5 Myths About CBD You Need To Know
There’s no shortage of dismissive articles about cannabidiol (CBD), and they tend to follow the same formula.
Headlines of these types of pieces typically fall under some variation of “CBD: Myth or Medicine?”
The article will refer to CBD as a “hot wellness trend” and list the plethora of products it’s now appearing in (shampoos, mascaras, etc.). It’ll then list the most exaggerated claims made by CBD evangelists:
CBD cures cancer!
If you bathe in CBD every night, you’ll live forever! (I might’ve made that one up, but give it time.)
By the time the article gets around to asking whether there’s any actual science behind the claims, you might find yourself convinced that CBD is an overhyped, celebrity-endorsed load of nonsense that’s lapped up by millennials who don’t know any better.
While this dismissive mindset might not seem like it’s doing any harm, this isn’t necessarily the case. Real harm can be done when this misinformation permeates social workers, psychiatrists, school administrators, and other folks who have the power to influence people’s lives.
Myth 1: CBD Hasn’t Been Scientifically Proven To Help Any Health Conditions
CBD explainers often mention that the compound hasn’t been proven to help with any health conditions. They usually assert something vague like, “There’s some indication CBD might be useful in treating a few conditions, but there’s little concrete evidence.”
But the assertion that CBD hasn’t been proven to help any conditions is simply not accurate.
Last summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved EpidiolexTrusted Source, a CBD-based medication for seizure disorders that are difficult to treat.
It’s the first cannabis-based (in this case, CBD-based) medication to get the agency’s approval since cannabis became a Schedule 1 drug in 1970. (Incidentally, this is also when the government started classifying drugs into different schedules.)
It’s worth taking a moment to consider what a monumental development this is.
According to the federal government, cannabis’s Schedule 1 status means it has “no medical value.” Yet the results of the clinical trials of this CBD-based medication were so compelling that the FDA was forced to approve it.
In doing so, it threw the entirety of cannabis’s Schedule 1 status into question.
Myth 2: It’s A Schedule 1 Narcotic, So No Research Has Been Done On The Compound
There are two parts to this fallacy. The first concerns research in the United States.
It’s true that cannabis’s Schedule 1 classification makes it difficult to do research on CBD, but some U.S. universities have been permitted to research the plant.
And that research is available for us to review.
Take, for example, this studyTrusted Source done at Columbia University that looked at the use of CBD with conventional treatment for glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma is the most common kind of cancerous brain tumor in adults. Its standard treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.
The results of the study indicated CBD induced cell death and enhanced radiosensitivity of glioblastoma cells but not normal, healthy cells.
In other words, CBD appeared to help kill and weaken the cancerous cells without damaging any healthy, normal cells.
Then there’s the misleading point that “no research has been done.” Contrary to this, significant research has been done outside the United States, some of which the U.S. government funds.
Does this mean CBD cures cancer, anxiety, and is the best treatment for ulcerative colitis? Of course not.
But credible — randomized, double-blind — CBD studies have been done. And they’re available to any journalist or curious individual through PubMedTrusted Source, the National Institutes of Health’s research archive, and similar resources.
Myth 3: CBD Is A Marketing Scam
The wellness industry is going to do what the wellness industry does best: try to make money. And CBD is proving to be a great way to do that.
As a result, CBD is unnecessarily ending up in some cosmetic and wellness products. But some unnecessary applications of CBD don’t mean every application of CBD is unnecessary.
Take tea tree oil, which has documented antibacterial properties. If the wellness industry sees enough interest in tea tree oil and starts putting it in eyeliner and mascara (which seems like a terrible idea, but bear with me for the sake of the analogy), people might start rolling their eyes.
They might start believing that tree oil is a marketing scam, that it’s nothing more than a way to charge an extra $10 for your cosmetics.
This doesn’t change the fact that the oil has antibacterial properties. It just means you probably don’t need to put it on your eyelashes.
So, while CBD doesn’t need to be in all of the products it’s in, that doesn’t diminish its legitimate applications.
Myth 4: “I Took CBD For 7 Days And Nothing Happened, So It Doesn’t Work.”
Of all the bad CBD takes, this is by far the worst. Fortunately, it doesn’t require much of an explanation.
I’ve read a number of pieces where the author tries CBD for a week or two, and at the end of the week they report that they felt no different after the experiment than they did before.
But here’s the rub: There wasn’t a condition they were trying to treat in the first place. It’s like deciding to take Tylenol for a week when you’re not in pain. What exactly are you evaluating with your experiment?
Before you try CBD, consider if you have a condition or symptom that CBD can treat. And remember that personal anecdotes aren’t science.
If you’re considering taking CBD, consult with your doctor first to find out if
it’s right for you. It’s not recommended for certain people, like those who
are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Myth 5: The CBD Industry Is Sketchy, Which Makes CBD Sketchy
It’s 100 percent true that the legal gray area where CBD exists — hemp federally is legal, marijuana is not, and you can get CBD from both types of the cannabis plant — makes for some sketchy products.
Lab tests have revealed that many of the CBD-labeled products sold on the internet actually have little or no CBD in them.
Aside from Epidiolex, CBD products aren’t approved by the FDA. Critics are right to highlight quality issues. Consumers should do their research before purchasing CBD.
But it would be a mistake to conflate junk CBD and quality CBD, lest you write the compound off as a whole because of some shady producers.
Say you buy a questionable bottle of aloe vera because you’ve gotten a sunburn and it doesn’t help. It turns out what you bought was 2 percent aloe vera and 98 percent green food-colored goo.
Does that mean aloe vera doesn’t soothe burns or is it, instead, that the product you purchased simply wasn’t high quality?
The same can be said for CBD products. Ultimately, it’s important to do your research into what’s quality and what isn’t, as well as what’s legal and not in your state or country.