CBD & THC: 11 Myths & Misconceptions
With growing awareness of CBD’s potential wellness benefits, there has been a proliferation of misconceptions about CBD, THC, and the Cannabis plant as a whole. The following are some of the most common myths and misconceptions regarding the subject. Knowledge is power! Credit: Project CBD
#1. CBD is medical while THC is recreational
It is common for people to say they are seeking the benefits of CBD, the “medical” part of the plant, while not THC, the “recreational” part that gets you high. While some people prefer THC-Free CBD Oil, THC can have therapeutic properties. Scientists at San Diego’s Scripps Research Center reported that THC inhibits an enzyme implicated in the formation of amyloid-beta plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia. The federal government recognizes single-molecule THC (Marinol) as an anti-nausea compound and appetite booster, deeming it a Schedule III pharmaceutical, a category reserved for drugs with little abuse potential. But whole-plant cannabis, which is the only natural source of THC, continues to be classified as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical value.
#2. CBD = good cannabinoid, THC = bad cannabinoid
It is common to see many people starting to accept CBD while still demonizing THC. Marijuana prohibitionists even use CBD to further stigmatize high-THC cannabis, framing CBD as the good cannabinoid and tetrahydrocannabinol as the bad cannabinoid. Why is this? Simple, because CBD doesn’t make you feel high like THC does. Hemp Circle and Project CBD categorically reject this moralistic, reefer madness dichotomy in favor of whole plant cannabis therapeutics.
#3. Single-molecule is superior to ‘crude’ whole plant medicinals
According to the federal government, while specific components of the marijuana plant (THC, CBD) have medical value, the plant itself does not. This position reflects a cultural bias that privileges Big Pharma products. While a single-molecule approach is favored by the FDA, it's not the only way. In fact, it’s not necessarily the best way to benefit from cannabis therapeutics. Cannabis contains several hundred compounds, including flavonoids, aromatic terpenes, and many minor cannabinoids in addition to CBD and THC. Each of these compounds has a specific attribute, which when combined, creates a holistic “ensemble effect.” It is reasonable to see how the “whole-plant” taken with all its compounds has a wider influence than a single-molecule compound
#4. CBD is most effective without THC
CBD and THC are the power duo of cannabis compounds - they work best together. Scientific studies point towards CBD and THC interacting synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. British researchers have shown that CBD potentiates THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model of colitis. Scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center argue that a combination of THC and CBD has a more potent anti-tumoral effect than either compound alone when tested on brain cancer and breast cancer cell lines. As for CBD for pain, clinical research also points at CBD combined with THC being more beneficial for neuropathic pain than either compound as a single molecule.
“We should be thinking of cannabis as a medicine first, that happens to have some psychoactive properties, as many medicines do, rather than as an intoxicant that happens to have a few therapeutic properties on the side.”
- Dr. Tod Mikuriya
#5. Psychoactivity is an adverse side effect
Many believe that the marijuana high is an unwanted side effect of medical cannabis. Big Pharma is keen on synthesizing medically active marijuana-like molecules that don’t make people high - suggesting that any mild euphoric feeling is intrinsically negative for a sick or healthy person for that matter. In ancient Greece, the word euphoria meant “having health,” a state of well-being. The euphoric qualities of cannabis are implicated in the therapeutic value of the plant. “We should be thinking of cannabis as a medicine first,” said Dr. Tod Mikuriya, “that happens to have some psychoactive properties, as many medicines do, rather than as an intoxicant that happens to have a few therapeutic properties on the side.”
#6. CBD is not psychoactive
CBD is not an intoxicant, however, describing CBD as strictly non-psychoactive may not quite give a complete picture. CBD is not psychoactive like THC, that’s for sure. CBD will not make a person feel high, but in many ways, CBD can be seen as having psychoactive properties as it may influence a person’s mood. When a depressed individual takes a low dose of a CBD-rich sublingual tincture and has a good day for the first time in a long time, and this experience repeats itself regularly, it’s easy to see how CBD had a mood-altering effect on said person.
#7. CBD is sedating
Many people buy CBD for sleep, but does it work? Moderate doses of CBD are mildly energizing. However, very high doses of CBD may trigger a biphasic effect and be sleep-promoting. If CBD-rich cannabis flower confers a sedating effect, it’s likely because of a myrcene-rich terpene profile. Myrcene is a terpene with sedative and painkilling properties. CBD is not intrinsically sedating, but it may help to restore better sleeping patterns by reducing anxiety. In fact, many people try CBD for anxiety.
#8. CBD converts to THC in a person’s stomach
Misleading reports that CBD converts to THC in the stomach raised concerns about possible harmful side effects, which might limit CBD’s therapeutic utility. Orally administered CBD is well-tolerated. Extensive clinical trials demonstrate that ingested CBD - even doses above 600 mg - does not cause THC-like psychoactive effects. On the contrary, CBD in sufficient amounts can lessen or neutralize the THC high. The World Health Organization gave CBD a clean bill of health in a 2017 report that asserted: “Simulated gastric fluid does not exactly replicate physiological conditions in the stomach and spontaneous conversion of CBD to delta-9-THC has not been demonstrated in humans undergoing CBD treatment.”
#9. CBD is CBD - It doesn’t matter its source
It’s possible to extract CBD oil from low-resin industrial hemp, but fiber hemp is not an optimal source. Since industrial hemp typically contains less cannabidiol than high-resin CBD-rich cannabis flower tops, breeders are focused on developing high-resin cannabis varieties of industrial hemp. Just as well, Pure CBD synthesized in a lab lacks all the other plant compounds that enhance their therapeutic benefits. So the source does matter.
With so many unvetted CBD products in the market, choosing the right source is well worth it
From a commercial point of view, when it comes to CBD oil for sale online, not all CBD stores are the same. Did you know Amazon prohibits products containing Cannabidiol? (hemp seed oil contains no CBD). People seek to buy CBD oil online for many reasons. Still, they all deserve the best CBD oil that they can fully trust. While most online CBD stores carry hundreds of brands using no criteria whatsoever, specialized retailers, like Hemp Circle, carry exclusively lab-certified CBD products tested for pesticides, made with natural ingredients, and sourced from organizations with elevated standards.
#10. High doses of CBD work better than low doses
CBD isolates require higher doses than whole plant CBD-rich oil extracts to be effective, as CBD-rich cannabis has a wider therapeutic window than an isolate. While many individuals may require significantly higher doses of CBD oil to obtain satisfactory results, reports from clinicians and patients suggest that an “ensemble” combination of CBD, THC, and the other cannabinoids and plant compounds can be effective at doses as small as 2.5 mg. Keep in mind that cannabis, in general, can have biphasic properties, meaning that low and high doses may produce opposite effects. An excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose - the type of CBD product, the individual, and the wellness goals must be taken into consideration.
#11. Legalizing CBD, but not cannabis serves the patient population
Seventeen U.S. states have enacted “CBD only” laws. And 30 states have legalized medical marijuana (not just CBD) in one form or another. Some states restrict the sources of CBD products and specify the health concerns for which CBD can be accessed; others do not. But a CBD product with little or no THC doesn’t work for everyone. Parents of epileptic children have expressed that adding THC may help with seizure control. For some epileptics, THC-dominant products are more effective than CBD-rich products. Most patients are not well served by CBD-only laws. They should have access to a broad spectrum of whole plant cannabis remedies, not just low THC medicine.