If there is one substance that has managed to become the most exciting focus of medical research and popular media, it is Cannabidiol (CBD). From healthy food shelves to effective cures for medical conditions, CBD’s presence is, seemingly so, ubiquitous.
It is the compound that has doctors rethinking medicine and governments redrafting policies. Increasing researches on the compound are revealing increasing medicinal and therapeutic benefits it has to offer. It is rapidly gaining popularity among the folk which is driving the cannabinoid revolution of the 21st century.
But is everything you hear about CBD true?
Yes, CBD is an incredibly effective, safe, and therapeutic compound found in the cannabis. But there are many myths and misconceptions associated with it. Before we take a look at these, let’s brush through what CBD is and why does it enjoy all this hype?
The basics of CBD
Cannabidiol, CBD for short, is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is a naturally occurring compound present in the flower part of cannabis. It is believed to be non-psychoactive in the sense that does not cause elated behaviour in the human brain as opposed to the other cannabinoid THC.
CBD is considered to be a safe, non-addictive substance which, according to years of scientific and medical research, has multiple therapeutic benefits to offer to the human body.
CBD is fairly confused to be synonymous with another popular cannabinoid, THC. Both THC and CBD can have significant medicinal and therapeutic attributes and are, therefore, often confused.
However, the subtle difference lies in the fact that CBD does not cause the high in the body—something the THC is famous for. This is because CBD and THC as cannabinoids interact with different receptors in the human brain and body.
CBD’s interaction with the human body can, in fact, lessen or neutralise the effects of THC. Non-intoxicating and therapeutically potent are two properties of CBD that make it appealing to the scientists and consumers alike.
CBD—the Multipurpose Molecule
The world is witnessing a change in people’s medical preferences. An increasing number of populations are seeking medicinal alternatives that are more in sync with natural processes.
This is the main reason behind the success of CBD as an alternate medicine for multiple conditions. An in-depth exploration of human biology reveals that CBD can provide relief for conditions such as depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and inflammation among others.
CBD is deemed the multipurpose molecule because studies on the compound render it a potent cure for complicated health conditions such as (but not limited to):
- Autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation)
- Neurological conditions (Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy)
- Skin diseases (acne, psoriasis, dermatitis)
- Metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes)
- Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
- Cardiovascular dysfunction (arrhythmia, atherosclerosis)
- Neuropsychiatric illness (ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism, autism)
In addition to these, CBD has shown neuroprotective effects and anti-cancer properties. These are still being explored in detail by scientists all over the world.
Myth #1: CBD is non-psychoactive
This myth associates closely to the belief that the CBD component of the cannabis plant is purely medical while the THC is recreational. The scientific and lay literature on CBD classify the compound as non-psychoactive.
Yet, the studies make claims that CBD has anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-addiction, and mood-elevating effects on the human brain. These findings establish the implication that CBD does, in fact, affect our psyche. The only difference is that it does so in a beneficial way which is in complete contrast with the effects of THC.
CBD does not, unlike THC, impair the mental and/or physical functioning of the human body—even when consumed in high doses. Therefore, it makes sense to label CBD as psychoactive but non-intoxicating or non-impairing.
Moving on to the myth that has people believe that CBD is medicinal and THC is recreational. The problem with this classification is not the medicinal attribute of CBD but the only recreational attribute of THC.
For decades now, the medical world has known and acknowledged the paradigm of medicinal marijuana. There are numerous clinical trials that demonstrate THC’s very relevant medicinal properties. Hence, THC is a compound that serves both medicinal and recreational purposes.
The same cannot, however, be said about CBD. While CBD has some remarkable therapeutic benefits to offer, it does not give (even in high doses) an ecstatic or strongly pleasurable effect.
Myth #2: CBD is CBD. It doesn’t matter where it comes from
Let’s talk a little science. Irrespective of whether it comes from hemp, medical cannabis, or a laboratory, a molecule of CBD remains the same. However, the origin of CBD does interfere with its effects.
