There’s a lot of misinformation out there about cannabis. In the shadow of the miraculous healing potential of CBD, THC is sometimes demonized. As it turns out, CBD does have some amazing qualities, but it’s also a good idea to have a realistic understanding of both its benefits and its limitations.
Let's look at some facts
Myth 1: CBD is the “good” cannabinoid and purely medical while THC is the “bad” cannabinoid and purely recreational
Neither are inherently “good” or “bad.” Regarding the claim that one is medicinal and the other recreational, CBD and THC can both be, well, both.
CBD also numbs pain and reduces inflammation. CBD has other medical uses as well, such as the potential to treat anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. Perhaps most famously, CBD is used to reduce seizures caused by epilepsy.
Various studies have shown both THC and CBD to be effective in relieving many of the negative side effects that cancer patients deal with. Some research even suggests that CBD and THC together may prevent cancerous tumor growth, and even decrease existing tumor growth.
Medical benefits of cannabis are often seen to be more effective when both CBD and THC are present — something known as the “entourage effect.”
As for recreational use, THC is typically what people think of as the desired cannabinoid. However, while CBD is not specifically “recreational” in spirit, plenty of recreational users seek out strains with higher CBD because of its ability to naturally reduce the potential for THC-induced anxiety.
Myth 2: CBD is not psychoactive — and psychoactivity is an inherently negative side effect
The word “psychoactive” has been given a definition that is both limiting and, frankly, inaccurate.
CBD and THC are both psychoactive in different ways.
Any substance that affects mood is implicitly having an effect on the psyche. And CBD most certainly affects mood. It is used as an anti-anxiety, anti-psychosis medicine, and as an anti-depressant.
CBD is psychoactive, but it is not an intoxicant or psychotropic. In other words, it creates no high.
Myth 3: CBD is most effective when used without THC
The opposite is true. These two cannabinoids work together synergistically, and are most effective when taken together.
For example, one study found that whole plant CBD was twice as effective for treating epilepsy compared to CBD isolate, and lower doses were required to achieve the same therapeutic results.
Cannabis and hemp plants contain an array of cannabinoids that we're only beginning to understand. These cannabinoids seem to work best when used in unison.
Myth 4: CBD is sedating
Early studies indicated that CBD could be sedating, this turned out to be untrue. Current studies say even high doses have no such effect.
Evidence actually indicates the opposite: CBD can be alerting, and counteract the potentially sedative effects of THC when used together.
Myth 5: CBD derived from hemp isn’t as good as CBD derived from cannabis
Hemp is the name for cannabis plants that have less than 0.3% THC, and cannabis or marijuana refer to plants that have more than 0.3% THC.
While it is true that pure CBD will be the same compound whichever plant it comes from, if you’re going for the whole plant, the entourage effect of the various cannabinoids working together, the hemp plant could be less effective in certain treatments.
Another issue comes up in the sourcing of quality CBD. All cannabis plants are excellent at phytoremediation. This means that cannabis plants actually clean the environment of toxins such as heavy metals and radioactive strontium-90 (one more incredible attribute of this plant!). The problem with this is that it is very easy to wind up with contaminated plant material.
Hemp-derived CBD can contain larger amounts of contaminants, since hemp contains far less CBD than medical cannabis, more plants need to be processed to extract CBD. If it is picking up toxins, it can also relay those toxins to you.
Myth 6: CBD has no side effects
According to Harvard Health, potential side effects of CBD can include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. CBD can also interact with certain medications, such as the blood thinner coumadin.
Still, most studies generally conclude that CBD is a safe.
Legal cannabis is still a very new industry, so not all of the information we have currently is rock solid. Thankfully, scientists are learning — and publishing — more about the cannabis plant every day.