The way things are going, CBD will soon become bigger than Coca-Cola! Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Farm Bill of 2018, which legalized the growth of industrial hemp in the United States, has paved the way for an already thriving industry to hit remarkable heights.
Although CBD was first identified over half a century ago, it has only hit the mainstream in the last few years. While it is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, it is currently sold as a food or health supplement because the FDA has not yet approved it for medical reasons.
You would think that finding useful information on such a popular product would be easy. Alas, there is an enormous amount of misinformation surrounding CBD, as I show with the following seven things that almost everyone gets wrong about cannabidiol.
1 – CBD is Not Psychoactive
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have read a sentence like this: “CBD is the main non-psychoactive compound in marijuana.” As you probably know, THC is the best-known psychoactive compound. It is assumed that because CBD doesn’t get you stoned that it is non-psychoactive.
However, CBD does affect the brain. Sure, it acts differently to THC, but a psychoactive substance affects the mind. Since CBD affects the mind, it IS a psychoactive substance. It is actually non-intoxicating.
2 – CBD is Effectively the Same as THC Barring the High
CBD is commonly said to provide “healing without the high.” Therefore, it is often assumed that the only difference between it and THC is the lack of psychoactivity. In fact, even though they come from the same plant, they interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) in entirely different ways.
Both compounds have identical chemical makeup: C21H30O2. The difference between the two is in the arrangement of one atom. Both compounds interact with the ECS which is a network of receptors in the body. Thus far, scientists have identified two receptors: CB1 and CB2.
THC and CBD interact with these receptors in different ways. Both bind to the CB2 receptor, but THC binds directly with the CB1 receptor. In contrast, CBD doesn’t bond with the CB1 receptor directly, and its presence may negate the THC and CB1 receptor bond. Our CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and are responsible for processes such as emotion, motor coordination, and memory.
3 – CBD is Good, THC is Bad
It is easy to see how this idea has come about. After all, CBD is more widely ‘accepted’ by the general public and politicians. Even Mitch McConnell advocated for the legalization of industrial hemp. Hemp is an excellent food source, and companies extract CBD from it. In contrast, THC has been demonized because of the psychoactive high it offers; something that is missing from CBD.
The reason why THC is said to be ‘bad’ is because of our negative perceptions of psychoactive drugs. In Ancient Greece, ‘euphoria’ meant good health and a sense of wellbeing. The euphoric qualities of marijuana are a major part of its therapeutic value.
4 – CBD is for Medicinal Use, THC is for Recreational Use
This runs on neatly from point #3. Once again, there is an assumption that CBD is used for medicinal purposes, while THC is for getting stoned. While it is true that CBD is predominantly used to treat different medical issues, and THC does get you high, it is wrong to dismiss the health benefits of the psychoactive compound.
There are hundreds of studies that show the potential therapeutic effect of THC on patients with a wide variety of ailments. For example, researchers at San Diego’s Scripps Research Center found that THC possibly inhibits an enzyme that helps form beta-amyloid plaque; something that happens when you have Alzheimer’s.
Although the FDA doesn’t recognize weed as a medicine, it has approved Marinol, a Schedule III drug created from synthesized single molecule THC. It is sold as an appetite booster and also works to treat nausea.
5 – It Doesn’t Matter Where the CBD Comes From
It is assumed by many that CBD quality doesn’t vary that much. In reality, it is a sad fact that there can be an enormous disparity in quality depending on the seller. CBD is extracted from the flower, leaves, and stalk of the hemp plant. Be very wary of any company that says its CBD comes from hemp seed and stalk.
There is also a variety of extraction methods. Some companies use high-grade alcohol to extract the CBD, but others use dangerous substances such as butane and ethanol. It is a form of extraction that may contain chlorophyll or other harmful substances. Other methods include olive oil and dry ice extraction, but for the record, supercritical CO2 extraction is deemed the gold standard.
6 – You Should Use CBD Isolate for Best Results
There is a school of thought which suggests that CBD is better when you take it by itself. That’s the rationale behind the growth of the CBD isolate market. You can purchase a gram of shatter or wax that contains at least 99% CBD.
In actual fact, the ‘entourage effect’ shows that THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, work better when used together. In terms of therapeutic value, for example, it may be best to smoke a joint than vaping CBD isolate! A variety of studies have found that THC and CBD interact ‘synergistically’ and boost the effects of one another.
A 2011 study by Marcu et al., published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found that CBD improves the inhibitory effects of THC on human glioblastoma growth and survival. In other words, a combination of the compounds can work as an anti-tumoral on breast and brain cancers.
7 – Choose Single-Molecule Pharmaceuticals
I’m not sure if this is something the general public believes, or if it is what the pharmaceutical industry wants us to believe. As I mentioned above, the FDA has approved single-molecule pharmaceutical drugs for public use. In their eyes, individual compounds such as CBD have therapeutic value, but the entire plant does not!
There are well over 110 cannabinoids in marijuana and several hundred more compounds including terpenes and flavonoids. As I mentioned in #6, cannabinoids work better together rather than in isolation. While Big Pharma synthesizes individual cannabinoids and expects you to pay a small fortune for the privilege, you are better off smoking a joint; or at least using a full-spectrum CBD tincture from a reputable source.
7 Things You Probably Get Wrong About CBD: Final Thoughts
As CBD becomes ever more popular, it is imperative that the public educates itself on this fascinating cannabinoid. While it does not provide a psychoactive high, the fact that it impacts the mind means it is still psychoactive while also being non-intoxicating.
As the industry grows, you are likely to hear a laundry list of unbelievable claims being made for and against CBD. We urge you to perform your own research and pay attention to the clinical trials conducted by medical professionals.
There are those who believe that CBD, and hemp, are the preserve of hippie communes. In reality, cannabidiol was first described by an Israeli scientist. It may be a staple of ‘alternative’ medicine, but CBD is also gaining major traction in the ‘mainstream’ as well.