7 Myths about CBD: Clarifying common misconceptions

The CBD industry is still fairly new but it’s growing exponentially. Due to it not being regulated there is a lot of wrong information making its rounds on the web. Myths about CBD and other misconceptions of the industry are common in the media and even certain product pages.

The problem is people start to copy such wrong information. They spread the word rather than questioning the truth behind it and doing some more research. Due diligence takes work and time. People want quick and easy information though. That’s how those misconceptions spread.

As we are in the early research stage for CBD, scientists are still discovering new things about the compound and its effects on the human body. That means today’s knowledge can be outdated by tomorrow. Thus, keeping yourself up to date with the latest findings is necessary for an evolving industry like CBD.

Myths about CBD

Despite the ongoing research, we can already rely on certain facts. If you are thinking about using CBD you should be able to distinguish facts from fiction. Once you have the correct picture you will be able to make a better purchase decision.

You will be able to decide if CBD is for you or not. Making the wrong decision just because of wrong information could mean you might lose out on a helpful product.

If you decide to give CBD a try you will also have a better experience using it with the right expectations. To help you make a better decision, I will clarify 7 of the most common myths about CBD.

Before we dive deeper please note that those myths are discussed from a United Kingdom (UK) standpoint. Whereas some myths will be generally relating to CBD some only refer to the UK market. Given that laws about CBD are different from country to country some myths about CBD below might actually be facts depending on where you are.

Myth #1: CBD can get you high

This is still the biggest misconception due to CBD’s association with cannabis. Whilst CBD is not giving you a similar high like THC, it has a psychoactive effect though. But let’s talk about product composition first.

In the UK, from a legal point of view, there is only allowed to be one milligram of THC in any pack of CBD product. To detect this you need to have sophisticated lab tech though. Hence why most producers opt for THC free products.

There are some products sold in the UK with trace amounts of THC in them with reference to a 0.2% or 0.3% threshold. Although those minuscule amounts of THC will not get you high either it is still incorrect in the eyes of the law.

The 0.3% threshold of THC comes from certain states in the USA where this is a legal ceiling. The 0.2% threshold of THC refers to the UK but is related to growing hemp plants and not CBD products.

When people talk about the psychoactive effect they really mean the feeling of being high caused by THC. It is correct that CBD doesn’t have the same intoxicating effect but CBD is still psychoactive.

Psychoactive means acting on the central nervous system and altering brain function. This results in a temporary change in behaviour, mood and perception of the world around us.

As you are taking CBD with the intention of it affecting your anxiety and depression it affects your mood and perception. To summarise, CBD has psychoactive effects but is not intoxication like THC.

Clock with a small flask of CBD oil

Myth #2: CBD works instantly

You can often find articles with headlines like “I’ve tried CBD for one week and nothing happened”. Those articles paint the wrong picture for a few reasons. One of them being CBD takes time to have an effect on your body and accumulate in your endocannabinoid system.

How long it takes for CBD to work depends on quite a few variables:

  • Consumption method
  • Your body weight
  • Your metabolic rate
  • Quality of CBD

Each consumption method of CBD delivers the substance into your bloodstream in a different way. This means the bioavailability of CBD differs for each consumption method. The bioavailability refers to the rate at which CBD is absorbed by your body. It affects how fast and how much of the CBD reaches your system.

People come in different shapes and sizes. Your mass and height influences how much of a certain substance you need. Somebody with more mass needs of any given substance compared to somebody who’s smaller. It might also take longer for a person with more mass to digest more of a substance.

Your metabolic rate is the time it takes your body to break down substances and release them into the bloodstream. Many factors affect the metabolic rate. Such factors include how active you are and your genetics.

The equality of the CBD product also matters. You need to ensure that it hasn’t been left in the sun for too long. Also, are there any other ingredients in the product and of which quality are those? Could they be harmful?

In summary, it can take anywhere between 7 to 30 days for CBD to have an effect on your body. There is no precise answer to how long it takes for it to work as there are so many variables at play.

Myth #3: CBD is cannabis and therefore dodgy

This one ties in with Myth #1. Whenever I mention to people that I’m writing a blog about CBD and mention the C-word (Cannabis) they start grinning thinking that I’m up to something. Most of the time this happens with people in their 40s or older.

Due to the murky past of cannabis, there are still many people not knowing that one can legally use CBD in the UK for recreational or medicinal purposes. It will take some time as well as education to change the stereotype in people’s minds.

The CBD industry has come a long way in the past few years but more has to be done. Now, that does not say there are no dodgy participants in this industry. Given the light or non-existent regulation, there will always be people who take advantage of that.

NBC-6 investigated CBD products in February 2019. The investigation showed 20 out of 35 tested products only contained half of the proclaimed amount of CBD. Some samples did not contain any CBD at all.

CBD is derived from plants in the cannabis family but that doesn’t make it dodgy by default. Don’t get me wrong here, you as a consumer still need to do your research when looking to buy CBD products. And remember, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is and you should go elsewhere.

Myth #4: CBD is CBD, it doesn’t matter what you buy

On a molecular level, all CBD is the same as there’s only one chemical formula for it. When you are buying a CBD product it’s a different ball game altogether. Not only is the quality of the CBD different in each product but there are also other compounds in the product.

CBD sourced from organic hemp ensures there are no toxins from the soil present in the product. Secondly, CBD can come from hemp, marijuana and can even be created in a lab.

Such synthetic CBD can be damaging for your body and comes with a list of side effects. A product containing CBD sourced from marijuana will also contain a certain level of THC which is not permitted in every country.

Other ingredients in the CBD product, like a carrier oil, matter too. Do you know where those extra ingredients are coming from and how many there are in the product? It’s always crucial to read the product’s label and reviews.

Additionally, you’d want to see independent lab reports from the brands or distributors you are buying from. Lab reports will provide you with an accurate picture of how much CBD and THC is in the product.

Female scientist with white coat working in a lab

Myth #5: There is no research about CBD

10 years ago this might have been a true statement. But due to the popularity of CBD, the amount of research available has increased. A quick search for CBD on PubMed Central shows just shy of 13,000 results overall. Last year about 1,350 pieces of research have been published and in the past 5 years, 6,550 pieces have been filed.

Areas of research typically include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Safety and side effects
  • Sleep
  • Various types of cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy

Does that mean that CBD is the best substance for the above ailments? Absolutely not. It depends on your own circumstances. The advantage of CBD to normal medication is the reduced amount of side effects. Some medication can’t treat above ailments at all but CBD might be able to help.

Most importantly, randomised, double-blind CBD studies have been carried out. Their results are published on PubMed, the research archive of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine. It is open to the public and can be accessed for free.

Myth #6: CBD is illegal

The legality of CBD is highly dependant on the country you are in. Due to its safety profile, there has been a recent trend to legalise CBD around the world. Or at least decriminalise its possession. This also includes CBD being available medically only.

In the UK CBD is legally available. There are strict rules on how much THC content the product can contain hence most producers opt for 0% THC. In the UK THC is still a controlled drug and thus illegal. Possession of THC or a product containing THC above the legal threshold means you can be prosecuted for it.

There is still some confusion with the rules around growing hemp in the UK which allows for 0.2% THC in the plant. This does not apply to CBD itself though. There are also strict rules on growing hemp. It is legal to grow hemp in the UK but only for industrial purposes.

If you are interested in learning more about the legality of CBD in the UK as well as growing hemp and its legal background take a closer look here.

Woman putting cbd oil into cup of tea

Myth #7: CBD can cure XYZ

If you are buying a CBD product and the label says that it can cure a particular ailment you should rethink your purchasing decision. It is one of a few claims that shady CBD products have on their labels to increase the number of sales.

If the myths about CBD would have a ranking this one would be pretty high up. To clarify, CBD is no magic wonder-pill and cannot cure any ailment to 100%. CBD can help you and support with certain ailments. Yet it does so only to a certain degree. It might help you reduce a certain condition by 40% or 60%. But it cannot entirely remove it.

Above is also the reason why CBD products are sold as dietary supplements. Due to the lack of clinical evidence sellers are not allowed to make medical claims on their websites nor on the products themselves.

Final thoughts

Above clarifications should provide you with a better picture of CBD. The compound is safe to ingest and no cases of overdoses have been reported yet. If you do give CBD a try don’t expect immediate effects. Give it 30 days before you reach a conclusion about it. If you are still unsure about CBD here are benefits about CBD you shouldn’t miss.

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