Debunking the myths about CBD

January 04, 2020

2019 was truly the year CBD became mainstream, but many people are still in the dark about the benefits. From helping you sleep to taking it on holiday, here are some of the common misconceptions explained about CBD.

CBD is a sedative

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the body’s largest neurotransmitter networks and is involved in regulating many different bodily processes, including sleep. There’s still limited scientific research relating to the cannabinoid’s direct effect on sleep disorders though.

While some studies have found that incorporating CBD into your daily routine before bed (either by placing a few drops under your tongue or rubbing a CBD balm on the soles of your feet) can encourage you to fall asleep faster and into a deeper, more restorative sleep, others, including this from 2014, suggest that CBD can actually promote waking.

CBD has side effects

According to a 2017 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.

The authors of the report even confirmed that CBD has ‘been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials’ and can be a useful treatment for other medical conditions.

It is important to acknowledge that while it is considered a very safe compound, it can have some side effects including loss of appetite, diarrhoea and dry mouth. Most are mild and can be avoided by finding the right dose though, so it’s recommended to start small and to gradually increase your intake to find what works for you.

If you’re unsure or taking any other medication, consult your doctor before trying CBD, too.

There’s no scientific proof that CBD works

As previously mentioned, some clinical trials have actually been carried out on CBD to investigate its effectiveness in treating childhood epilepsy – most notably by British company GW Pharmaceuticals in its development of EPIDYOLEX®.

Its approval of cannabidiol oral solution is based on results from four randomised, controlled Phase 3 trials, which incorporate data from more than 714 patients with two rare forms of epilepsy with high morbidity and mortality rates – LGS or Dravet syndrome. When added to other anti-epileptic therapies, EPIDYOLEX® significantly reduced the frequency of seizures in patients.

Justin Gover, GW’s Chief Executive Officer, confirmed: “The approval of EPIDYOLEX® marks a significant milestone, offering patients and their families the first in a new class of epilepsy medicines and the first and only EMA-approved CBD medicine to treat two severe and life-threatening forms of childhood-onset epilepsy. This approval is the culmination of many years of dedication and collaboration between GW, physicians and the epilepsy community. We believe patients and physicians deserve access to rigorously tested and evaluated cannabis-based medicines, manufactured to the highest standards and approved by medicines regulators, and we are delighted to be the first to offer this solution to the epilepsy community.”

Other tests have also shown CBD can reduce episodes of schizophrenia and have an effect on easing anxiety.

You can’t take CBD on a plane

If you consider yourself a nervous flyer, you’ll probably want to take your CBD oil on holiday to help manage your anxiety. But is it legal to do so?

The answer in most cases is yes. Industrial hemp (Cannabis Sativa L) derived CBD is legal in all EU states as long as it contains no THC. Some countries also allow low levels of THC, usually up to 0.2% – you’ll want to make sure your product is clearly labelled though.

There are some no-go areas however. These include the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Singapore and you should never attempt to fly to these countries with it regardless of what CBD oil you have.

Laws around cannabis and its related substances are quickly evolving so it’s always helpful to check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to or through and with the airline you’re travelling with for the most up-to-date information.

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