Three little letters everyone’s talking about these days: CBD. You’ll find it in everything from creams and capsules to gummies and coffee—and this powerful plant trend is just getting started.
Chances are, though, you have a whole lot of questions about CBD. For instance, Does it have side effects? And, Will it get me high?
It’s time to clear up some of the biggest CBD myths and misconceptions.
The CBD basics
CBD a.k.a. cannabidiol is one of over 100 biologically-active compounds found in hemp and marijuana.
While THC a.k.a. tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component in marijuana that gets you high, CBD is non-psychoactive, according to Matthew L. Mintz, M.D., primary care physician and medical marijuana specialist located in Bethesda, MD.
Both compounds have a variety of effects on the body, some similar and some different.
THC is only found in marijuana. CBD, however, can be found in both marijuana and hemp, which the 2018 Farm Bill legalized across the U.S. Since the Farm Bill’s passing, CBD has exploded. “The federal legalization of hemp helped to legitimize the hemp-derived CBD industry,” says cannabis expert Stuart Titus, Ph.D.
The result: Tons of health-conscious consumers are now supporting their well-being with CBD—and science on the compound has exploded.
In fact, last year, the World Health Organization stated in a report that “CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials.” They also clarified that “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
CBD Myths That Need Busting
As more people become aware of CBD and its benefits, more misinformation seems to swirl around. Consider the following major CBD myths debunked.
CBD Myth #1: It Gets You High
It’s worth repeating: CBD is not psychoactive ingredient, meaning it cannot and does not get you high.
CBD products can contain trace amounts of THC, though. “Unlike marijuana, which can contain around 10 percent or more THC content, full-spectrum CBD products are required to have less than 0.3 percent THC content to be legally sold in the United States,” explains Kasey Nichols, N.M.D., naturopath in Tempe, AZ.
Rest assured, “THC amounts of 0.3 percent or less are not enough to get you high,” Nichols says. As long as you purchase CBD products from a reputable brand that are third-party tested, you can breathe easy.
CBD Myth #2: It Can Be Addicting
Long associated with marijuana, many consumers have questioned whether CBD itself is addicting.
However, research has put that one to rest: “CBD is not addicting,” says Titus. “It has little effect on intracranial self-stimulation, which is the brain’s pleasure system.”
CBD Myth #3: If You Don’t Notice Immediate Benefits, It’s Not Working
For most people, it takes at least four to six weeks of consistently using the right amount of CBD to notice its effects, says Jacqueline Montoya, M.D., owner of GreenMedMD and Chief Medical Officer of CBDfit.
Related: 3 Ways CBD Can Boost Your Fitness
“It is also important that you take CBD with a specific goal in mind,” she says. This way, you can tune into your body to truly notice any benefits over time.
CBD Myth #4: It Has No Side Effects
Although CBD has very few side effects when taken at reasonable doses, it “can affect the metabolism of blood thinners and other medications, which should be discussed with your physician,” says Montoya.
Side effects like dry mouth, drowsiness, and nausea only seem to crop up with extreme doses of CBD, she adds. (We’re talking more than 1,500 milligrams per day.)
CBD Myth #5: You Can Buy Legitimate Products Anywhere
“Since hemp-based CBD is not yet regulated by the FDA, and there is currently no standard for quality CBD, it is essentially buyer beware,” warns Mintz. “In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the FDA purchased some CBD products online and did their own analysis. They found that most products’ labels were inaccurate—and that some didn’t even contain any CBD!”
To ensure you get a quality product, only purchase CBD from a reputable retailer—and look for products that highlight that they’ve been third-party tested for quality. The Vitamin Shoppe’s CBD Central, for example, offers hundreds of quality CBD products from 20 brands you can trust.
CBD Myth #6: You Can Get In Trouble For Using CBD
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it is fully legal to buy or sell hemp-based CBD products anywhere in the U.S. Still, be aware that some confusion on the subject persists. For example, you might not want to take a CBD-containing product in your carry-on through airport security. “While it is legal, not every TSA agent might know this,” says Mintz.
CBD Myth #7: You Can Overdose On It
While it’s possible to take too much CBD, it’s highly unlikely that you can overdose.
“Even the most serious side effects of CBD, when taken in mega-doses, are relatively tame compared to those of other medications we frequently take without thought, like aspirin,” says Nichols. Typically, symptoms related to mega-doses involve fatigue, dry mouth and nausea.
If you’re trying CBD for the first time, start with a 10mg dose and work your way up from there.