Although CBD is becoming more and more popular nowadays, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about it. Many people want to try CBD, but because they’re unfamiliar with it, they’re unsure about using it. And that’s understandable. So let’s clear up some common CBD myths as well as clarify some CBD facts.
The stigma around cannabis, misinformation on social media, and complicated science-y language can make it tough to understand what CBD’s really about. This means that people either avoid using it altogether, or use it incorrectly.
So, what is CBD? CBD is a compound found in plants, such as hemp plants. Various studies have shown that CBD might have multiple health benefits, which may be why you’ve probably encountered so many CBD health products.
Before you decide to use CBD, you need to be informed about it. Here are five things I wish everyone knew about CBD, whether they use it themselves or not.
CBD Fact #1: CBD Is legal at the federal level
Because CBD is associated with cannabis, many people wonder if CBD is legal.
In short, yes: it’s legal to sell, buy, and use CBD in the United States — as long as it has less than .3% THC. Some CBD-related products have a higher % of THC, but those can only be purchased at dispensaries (and some states require you to have a medical card.)
But this wasn’t always the case. The production of hemp became illegal in the 1930s, when both cannabis and hemp plants were effectively banned under the Marihuana Tax Act.
The 2018 Farm Bill made the production and sale of hemp legal in all US states. For the first time in decades, it became legal to grow hemp throughout the country.
This landmark statute also made it legal to manufacture, sell, and buy hemp-derived CBD at a federal level. Emphasis on hemp-derived: CBD can also be derived from cannabis, which is not yet legal all over the US. Technically, cannabis-derived CBD can only be sold in a few states.
What’s the difference between cannabis and hemp? Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of THC. In contrast, marijuana — which is also a type of cannabis plant — contains larger amounts of THC. THC is the chemical that is known for producing a high.
To sum up, hemp-derived CBD is legal throughout the US at the federal level, but cannabis-derived CBD is only legal in certain states.
CBD Fact #2. Not all CBD products are of equal quality
CBD products are legal, but they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What this means is that the FDA does not need to approve of every CBD product that is marketed.
While this makes it easier for people to create CBD products, it does mean that there’s some low-quality stuff out there.
A recent study investigated the content of CBD products to check for mislabeling. Alarmingly, the researchers found that only about 31 percent of the 84 products they tested were labeled correctly.
As Always, Buyer Beware
There should be one major takeaway here: be careful what CBD you buy. When it comes to any health product, it’s important to only purchase legitimate, high quality products from decent, reputable companies.
To verify the contents of your CBD products, take a look at the lab report (also known as a COA). Lab reports can tell you exactly how much CBD a product contains. You should also research the company to ensure that they have a good, sound reputation. Reading customer reviews is also a good idea.
CBD Fact #3. The studies on CBD are promising — but we need more
Research on CBD is in its infancy, meaning that there’s a lot of research that still needs to be done before we fully understand it. What we know right now is just the tip of the iceberg.
However, so far, the studies are promising. Studies suggest that CBD might be able to help with the following conditions:
In order to help people with the above health issues, more research on CBD needs to be done. This will help medical practitioners understand the potential benefits of CBD, how to administer it, and how it will affect their patients.
If you have a health condition and are considering taking CBD, consult your doctor before starting or increasing your dose.
CBD Fact #4. CBD can have some side effects
Many people falsely think that, because CBD is natural, there are no side effects. But “natural” doesn’t always mean it’s appropriate for everyone.
As with nearly every health product, CBD can cause some side effects. While many people regularly use CBD without any issues, you might experience nausea, fatigue, or a change in weight or appetite because of CBD.
CBD can also interact with certain medications. CBD interacts with the CYP system in our bodies, as do many other medications. Therefore, CBD may increase or decrease the effects associated with other medications. Always talk with your doctor before you start taking CBD.
If you experience any side effects after taking CBD, stop taking it and consult a medical practitioner. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor before using CBD or any health product.
CBD Fact #5. CBD isn’t a cure-all
As much as I love CBD, I disagree with those who suggest CBD can solve any health issue. And in fact we think this notion hurts CBD’s reputation. While CBD is versatile, no health product is a silver bullet.
While there are numerous promising studies on CBD, there’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD. For instance, can CBD slow down the growth of cancer? Can CBD cure depression? Can CBD treat eczema and psoriasis? We don’t know the answers, because it hasn’t been studied enough.
Hopefully, future research will reveal the full potential of CBD. But for now, be wary of brands that claim CBD can cure every problem. Be hopeful, but don’t be fooled.
If you’d like to try out CBD for yourself, it’s a good idea to find a CBD-friendly doctor and chat to them first. They can help you figure out whether CBD will be the best choice for you.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa and she has written for publications such as Healthline, Greatist, and Psych Central to name a few.