If you’ve spent more than five minutes online, you’ve no doubt heard about the incredible benefits of CBD oil. Fans can’t heap enough praise on this wonder supplement, but on its rise to industry domination, the new darling of the wellness world has left a trail of myths and misconceptions in its wake.
This is not uncommon at all in the supplement space, but CBD oil has come under particular scrutiny thanks to its relationship to cannabis. Before we separate CBD facts from fiction, let’s talk about exactly what it is and how it works.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid compound found in the flower of the hemp plant. To make CBD oil, hemp is harvested and processed to extract the CBD, which is then blended with a carrier oil like MCT or olive oil.
This connection to the hemp plant is responsible for our first major CBD oil myth…
Myth 1 – Taking CBD oil is the same as smoking cannabis.
CBD is just one of over 500 compounds in the hemp plant, including around 120 other cannabinoids. One of these is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which you might recognise as the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high when you smoke cannabis.
In addition to CBD, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils contain all or most of those 500 compounds, including THC. However, the hemp strains used to make CBD oil are specifically bred and combined to maximise beneficial compounds, like CBD and terpenes, and minimise others, like THC. That gives CBD oil a completely different chemical profile than cannabis typically grown for smoking, and each affects your body very differently.
That brings us to our next myth…
Myth 2 – CBD oil will get me high.
This is one of the more persistent myths about CBD oil. To explain why it’s not the case, here’s a quick science lesson about how CBD affects the body.
Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for keeping everything in your body stable and balanced. It produces its own cannabinoids to regulate sleep, pain, appetite, immunity — the full works! But when you take external cannabinoids like CBD or THC, they also affect your body’s cannabinoid receptors to produce similar effects. THC affects the receptors that give you that ‘high’ feeling, but CBD does not.
In other words, THC can get you high but CBD oil can’t. Cannabis contains high levels of THC, which is why smoking a joint will leave you feeling stoned. However, with strict legal limits on the THC content in CBD products (more on that later!), CBD oil contains nowhere near enough THC to produce that effect.
Myth 3 – The purer the better.
‘Pure’ is usually a badge of honour for a supplement, but when it comes to CBD oil, purer doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Those 500 other compounds in the hemp plant? They also include fatty acids, terpenes, vitamins, flavonoids and other natural goodies, all thought to have their own therapeutic effects. Together, they create an ‘entourage effect’, working together to amplify the benefits.
Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil also has all or most of these compounds, while pure CBD isolate does not. Pure CBD does have benefits of its own, though. In addition to having zero THC content, the lack of fatty acids makes it better for vaping, while the removal of terpenes gets rid of CBD oil’s strong herbal taste.
Myth 4 – CBD oil is illegal.
The laws around both cannabis and CBD usage have changed frequently over the years so it’s understandable that there’s some confusion here. Rest assured, though… your CBD oil is not going to land you behind bars!
To clarify, cannabis is still a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. However, CBD is legal subject to two key conditions:
- CBD products must contain no more than 0.2% THC.
- CBD must be derived from one of 63 approved hemp strains.
If you’d rather not take your chances with THC, Claudio recommends going for a pure CBD isolate instead.
Myth 5 – CBD oil is a miracle cure.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence about the wellbeing effects of CBD oil. Everyone has a friend who swears CBD oil cured their colleague/grandma/hamster of all their ailments, but the truth is that we just don’t have the science to support these claims – yet.
Clinical research on the benefits of CBD and CBD oil looks very promising, but it’s still ongoing. For that reason, it’s important to take manufacturer claims with a pinch of metaphorical salt.
CBD oil is a great food supplement for improving overall wellbeing, but until we have the cold, hard science to back them up, it would be irresponsible, not to mention illegal, to make medical claims. Avoid any CBD retailer that does, as it’s a very clear sign of unethical business practices.
Choosing The Right CBD Oil
So CBD oil won’t send you down a path of drugs and crime, and it looks very promising as a wellness supplement, but how do you know you’re buying a decent product?
“Always read the lab reports! Reputable brands have their products tested by independent third parties and they make the lab reports readily available. These reports show you the exact quantities of ingredients, as well as the potency and quality of the CBD. If a brand has no third-party testing, or doesn’t publish their lab reports, it’s a major red flag.”