Headlines and buzzwords turning into trending topics of discussion have become a regular occurrence on the internet. Cannabis is one such topic that has managed to consistently be the topic of debates, both big and small. More specifically, the compound Cannabidiol or CBD has garnered quite a bit of attention over the last few years in the spheres of wellness and health. Even a simple google search would result in hundreds of articles varying from studies and medical testimonials to articles claiming to decipher and uncover the hype around Cannabis. In this eclectic mix, you're more likely to come across sceptic think pieces that are confident that Cannabis is nothing more than an overhyped trend, than well studied factual information.
The ratio of dismissive articles may seem harmless, created for nothing but sensationalism and a few clicks. But diving deeper one can see that the effects of such claims run quite deep. Real harm happens when such articles gain traction, influencing the opinions of people. It gets in the way of the ones trying to put out the truth. It hinders the efforts of holistic wellness brands, medical practitioners and real advocates who want to make use of Cannabis for the betterment of people. Amid scandal and misinformation, the true purpose finds itself hidden and overshadowed.
As champions and believers of this wonder plant, our mission has been to bring forward the best of Cannabis's potential for wellbeing. But to make it accessible and approachable as an everyday staple, the biggest challenge has been to change perceptions, especially those that have been twisted by misleading articles and revelations.
Taking a step towards setting the slate clean, we wanted to bust a few common myths that hold people back from accepting and understanding the real potential of Cannabis. Here are a few popular myths that we decided needed to be put to rest:
Myth #1: Cannabis can get you high
Probably the most common and widely believed myth, it arises mainly due to the lack of clarity in the distinction between the various strains of the Cannabis plant. When referring to the feeling of getting high, it is caused by the presence of the psychoactive compound THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. Hemp is a non-psychotropic strain that contains less than 0.3% THC. Also known as Industrial Hemp, it is this strain that is most commonly utilized as a material for fiber, fabric and nutrition. Rich in antioxidants, proteins and the compound CBD, it makes for excellent wellness and nutritional supplement. This strain contains only trace levels of THC and hence cannot have any psychoactive effects at all. On the other hand, "Recreational Cannabis" is a strain that contains more than 0.3% of THC. Hence, when consumed, it contributes to the intoxicating feeling. So when looking at a product's composition, one must note the strain of Cannabis is what indicates the potential of it being psychoactive.
Myth #2: CBD is a recreational intoxicant
The feeling of high comes from the presence of higher levels of the psychoactive compound Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. CBD is commonly synthesized from the Hemp plant which contains less than 0.3% THC. Without the presence of high levels of THC, Hemp-based CBD products cannot have any intoxicating properties. On the contrary, CBD is known to have a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. Many long-term users have seen improvements in their mental health as CBD can help soothe and relax anxiety and mood swings. Hence, CBD based medication is often administered as a gentle, non-invasive method to enjoy the healing properties of Cannabis without the worry negative side effects.
Myth #3: CBD works like THC but without the high
CBD and THC are both administered as solutions for pain, inflammation, anxiety, etc. As CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects, it is often assumed that it works the same as THC without the high. The reason why the above statement is a myth is because of how differently the two compounds function and interact with the body when consumed. THC interacts with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, which contributes to the feeling of euphoria or being high. CBD works by helping rebalance the cannabinoid reserves in the body's endocannabinoid system. It tends to have very weak bonds with the CB1 receptors and hence does not produce the intoxicating feeling associated with THC. In fact, CBD has been known to help counteract and reduce some of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Myth #4: All CBD is the same and has the same function
The market currently is brimming with hundreds if not thousands of different formulations of Cannabis-based wellness products. Do they all have the same amount of CBD? And do they all do the same thing? The collective answer is an absolute NO. It is the equivalent of saying the effects of tea are the same as coffee or energy drinks. Depending on its application, every Cannabis product contains a varying concentration of CBD. For example, Isolated CBD products as the name suggests, contain synthetically purified CBD only. Broad-spectrum CBD products are often blends of compounds such as terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD products encompass nearly the complete profile of cannabidiol, terpenes and other compounds including THC. With such varying levels of concentrations, each of them has different purposes and effects on an individual's body and hence should never be clubbed in the same group together.
Myth #5: More is better
What is worth noting when it comes to Cannabis-based products is that higher doses don't always guarantee better performance or effect. High concentrations of CBD such as isolates are in fact less impactful than the more complex full-spectrum CBD. The combination of terpenes and other cannabinoids creates a better synergistic effect. More so, the efficacy and effect of any Cannabis product on the body are determined by its medium or mode of consumption. With oral methods such as capsules or oils, most of the CBD passes through the digestive tract reducing the amount entering the bloodstream. However, consuming the same concentration through a tincture placed under the tongue will result in a higher number of Cannabinoids entering the bloodstream. In no way does it mean that low dosage forms like capsules or topical creams any less helpful. Even low doses are effective and can help a variety of ailments, such as arthritis or chronic inflammation. The varying concentration and formulas simply exist to help you choose the one that suits your requirements and palette the best.
Myth #6: You should feel the benefits instantly
This is one of the biggest reasons why many tend to dismiss the efficacy and potential of Cannabis. In a world where instant gratification and solutions are the way to a consumer's heart, Cannabis tends to break the mould. It all comes down to the way CBD functions with the body. Generic pain medication works by blocking out receptors, preventing the brain from feeling any sensation of pain. Unlike that, CBD works in tandem with the body's own mechanism, which is also known as the endocannabinoid system. The ECS is in control of many critical processes such as sleep, appetite, mood and overall internal balance or homeostasis. It does so by maintaining a very precarious balance of compounds known as endocannabinoids in the body. The slightest imbalance can wreak havoc on the body's natural functioning resulting in pain, inflammation and much more. Instead of directly interacting with the receptors, CBD, rich in cannabinoids, works by slowly replenishing the lost balance, getting the system back on track. This rebalancing is not an instant process. It is only with gradual and consistent use that CBD can have a tangible effect on the body, and can you see an actual improvement. Just like with anything that can have an impact, the benefits of CBD take time.
When it comes to opinions about Cannabis, there is a lot to sift through. Depending on who you hear from, there are many different sides about the true potential of the plant. The further your research, the more complicated the opinions on Cannabis get. But with such a versatile profile and application, there is nothing but endless possibilities when it comes to the future of the plant. The proof of its potential is in history. It is one of the oldest existing herbs used for medicinal purposes. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system that forms the basis of modern medicine and pharmacy, contains detailed accounts on the properties of Cannabis and how it can heal the body.
Maybe today’s science is not rife with endless research papers and studies on Cannabis, but civilizations much before have already given it the green light. A push towards better awareness coupled with a rising approach towards wellness and growing curiosity around the plant can eventually lead to more acceptance for the plant. Cannabis is an ancient herb, and the scope of its potential is still being discovered. But the progress behind the plant shows no signs of stopping, and it is only a matter of time that Cannabis would once again become the norm in everyday life.
Written by Shamooda Amrelia, Doorbeen Creatives