It’s no secret there’s a stigma surrounding cannabis. And it's creating a large smoke cloud around CBD as well.
When Dr. Junnella Chin was recommended CBD by an attending physician for stiffness and pain from her ankylosing spondylitis (AS), she was appalled.
She recalls thinking “You are offering me pot? You want to make me a drug addict?;” growing up in the Bronx, she believed marijuana was for dropouts or gang members.
But after experiencing the therapeutic benefits of CBD firsthand, she decided to devote her medical career to tackling the social stigma around cannabis — and getting her patients the relief they so desperately need.
As the CBD industry has exploded, many myths and misconceptions have circulated. It’s time to set the record straight about CBD, so that it can get into the hands of those that need it most.
- Myth #1: “CBD Gets You High”
- Myth #2: “CBD Is Illegal”
- Myth #3: “CBD Isn’t Backed by Science”
- Myth #4: “CBD Is Only for Sick People”
- Myth #5: “CBD Works Immediately”
- Myth #6: “CBD Will Make You Fail a Drug Test”
- Myth #7: “All CBD Is the Same”
- The Bottom Line
Myth #1: “CBD Gets You High”
Unlike its cannabinoid counterpart delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is not intoxicating, meaning it will not give you the “high” many associate with marijuana.
While CBD and THC do have the same molecular formula (both composed of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms), a couple chemical bonds differentiate the two.
“What sets them apart is a slight difference in how the atoms are arranged, which accounts for the different effects on your body,” notes cannabis resource Loud Cloud Health.
“CBD doesn’t bond with CB1 receptors directly, and its presence can even negate THC’s impact on CB1, which results in neutralizing the high effect.”
On the other hand, “THC binds directly to CB1 receptors. After the bond is formed, it sends the message to the brain. This is the reason why THC has psychoactive effects on the brain,” reveals the resource in an infographic on the industry.
Myth #2: “CBD Is Illegal”
This statement is false, but there is a cloud of complexity around the issue.
In 2018, the passing of the Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp and hemp extracts.
As per federal law, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC; any more classifies the substance as marijuana, which remains a federally illegal Schedule I drug as per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
So, is it safe to buy CBD?
“Yes, purchasing CBD is federally legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC, but some state laws have put restrictions on buyers,” writes contributors for PBS.
Check to see the legality of CBD in your state on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website.
Myth #3: “CBD Isn’t Backed by Science”
Here’s what Junella Chin, DO, co-founder and medical director of Medical Cannabis Mentor and chief medical advisor for CannabisMD, has to say to those doubting the science supporting CBD:
“There are over 20,000 PubMed citations regarding the endocannabinoid system (ECS), cannabinoid receptors, and research regarding the physiological mechanisms of ECS components and how it works on other neurotransmitters of the brain and body.”
For over a decade, Dr. Chin has been incorporating medical cannabis into the health and wellness routines of her patients. Her practice includes “children with epilepsy, chronic pain sufferers, and cancer patients,” according to a self-published article in Physician’s Practice.
Dr. Chin is a fierce supporter and frequent keynote speaker on the integration of cannabis into medicine, citing potential therapeutic benefits such as “reducing pain, inflammation, nausea, seizures, and anxiety; and aiding sleep.”
CBD research has boomed in recent years, with some researchers investigating what part cannabinoids might play in the future of COVID-19 prevention and treatment.
Delays in discoveries are likely a result of cannabis’ status as a Schedule I drug: “The pace of discovery has already been significantly hindered by the scheduling of the plant,” explains neurobiologist Joseph Cheer to PBS.
Myth #4: “CBD Is Only for Sick People”
While CBD has therapeutic potential to provide relief from symptoms of a variety of health and wellness conditions, its benefits can also extend to those living normal, healthy lifestyles.
For example, a study examining the effect of CBD on inflammatory skin conditions revealed applying a CBD ointment twice daily for three months “significantly improved the skin parameters,” like hydration, elasticity, and trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
CBD has also been connected to clearing skin, as it may reduce the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores leading to breakouts.
Additionally, CBD has become a staple for some fitness buffs and has gained recognition and approval from many professional athletes and Olympians, who say it helps them manage their pain, get better sleep, and improve their recovery time.
Needless to say, the benefits of CBD are not limited to those suffering from chronic illnesses, and may improve the everyday person’s quality of life.
Myth #5: “CBD Works Immediately”
Even the fastest method of taking CBD (sublingually or “under the tongue”) takes around 15 minutes to feel effects.
Ingesting CBD, such as adding droplets from a CBD tincture to food or drink, can take between 45 minutes to 2 hours before you feel its calming effects. Topical products like lotions, ointments, and bath products , have a similar timeline.
Furthermore, taking CBD daily may have a “snowball effect” on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which processes CBD and regulates functions such as pain sensation, mood, and sleep.
ECHO, an educational resource providing information on the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids to families facing serious illnesses, elaborates on the cumulative benefits of CBD:
“CBD, like all cannabinoids, builds up in the body over time and can even stimulate an increase in cannabinoid receptors. With more cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid system becomes more active and more sensitive to stimulation by cannabinoids. Consistently taking a “daily dose” of CBD oil helps maintain a sustained level of CBD in your system and promotes an effective endocannabinoid system.”
Myth #6: “CBD Will Make You Fail a Drug Test”
Drug tests do not screen for CBD specifically because it does not impair the user. However, purchasing CBD from an untrustworthy source may cause you to test positive for THC.
“Sometimes, the product has not been third-party tested or is inappropriately labeled, misrepresenting the actual THC dose,” explains Jessica Caporuscio, Pharm.D., to Medical News Today.
“People who want to avoid testing positive for THC on a drug test should purchase CBD products from reliable sources that can confirm the product does not contain any THC,” advises the clinical pharmacist, who earned her doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Montreal in 2014.
Myth #7: “All CBD Is the Same”
Not all CBD is created equally. The extraction method of the manufacturer, and the inclusion of other plant material, like terpenes and flavonoids, can greatly impact the quality and medicinal value of a CBD product.
Hemp Gazette, an Australian news source covering the industrial hemp revolution, hails CO 2 extraction as the modern, greener method of extracting CBD:
“Carbon dioxide-based extraction is considered to be more environmentally friendly, considerably safer, cleaner, cheaper, and less toxic than using fossil fuel-based extractions — and results in a consistent product that is more palatable.”
CO2 extraction involves pulling out all of the cannabinoids(like CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the plant. When taken together as a whole-plant product, these elements have a synergistic effect known as the “entourage effect.”
Furthermore, CO 2 extraction also results in a longer shelf life of CBD products due to more stable compounds.
“I recommend CBD-rich products made using only organic, CBD-rich, whole-plant extract because this offers the best safety profile and superior medicinal benefits,” directs Dr. Chin in an excerpt published by Real Simple.
All PHD Organics tinctures are produced using CO2 extraction of Non-GMO, USA grown hemp plants. Additionally, our tinctures are 100% natural, organic, vegan, THC free, and free of additives, dyes, or sugars.
The Bottom Line
Equipped with the information explored in this article, now you can begin to see through the haze surrounding CBD.
No, it will not get you high. Based on its chemical arrangement, it can’t; CBD does not bind directly to CB1 receptors highly concentrated in the brain the way THC does.
Yes, you can purchase CBD legally, but it’s best to brush up on your state laws first, since states may put additional regulations on the substance.
Yes, CBD is backed by science! Despite slowdowns due to drug classification, CBD research is booming. Examples of potential therapeutic benefits include reducing pain and aiding sleep.
No, you don’t have to have a chronic illness to take CBD. Healthy adults may take CBD to improve their skin, or recover from a workout.
No, CBD does not work immediately. Take sublingually to feel effects within 15 minutes, and take daily to possibly improve your endocannabinoid system (ECS) function.
No, CBD will not make you fail a drug test, given you’ve bought from a reputable vendor that uses third-party testing.
And no, all CBD is not the same. Some extraction methods are better than others, and whole-plant products may have more medicinal value.
Caporuscio, J., & Chen, J. (2020, June 12). Does CBD show up on a drug test? Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-cbd-show-up-on-a-drug-test
Chin, J. (2020, August 26). Integrating medical cannabis into your practice. Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://www.physicianspractice.com/view/integrating-medical-cannabis-into-your-practice
Hemp Gazette. (2017, September 05). A Guide To Supercritical CO2 Extraction Of Cannabis Oil. Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://hempgazette.com/cannabidiol-cbd/co2-extraction-cannabis/
Leasca, S. (2019, November 6). 5 Common CBD Myths It's Time to Set Straight. Retrieved December 16, 2020, from https://www.realsimple.com/health/first-aid-health-basics/cbd-myths
Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadala, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clinical Therapeutics, 170(2), 93-99. doi:10.74.17/CT.2019.2116, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30993303/
Petkovic, B. (2020, July 06). A Budding Industry: CBD Statistics & Trends (Infographic). Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://loudcloudhealth.com/resources/cbd-statistics-infographic/