Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil: The Science and the Myths – Healthy Living Association

Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil: The Science and the Myths

Have you ever wondered why there is so much controversy and misinformation about CBD oil and CBD-infused products? Even though this highly valuable medical substance is just one of 60 different compounds in the well-known cannabis plant, many people mistakenly think CBD can cause a high or lead to hallucinations.

In fact, it does neither. CBD is most commonly sold as an oil, but also in tablet, capsule and as an oral spray. Recently, the “CBD-infused” product category has taken off like an economic rocket, and will no doubt be one of the most profitable food additives of 2018 and beyond.

CBD oil sales, aside from CBD-infused product, in the U.S. are expected to grow from their current annual level of $260 million to upwards of $1.2 billion by 2020. This includes CBD derived directly from marijuana plants, from hemp plants, and specially grown pharmaceutical blends.

But why is there so much confusion about CBD, and what exactly are the benefits for the average consumer who wants to give it a try as a nutritional food supplement?  Here are the cold, hard facts about CBD to that should help cut through the misinformation and myths:

What CBD is and is not

CBD (short for “cannabidiol”) is one of 60 cannabinoid chemical compounds found in the common cannabis plant. The marijuana plant is most famous for one of its other cannabinoids, THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol). Both THC and CBD are present in very high concentrations in marijuana plants and can be used separately or together. Recently, the scientific community realized that CBD, in and of itself, has literally hundreds of beneficial uses, does not produce any kind of a high, and can easily be isolated from the main plant.

In fact, CBD has already been shown in lab studies to work well as an antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and a possible long-term remedy for schizophrenia, epilepsy and anxiety. One reason that CBD-infused products are gaining so much market share in the health/wellness segment is due to high consumer demand. Things like massage oils, skin creams, nutritional supplements and even pet foods have become part of this fast-growing line of consumer products.

Legal Questions

In the U.S., there was some initial concern by makes of CBD-infused products that states, or the federal government, might ban or heavily regulate the market. So far, products with CBD are technically not a problem if they contain less than three-tenths of one percent THC. At such low levels, THC is unable to have any psychoactive properties in the human body.

But in states where recreational cannabis is legal, some retailers offer products (massage oils for instance) with much higher THC concentrations than the low .3 percent threshold. As consumers, we need to read labels carefully on any CBD-infused products so that we know how much THC, if any, is present. Online buyers and people who forget to read labels could end up with legal or medical problems depending where they live and whether they are allergic to THC.

Major growers of cannabis plants breed their crops to be either high CBD or high THC producers. For the retail CBD market, most of the source crops contain only trace amounts of THC.

Important Benefits of CBD-infused Products

Shampoo: Cibaderm makes a CBD-infused shampoo that leverages the chemical’s natural ability to enrich human hair, restore natural chemical balance, and provide protein to assist damaged hair repair itself.

Body lotion: A company called Activ8 makes a bath/body lotion that is able to soothe the skin and work as a powerful moisturizer for damaged, sunburned skin.

Pain cream:For “back pain, sore joints and arthritis,” Activ8 also sells a “CBD Freeze” gel. The majority of CBD-infused products for sale in the U.S. are either nutritional supplements (tablets, liquid gel caps, or sprays) or skin-related items that bring pain relieve and help heal skin or hair. CBD is high in protein and specific amino acids that are able to speed up the body’s natural healing process.

There are also CBD-infused gummies, tea, “pet drops” (to be added to pet food as a natural protein source for a dog or cat), cough syrup, bubble gum, vape juice and many more.

As this new market continues to expand, and more U.S. states begin to allow CBD products that also contain THC, most predictions for all things CBD are looking up. Even conservative estimates predict that this market segment will surpass the $1 billion mark within a couple of years. Some estimates peg the CBD-infused product segment at well in excess of $5 billion by the middle of the next decade.

Considering the fact that CBD was virtually unknown to American consumers just a few years ago, that’s a pretty impressive feat for a natural plant extract that has been in use for centuries.

Busting the Most Common CBD Myths

Because CBD comes from the same plant that has been used to get people high for thousands of years, there’s obviously going to be plenty of misinformation and urban legend surrounding it. Here are five of the more common myths about CBD you’re likely to hear at parties or from coworkers.

Myth: CBD is merely a weak form of marijuana.

Fact: Marijuana (the stuff people smoke to get high) and hemp (a plant fiber used for rope, clothing and many other legit products) come from the same exact plant, cannabis sativa. The cannabis sativa plant has been bred to be either high in CBD or high in THC, the former being called “hemp,” and the latter called “marijuana.” When you buy CBD products like massage oil that contain extremely low THC levels but very high CBD levels, you are likely purchasing a hemp plant product that has no possible way of getting you high. Some sellers, where it is legal to do so, offer marijuana-based CBD that comes with a dose of THC. The point is that you need to read labels and know what you’re buying. But, no, CBD is not just a weak form of marijuana.

Myth: CBD has never proven to be medically advantageous in humans.

Fact: There have indeed been numerous human studies where CBD has demonstrated its ability to reduce anxiety, remedy major symptoms of epilepsy, and reduce the severity of acute bouts of schizophrenia. Now that much more research is underway, look for additional news stories about the proven benefits of CBD.

Myth: CBD is nothing more than hemp seed oil.

Fact: CBD is categorically not hemp seed oil, which you can buy at any pharmacy and has been sold as a nutritional supplement for decades. While hemp products cannot be legally grown in the U.S., national laws have always allowed the importation of hemp-based products like seed oil, rope, and hemp clothing.

Myth: Synthetic versions of CBD are better and cleaner.

Fact: There are synthetic CBD products but they do not have the same effect as the “real thing,” derived from the cannabis plant. Scientists believe this has to do with the synergistic effect of CBD and the other trace cannabinoids present in the plant. Called the “entourage effect” by chemists, this natural power of a chemical family of ingredients is lost when CBD is isolated as a laboratory compound.

Myth: CBD is the beneficial part of the marijuana plant, while THC is the bad, “hallucinogenic” part.

Fact: For certain diseases like cancer and some forms of epilepsy, patients respond much better to a combination of CBD and THC. The two seem to have a powerful dual effect when it comes to combating a wide range of mental illnesses. So it’s a gross misconception to deem THC “bad” and CBD “good.” They both have their place in the spectrum of medical treatments.

Where to Find More Information about CBD-infused Products

There are literally hundreds of online sellers of CBD products. Some of the larger, more reputable ones are:

  • Buy Legal Meds, buylegalmeds.com, which offers several skin care, nutritional and vape items at reasonable costs.
  • The CBD Distillery, thecbdistillery.com, is one of the largest players in this segment, billing itself as a purveyor of “pure” CBD products “for mind and body.” Note that their FAQ page offers a full discussion about the differences between hemp and marijuana, and explains in clear language how CBD that contains less than .3 percent THC is not an illegal substance anywhere in the U.S.
  • Verified CBD, verifiedcbd.com, has been around since 2014 (that’s a long time in the CBD universe) and offers a wide range of CBD-infused oils, shampoos, skin care products and vaping items. With customers in more than 50 countries, Verified CBD is one of the better-known sellers of CBD products.

The Final Word

CBD in its many forms is a legitimate dietary supplement with a long list of proven benefits. Sold as either a marijuana or hemp derivative, it does not produce a high or lead to any type of intoxication. Some people view it more as a medicine, while others take it along with their daily vitamin and mineral supplements.

The above information is provided for educational purposed only and is not intended to be taken as medical or nutritional advice or guidance of any type. Always speak to your health professional if you decide to change your diet or begin taking a nutritional supplement.

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