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Setting the Record Straight: 19 Myths and Misconceptions About CBD

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CBD: Three little letters that have taken the wellness world by storm. As cannabidiol (CBD) gains popularity, it’s also become shrouded in a mist of misconceptions. Myths and misconceptions around CBD are abundant, largely due to misinformation, lack of research, and sometimes purposeful distortion.

Today, we’re here to dispel some of those myths and set the record straight.

Myth #1: CBD Gets You ‘High’

No, CBD won’t get you high. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause a “high” like its cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) even though they are derived from the same plant. It’s THC that’s responsible for those “cosmic brownie” effects.

Think of CBD and THC as fraternal twins: same family, but with distinct personalities. While THC might be the wild party animal, CBD is its laid-back, zen-like sibling that’s all about relaxation and pain relief without the hallucinations.

Myth #2: All CBD Is the Same

While CBD, THC, and hemp are all related to the cannabis plant, they are distinctly different. THC and CBD are chemical compounds found in the plant. As previously stated, THC is psychoactive, while CBD is not. Hemp, on the other hand, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species primarily grown for industrial uses. While it does contain CBD, it has a negligible amount of THC.

Not all CBD products are created equal. The source, extraction method, and preparation can significantly impact the quality of the final product. Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD — types of CBD with variations in the chemical constitution — all have different properties and uses.

Myth #3: CBD Is a Magic Cure-all

We’d love to tell you that a couple drops of CBD oil can miraculously solve all our health problems. But this isn’t a sitcom where everything is resolved in a neat 30-minute episode.

CBD has been found to have numerous potential health benefits, with therapeutic potential spanning various conditions, including pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and some sleep disorders. Its effectiveness varies from person to person and condition to condition. Like how sipping ginger ale won’t magically make migraine attacks disappear, CBD doesn’t cure e v e r y t h i n g. It is crucial to consult health care providers to understand whether CBD could be a beneficial part of your treatment regimen.

Myth #4: More CBD Is Always Better

We sometimes hear the mantra, “If a little is good, more must be better,” right? That is not the case when it comes to CBD.

People new to CBD start with a lower dose to see how their body reacts. This method, known as “microdosing,” allows users to fine-tune the exact amount that works for them. For many, a smaller dose provides the desired effects for anxiety, pain relief, or another ailment.

Research on CBD suggests there’s a bell curve in terms of efficacy. After a certain point, more CBD doesn’t offer increased benefits and could even lessen the effectiveness. Imagine trying to listen to music: you increase the volume to hear better, but if you turn it up too loud, it becomes nothing but distorted noise.

Myth #5: CBD Is Addictive

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” While more extensive studies are needed (as with many CBD claims), current evidence suggests that CBD is non-addictive.

Interestingly, CBD is being studied for its potential in reducing addictive behaviors. Preliminary research has indicated that CBD might help with opioid, tobacco, and even cannabis dependence. The irony here is rich: a compound from the cannabis plant potentially helping to combat addiction!

Myth #6: CBD Has No Side Effects

Although generally well-tolerated, CBD can have side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications. Finding the sweet spot where you receive the benefits without unwanted side effects is essential.

Myth #7: You Can’t Overdose on CBD

When we hear the term “overdose,” it often conjures images of life-threatening situations or severe toxicity. In the traditional sense of the word, there’s no known lethal dose of CBD. So, taking too much CBD is unlikely to result in a fatal outcome.

While consuming extremely large amounts of CBD might not be deadly, it can lead to uncomfortable side effects. These might include lethargy, changes in appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, lightheadedness, or drowsiness.

Myth #8: You Shouldn’t Tell Your Doctor About Using CBD

It’s crucial to discuss CBD use with your health care provider. They need to understand all the therapies you use to monitor potential interactions, side effects, and overall treatment progress. Not sharing such information can lead to unforeseen complications, especially as CBD can interact with certain medications.

Legality Myths:

Myth #9: CBD Is Illegal Everywhere

This can depend on where you live. CBD derived from hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC) is legal at the federal level in the U.S., but some state laws may differ.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate most CBD products. This lack of oversight means CBD products’ quality, purity, and potency can vary widely. Always research and select products from reputable companies that provide third-party lab test results.

Myth #10: Hemp and Marijuana Are the Same, so CBD Is Always Illegal

While hemp and marijuana are variations of the cannabis plant, they differ in their THC content. Hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana plants typically contain much more. Therefore, hemp-derived CBD is often subject to different legal classifications than marijuana-derived CBD.

Affordability Myths:

Myth #11: CBD Is Always Expensive

The cost of CBD can vary widely based on factors such as extraction method, purity, potency, and brand reputation. While there are high-end, expensive CBD products, more affordable options are also available. It’s important to note that cheap CBD might be of lower quality or even counterfeit.

Myth #12: Higher Price Means Higher Quality

While quality processes and third-party testing can drive up the price, a higher cost sometimes guarantees a better product. It’s essential to do research, read reviews, and possibly check third-party lab results before determining a product’s value.

Accessibility Myths:

Myth #13: You Need a Prescription for CBD

You don’t need a prescription to buy CBD products in many places, especially where hemp-derived CBD is legal. However, certain products or higher potencies might require medical documentation in some regions.

Myth #14: All Health Stores Sell CBD

Just because a store sells health or wellness products doesn’t mean it carries CBD. The stock depends on local regulations, the store’s policies, and market demand.

Myth #15: Online CBD Products Are Always Authentic

The online world can be a minefield when shopping for CBD. While many reputable companies sell online, the internet is also rife with counterfeit or substandard products. It’s crucial to buy from reputable sources, read reviews, and, when possible, check for third-party lab results.

Myths That Feed Shame:

Myth #16: Using CBD Means You’re Using Drugs

Many people assume that consuming CBD equates to recreational drug use. However, CBD, especially when derived from hemp, contains little to no THC (the psychoactive component responsible for the “high”). Using CBD is more akin to taking a natural supplement than getting high on a drug.

Myth #17: Only ‘Alternative’ or ‘Rebellious’ Folks Use CBD

The stereotypical image of a laid-back, tie-dye-wearing hippie might come to mind for some when thinking of CBD users. In reality, individuals from all walks of life, including professionals, seniors, athletes, and pets, use CBD for various health and wellness reasons.

Myth #18: If You Use CBD, You Must Support Recreational Marijuana Use

CBD and marijuana, though related, serve different purposes for many users. While some might support both, it’s possible to use CBD strictly for its potential therapeutic benefits without advocating for recreational marijuana use.

Myth #19: CBD Use Means You Have Serious Health Issues

While some people turn to CBD to address particular health challenges, many use it for general wellness, like meditation or a morning jog. Using CBD doesn’t necessarily indicate a severe health problem; it’s just another tool in the wellness toolbox.

While the CBD landscape can seem as challenging as choosing a Netflix show on a Friday night, you can navigate your way with a bit of research and persistence. Here’s to hoping your CBD journey is smooth, educational, and filled with quality products that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Are you interested in exploring more on CBD? We have a whole collection dedicated to this topic with everything you need to know. Dive in!

Getty image by IRA_EVVA

Originally published: August 8, 2023
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