid, but the role of CBD itself is not to directly sedate you.
Confused yet? Hold on, we’re getting there…
If you read the post in reference carefully, you will see that CBD’s mechanism for fighting sleep disorders involves lowering levels of the body’s stress hormones. Also mentioned in the post is the ability of CBD to combat inflammatory processes and reduce pain, both of which indirectly contribute to more restful sleep for people who struggle with those problems.
Do you see where this and other CBD myths come from? Simple misunderstandings and sloppy interpretations can create stigmas and CBD myths that influence huge swaths of people. As it pertains to CBD’s role in sleep, the research is pointing to another possible sleep-improving element (aside from the above mentioned pain management and stress reduction) that doesn’t directly involve the CBD. Researchers have found myrcene, a naturally occurring compound known to have sedative effects, in high-CBD products. Admittedly, this is one of the most confusing and easily believable among all CBD myths – we don’t blame people for buying in. Can CBD supplements promote a sedative effect? Yes. Does the CBD itself directly sedate you? No.
CBD Supercharges the Endocannabinoid System
Another function of cannabidiol mentioned frequently throughout this blog involves its obvious relevance to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is because of our already existing system for creating and processing cannabinoids that side effects of CBD are so minimal. Of course, wherever a substance in the brain is produced, there must be receptors to which the signals are sent. So far, researchers have identified and categorized two receptors within the ECS: CB1 and CB2 (so creative, aren’t they?). One of the most common CBD myths is that the introduction of a CBD product simply “juices up” the ECS, increasing the amount of cannabinoids that receptors take in.
In actuality, the action of cannabidiol in the endocannabinoid system is not as simple as a “top-off.” A growing number of studies have begun to hint at the capacity of cannabidiol to actually decrease the amount of cannabinoids that bind with these two receptors.
But wait, you ask: If CBD decreases cannabinoid uptake, won’t it take away from all of these health-promoting effects of the endocannabinoid system that we’ve been trying to increase?
Here’s the thing:
If CBD only created this “modulating” or softening effect on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, then yes – it would actually compromise some of the health-promoting effects of the ECS. There’s a second action, however, that takes place away from the receptors. Studies have found that CBD actually protects a certain, very common endocannabinoid known as “anandamide.” Where it would normally slough off on the way to the receptor, the anandamide is preserved by the CBD.
So, CBD has two functions: one that slightly decreases cannabinoid uptake and one that greatly increases it. The many CBD users who already swear by its effects are proof that the sum of this tug-of-war is overwhelmingly positive.
CBD is Legal Everywhere
Even though CBD contains no THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana that gives you a mind-altering “high,” the Drug Enforcement Administration has yet to deem CBD completely legal; this is possibly the most popular among CBD myths to date. As it stands, Nebraska, Idaho and South Dakota have still yet to legalize any and all cannabis-based products, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes.Even after the passing of the 2018 farm bill, which legalized hemp farming and production, the DEA has issued a number of confusing statements regarding the retail sale of CBD. The best way to examine the legality of CBD is to trace the DEA’s statements back to the beginning of the conversation. The following timeline should help:
Before the Farm Bill
– The DEA and FDA were not satisfied enough with the state of CBD research to approve the substance. They used this lack of evidence to keep CBD classified as a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-containing substance), one of the greatest CBD myths in itself. Several officials from both organizations argued that both CBD AND cannabis should be classified as a schedule-I drug. For a substance to be classified as a schedule-I drug, it has to meet three criteria. Firstly, it has to have a high potential for abuse. Second, it must have no verified medical uses in the United States. Finally, and this is the most general criterion, the substance has to have “a lack of accepted safety” in terms of formal medical settings.
After being politicised, as you can see, medical cannabis was slandered and likened to methamphetamines by CBD myths created by political opponents. None of the criteria used to justify a substance’s classification as a schedule-I drug are satisfied by cannabis, and yet, thanks to the many CBD myths perpetuated needlessly by political opposition, here we are.
After the Farm Bill (2018)
– Though the passing of the farm bill was a huge step in the right direction, it didn’t come without strings, not to mention plenty of unanswered questions. Here is the gist: The farm bill of 2018 legalized the industrial production of hemp and hemp-derived products. According to the FDA (who still seem motivated by at least some CBD myths), CBD products are straddling the line, legally speaking – hemp-derived CBD is completely legal, where cannabis-derived CBD products are “iffy.” Soon after the farm bill came into effect, the FDA clarified their position on CBD supplements: they must all seek FDA approval. If you’re buying a CBD product online, then, you should make sure that it is FDA approved, and that the product is legal in your state (they still have the power to disallow CBD products).
CBD Oil is CBD Oil is CBD Oil
We’ve already discussed on this blog the many different forms
(tinctures, cream, oil, etc) that both CBD and hemp products come in. Did you know that the oil itself comes in three different types, though? That’s another one of the most common CBD myths: assuming that all CBD oil is created equal. Just like the differing delivery methods provided by cream versus oil versus vapor, the differences in unrefined versus decarboxylated versus filtered can also affect your body’s response to the supplement. Here’s a quick breakdown to clarify the differences.
- Unrefined – Just cold-press the seeds and dump the oil into a bottle. No filtering, no additives, no nothing. The obvious benefit of the unrefined approach involves nutrient density. If you want to get more than just the cannabidiol (like
health-promoting chlorophyll and good fats), this is the route to take.
- Decarboxylated – Despite sounding like something that would happen to a Star Trek villain, decarboxylation is actually quite simple. It refers to a process in which carbon dioxide is removed, allowing the CBD to work faster and more effectively. So, while a decarboxylated product is technically processed, it isn’t much less “whole” than unrefined CBD.
- Filtered – Though this commonly used “buzzword” may bring to mind images of cigarettes and german beer, it can apply to healthy products as well. As the name implies, filtered CBD oil is that from which all other plant components have been removed. As such, it offers the highest concentration of CBD for people who really want to emphasize its healing properties. Where unrefined CBD oil is a very dark green or even black, filtered CBD is a gold color. Don’t fall victim to one of the most common CBD myths and assume that more processing is worse in this case; it’s all about accountability and transparency.
We as consumers are often guilty of being lulled into a false sense of security by marketing slogans and fancy product packaging. The truth is that no manufacturer is immune to the allure of super low-cost sourcing and production methods. The point is not to assume everyone is scamming you, but to demand a level of accountability from every CBD manufacturer. The more transparent they are about where they get their products, how they make them, and which guidelines they comply to throughout this process, the more you can trust the product. If you do happen to come across a “dud,” especially if it’s your first supplement, don’t write off CBD altogether. Try a more accountable supplier before falling victim to one of many CBD myths.
Rest assured (and thank goodness), this isn’t a political blog. It is worth noting, however, for clarity’s sake, that CBD myths are often rooted in political interest. In fact, any issue that becomes polarized by partisan bickering will likely be subjected to massively exaggerated interpretations by each side, clouding the truth for, in this case, people who just want to help with their pain, epilepsy, and so on. Don’t believe the CBD myths on either side. Research non-biased sources, try it on your terms, and repeat.