With so much “buzz” around hemp and CBD these days, there is a lot of confusion around it and many consumers are left with incorrect misconceptions about whether CBD is legal, what CBD actually does, or where CBD comes from.
In this two-part series, we’ll go over some of the most common falsehoods around CBD and hopefully clarify the myths that we hear almost daily. If you’re brand new to CBD, you should start with our Beginner’s Guide to CBD.
So here we go…
1. CBD Is Just Marijuana
Saying CBD is just marijuana is like saying calcium is just cows.
CBD is a chemical compound and marijuana is a plant. While CBD can surely be extracted from marijuana, the majority of CBD products you see on the market are extracted from hemp, which is a different strain of the cannabis plant than marijuana.
The confusion stems from the fact that hemp and marijuana are very similar in terms of physical appearance, taste and smell. The main difference between hemp and marijuana lies in their chemical makeup. Marijuana contains significant levels of THC (the compound responsible for its intoxicating effects), while hemp contains only trace amounts.
Therefore, marijuana is more associated with recreational use while CBD (from hemp) is more associated with therapeutic purposes.
That being said, THC has many therapeutic benefits of its own, and when combined with CBD, they can be a powerhouse treatment for many serious conditions and ailments due to the entourage effect.
2. CBD Makes You High
Since CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, many people assume it will get you “high” just like recreational marijuana. However, CBD does not produce a euphoric high or psychoactive effects.
Our body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps regulate functions such as sleep, immune-system response, and pain sensitivity. Our ECS receives signals from cannabinoids, which can be produced internally (endocannabinoids) or they can come from plants (phytocannabinoids).
THC is the cannabinoid that affects the ECS receptors and activates the brain’s reward system, producing excess pleasure chemicals such as dopamine, leading to mental impairment or intoxication.
Alternatively, CBD influences the body to use its own internal cannabinoids more efficiently, either by inhibiting or stimulating other cannabinoids in the ECS, promoting homeostasis and balance throughout the body. This helps regulate our sleep patterns, mood, pain sensitivity and immune response, but it won’t get you high… sorry.
3. CBD Doesn’t Work
Because of the lack of FDA regulation on CBD, companies are not legally allowed to make any claims that CBD cures or treats any diseases, and rightly so. However, in 2018 the FDA approved the first ever CBD derived drug (Epidiolex) to treat two rare forms of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, which debunks the fallacy that CBD is not effective.
In recent years, there have been countless credible studies on hemp-derived CBD as well as other cannabis derived compounds in the treatment of many conditions and ailments. A search for “cannabidiol” on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website will yield thousands of results, with the list growing daily.
Besides clinical and scientific studies, there is now way too much anecdotal evidence of lives being changed by CBD and other cannabis derived compounds. People all over the world are discovering this natural alternative treatment to traditional prescription medications and hopefully the FDA will soon step in and create formal guidelines and criteria for what can be said about CBD and its effects.
There are many different factors involved in how CBD will work for you, including how much CBD you should take, what kind of CBD you’re taking and where you’re getting your CBD. If you’ve tried CBD and it hasn’t worked for you, there can be several reasons why.
4. CBD Is a Cure-all
Due to the surge in popularity of CBD in recent years, there is the opposite spectrum of whether CBD is effective or not. Many people believe CBD is a miracle cure-all and a quick treatment that will fix everything with no side effects. In reality, each individual has their own genetic make up, their own conditions and symptoms they are suffering from, as well as their own habits and lifestyles.
Our endocannabinoid system is like our fingerprints, no one has the exact same structure, and one person’s ECS deficiencies are not equal to anyone else’s. Unfortunately, because everyone is different, no treatment works for everyone all the time.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under FDA scrutiny for wild, unconfirmed claims of CBD being a cure-all for cancer and other conditions. While CBD may prove to be a viable option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, additional research as well as FDA regulation is needed in order to derive a comprehensive lists of conditions it can treat.
5. CBD is illegal
While CBD is readily available in most parts of the US, its exact legal status is still in flux.
CBD has always been lumped in with THC/marijuana as a controlled substance until the recent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which reclassified hemp as an agricultural product, thus deeming CBD derived from hemp federally legal in the US (as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC).
Even if you make sure that your CBD comes from hemp, some federal agencies and some state laws are not in line with federal regulations.
The FDA has also stated that a CBD product cannot be considered a “dietary supplement” or “food additive” because it has been “authorized for investigation as a new drug…” meaning the drug Epidiolex.
It will take some time for all the regulatory agencies (FDA, DEA, USDA, etc.) to get in sync with a consolidated message, as well as state laws that regulate hemp and medicinal marijuana. Each person will need to determine if CBD products are legal in a specific state and should become familiar with their local cannabis laws.
Marijuana, and CBD derived from marijuana, is still federally illegal in the US.
- CBD is not marijuana, CBD is a chemical compound which can be derived from either marijuana or hemp.
- CBD does not make you high.
- There are many studies confirming the growing list of conditions and symptoms CBD can help with.
- CBD is not a panacea solution or remedy for all conditions or diseases.
- The legal status of CBD is still a grey area, depending on the local laws of the state you live in.