Dealing With CBD Stigma
Knowing the myths from the facts is the first step to dispelling the stigma around CBD. These are all referenced, so rest assured – its all kosher.
1) CBD is not a cure
Whilst CBD may lend a helping hand in supporting health, its another thing to suggest it can be a cure all.
To say that CBD cures anything is scientifically inaccurate, because there’s little evidence in human studies using CBD long term for specific diseases to suggest otherwise.
There’s also root causes that are driving disease in the first place, and although CBD can help a great deal in managing them, it often doesn’t address the root cause of why the body becomes imbalanced in the first place.
These kinds of claims can be misleading, because it also implies that just because one thing works for me, it’ll work for you too.
2) CBD won’t get you high, but can make you feel good
Although CBD isn’t fully non-psychoactive, it still wont get you high. Its all to do with the mechanism of action of CBD.
CBD doesn’t activate the CB1 receptor, like THC does. This means that CBD cannot produce a high like THC can. The activation of CB1 is the only established mechanism that tells the brain to become fully psychoactive.
CBD can make people feel good though. Thats because CBD boosts a natural feel good cannabinoid, anandamide. Anandamide activates CB1, but to a much lesser degree than THC. This alternative mechanism is what is thought to provide a sense of wellbeing from CBD, without the high.
3) CBD can produce side effects
It’s not all rainbows and lollipops, like a lot of people may make out. CBD has been known to produce some side effects, albeit relatively mild ones.
The side effects of CBD are considered pretty good compared to that of some conventional drugs (*). So for a few conditions, some people may find the experience with CBD preferable to conventional approaches.
4) CBD from hemp is legal
Most strains of hemp naturally contain no more than 0.2% THC. In the UK and EU, so long as CBD extracts from hemp don’t surpass this level of THC, it is legal.
Thats why you’d rarely see a cannabis derived CBD extract in the UK or EU, because it naturally contains more than 0.2% THC and is illegal.
5) It’s been used to support health for centuries
CBD is one of the key constituents of hemp and cannabis plants. They’ve been around for thousands of years, and have documented use across India, Egypt, Europe, China and Japan (Russo, 2007).
Traditionally, cannabis has been used for many of the ailments people use CBD for today; anxiety, insomnia, pain, menstrual cramps being just a few.
6) CBD is (sort of) classified as a medicine
Most CBD products you’d find online and in stores have been classed as food supplements in the UK. But, did you know that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) actually voiced another opinion on CBD in 2016.
They suggested it is a medicine, but only if it is marketed for medical purposes. AKA as a pharmaceutical preparation, like Epidiolex, which is a 99% pure CBD extract.
As you can probably tell its still a grey area as to what CBD actually is, but for most people in the UK, it remains a food supplement.
7) CBD can come from hemp and marijuana
CBD is not exclusively found in hemp. Its 1 of over 100 similar compounds called cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants.
Although they both contain CBD, marijuana tends to be a richer source than hemp. The amount of hemp relative to cannabis needed to extract CBD tends to be greater, making cannabis the more economical (but not legal) option.
1) There’s no evidence that CBD supports health.
Although there’s not an awful lot of research out there on CBD, a few pre-clinical studies suggest that it may be helpful in the following cases:
- Anxiety (Zuardi et al., 1993), (Bergamaschi et al., 2011), (Linares et al., 2019).
- Pain (Whiting et al., 2015).
- Insomnia (Shannon, 2019), (CARLINI and CUNHA, 1981).
- Epilepsy (Szaflarski et al., 2018), (Cunha et al., 1980)
- Psychosis (Zuardi et al., 2009)
2) CBD works for everyone
It depends on your state of health, and what you’re using it for.
Some people use CBD to manage symptoms of disease, whereas others use it to bring a little bit of happiness and ease back into their day. It may not necessarily have any noticeable effects for other people, who are healthy and happy anyway.
This depends on how much help someones endocannabinoid system needs from CBD.
CBD works to meet the needs of everyones ECS differently. Plants that do this are called adaptogens – they adapt to suit peoples needs differently.
In cases, some peoples endocannabinoid systems are doing just fine without CBD.
3) CBD is non-psychoactive
Although CBD doesn’t get you high, like THC; a lot of people say it boosts their mood and lessens anxiety. If CBD has these effects in the brain, then there’s clearly some sort of psychoactive element to it.
Interestingly, CBD may boost feelings of happiness via interaction with the bodies serotonin system. Serotonin is a chemical which affects happiness, mood and lessens anxiety.
4) All CBD is created equal
CBD is technically a singe molecule, which is universally the same. However, the packaging CBD comes in can be subject to variation.
In nature, CBD does not exist as a single molecule, but is found within plants with over a hundred other cannabinoids. When extracted, you not only get CBD, but all the other cannabinoids. These are called full spectrum extracts (which most people just call CBD extracts).
In contrast, CBD can be isolated from its original packaging, to exist as a single molecule. You guessed it; this is what CBD isolate is.
