Like most “new” things, especially those with a history of prohibited use, CBD seems to attract its fair share of misinformation. People are still trying to ferret out the myths, often perpetuated by those opposed to CBD‘s use, from the truths. With so many sources of both legitimate information and just plain falsehoods, how is one to find out the truth?
How about asking someone trained in medicine and how chemicals affect the body? Well, that’s what we are going to do here, break down the logic and research to help bust the ten most common myths circulating the internet and among people regarding CBD!
Keep reading to find out what are CBD myths and what are facts!
Myth #1: CBD Is Addictive
One top myth frequently talked about among non-CBD users is that CBD is addictive. Some think of CBD in the same addiction potential category as amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and marijuana. Addictive drugs affect a specific set of neurons in our brain designed to motivate us to seek out and repeat pleasurable experiences. This brain cell pathway is sometimes called the addiction pathway or reward pathway of the brain and involves areas such as the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), Nucleus Accumbens (NA), and Prefrontal Cortex (PFC).
An important distinction should be made at this point regarding someone being physically dependent on a substance or activity and someone being psychologically dependent. When someone is physically dependent on a substance or activity, the individual will experience adverse bodily symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, trembling, among others.
Conversely, someone can be psychologically dependent on something if they rely on the substance or activity to calm them or decrease anxiety. When we become psychologically dependent on something, and the substance or activity is withdrawn or discontinued, we can feel distressed.
The current research on pure CBD is that it does not activate the addiction pathway of the brain. A conclusion shared by the World Health Organization that states, “At present, there are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD.”
Myth #2: You Can Overdose and Die From CBD
The myth that you can overdose and die from CBD is one that prevents many people from trying CBD for the first time. The myth has a small grain of truth lodged in a larger falsehood, which is why we are going to take the time to explain this myth in detail.
Most of the time, when we think of overdosing on something, we relate it to extreme outcomes such as being hospitalized or even death. If we break down the word overdose, then the word’s real meaning becomes clear, which is taking a dose of a substance above what’s shown to be beneficial.
In this sense, almost everything we do or consume could fall under this definition, including drinking water! Yes, you can “overdose” on water, often referred to as water intoxication, which, interestingly enough, can be fatal. One of the great things about CBD is its safety profile. While taking gargantuan doses of CBD can cause adverse side effects, these tend to be relatively mild.
Some commonly reported adverse side effects of large doses of CBD include:
- Decreased appetite
- lack or loss of strength
- trouble sleeping
- Change in walking and balance
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- decreased weight
- increased saliva
Another aspect of this myth that has not been substantiated in either research or reports is that someone can die from ingesting too large of a CBD dose. Currently, there has never been a confirmed death whose cause can be traced to the ingestion of pure CBD.
Myth #3: CBD Can Get You High
A common fear of first time CBD users or those thinking about giving CBD a try is that after ingesting CBD, they will get “high.” This is another myth that has a grain of truth overlaid with larger deceit. If you have ever used marijuana or seen others use it, then you know that someone can get “high” from this product.
This is because marijuana contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of the plant. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, you can purchase cannabis-derived CBD oil with large amounts of THC, which may or may not produce a “high” feeling.
Contrast cannabis-derived CBD oil with the more common industrial hemp-derived CBD, which by law must contain less than 0.3% THC. The THC content found in industrial hemp-derived CBD is not enough to make a person feel “high.”
Myth #4: All CBD Is the Same
Those researching CBD and CBD products can feel confused when encountering terms such as broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and CBD isolates, not to mention the various forms in which one can utilize. These factors and others all influence the effect one feels when taking a CBD product.
Let’s start by breaking down the broad categories of CBD products, namely the difference between broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and CBD isolates. Full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids. Some experts believe that leaving a small amount of the THC into the final CBD product enhances the effect of the other cannabinoids; a phenomenon often referred to as the “entourage effect.”
Broad-spectrum CBD products further refine the CBD oil to remove the THC, while leaving the CBD and other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum products are an ideal option for individuals worried about having THC in their CBD products, but still want the benefits of having other cannabinoids combined with the cannabidiol.
A product labeled as a CBD-isolate has all the THC and other cannabinoids removed from the product leaving only the cannabidiol chemical for ingestion. Professionals working in fields in which regular drug testing and a zero-tolerance policy are enforced, such as doctors and airline pilots, often choose a CBD-isolate product.
We mentioned that all CBD products are not created equal and that the administration route can make a difference in the effects you feel or don’t when taking CBD. We debunk this myth further down the article, so keep reading to learn more!
Myth #5: It Doesn’t Matter How the CBD Is Extracted
If you dive deep enough into CBD and the CBD products available, you’ll soon realize that there are different ways in which manufacturers extract the cannabinoids from the industrial hemp plant. The three most common ways in which manufacturers extract the chemical compounds include steam distillation, solvent extraction, and CO2 extraction.
Steam distillation is one of the oldest methods for extracting chemicals from plants. The technique is relatively straightforward in that water is heated to a boil, which permeates through plant material, resulting in steam production that contains the plant oils (cannabinoids) and water. The steam is condensed into a liquid, and the water and oil are separated, leaving the oil final product. While this technique is relatively simple, it has a few downsides, including difficulty regulating exact doses of cannabinoids, requiring large amounts of the plant material, and the potential for overheating the plant material, which could result in altered cannabinoids chemicals.
Solvent extraction is another popular method used to separate cannabinoids from the industrial hemp plant. The process of using solvent extraction is almost identical to the steam distillation method except that the water is replaced with a solvent, such as a hydrocarbon or a natural solvent such as olive oil or ethanol.
Hydrocarbons include chemicals such as naphtha, petroleum, butane, or propane, which are known to be harmful to humans if ingested in appreciable amounts. While the hydrocarbons are supposed to be burned off at the end of the solvent extraction method, past studies have found trace amounts in certain CBD products utilizing this extraction method. The use of natural solvents such as olive oil or ethanol does not have the potential health problems associated with hydrocarbons, but some users of natural solvent derived CBD report unpleasant tastes often associated with the Chlorophyll.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction is sometimes referred to as Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE), which refers to the inherent chemical properties of CO2. CO2 extraction involves utilizing pressured carbon dioxide to separate the cannabinoids from the industrial hemp plant matter. The carbon dioxide will eventually evaporate from the cannabinoid oil.
The downsides of CO2 extraction are primarily felt by the manufacturer as this process requires expensive specialized machinery. Carbon Dioxide extracted CBD is the best extraction method currently available, but you may or may not have to pay a little more for the CBD product as the cost to produce the product is higher.
Myth #6: All Forms of CBD Product Have the Same Absorption Rates
While it may be nice to think while you’re down a delicious CBD gummy, you’re receiving the same dose as if you used a CBD tincture; this simply isn’t the truth. How you end up ingesting your CBD will affect how much and how long the CBD ends up staying in your system.
Typically the two fastest ways for cannabinoids to get from your mouth into your bloodstream is through smoking/vaping CBD or leaving the CBD under your tongue, which is referred to as sublingual absorption. The CBD in capsules, on the other hand, has to pass down your throat, past your stomach, and into your intestines before crossing the gastrointestinal barrier into your bloodstream which can take up to four hours!
One research study found that less than 33% of the CBD found in capsules actually makes it into your bloodstream compared to the less than 35% of CBD absorbed when holding CBD in the mouth for 30 seconds for sublingual absorption.
CBD oil’s benefit for under the tongue absorption is twofold: sublingual absorption bypasses the first round of metabolism in the liver, which means more of the product reaches the receptors, and sublingual administration only takes less than half an hour to absorb.
Myth #7: CBD Oil Will Not Cause a Positive Urinary Drug Screen
Some people are under the belief that they will not come up positive on a urinary drug screen (UDS) when taking CBD. If you’re uncertain about this question, then you’ll be happy that you took the time to read this myth, as it could cost your job. Some jobs require their employees to have random or annual drug screens, especially those working in jobs in which other people’s lives are in your hands, such as doctors or airline pilots.
In a previous myth, we mentioned that CBD oil derived from the industrial hemp plant is required by law to contain 0.3% THC content to be sold in all 50 states. The fact is that although 0.3% seems like a small percentage, this amount has been known to cause people to show a positive UDS. While there are many ways in which employers test their employees for illicit drugs, including salivary tests, blood tests, and hair tests, the urine is the most common. Most urinary tests can detect THC in amounts as low as 50 ng/ml.
Individuals worried about coming up positive for THC when taking CBD oil should avoid consuming full-spectrum CBD oil and choose either a broad-spectrum oil or a CBD isolate. Even if you buy CBD oil that features a broad-spectrum formula, there is a small theoretical chance that you could show a positive result due to a cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN), which has been shown in at least one study to show a false positive test for THC.
Myth #8: CBD Oil Requires a Prescription
You may think that like medical marijuana, CBD oil requires that a physician write you a prescription to obtain the product. This myth is simply not true, at least in some states, as CBD oil can be purchased without a prescription as long as the CBD Oil contains less than 0.3% THC.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the manufacturing and sales of hemp-derived products, and many CBD oils are sold under the classification of a dietary supplement. There is a CBD pharmaceutical called Epidiolex, currently in the US market used to treat certain seizure disorders, and this drug does require a prescription by a physician.
Myth #9: You Need To Take a Large Dose of CBD for It To Be Effective
Many newbies to CBD adopt the classic American mindset that the more of something you take, the better, but this doesn’t necessarily hold true for those taking CBD. While we are not here to give you CBD dosing advice, many companies label their products with a recommended starting dose of 10 to 25 mg per day. This slow dosing allows individuals to slowly get accustomed to CBD and find the minimal dose that gives the individual their desired effect.
Additionally, the more CBD you take in a dose, the more likely you are to experience adverse side effects like the ones we discussed in myth #2. To learn more about dosing and if you can take too much CBD, take a second to check out this article!
Myth #10: There Is Minimal Research Conducted and Being Conducted on CBD
While there may have been limited research on CBD before the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, primarily because of the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, this federal classification made it extremely difficult for non-academic research institutes to obtain cannabis and industrial hemp so that CBD could be extracted. Throughout the twentieth century, there were research studies that looked at THC and CBD various effects, most of which were conducted on animals.
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of industrial hemp-extracted CBD, research has exploded surrounding CBD. More and more evidence and findings continue to accumulate concerning CBD, other endocannabinoids, and phytocannabinoids.