By Emily Shiffer
If you’re wondering why CBD is suddenly everywhere, it helps to understand the impact of the 2018 Farm Bill. The legislation legalized hemp, which is essentially cannabis without the mind-altering THC, in all 50 states. But hemp is still rich in CBD, or cannabidiol, so now farmers are producing it, stores are selling it, and consumer are consuming it as gummies, lattes, and tinctures. You can even find CBD treats for your pet, if that’s your thing.
One of the compound’s most widely accepted uses is pain reduction, and it works largely by turning down the body’s inflammatory response. That’s why we’ve included it in our Radical Relief Anti-Inflammatory Pills and Gel Roll-On.
But CBD is also being used for a variety of other conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy. The plant-based medicine is quickly becoming a first-line defense for people looking to avoid the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Yet even as CBD’s popularity soars, many consumers still confuse it with old-school weed.
In truth, CBD has about as much in common with marijuana as bourbon has with corn. “CBD is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant,” says Laura Lagano, co-founder of the Holistic Cannabis Academy and author of The CBD Oil Miracle. But only one—THC–gets you stoned.
With the help of Lagano and Janice Newell Bissex, a registered dietitian nutritionist and holistic cannabis practitioner (yep, it’s a thing), we set out to break down the biggest myths surrounding CBD.
Myth #1: It puts you to sleep.
Truth: Not unless you take a mega-dose
Many people report feeling energized after taking CBD, but if you’ve experienced otherwise, you might blame the dosage. “CBD is biphasic, meaning that it can have the opposite effect at opposite doses,” says Lagano. “Where CBD at lower doses is uplifting for most people, at higher doses, it can be sedating for the same individuals.”
First-timers are more likely than habitual users to report feeling sleepy, says Newell Bissex. But the feeling rarely lasts. “Most people adjust, and any temporary feeling of drowsiness passes.”
Myth #2: It will get you high.
Truth: Not unless it contains THC
To reiterate: “CBD is not intoxicating,” says Lagano. “The only cannabinoid that scientists believe is responsible for the high experienced when consuming marijuana is THC.”
To unpack that, it helps to understand that the hemp plants used to cultivate CBD, as regulated by the federal government, contain less than .3 percent THC. But the weed you’ll find in a Colorado or California headshop can easily contain 100 times that much.
Many users do report feeling more relaxed and comfortable in their skin while taking CBD, but the effect is subtle compared to weed. CBD works more acutely on your body than your brain.
Myth #3: All CBD is the same.
Truth: It’s complicated
All CBD comes from the cannabis sativa plant—that much is true. But that doesn’t mean you’re always getting what you paid for. In one study, the Food and Drug Administration found that 70 percent of CBD products were mislabeled, and 21 percent of those tested contained higher-than-acceptable levels of THC. “That’s why it’s important to purchase CBD from a reputable source that can guide you on administration options and dosing,” says Newel Bissex.
Another thing to understand about CBD is that it’s generally prepared in one of two forms: full-spectrum and isolate.
Asystem uses both forms. In our Pain Management Pills, we use full-spectrum CBD, which generally provides a wider range of benefits since it comes paired with additional cannabinoids. Meanwhile, in our Gel Roll-On, we use CBD Isolate. It has better stability and absorption when paired with menthol.
Myth #4: CBD can trigger a positive drug test.
Truth: Only if it contains THC
CBD isolate will not trigger a positive drug test, says Newell Bissex. But full-spectrum CBD can contain up to .3% THC. It’s unlikely, but possible, that it could trigger a positive test.
So if you’re concerned about being tested, stick to CBD isolate.
Myth #5: CBD hasn't been researched.
Truth: More would be nice, but plenty of data already exists.
“There are numerous research studies on the effectiveness of CBD to treat a wide array of conditions,” says Newell Bissex. In addition to chronic and inflammatory pain, she points to preliminary studies to support CBD’s effectiveness toward neurodegenerative diseases, anxiety, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune diseases. In 2018, the FDA even approved a CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, as a treatment for seizures from epilepsy.
That’s not to say CBD couldn’t benefit from more data. Federal legislation around cannabis production has traditionally made it difficult for researchers in the U.S. to conduct studies. But that’s changing, and as more research comes in, CBD continues to reveal itself as a safer alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals.