CBD Myths: What It Can and Can’t Do

June 25, 2020

There are many benefits to making CBD part of your lifestyle. The substance is rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties. It also helps cancer patients deal with pain and nausea. However, CBD is not a miracle drug. It can’t do everything, and not all CBD is created the same.

Let’s peel back the veil of marketing claims and false advertising to look at some CBD myths that need to be dismissed. Here are some you see pop up time and time again.

Myth #1 - CBD is not psychoactive

In their rush to distance CBD from THC, many journalists make the mistake of calling CBD a “non-psychoactive” substance. That classification is wrong. Both CBD and THC are psychoactive. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are all also psychoactive.

By looking at what all those substances have in common, it’s easy to deduce what “psychoactive” means. Psychoactive refers to any substance that affects your “mood, perception or consciousness as a result of changes in the functioning of the nervous system,” according to the Department of Health’s Public Health Bush Book.

Psychoactive substances are split into three categories: stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. Coffee and THC are stimulants. CBD is a depressant, and nicotine can be both, depending on the circumstances. LSD is a hallucinogen, obviously.

However, while CBD is psychoactive, it is never intoxicating. It will not leave you drunk, high, or make you trip. At super-high doses, the worst CBD can do is make you drowsy. It will never change your behavior or perception of reality — no more than coffee does.

Myth #2 - CBD has no side effects

CBD does indeed have side effects, some of them quite severe. They just are not that common. And since CBD has no potential for addiction, it’s relatively simple for people to experiment with different doses and tune their dosage down when they experience side effects.

The exact extent of CBD’s side effects are hard to gauge. Studies are still being conducted, and while some short-term side effects are obvious, there’s concern that we may not yet have identified the long-term side effects of the substance. That certainly was the FDA’s main concern in their PSA about CBD products.

Potential side effects of CBD include diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, constipation, dry mouth, among others. There’s also some indication that CBD may increase liver toxicity. That risk was identified in the drug trials for Epidiolex, the FDA-approved drug that uses synthetic CBD.

In that case, the FDA ruled in favor of approving the drug under the argument that the drug’s limited use in a hospital setting made the liver toxicity risk easy to manage. They also understood that the benefits outweighed the risk, given that Epidiolex is used to treat a deadly type of infantile epilepsy.

Myth #3 - CBD is all the same

This is more a myth of omission than an active lie. Many producers and marketers fail to disclose whether their CBD products are made using isolates or full-spectrum hemp. And that distinction can greatly affect the quality of the CBD product you are getting into your system.

The difference lies in the number of active cannabinoids you are receiving with each product. Hemp is a low THC variation of the cannabis plants. Like all cannabis variations, it contains over a hundred different cannabinoids. Those don’t operate in isolation, but synergize, boosting each other’s effects and helping grant stronger effects when consumed together.

CBD isolates are made out of crystallized CBD that is usually about 99% pure. Working with isolates is both simpler and cheaper, but products made out of CBD isolates are generally less healthy than full-spectrum alternatives.

Full-spectrum CBD often contains hemp biomass as part of its composition. If you are taking a CBD oil, it may come infused in hemp seed oil, further boosting the synergy.

The downside of full-spectrum CBD, however, is that it often has a strong earthly taste. It does contain plant matter, after all. Meanwhile, isolates are tasteless, making it convenient for making CBD edibles and soft-drinks that taste just like the non-infused products.

Myth #4 - CBD is safe for everyone

“Anyone can take CBD” is only true if you add a couple of asterisks to it. There is at least one group to whom CBD is not safe, and many groups to whom the safety of CBD products depends on certain precautions.

As many sources point out, CBD interacts with different medications. To cut a long story short, CBD may speed up or slow down the rate at which other medications are processed by the body.

Slowing down the absorption of medication means that more of that substance will be in your blood at any given time. As you keep taking your prescription alongside CBD, that build up could lead to unwanted side effects and affect the efficacy of the medication.

This is especially concerning for people suffering from degenerative arthritis, as a drug interaction could speed up the decline of the patient, even as the CBD provides short-term relief. If you are on prescription medication, check with your doctor before you start taking CBD regularly. Or do some research of your own.

Other groups that are at risk from CBD products include children, pets, and the elderly. To be clear, the World Health Organization has determined that CBD is safe for people of all ages. However, what they did not count on was the abundance of low-quality CBD products flooding the market, many of which are contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides.

These contaminants are much more harmful to the young and the elderly, as well as cancer patients and many other vulnerable groups. You should always be careful when buying CBD oil and other products, but be extra careful if the product is for someone in one of those groups. To learn more, read this Cibdol guide on how to spot quality CBD oil.