Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a compound derived from cannabis that has garnered a fairly substantial media buzz in the last few years due to its medicinal benefits. While the legality of cannabis in many places is hindering the rate of research on the drug, it is clear that the effects of CBD, including pain relief and reduced anxiety, have improved the well being of many users, including those with no specific health issues. That being said, it is important to separate the facts about CBD from the myths, as there are countless rumors and misconceptions that have also boarded the cannabis fueled hype-train that set off a few years ago. It’s also important to educate yourself about CBD oil when you’re a new user.
Myth #1: CBD Will Get You High
CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. In other words, it is just one ingredient in the chemically complex make-up of the plant, and it is not psychoactive. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effect that makes a person “high.” CBD is actually considered to be an anti-psychotic as it counteracts the effects of THC. In other words, CBD can make you more sober if you have consumed THC. Consequently, CBD products do not impair the user’s ability to function normally, which is ideal for those who want to get the effects of CBD while at work, for example.
While CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, it is not nearly enough to produce any noticeable effect.
Myth #2: CBD Products are Illegal
Demand for CBD has increased exponentially over the past few years, resulting in the government making CBD products legal in 2017. As stated above, these products do not get you “high” and are therefore, unlike cannabis, not considered a controlled substance.
While there are no restrictions over their use, there are however, restrictions over their THC content. CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC and the THC must not be easily extracted from them. That being said, products that you see in shops in the UK are more than likely to be perfectly legal.
Myth #3: CBD Products Don’t Work
The amount of research done on the effects of CBD has significantly increased over the last decade, and as a result, there is now a large amount of evidence for its benefits.
Arguably the most effective use of CBD is treating epilepsy. A study conducted in 2016 in which 74 epileptic children were given CBD enriched cannabis oil with doses of CBD ranging from 1 to 20mg had very promising results; 66 reported a significant reduction in seizure frequency, with 13 of those reporting a reduction in frequency of 75-100%.
Another very effective use is treating people with social anxiety disorder. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in which subjects were administered either a 400mg dose of CBD, or a placebo, found that those who were given the CBD dose experienced “significantly decreased” social anxiety in comparison with those given the placebo.
In addition, a study by the Hadassah University Hospital way back in 2005 found that CBD significantly decreases the incidence rate of diabetes in NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice, from 86% in the non-treated control mice, to just 30% in the CBD treated group. While obviously this is mice as opposed to humans, the claim that CBD consumption reduces risk of diabetes is further backed up by a 2011 report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which found that rates of obesity are about one-third lower among cannabis users.
Other applications which have at the very least substantial anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness include using CBD as a sleep aid, using it to reduce inflammation and as previously mentioned, using it for pain relief. However, research is still in an early phase and more is being found about the cannabinoid every year. It is all being published online and so it is relatively easy for anyone to check for themselves whether or not it is actually effective.
Bonus tip: Research has show that CBD is great for pets too!
Myth #4: CBD is a Sedative
While people do use CBD as a sleep aid this tends to be at higher doses. There is actually some evidence that low to medium doses of CBD can increase alertness and make a person feel more awake. For instance, in the previously mentioned study on the effects of CBD on epileptic children, those observing also noted that the patients seemed more alert. This suggests that CBD is biphasic, meaning it produces different effects at different doses.
A good comparison for this is alcohol; it is likely that you will feel like you have more energy after drinking 2 or 3 units, however after drinking for a while you will probably start feeling sedated.
This misconception largely originates from the sedating properties of cannabis, although research suggests that this is due to the combination of THC and CBD. Cannabis, particularly Indica dominant strains, also contain myrcene, a terpene that is sedating when consumed.
Myth #5: Using CBD Products Will Make You Fail a Drugs Test
As previously mentioned, CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC, which is what shows up in a drug test. Since sellers are legally obliged to ensure products contain 0.2% THC or less, it is unlikely that consuming them will cause you to give a positive result during one of these tests.
Going back to alcohol, why do people pass breathalyzer tests after drinking “non-alcoholic” beers, despite them usually being around 0.4% alcohol? It is because the limit for the amount of alcohol in somebody’s system is never actually absolute zero, as this would create too many problems. The same goes for THC, there is a little bit of leeway.
However, if this still seems too risky for some people, there are some available CBD products that contain no THC at all.
As research continues on cannabidiol, its market is only going to get bigger. If you suffer from any of the issues mentioned in this article, perhaps trying a CBD product is a good idea; we hope this article helped, regardless.
Alexandre S, J., Derenusson, G. N. et al. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121–130.
Mechoulam, R. , Peters, M. , Murillo‐Rodriguez, E. and Hanuš, L. (2007), Cannabidiol – Recent Advances. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4: 1678-1692. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200790147
Tzadok M, Uliel-Siboni S, Linder I et al. (2016). CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy. The current Israeli experience. Seizure. 35. 10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.004.
Weiss L, Zeira M, et al. (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity. 39. 143-51.
(2018, July 26) What are the rules about cannabis oil in the UK? BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/cite-newspaper/.