CBD Mythbusting: Separating the Facts from the Fiction
CBD has been generating more buzz over the past few years, and you might have pieced together information about it from vape shops, social media, or friends who have already tried it several times. Still, with so many terms thrown around like THC, hemp, and cannabis, there are a lot of misconceptions about CBD.
Here are some popular CBD myths that you might have encountered.
CBD will get you High
The strongest misconception about CBD is that it’s synonymous with weed or marijuana and it’ll get you high. At most, CBD can make you feel a little more relaxed, but it doesn’t have any intoxicating or hallucinogenic effects. It’s often confused with THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, even though THC and CBD have different properties. Another point to clarify is that most of the CBD that’s legally allowed in the UK comes from hemp, not marijuana. Both are strains of the cannabis plant, but the main difference is the amount of THC in them. Hemp only has 0.3% THC or less, in contrast with marijuana which would have more THC.
CBD is Illegal
Given the large CBD market in the country, CBD in the UK is very much legal as long as it follows two rules: it has less than 0.02% THC, and it has to come from industrial-grade hemp that’s EU-approved. THC remains largely illegal because it induces the intoxication and euphoria associated with marijuana, along with paranoia and possible addiction. On the other hand, cannabis and marijuana are very much illegal in the UK. Cannabis is classified as a Class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, alongside amphetamines and codeine. In contrast, most hemp products such as hemp oil and hemp seeds are legal in the UK. However, you can’t grow hemp in your own backyard--cultivation is only allowed for businesses that are licensed by the Home Office.
CBD isn’t Psychoactive
Just because CBD doesn’t have the same intoxicating effects as marijuana doesn’t mean that it’s not psychoactive. Any substance that affects the mind and nervous system is considered psychoactive. This includes everyday substances like caffeine and alcohol. In fact, CBD’s psychoactive effect is one of the strongest reasons for taking it. Research has shown that it can help with different kinds of anxiety, from social anxiety to insomnia in post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the exact mechanism isn’t known yet, CBD is thought to interact with the receptors of the central nervous system, including those for serotonin, and it has even functioned like an antidepressant in animal studies.
CBD has no Scientific Basis
While scientists still only have theories for how CBD works and haven’t agreed yet on its exact mechanism, there is already a significant body of research about CBD, to the point that some hospitals are prescribing it. The health benefits of CBD have been recognized hundreds of years across different cultures, and science is only beginning to catch up with it now. Currently, it holds the most promise for suppressing chronic pain as well as reducing anxiety and potentially treating neurological conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Because of CBD’s antioxidant properties and psychoactive effects, researchers are also delving into harnessing CBD for preventing drug use relapses, lowering high blood pressure, and even treating psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia.
All Forms of CBD are the Same
CBD products come in all shapes and sizes, and they won’t necessarily have the same effect on your body too. If you look at what’s available today, CBD is already an entire industry in itself. Just to name a few, CBD skincare creams, supplements, snack bars, and essential oil rubs have already been developed by countless brands on top of classic CBD isolate, and more innovative products are popping up regularly. All of these products possess CBD in different dosages. How you take CBD also matters. CBD oil that you drip underneath your tongue will take effect in 20 minutes or less, while edibles like CBD gummies will require a longer waiting time. The quality and sourcing of CBD also vary per brand, so it’s important to do some research before buying.
You need a Prescription for CBD
Most CBD products aren’t classified as medicine, so you’re free to buy them even without a prescription. If you’re taking medications or you have a pre-existing health condition, though, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor first because CBD might react with these. The only time that you’ll need a prescription for CBD is for CBD-based medical drugs such as Sativex, which consists of a 50-50 mix of CBD and THC. In response to lobbies for acknowledging the potential of CBD in helping with conditions like epilepsy, doctors in England, Scotland, and Wales can already prescribe CBD drugs to their patients. Still, this will have to go through approval panels, and it’s only allowed in very specific situations like chemotherapy-induced nausea and extreme seizures.
CBD is Addictive
Because THC in marijuana can cause dependence over time, there have also been concerns about CBD, but scientists don’t generally consider CBD addicting as long as it comes from hemp. A 2017 study comparing CBD to marijuana found that CBD wasn’t any more addicting than the placebo. Even high doses of CBD reaching up to 1,500 mg per day can be safely ingested, unlike THC and other cannabinoids. On the contrary, research implies that CBD can actually help curb drug addiction. Tobacco smokers treated with CBD found it easier to stop, while long-term heroin users also had their drug craving and anxiety reduced by CBD.
CBD will make you Sleepy
One of the most common reasons why people take CBD is because it helps them sleep better, but it’s surprisingly not a sedative. In fact, moderate doses of CBD can even leave you feeling refreshed and more energised. CBD is thought to act like an adaptogen, which balances out your body based on its current needs. If you’re trying to go to sleep at night, it’ll help calm your mind so you can unwind, while taking it during the daytime when you’re out and about will simply increase your focus. Although CBD can alleviate insomnia, it does this through anxiety relief, not because it’s a sedative. When you’re struggling with stress and dealing with a barrage of thoughts and worries, falling asleep becomes much more difficult and can even lead to insomnia. CBD can ease anxiety and get you to relax, making it easier to get a good night of sleep.
The Higher the Dosage, the Better
CBD doesn’t work linearly, in that you can predictably increase the effect as long as you keep upping the dosage. The ideal dosage for you depends on a lot of factors, including your tolerance, your goal for taking CBD, and your tolerance. Overly high dosages might be less effective than a moderate dose, and a rule for new CBD users is to start with a low dosage first, with the minimal at 1 to 2 mg, and then gradually increase it every six hours or more while gauging how your body feels. In general, 200 mg or lower is enough for mild relaxation or users without any health conditions, while more serious problems like chronic pain will need higher doses. The type of CBD that you’re using is also important. Broad-spectrum CBD might have more health benefits than pure CBD isolate because it contains other cannabinoids that enhance the performance of CBD.
Now that CBD products are in the spotlight, both sellers and consumers alike have to separate fact from fiction. With some CBD mythbusting, people can be more informed about it, recognising CBD for its safe, science-backed therapeutic effects as its role in wellness grows.