Because of the stigma that shadows cannabis use, misconceptions about its composition, use, and health effects multiply. Unfortunately for those who would benefit from the medical benefits of CBD (cannabidiol), unfounded rumors and anecdotes scare people away.
The top misconceptions about cannabis CBD ignore its value.
The cannabis plant consists a numerous elements, but the key compounds are THC and CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) accounts for the psychoactive response, the body and brain trip that brings pleasure to many users.
The brain and central nervous system have CB1 (cannabinoid 1) receptors. The THC creates the psychoactive punch when it binds those receptors. Chemists call the THC molecule an “agonist” because it sparks the CB1 receptor.
THC imitates anandamide, a neurotransmitter they label “the bliss molecule.” Anandamide stimulates appetite, memory, motivation, and that sense of bliss you feel after a good day of exercise. As such, increased dosage will exacerbate that feeling.
CBD, on the other hand, has little interest in the CB1 receptors. It is an “antagonist” because it does not attach to the CB1 receptors. Moreover, it works at stifling the CB1-activating qualities of THC. So, when you use cannabis in any form, the THC directly stimulates CB1 receptors, while the CBD offsets the influence of the THC.
The different strains of cannabis have different THC: CBD ratios. Those high in THC produce the highest highs, and the CBD-heavy strains produce sedative effects. The highest levels of THC can even lead to paranoia, but the higher the CBD content, the psychoactive impact reduces that THC punch. It turns a “trip” into a “buzz.”
Users can treat medical problems with CBD-rich or CBD-dominant cannabis. And, researchers, scientists, and pharmaceutical developers seek to isolate, synthesize, and test the effects of CBD on a catalog of medical conditions. The theory holds that research will identify the strains and ratios best suited for specific results.
The top 9 misconceptions about cannabis CBD
- CBD is illegal in the United States. Possession, sales, and use of CBD is illegal in the U.S. because the DEA lists it as a Schedule 1 drug. However, the Federal government has not been prosecuting the commercial sale and possession of CBD cannabis and cannabis-derived products, and its right and ability to prosecute consumers in states where it has been legalized depends on the initiative of the U.S. Attorney General. And, the fact that some states have approved traffic in specific CBD prescription meds like Sativex® and Epidiolex® does not extend to other CBD products.
- CBD converts to THC. Rumor has it that the gastric acids in the digestive system converts CBD to THC. But, Ricardo Oliveira, writing for LifetNews.com, says, “As far as we know there are no human enzymes capable of achieving this transformation. Human CBD clinical trials that measure cannabis contents in the blood have never revealed such an effect.” Patients using CBD do not report THC effects.
- CBD is a sedative. Technically, CBD is not a sedative. Another cannabinoid, Myrcene is responsible for the sedative effects in cannabis. Testing shows that the low to moderate presence of CBD increases alertness and focus. It may even produce insomnia. On the other hand, heavy doses of CBD produce a relaxing full-body sedation that can be regulated by playing with the dosages and THC ratio.
- CBD is the same everywhere you go. Much questionable and misleading CBD products have reached the market. While various states have created regulations on transparency and quality control, enforcement has not evolved. While providers cannot ship the products legally, they can do so easily. In any case, there is little oversight into authenticity, quality, and product performance. Customers need the assurance of ingredients, strength, content level, seed-to-sale tracking, and third-party laboratory testing results.
- CBD works better by itself. CBD can be isolated. But, it shows nothing important when tested alone. But, Iwantmycbd.org reports that Israel’s Dr. Raphael Mechoulam “found that compounds actually worked synergistically when they were combined to intensify the healing power of the binding molecule.” He called this the “entourage effect.” It follows, then, that the whole plant therapy is more effective than the isolated elements.
- CBD works like Rimonabant. Acomplia, Rimonabant, and Zimulti were marketed as an appetite suppressant and anti-obesity treatment. It was withdrawn from its global market because of negative side effects like serious depression issues, mood swings, and suicide ideation. Because of that experience, the negative results have since shadowed all CBD uses without cause.
- CBD-only regulations serve the patient population well. In the 18 states where CBD-only has been approved, most specify the medical conditions that it can serve. Because there is no consistency to these lists of allowable diseases, the lists limit and exclude some needy patients. In addition, whole plant therapies better treat certain ailments that are not well served by a “one size fits all” approach.
- CBD is for medical therapies only. It’s easy to label THC cannabis as the recreational and the CBD as the medical one. But, it’s not that simple. CBD has many medical applications and is much sought after for therapy. But, consumers enjoy those strains where the CBD buffering balances nicely with the THC psychoactive qualities to produce a relaxing yet alert and creative after-effect.
- CBD does not work according to scientific studies. The DEA’s position scares investors and scientists who would like to research the role CBD plays in healthcare. The scientific studies that have been completed indicate that CBD has analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, and antitumor properties. But, most of these studies have been “in vitro” and not in human subjects.
Medical patients bear unofficial testimony to the curative powers of CBD. Their numbers testify to the help it has provided to those suffering from general anxiety, migraines, PTSD, insomnia, appetite issues, chronic pain, epilepsy, MS, MD, and more. In strains where it balances with THC, it adds a relaxing element to the psychoactive effects of THC. Unfortunately, because of the clouds attached to cannabis and marijuana in general, it struggles to earn the research support it needs to dispel the top nine misconceptions about cannabis CBD reviewed here.