Top 10 Myths About CBD
WRITTEN BY MADISON SCHMIDT AND DR. SWATHI
It's time to debunk the top 10 myths about CBD.
CBD will make me feel "high".
Cannabidiol (CBD) is not the component of cannabis that causes a “high” effect–it's actually another cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which does so by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain called CB1 receptors. CBD can actually blunt (wordplay intended!) the psychoactive effects of THC by its opposing action on cannabinoid receptors in the brain (1-2)!
CBD is completely non-psychoactive.
The word, psychoactive, means "-active" in the brain ("psycho-"), so, even though CBD won’t cause a “high” like THC, it still has properties that alter the brain. For instance, human and animal studies have found CBD to decrease anxiety through acting on cannabinoid and serotonin receptors in the brain (3).
I take CBD and I will always pass a drug test.
Although CBD will not show up on a drug test, many products advertised as CBD may contain trace amounts of THC. Since THC is screened for on drug tests, using CBD products may result in a positive drug test. To err on the side of caution, buying a trusted brand of CBD isolate, containing only CBD, or broad spectrum, containing CBD and other minor cannabinoids WITHOUT THC.
CBC has no FDA approved medical use.
Epidiolex (cannabidiol or CBD) is an FDA approved medication for the treatment of rare seizures in children and adults (3). Having CBD as an FDA approved drug means that there is safety and efficacy data in certain populations. Although not all supplements are formulated the same as the prescription formulation, this still provides some guidance for those interested in using CBD.
CBD will not affect other medications.
To be broken down in the body, CBD is metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP) that many medications also are metabolized by which can lead to interactions. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor to see if CBD interacts with your medications or if dose adjustments would be necessary (4-6).
CBD is illegal everywhere.
In the United States, although cannabis is considered to be federally illegal, CBD is legal in growing number of states. Check here to find an update on cannabis laws and regulations in your state!
Although there are many reputable brands of CBD, not all should be trusted. When looking for a reputable product, one of the main things to look for is if the company has a Certificate of Analysis (COA). A COA is a public document that the company had a third-party lab analyze the ingredients of their product to determine if they are what the company claims. It is always smart to check a company’s website for a COA per product before purchasing CBD products.
CBD is known to be safe in pregnancy.
There is currently not enough data on CBD in pregnancy to ensure that it is safe. The FDA states that while there are no compelling concerns at this time, they strongly suggest any cannabis derived products be avoided during pregnancy due to the lack of safety data (7).
CBD isolate is better than broad spectrum.
CBD is one of many cannabinoids derived from cannabis. When CBD is sold as an isolate, other cannabinoids that are naturally made from the cannabis plant are extracted. Broad spectrum products, however, also contain other cannabinoids such as cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG). It has been found that when CBD is in combination with other cannabinoids, it works better than as an isolate which is referred to as the entourage effect (8).
All forms of CBD work the same.
CBD can come in a variety of forms from tinctures to topical lotions and drinks; therefore, its effect in the body will depend on the formulation. As a pharmacy student, I could talk for days about pharmacokinetics or what the body does to medications, like CBD, when they are ingested or used topically etc. To find out which formulation of CBD is best for you, talk with your pharmacist (or Dr. Swathi) or doctor!
Ashton L. Does CBD oil get you high? The Center for Advancing Health. https://cfah.org/does-cbd-oil-get-you-high/. Published October 2021.
- Niesink RJM, et al. Does cannabidiol protect against adverse psychological effects of THC? Front Psychiatry. 2013;4:130.
- García-Gutiérrez MS, et al. Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders. Biomolecules. 2020;10(11):1575.
- FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published June 2018.
- Gaston TE, et al. Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Epilepsia. 2017;58(9):1586-1592.
Flockhart DA. Drug interactions: Cytochrome P450 drug interaction table. Indiana University School of Medicine. https://drug-interactions.medicine.iu.edu/MainTable.aspx. Published 2007.
- Geffrey AL. Drug-drug interaction between clobazam and cannabidiol in children with refractory epilepsy. Indiana University School of Medicine. https://drug-interactions.medicine.iu.edu/MainTable.aspx.
- What you should know about using cannabis, including CBD, when pregnant or breastfeeding. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Updated January 2021.
- Anand U, et al. Cannabis-based medicines and pain: a review of potential synergistic and entourage effects. Pain Manag. 2021;11(4):395-403.
This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Madison Schmidt. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy in Edwardsville, Illinois.