The benefits one may experience with CBD isolate is questionable compared to the complete packaging of a full spectrum CBD extract.
5) CBD is addictive
The world health organisation recently conducted a comprehensive review on CBD, which also included its potential for addiction.
They concluded that:
“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
6) A little is enough
This again ties into everyones unique needs for CBD, and it depends on what you are using it for.
There’s a common phrase in the CBD industry which you may have heard….thats start low and go slow.
Whilst thats a useful and safe means of introducing CBD, a lot of folks may find that low doses just don’t cut it anymore. Especially someone with intense pain or severe anxiety, who is far more likely to require higher doses than usual.
7) CBD oil is the same as hemp oil
Although CBD does come from hemp, there is a key difference between hemp oil and CBD oil.
Hemp oil is made exclusively from the seeds of hemp plants. Whilst these contain beneficial nutrients like omega oils and fats, the seeds contain almost no CBD.
The leaves, stalks and flowers of hemp however, do contain CBD. Thats what you’d refer to as a CBD oil.
Bergamaschi, M. M. et al. (2011) ‘Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients’, Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), pp. 1219–1226. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.6.
CARLINI, E. A. and CUNHA, J. M. (1981) ‘Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol’, The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 21(S1), p. 417S–427S. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1981.tb02622.x.
Cunha, J. M. et al. (1980) ‘Chronic Administration of Cannabidiol to Healthy Volunteers and Epileptic Patients’, Pharmacology, 21(3), pp. 175–185. doi: 10.1159/000137430.
Linares, I. M. et al. (2019) ‘Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test’, Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, 41(1), pp. 9–14. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015.
Russo, E. B. (2007) ‘History of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet’, Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(8), pp. 1614–1648. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.200790144.
Shannon, S. (2019) ‘Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series’, The Permanente Journal. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-041.
Szaflarski, J. P. et al. (2018) ‘Cannabidiol improves frequency and severity of seizures and reduces adverse events in an open-label add-on prospective study’, Epilepsy & Behavior, 87, pp. 131–136. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.07.020.
Whiting, P. F. et al. (2015) ‘Cannabinoids for Medical Use’, JAMA, 313(24), p. 2456. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.6358.
Zuardi, A. et al. (2009) ‘Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease’, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 23(8), pp. 979–983. doi: 10.1177/0269881108096519.
Zuardi, A. W. et al. (1993) ‘Effects of ipsapirone and cannabidiol on human experimental anxiety’, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 7(1_suppl), pp. 82–88. doi: 10.1177/026988119300700112.
Drug Testing For Professional (Athletes)
According to WADA the use of cannabis is prohibited in sport. The good news is that this is only during the in-competition period (Ware et al., 2018).
But before you decide to light up a smoke, its worth noting that the psychoactive part of cannabis (THC) can accumulate in the body after repeated use, and may be picked up by certain tests.
However, In 2011 the level of THC in the blood (Carboxy-THC) was raised from 15 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL (World Anti-Doping Agency, 2022), to give a little extra breathing room in light of the fact that some athletes may choose to use cannabis in the off season (Ware et al., 2018).
Just to give you an idea of what that might look like, a study gave healthy participants 10, 25 and 50 mg of edible THC which equated to up to 8-30 ng/ml of Carboxy-THC in the blood (Vandrey et al., 2017). The average joint contains 7-8mg THC (Casajuana Kögel et al., 2017).
In 2018, CBD was excluded from the list because it doesn’t have psychoactive properties. That’s a big win for athletes who want to optimise their recovery, support their physical and mental well being and perform at their best.
You don’t have to smoke weed to get the benefits of CBD. ‘High’ level performance doesn’t have to carry a risk of getting banned from your sport.
What’s important to also remember though, is that a lot of CBD products are what’s known as full spectrum products – they still contain a minute concentration of THC. Whilst small concentrations of THC (<0.2% per product) are legally permitted, repeated use of these products may pose a risk to athletes who want to stay clean, but still use CBD.
Mighty Green’s Broad spectrum CBD products on the other hand contain very low concentrations of THC (<0.05%). So you still get the CBD and other great stuff from hemp, just without the THC.
Sadly, drug testing for cannabinoids isn’t too sophisticated yet. Even full spectrum CBD oils containing below the UK and EU legal limit of 0.2% THC can yield a positive result on a drug test.
Thats not good news for professionals who want to enjoy the benefits of CBD, but without the risk. CBD is meant to help relieve stress, not increase it from the potential loss of work.
In a paper published Nov. 4 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, two out of six study participants tested positive after vaping cannabis that contained 0.39% THC.
Luckily, CBD can be enjoyed in the form of a broad spectrum extract in oral drops, and in a balm applied topically to the skin. The benefits of a balm are that the cannabinoids (including the trace amounts of THC) do not reach the bloodstream to where they may accumulate in fat tissue in the body. There is less rick when using topicals, and they are often the best form to take CBD in for sports, exercise and competition.