Claims about the myriad healing properties of CBD are ubiquitous. While the therapeutic potential of this potent cannabinoid is exciting to scientists and consumers alike, there’s also a need to recognize that CBD is not a panacea for every condition under the sun.
Becoming acquainted with what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to CBD will help you better harness its potential and enjoy its benefits.
Myth 1: CBD Can Get You High
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, which works indirectly on the body’s endocannabinoid system. It can’t get you high — it’s simply not in the chemistry of the cannabinoid, nor in how it connects with the body. Getting high is not synonymous with cannabis use, but occurs due to the influence of specific cannabinoids in cannabis that are intoxicating, with THC as the best-known example.
CBD is the cannabinoid for the cannabis-curious who want to experience some of its therapeutic benefits, without the intoxicating properties of THC.
Myth 2: CBD is Non-Psychoactive
Although CBD won’t get you high, it does have psychoactive properties (similar to caffeine and nicotine.) A compound can be considered psychoactive when it acts through the central nervous system, affecting the body’s biochemistry, resulting in temporary changes to perception, mood, or consciousness.
Leading cannabis researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo, points out CBD does have mind-altering properties, especially for the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, addiction, and depression. Reassuringly, psychoactivity does not imply that CBD will necessarily cause dependence or compulsive use patterns. Nor will it impair your ability to make sound decisions, drive, or interact socially. Essentially, CBD offers good feelings without the loss of control.
Myth 3: CBD Has No Side Effects
Few medicines can boast that they are entirely free of side effects. Cannabidiol is no exception. While it’s true that current research generally indicates that CBD has a favorable safety profile, there are some caveats associated with its use. Side effects from CBD are usually experienced at higher doses.
Users can sometimes experience less severe side effects, such as a dry mouth (xerostomia), gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, or changes in appetite or weight. More serious adverse effects include possible liver toxicity.
This finding underlines a need for enhanced understanding regarding the long-term effects of use. There’s also a risk for potentially harmful drug interactions, so it’s essential to be aware of drugs that should not be taken with CBD.
Myth 4: There is no Scientific Research to Justify Using CBD
Scientific research is a vague term that is thrown around far too often in relation to CBD. There is abundant scientific research to justify using CBD, but not all the evidence that exists is of the same standard.
Studies can include in vitro (test tube) studies, preclinical studies on animals, and the randomized controlled trial (RCT) on human participants, which is the gold standard of scientific proof.
At present, there are plentiful preclinical and in vitro studies on CBD but fewer RCTs, although this is changing as interest in the cannabinoid advances. There’s strong scientific evidence that CBD can help in the management of certain forms of epilepsy. Additionally, there’s solid scientific evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for anxiety disorders. On the other hand, while test tube studies are indicating that CBD may induce cell death in certain cancers, a stronger burden of proof is needed to support these claims.
Myth 5: All CBD Products on the Market are 100% Safe for Children and Pets
Pet owners have also been turning to CBD for issues as varied as pain relief and anxiety.
Anecdotal reports suggest pet owners have experienced significant success with CBD; however, there is very limited data on the safety of CBD-infused pet treats following short or long-term administration. Evidence is needed to ensure regular administration of CBD to animals doesn’t result in the build-up of toxicity. Little is also known about the interaction of CBD with certain animal medicines.
The same goes for children. There are parents who swear by CBD to reduce symptoms associated with childhood epilepsy or autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or hyperactivity, and there is encouraging evidence to support its use in some of these disorders.
That said, there are currently knowledge gaps regarding the safety of long-term use. Adverse effects have been linked to CBD use and these may include poor sleep quality, lethargy, diarrhea, or agitation.
Myth 6: CBD Will Make You Sleepy
According to Dr. Russo, pure CBD, also known as CBD isolate, is not sedating.
Low to moderate doses of CBD may cause the opposite effect, rendering the user more awake and alert. Research also suggests that CBD doesn’t influence the sleep-wake cycle of healthy individuals. If you’re looking to induce sleepiness, it’s best to opt for full or broad-spectrum CBD products which boasts the entourage effect, as it is teamed with traces of THC, other cannabinoids, and crucially, terpenes such as myrcene.
Myth 7: If CBD Doesn’t Work the First Time, it Won’t Work for You At All
If you’ve already experimented with CBD and were underwhelmed, don’t turn your back on it just yet.
Check the source of the product. Is it from a reputable manufacturer and retailer? Can you view its Certificate of Analysis?
Recent data has revealed that only 31% of CBD products tested were accurately labeled. If you’re unsure about the reliability of the product you’re using, researching CBD oil reviews can offer invaluable insights into selecting a brand that will deliver what it promises.
Another factor that may influence the efficacy of CBD is the dosage. CBD is what’s known as a biphasic compound. Up until a certain dosage, it produces an elevating response. At higher levels of concentration, it can provoke an opposing reaction, causing the user to feel calm and relaxed.
Sometimes, achieving an optimal response from CBD takes time and is found by gradually titrating your dose, and observing how your body responds.
CBD has captured the interest of many, but understanding this cannabinoid and its properties can be difficult with so many competing and unfounded claims.
By enhancing your knowledge of CBD, you’re better poised to dispel unrealistic expectations and optimize your usage of this unique plant medicine.