There are a lot of claims going around about what CBD can and cannot do. These are often circulated through the community, the latest in CBD research, marketers, news stories, and the industry itself. Everyone seems to have something different to say. It can be hard to differentiate between which claims are true and which are not, especially when some of the information can appear to be contrary. As a recently growing industry with largely preliminary research, we can see where a lot of this confusion is coming from; CBD science is new and the industry still hasn’t found its footing yet. Oftentimes, the answers aren’t cut-and-dry either, which only makes the challenge bigger. As we learn and grow in our understanding of CBD, hopefully we’ll begin to see a lot more clarity in the future.
That said, there are some popular CBD claims we’ve seen circulating that are not entirely true. These can be a result of anything from misunderstanding research to company marketing schemes. As such, we thought it would be worthwhile to investigate some of these claims and assess their validity.
Myth #1: CBD is a ‘cure all’
Although some evidence suggests that CBD may help with a variety of issues, it certainly isn’t going to solve everything. The science is still fairly new, and there’s lots we don’t know about how CBD interacts with our bodies. Although there’s been some research to suggest that CBD can possibly help with anything from sleep, pain, anxiety, or even COVID, we don’t know enough yet to say anything for certain. The majority of studies are either preliminary, conducted with animals, or done in-vitro (in a petri dish), so human applicability can be difficult to assess. While research does seem promising, we need to do a lot more experiments before we fully understand CBD as a treatment.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that CBD is just one variable in a person’s life. We’ve seen people asking about whether not CBD can prevent burnout or other similar questions, and the answer is typically probably not. CBD might be a great tool in your toolbox, as it were, but it’s just one of many factors that could be contributing to your overall health. Things like eating well, getting enough sleep, seeking out medical treatments or therapy, or exercising are all important to consider as well. On top of all that, everyone’s body reacts differently. What works for one person might not work for the next, so the idea of a universal ‘cure all’ doesn’t really hold up.
Myth #2: As a ‘natural medicine,’ CBD has no side effects or risks
What research we have right now suggests that CBD is relatively safe, even in large amounts, with little to no reported side effects for people who are generally in good health and not on any other medications. What side effects do exist tend to be relatively benign, including things like drowsiness, digestive issues, and mood changes. However, as we said above, everyone’s body will react differently.
One of the biggest issues with CBD, however, seems to be in how it interacts with other medications. More specifically, CBD can change the way our bodies metabolise medication, which can potentially lead to overdose or other adverse impacts. Since this is a larger topic, we’ve spoken more about it here.
To summarize, however, it’s not entirely true that CBD has no side effects or risks Since this is a larger topic, we’ve spoken more about it here.
Myth #3: CBD is nothing but snake oil
After being in the industry and community for a while, it’s not hard to see where this myth comes from. Part of this is due to CBD being marketed as a ‘cure all’ with little scientific validity to back those claims up.
However, besides the fact that research is currently limited when it comes to the effects of CBD, there’s still some stuff we do know. To better understand how CBD interacts with our bodies, check out our post here. A lot of it has to do with our endocannabinoid system and how CBD and other cannabinoids can influence it. There’s also been a lot of research into whether or not CBD is a placebo, and from what we know so far, it appears to be more effective than that. We’ve spoken more about the topic here.
Myth #4: CBD doesn’t work
Again, going back to the idea that everyone’s different; everyone’s different. How one person responds to CBD is going to be different than how someone else responds. Just because someone had a particular experience with CBD, even a success, doesn’t mean the next person is going to experience the exact same thing. Through inflated marketing schemes, news articles, and community success stories, it can be easy to see how expectations around CBD may be elevated. Ultimately, individual factors like age, sex, weight, body chemistry, general health, etc., makes a big difference.
Another issue could come down to dosing, as again, everyone’s different. Figuring out an effective dose can be a matter of trial and error, which means that it’s easy to not give our bodies enough time to adjust or figure out a dose that actually works for us. Contrary to what one might hear, there are studies that suggest upwards of hundreds of milligrams may be needed, depending on what you’re trying to treat. For more information about dosage, check out this post.
The type of product you’re using or method of application can also impact the effectiveness of CBD, so taking time to do proper product research and find something that works for you is always a good idea.
If you want to know more about why CBD might not be working for you, check out what we wrote about the topic here.
Myth #5: CBD and hemp oil are the same
CBD is extracted from a cannabis or hemp plant’s resin and it’s full of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. As it goes through the extraction process, it becomes refined and eventually becomes Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or Isolate. In contrast, hemp oil is mainly derived from the plant’s seeds, which contain none of the same compounds, including THC or CBD.
Myth #6: CBD can’t get you high
Typically, Full Spectrum CBD is the only type of CBD that contains THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the high associated with cannabis use. Although the THC levels contained in Full Spectrum products tend to be very low, again, everyone’s body is different. Some people have THC sensitivities, and even these small amounts may have an impact on them. This is one reason why some people may prefer Broad Spectrum or Isolate, where the vast majority of THC has been removed entirely.
Myth #7: Hemp derived CBD isn’t as great as cannabis derived CBD
According to the Canadian Cannabis Act, cannabis plants are defined as containing more than 0.3% THC, while hemp plants are defined as having less than this amount. As of right now, the majority of CBD within Canada is still derived from cannabis plants.
One reason for this is due to the fact that hemp plants don’t always produce enough resin, which the stuff we extract CBD from. Due to lower resin content, more plants are needed in order to extract the same amount of CBD. This can be a problem, because hemp is known as a bioaccumulator, so it tends to soak up harmful chemicals in the soil it’s grown in. More plants being used means more chemicals in the products we’re consuming. Obviously, this is not safe for consumers.
However, this isn’t the full story, and it largely depends on the kind of hemp being cultivated. As farming practices evolve, we’ll begin to see more high-quality, high-resin hemp plants that are capable of being an excellent source of CBD. This is important, because under the Cannabis Act, cultivating hemp is less expensive than cultivating cannabis, which may ultimately lead to lower costs for consumers.
In terms of bioaccumulation concerns, this is also shifting with better farming practices. Additionally, making sure that companies are being transparent about their product composition, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metal content can ensure the products we’re consuming are safe. Be on the lookout for Certificates of Analysis (COAs) that break down the heavy metal, pesticide, and bacterial levels present in a particular product.
As the community and industry continues to evolve, we have no doubt that more popular claims about CBD will circulate with varying degrees of validity. While we’re looking forward to more scientific clarity in the future, it’s important to make sure we’re checking sources and verifying the information we’re receiving, especially when it comes to something we’re putting in our bodies.