While CBD can be a remarkable medicine, its best effects are witnessed in the context of its sister phytochemicals from the cannabis plants. In fact, the combination of CBD and THC is, according to studies, makes the best case for medical relief. One of the superpowers of CBD is enhancing the therapeutic benefits of THC while curtailing its adverse effects.
As for the source of CBD, while the hemp plant is a prominent source, it is likely to be less efficient than say, medical cannabis. In order to extract a decent amount of CBD, bulk quantities of the hemp plant may be required which increases the risk of contaminants in the final product.
Moreover, the hemp-based CBD industry is guilty of mislabelling. A recent study revealed that only 31% of the total of 84 CBD products bought online were labelled correctly.
Ideally, the most trusted source of CBD would be, whenever possible, locally grown, artisanal-produced, and laboratory-tested product acquired through a legalised medical cannabis program.
Myth #3: High dose is equal to better relief.
A lot is being discovered about CBD’s potential as an all-natural alternate medicine. But clarity on the dosages of CBD is still far ahead. There are instances where low doses of CBD have proved to be highly efficacious in treating medical conditions and enhancing the endocannabinoid system without any severe side effects.
There have also been incidents where high doses of CBD have been needed. When compared milligram to milligram, CBD is less potent than THC at providing relief from symptoms. This, in addition to the all-natural properties of CBD, has lead people to believe that high doses of CBD will be more effective.
In reality, CBD isolates require higher doses to be effective in comparison to whole plain CBD-rich oil extracts. But this alone does not determine the use of CBD as a potential medicine.
CBD derived from cannabis offers a wider therapeutic window than a CBD isolate. And, if the scientific reports from clinical trials are to be believed, a combination of CBD and THC proves to be most effective at doses as low as 2.5 mg. Of course, quite a lot will be dictated by the nature and extent of the medical condition being treated.
At the bottom of it all, what could be said is that there is no strict line about the dosage of CBD. The medical condition, the extract of CBD, and any other medication are some of the factors which dictate the dosage.
Myth #4: CBD is sedative in nature.
Many people believe CBD to be a sedative. This stems from CBD’s association with cannabis. However, that is not true. CBD is not sedating but alerting. Studies and researches on CBD have shown that CBD can counteract the sedative effects of THC, delay sleep time, and lower the high-hangover caused by THC.
As has been documented, even single CBD doses as high as 600mg have not produced any sedating effects. CBD is not intrinsically sedative. However, it does promote better sleeping patterns because of its anti-anxiety effects.
Myth #5: CBD works by activating the cannabinoid receptors.
The human body is home to an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which helps it to respond to illness and injury. The ECS is always functioning in all the organs and tissues to keep us healthy. That makes this system a natural target for all therapeutic inventions in all diseases known to mankind.
It is the widespread presence of the Endocannabinoid System throughout the body that justifies the efficiency of medical cannabis in treating inflammatory, neurologic, psychiatric, and metabolic conditions among others.
THC works by activating the cannabinoid receptors in the body. This leads to the assumption that CBD works in a similar way given that it is a sister phytocannabinoid to THC. But that is not true.
CBD does not directly stimulate the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the human body. Instead, CBD, on coming in contact with these receptors, turns down their activity level and causes a mild to moderate decrease in the effects of THC.
A word from Its Hemp
The growing popularity of hemp and CBD is leading to the growth of public awareness as well. ItsHemp is a hem-loving community which aims to educate the public about the ins and outs of this wonder-resource and its components.
Cannabinoid science especially pertaining to CBD is still in the nascent stages and authentic literature on it is scarce. More often than not, half-truths and urban legends emerge from overhyped enthusiasts and cynical producers.
The ItsHemp community does its best to provide with research-backed and critically analysed content about the Hemp, CBD, and Marijuana industry. Hemp and Medical Cannabis are wonderful plants with the potential to give breakthrough applications. We believe in its magic and therefore bring to you well-researched and unfiltered facts.