With all of the attention Cannabidiol (CBD) has been getting in the media, on internet forums, in the general public, as well as from the plethora of startup companies claiming to have the “purest” CBD extracts available, it is imperative to separate fact from fiction regarding this amazing natural botanical. CBD will not get you “high,” but you will definitely be elevated once you begin discovering all of the research that is coming out in praise of cannabinoids, especially CBD, and their therapeutic potentials. Even though we live in the digital age where information is plentiful and readily available, it is still easy for rumors and stereotypes to circulate amongst the population. This article will hopefully clear the air to some of the more commonly heard rumors in circulation.
Myth #1: Cannabis is highly addictive, regardless if its CBD or THC or whatever else is derived from it.
This myth stems from the reefer madness days when all Cannabis was deemed to be “from the devil.” It was touted as being a “gateway drug” that would eventually get “good kids” addicted to drugs, hang out with the wrong crowd, and be tempted to try other “hard” drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, etc. The truth to this widely held myth is that Cannabis actually has the opposite effect. One of the key medicinal benefits of CBD is that it can actually prevent and disrupt drug-seeking behaviors in individuals that are addicted to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, tobacco, and even alcohol. It is openly recommended and prescribed in the modern day by clinicians for this reason exclusively. While it is true that THC has been associated with developing some drug-seeking, addictive behaviors, as long as it is combined with a reasonable dose of CBD simultaneously, one can get the benefits of both cannabinoids without the risk of developing an addiction.
Myth #2: CBD is “medicinal” and THC is “recreational”
CBD has had a surge of research touting its therapeutic and medicinal benefits. In addition to its many applications, the primary reason individuals see it as more “medicinal” than THC is because it does not readily activate the CB1 receptors within the endocannabinoid system of the human nervous system. The result is the absence of psychoactive properties that are associated with the “high” feeling that is derived from consumption of Cannabis rich in THC.
The falsehood in this commonly held myth is that it is perceived by many that THC has no therapeutic benefit. Moreover, the “high” effect associated with THC is deemed to be the very thing that should be avoided at all cost. The truth is that THC is highly medicinal due to its ability to activate the CB1 receptors, which stimulate appetite in individuals suffering from conditions such as anorexia or cachexia due to HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy, or even reducing neuropathic pain. Not to mention the “high” effect produced by THC is actually capable of providing great psychological insight to an individual, allowing them to gain greater perspective on their situation, how to best approach their current condition, and discover novel methods to alleviate pain and suffering, both psychologically and physically.
Myth #3: CBD is the same whether it is derived from stalk and seed or leaf and flower-bud.
Cannabis and hemp are allowed to be grown in certain states, mostly in the west, for the purpose of providing medicine to individuals in need. In states that do not allow Cannabis cultivation, hemp products are allowed to be imported to the country as long as the products are produced from either the stem or seeds of Cannabis plants. As a result, in recent years, many startup companies have claimed that they have super pure and legal CBD oil that is derived from either the stalk or seeds. In truth, CBD is not contained within seeds and is present in only very small quantities within the stalks of hemp plants. The highest concentration of CBD is present within the female flower-buds and secondarily within the leaves. Any company that claims to possess CBD derived from seeds or stalks is just trying to promote their product and is not trying to provide the highest quality product for patients and consumers.
Myth #4: The psychoactive properties of THC within Cannabis is an unfortunate negative side-effect
This is another commonly held myth that is an unfortunate one. With so much information coming from well designed research and clinical trials on the benefits of CBD, in addition to other cannabinoids within Cannabis, many people feel as if the psychoactive effects produced by CB1 receptor modulators, namely THC, is something that should be completely avoided and gives a bad reputation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As mentioned above, THC’s ability to activate CB1 receptors is a key property that is unique to cannabinoids. It is not something that should be avoided at all, and it is definitely not an adverse “side-effect.”
One of the facts that is commonly overlooked is the sheer presence of the endocannabinoid system within humans to begin with. The human body possesses and produces its own endogenous cannabinoids, namely anandamide, colloquially referred to as the “bliss molecule”, and 2-AG, that are fully capable of stimulating CB1 receptors and inducing the same “high” sensations experienced after THC consumption. One could argue that if humans were to not “supposed to” experience psychoactive revelations and perspectives, then this natural physiological system would not be present and available for stimulation. Psychoactive substances are thus under the moralistic purview of governmental and religious vantage points and not reflective of physiological potentials and capabilities.
Myth #5: CBD only extracts are more bioactive than extracts containing multiple cannabinoids
This myth is held because of the plethora of research that supports the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of CBD. Further, the two cannabinoids with the highest concentrations within Cannabis are CBD and THC. There are actually over 80 different cannabinoids within the Cannabis plant. All of them act on the endocannabinoid system in addition to other receptors that are still not fully known. It is thought that because CBD is non-psychoactive it is somehow superior to other cannabinoids that stimulate CB1 receptors. In fact, researchers have actually described a process referred to as the “entourage effect” that is the product of multiple cannabinoids working synergistically to produce a greater effect than any one of them alone. Synergy is a common principle within herbal medicine that is highly desirable. It is represented mathematically as 1 + 1 = 3, namely because the interaction between the molecules in question are capable of producing greater effects that are not capable of being produced when either of the compounds are administered individually.
Myth #6: Synthetic cannabinoids are more effective than whole Cannabis plant derived extracts
This myth stems from the belief that Big Pharma will always produce the best drugs. The truth is that majority of the major drugs utilized in contemporary medicine are derived from botanical ingredients. In attempts to bring in vast profits, pharmaceutical companies are always looking for the most bioactive compounds within a botanical to extract, synthesize, and then patent. Plants are not capable of being patented because they are a product of Nature, thus they are not valued within the contemporary medical system. Additionally, whole plant-based extracts produce little to no adverse side-effects that plague their single-compound synthetic counterparts. As described above, whole plant extracts are capable of producing synergistic effects. Furthermore, cannabinoids within Cannabis exhibit an “entourage effect” resulting in greater therapeutic benefits due to multiple mechanisms of action. This point couldn’t be more proved within the context of Cannabis than when comparing the physiological functions that exist between CBD and THC, which have been described as having a Yin-Yang effect. THC produces euphoric and psychoactive properties that may result in dependency and drug-seeking behavior, while CBD actually reduces drug-seeking behavior and counteracts the psychoactive properties of THC.