Undeniably, one of the most remarkable pieces of legislation to come out this century is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, colloquially known as the Farm Bill of 2018. Although a record number of states voted for cannabis legalization to various degrees, the maligned plant remained federally illegal. That changed – with some notable restrictions – with the aforementioned law.
Under the Farm Bill, industrial hemp and hemp-derived products such as hemp oil extracts and cannabidiol (or CBD) are now legal at the federal level. The major restriction with this measure is that the hemp or hemp derivative cannot contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. As you know, THC is the cannabinoid (or organic compound) that imposes a negative psychoactive effect, giving marijuana its signature high.
Additionally, public support for full legalization has ramped up considerably. In fact, the sentiment shifted from majority negative to positive over the course of a decade. Essentially, this allows newcomers to the botanical arts to not only enjoy cannabis products like CBD legally but to do so with far less social stigma.
However, like any new development, misconceptions and myths have sprouted concerning CBD solutions. This guide is primarily aimed at the newcomer to help demystify these common misunderstandings. Even those who are seasoned veterans of botany should find this guide informative.
Misconception #1: Hemp-Derived CBD Isn’t CBD
This is one of the most common misconceptions: CBD derived from industrial hemp is somehow not “real” CBD. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fairness, the cannabis industry is a tremendously difficult beast to decipher. Therefore, how many folks came to this false conclusion is very much understandable. However, you should rest assured that the CBD that you buy (hemp-derived) is indeed the real deal.
For starters, hemp does not describe an entirely different genus of the cannabis plant. Rather, it is a strain of the cannabis Sativa plant cultivated for industrial use; hence, the only trace amount of THC content. And because hemp is cannabis, CBD derived from hemp is the same as CBD sourced from any other cannabis strain.
In other words, CBD is CBD.
Misconception #2: CBD Is Only for Medicinal Use
A tricky misconception is a common retort that CBD is a dumbed-down version of marijuana, only useful or applicable for medicinal use. While CBD certainly offers medical potential, we must recognize that this usage is largely in the investigation phase.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has approved only one cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex, used to treat seizures in young epileptic children. Other than that, the FDA is extremely reluctant to grant any approvals for cannabis-based drugs due to the newness of the industry, among other factors.
Arguably, the most frequent application for CBD is therapeutic, which technically differs from medicinal use: we’re talking about general aches, pains and symptoms from various conditions.
However, CBD may also impart a positive psychological effect, somewhat similar to the pick-me-up you get from drinking coffee. Thus, cannabidiol is very popular as a dietary additive.
Misconception #3: CBD Shows Up on a Drug Test
As legal cannabis products flooded the mainstream due to the 2018 Farm Bill, several misconceptions sprouted. Quite possibly the biggest concern among botanical users is the myth that CBD triggers a positive on a drug test.
First, it’s not CBD that typical drug tests search for, but THC. Because marijuana (cannabis products with higher than 0.3% THC content) is still classified as a Schedule I drug, the core component of marijuana – THC – is the problem.
Second, CBD binds differently to the endocannabinoid receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors) to which THC primarily binds. Effectively, once CBD connects to CB1 receptors (which are predominantly located within the central nervous system), it prevents THC from binding to the same receptors.
Indeed, some end-users who are suffering a “bad trip” will take CBD to help them recover quicker.
That said, some full-spectrum CBD products contain cannabidiol along with many other cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. To better mitigate any concerns, end-users can elect either CBD isolate products (CBD and nothing but CBD) or broad-spectrum (CBD and other cannabinoids except THC).
Misconception #4: CBD Makes You Sleepy
Put simply, cannabidiol in its pure, native state will not make you sleepy. However, like most misconceptions, the origination of this misguided idea has some loose basis in truth.
The keyword here is pure CBD, such as CBD isolate, which contains no other cannabinoids, nor does it offer terpenes (or essential oils). Since CBD is not an intoxicating agent as we discussed earlier, cannabidiol does not impose symptoms of sleepiness or tiredness. In fact, quite the opposite, as many users report feelings of invigoration.
Where the majority of the confusion lies is in the myriad CBD products available to the market. Some of them may indeed cause some drowsiness because they may be designed for the purposes of relaxation or anxiety relief.
Here’s the deal: with modern botanical technology, CBD manufacturers are able to optimize cannabidiol-infused solutions to promote certain responses. This occurs via the terpenes (essential oils) found in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products.
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds in cannabis and other plant life responsible for giving the target botanical its signature scent. That weedy smell associated with marijuana? There are specific terpenes that give off this “fragrance.”
But terpenes aren’t just for the aromatic effect. With certain balances and compositions, CBD manufacturers can tweak their therapeutic solutions for certain responses. For instance, cannabidiol products infused with linalool – a naturally occurring terpene found in flowers like lavender – are often deployed to promote relaxation and stress relief.
However, not all cannabis-based solutions feature terpenes. Therefore, CBD making you sleep is only a half-truth at best (because it’s the terpenes, not cannabidiol that can facilitate this effect).
Misconception #5: CBD Makes You High
This is the mother of all misconceptions, having been addressed multiple times by myriad cannabis experts. Nevertheless, it keeps popping up as CBD integration continues to grow. So, to put anyone’s mind at ease who hasn’t heard about CBD’s best-of-both-worlds attribute, let’s set the record straight: cannabidiol does not get you high.
But why do people insist that CBD causes a negative psychoactive impact? Most likely, it’s due to many full-spectrum CBD products featuring a trace amount of THC. Theoretically, as you consume such products over a long period of time, you may build THC in your bloodstream, possibly leaving you susceptible to a high.
However, the amount of THC to consume to create a high from legal CBD products would be almost impossible – and unadvised. Therefore, under practical, real-time conditions, you cannot get high from legal CBD – even from the most potent variant.
Tim Garcia is an experienced writer working in the CBD and Cannabis space to help educate the general public about CBD and THC. Using his professional experience and education in Rhetoric and Writing, he strives to remove the stigma associated with Hemp and Marijuana products and create an environment where the qualities and benefits of these plants can be researched and understood by the global community. He can be contacted for media inquires and article requests at [email protected]