top 10 cbd myths
By Dr. Barry Morrison
Even though there has been a growing interest in CBD, there’s also been a lot of misconceptions. I’ll go over a great deal of those common CBD myths regarding this hemp compound known as cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD, it’s not going to get you high. But it’s causing one heck of a stir among medical scientists, researchers and patients alike. Over the past couple of years there has been a surge of interest in CBD. It’ a non-intoxicating hemp compound with significant therapeutic properties. Numerous commercial start-ups and internet retailers have jumped on the CBD bandwagon. Claiming CBD derived from hemp is the next big discovery. A miracle oil that can assist the body in restoring optimal health, without the “stoned” feeling. With this growing awareness of CBD, there has been some misconceptions about it which I’ll clear up.
#1 “CBD IS MEDICINAL…THC IS RECREATIONAL.”
As a doctor I oftentimes hear people say they are seeking “CBD, the medicinal part” of the plant which is a CBD myth. “Not THC, the recreational part” that gets you high. When you begin to study THC, you will quickly realize that it possesses some awesome therapeutic properties. Matter of fact a National Library of Medicine report states that THC inhibits an enzyme implicated in the formation of amyloid plaquing, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia.
In a study found in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics it was found that THC is an effective anti-edema and analgesic agent. They found the potency of THC to be 20 times that of aspirin and nearly twice that of hydrocortisone.
Full Spectrum Hemp is a federally legal source of THC in trace amounts, well below the euphoric threshold.
#2 “THC IS THE BAD CANNABINOID…CBD IS THE GOOD CANNABINOID.”
I have seen it stated in many different ways that CBD is therapeutic while at the same time demonizing THC. Grant it, there is a great deal of stigma that surrounds THC with its relationship to marijuana. However, it can also be found in lower concentrations in the hemp variety of cannabis.
So, why is CBD touted as good while THC is generally referred to as bad? Primarily because CBD doesn’t make you feel high like THC does. However, as these two cannabinoids work together in synergy they may assist the body in the treating of spasticity and central pain which is stated in the foundational science paper: A Tale of Two Cannabinoids by Ethan Russo.
#3 “CBD IS MOST EFFECTIVE WITHOUT THC.”
THC and CBD are the two most influential compounds of the cannabis plant. It has been shown that they perform best as they work in concert with one another. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. British researchers have shown that CBD enhances THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model of colitis.
Another Scientific study determined that a combination of CBD and THC has a more potent anti-tumoral effect than either compound alone when tested on brain cancer cell lines. And extensive clinical research has demonstrated that CBD combined with THC is more beneficial for neuropathic pain than either compound as a single molecule.
#4 “ISOLATE CANNABINOIDS” ARE SUPERIOR TO “FULL SPECTRUM CANNABINOIDS.”
According to the federal government, specific components or cannabinoids of the cannabis plant (THC, CBD) have medical value, but the plant itself does not have medical value which is another CBD myth. Uncle Sam’s single-molecule blinders reflect a cultural and political bias that privileges Big Pharma products. Single-molecule medicine is the predominant corporate way, the FDA-approved way. But it’s not the only way, and it’s not necessarily the optimal way to benefit from cannabis therapeutics.
Cannabis contains several hundred compounds, including various flavonoids, aromatic terpenes, and many minor cannabinoids in addition to THC and CBD. Each of these compounds has specific healing attributes, but when combined they create what scientists refer to as a holistic “entourage effect”. Science has shown that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant or full spectrum is greater than the sum of its single-molecular parts. The Food and Drug Administration, however, isn’t in the business of approving plants as medicine.
#5 “CBD IS NOT PSYCHOACTIVE.”
CBD will not cause an intoxicating effect, however it’s not accurate to describe CBD as being non-psychoactive. Early on in my investigation phase of cannabis I made the comment on social media that CBD was non-psychoactive. This comment triggered a conversation with a scientist in the cannabis field. He educated me as to why that statement was incorrect. He explained that CBD has an indirect effect upon the cannabinoid receptors of the brain, primarily the CB1 receptor. However, it does show a true psychoactive effect of the brain just not intoxicating like THC.
Therefore, when a clinically depressed patient takes a low dose of a CBD-rich sublingual tincture and has a great day for the first time in a long time, it’s apparent that CBD is a powerful mood-altering compound. I like to say, “CBD is not psychoactive in the same way THC is,” but simply asserts its effect upon the cannabinoid receptors technically classifying it as psychoactive. CBD won’t create that sensation of feeling high, but it can impact a person’s psyche in positive ways.
