CBD Misconceptions

CBD Misconceptions

CBD is garnering a lot of attention these days amongst medical scientists and patients, but exactly what is all the buzz about. Simply put cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis compound is proven to have significant therapeutic properties. A significant amount of startups and internet retailers are touting that CBD derived from industrial hemp is the next big thing, going so far as to coin it a miracle oil that can shrink tumors, quell seizures, and ease chronic pain—without making people feel “stoned.” But like many emerging health aids there has been a lot of misconceptions about CBD.

“The general perception is that CBD is used for medical applications and THC is psychoactive and exclusively used for recreational purposes.”

The truth is that THC, “The High Causer,” has a myriad of therapeutic properties as well. Mainstream science is beginning to acknowledge this truth. The Scripps Research Center in San Diego reported that THC inhibits an enzyme implicated in the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia. Also, the federal government recognizes single-molecule THC (Marinol) as an anti-nausea compound and appetite booster. They have deemed it a Schedule III drug, a category reserved for medicinal substances with little abuse potential. But still the establishment is slow moving as the whole plant marijuana, or only natural source of THC, continues to be classified as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical value.

“THC is has been dubbed the bad cannabinoid and CBD has been cast as the good cannabinoid.”

The general approach by the diehard marijuana prohibitionists seems to  exploit the good news about CBD only to further stigmatize high-THC cannabis. Why? Because CBD doesn’t make you high like THC does. Project CBD categorically rejects the accusation of a “reefer madness” dichotomy in favor of whole plant cannabis therapeutics, but clearly there is room for speculation. Reference the foundational science paper, A Tale of Two Cannabinoids for a deeper dive on this topic.

“CBD’s therapeutic properties are far less effective when mixed with THC.”

Actually THC and CBD are most powerful when used in conjunction with one another. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically and enhance each other’s respective therapeutic effects. British researchers shows that CBD potentiates THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in colitis just as one example. Scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco determined that a combination of CBD and THC has a more potent anti-tumoral effect when tested on brain cancer and breast cancer cell lines to name another. Furthermore, extensive clinical research has demonstrated that CBD combined with THC is more beneficial for neuropathic pain than either compound as a single molecule. It is becoming abundently clear that when CBD and THC are used in conjunction with one another that the benefits can be significant for certain applications.

“Single-molecule pharmaceuticals are better than ‘crude’ whole plant medicinals.”

The federal government’s stand is that specific components of the marijuana plant, which contain both THC and CBD, have medical value, but the plant itself does not. If that doesn’t seem to make much sense to you your not the only one. This approach is clearly a reflection of a cultural and political bias that privileges Big Pharma products amongst other influences. The single-molecule, medicine school of thought is the predominant corporate way, and the FDA-approved way, but that is not to say that it is only way. And it may very well NOT be the optimal way to benefit from cannabis therapeutics. Cannabis contains a myriad of compounds which include flavonoids, aromatic terpenes and many minor cannabinoids in addition to THC and CBD, all of which hold their very own healing attributes. When combined they create what scientists refer to as a holistic “entourage effect.” Basically what that means is that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its single-molecule parts. However, The Food and Drug Administration likes to maintain the status quo and isn’t in the business of approving plants as medicine, just drugs.

“Getting high is inherently an adverse side effect of THC.”

Again, the reefer madness mindset is that the marijuana high is a bad and unwanted side effect but nobody seems to be able to prove why mild euphoric feelings are intrinsically negative for a sick person, or a healthy person for that matter. Could it be that this is a smear campaign because big Pharma is keen on synthesizing medically active marijuana-like molecules that don’t make people high? You be the judge.Regardless, it is clear that the euphoric qualities of cannabis are far from being an unhealthy side effect, are deeply connected to the therapeutic value of the plant. “We should be thinking of cannabis as a medicine first,” said Dr. Tod Mikuriya, “that happens to have some psychoactive properties, as many medicines do, rather than as an intoxicant that happens to have a few therapeutic properties on the side.” No that seems to make good sense.

“CBD is legal in all 50 states.”

The generally accepted thinking is that CBD-infused hemp oil is legal to market anywhere in the United States as long as the oil contains less than 0.3 percent THC. Actually, Federal law prohibits U.S. farmers from growing hemp as a commercial crop, but the sale of imported, low-THC, industrial hemp products is permitted in the United States (I am sure there is a very good reason for this). Furthermore these products can only be derived from the seed or stalk of the plant and may not be sourced from the leaves and flowers. But the fact is that cannabidiol can’t be pressed or extracted from hemp seed, so what gives? Actually CBD can be extracted from the flower, leaves, and, only to a very minor extent, from the stalk of the hemp plant so the hope is that Congress may soon vote to exempt industrial hemp and CBD from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. For a deeper dive on this topic read Sourcing CBD: Marijuana, Industrial Hemp & the Vagaries of Federal Law.

“Current ’CBD-only’ laws sufficiently serve the patient population.”

Fifteen U.S. states have passed “low THC” or “CBD only” laws and other states are poised to follow suit. This would seem like good news but some states actually restrict the sources of CBD-rich products and go on to specify the diseases for which CBD can be accessed. Basically these laws allow the use of CBD-infused oil that measures less