#6 “CBD IS SEDATING.”
Moderate doses of CBD are mildly energizing alerting”. But very high doses of CBD may trigger a biphasic effect and can be sleep-promoting. If CBD-rich cannabis flower confers a sedating effect, it’s likely because of a myrcene-rich terpene profile. Myrcene is a terpene with sedative and painkilling properties. CBD is not a natural sedative, but it may help to restore better sleeping patterns by reducing anxiety in turn allowing a person the rest they’ve been looking for.
#7 “HIGH DOSES OF CBD WORK BETTER THAN LOW DOSES.”
Again this is another CBD myth. A CBD isolate, which is just the CBD molecule alone, requires higher doses to be effective compared to the full spectrum CBD-rich oil extracts. This is due to the fact that it’s devoid of the other cannabinoids eliminating the entourage effect I mentioned previously. This doesn’t mean the single-molecule CBD is a better therapeutic choice than CBD-rich cannabis, which has a wider therapeutic window than a CBD isolate. Reports from clinicians and patients suggest that a synergistic combination of CBD, THC, and other cannabis components can be effective at low doses – as little as 2.5 mg CBD. Some patients may require significantly higher doses of CBD oil to obtain satisfactory results.
Keep in mind that CBD and THC and cannabis in general have biphasic properties, meaning that low and high doses can produce opposite effects. An excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose. I have noticed with my patients that conditions such as pain and inflammation will typically require a higher dosage. However, neurologic type of health challenges responds best at lower dosages of CBD.
#8 “CBD CONVERTS TO THC IN A PERSON’S STOMACH.”
It is generally accepted that CBD is well-tolerated in humans. But concerns about possible harmful side effects, which might limit CBD’s therapeutic usefulness and market potential, were raised by misleading reports by Merrick, a biased medical research company, stating that CBD converts to the intoxicating high of THC in the stomach…another big CBD myth.
Nice try, but it doesn’t convert to THC and here is the corrected reference on that… (https//liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/can.2016.0036) There have been extensive clinical trials that have demonstrated ingestion of CBD, even at doses over 600 mg—will not cause THC-like psychoactive intoxicating effects. Matter of fact it’s contrary to its actual mechanism which shows CBD in sufficient amounts can lessen or neutralize the effects of the THC high.
In addition to this, the World Health Organization studied its issue and gave CBD a clean bill of health in a 2017 report that asserted: “Simulated gastric fluid does not exactly replicate physiological conditions in the stomach [and] spontaneous conversation of CBD to delta-9-THC has NOT been demonstrated in humans undergoing CBD treatment.”
#9 “THERE IS NO RESEARCH ON CBD.”
This is one of the biggest CBD myths out there! Contrary to this statement, significant research has been done outside the United States, some of which the U.S. government funds. Israel was the first country to study medical cannabisTrusted Source in earnest. You can actually find studies from a range of countries:
- A 2018 study,Trusted Source from the United Kingdom showed promising results using CBD in treating ulcerative colitis.
- A 2014 study from Italy suggested that CBD inhibits the growth of cancerous cells in people with colon cancer.
- A 2017 study,Trusted Source from Brazil found that a group of people who took CBD had less anxiety around public speaking than the control group, or the participants who took a placebo.
Does this mean CBD cures cancer, anxiety, and is the best treatment for ulcerative colitis? Of course not. But credible — randomized, double-blind — CBD studies have been done. And they’re available to any journalist or curious individual through PubMed,Trusted Source, the National Institute of Health’s research archive, and similar resources.
#10 “CBD—YOU’LL KNOW WITHIN A FEW MINUTES TO A FEW HOURS IF IT’S WORKING”
THC can hit you like a locomotive as soon as it reaches your brain. However, CBD doesn’t work quite the same way. Although some people report almost an immediate effect when trying CBD for the first time, that’s usually rare. And depending on why you’re taking it and the severity, you might not notice any changes in symptoms until you’ve been administering it daily for a few weeks. This is why I educate my patients not to expect to see noticeable changes prior to 3 weeks.
The best way to know if your CBD oil – or any change in your health regimen is “working” is by clearly defining why you’re taking it before you start. This can be done by keeping a daily record or diary of your symptoms over time. I have my patients keep a journal and rate their symptoms on a 1-10 scale on a daily basis. This way it’ll be easier for you to judge if the CBD is a good fit for you.
I hope this helps to clear up some of the top misconceptions there are about this amazing CBD compound and if you’re not experiencing the response you are looking for feel free to contact me…it may be something simple in your CBD protocol that needs to be modified.