In the media buzz surrounding the topic of hemp, it is sometimes difficult to tell the valuable and confirmed information from the hype, fake news and full fledged lies. The sensationalist media are the one to blame here but the over-zealous cannabis aficionados do not make the things easier. As a result, even those more or less familiar with the subject will spread myths and half-truths every now and then. “Medical marijuana”, “cure for cancer”, “psychoactive oils” – half-baked catchphrases fly across the mediasphere like bullets, while innocent CBD hemp oil gets ricochet shot. Therefore, to sort things out at least a bit, we decided to dispel some of the most common myths about CBD hemp oils as much as try to explain where does their popularity stem from.
One more thing – before we start reviewing the most common myths note that discussed here is only the Polish market. While some point apply to hemp products around the world, others will only relate to the situation in Poland; as the legal status of hemp and cannabis products differ from country to country, so does their admissible composition, therefore some pieces of „folk wisdom” examined here might actually have a grain of truth to them.
1. CBD hemp oils are psychoactive
Not that long ago it was probably the most commonly-spread belief; due to ignorance and tricks of the cynical manufacturers peppering the marketing materials of their products with irresponsible, tongue-in-cheek gimmicks referring to marijuana, all hemp products were believed to have something to do with illegal drugs . Fortunately, with the rise of consumer awareness and the professionalisation of the market, the laissez-faire pioneering era of luring the customers with promises „high” is on its path to oblivion. Yet, let’s say this once and for all: CBD hemp oils are produced from fibrous-grade Cannabis Sativa L. plants containing no more than 0.2 per cent of THC in the dried mass. This is a threshold value pre-determined by the law – and it is way below any potential psychoactive effect; depending on the extraction method, the scant amounts of THC may furtherly drop, resulting with only a biologically inactive trace amount of any potentially psychoactive compounds to be found in CBD oils available on the Polish market.
As for the main ingredient in oils, the CBD itself does not produce any psychoactive effect (similarly to the rest of cannabinoids found in CBD hemp oils such as CBDa or CBC). It may be interesting that the CBD does actually enter an interesting synergy with the psychoactive compounds (this happens, of course, in the case of marijuana, where the psychoactive compounds can actually be found), but its role is… to tame the potential psychotic effect of THC and its counterparts!
Now, where did this myth come from? Apart from the most obvious reason – the identification of all cannabis and hemp products with marijuana – there may are at least two oily products that could have caused the confusion. The first is a controversial, rich-in-THC RSO oil (Rick Simpson Oil), which, besides a number of possible, yet not researched properly health benefits, has a strong psychoactive effect. The second product that might be confused with CBD hemp oils by ill-informed consumers is the hash oil, condensed form of an already condensed form of marijuana, a very potent black market product. Needless to say, both above mentioned oils not only differ greatly from the CBD hemp oil, but they are also illegal in most countries.
2. CBD hemp oil is made from Cannabis Indica plants
This myth is quite easy to deal with, it only takes following the origin of the product available on our market to dispell it. As mentioned before, for the cannabis product to be available in Poland, it must come from specifically contracted Cannabis Sativa L plants, while the beloved by potheads Cannabis Indica is a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa (though some typologies list Cannabis Indica as a separate genus parallel to Sativa, apparently, typology is not so strict here).
Where does this misunderstanding stem from (pun intended)? First thing is that the “cannabis indica” phrase has been so well domesticated by the popular culture (arguably also because being „Indian” adds an orientalising, „mystical” touch to the world’s most popular illegal drug’s image), that it has practically become synonymous to „hemp” as such. Yet the second cause of this popular confusion is that there is actually also a grain of truth to this myth: Cannabis Indica plants do, in fact, contain CBD, so in countries where it is legal to trade in their products (in most states of the United States, though under different legal conditions), there will be CBD oils produced from the Indicas. However, they are usually medical products, plus they will often, along with the CBD, contain psychoactive ingredients.
3. CBD oil cures…
Compared with other myths and half-truths we are dispelling here, this one is exceptionally perilous and potentially dangerous. Let’s start with the fact that although the CBD itself is being better researched every week, and the results are promising, it is nowhere near to being recognized as a medicine on its own. Second, the studies concern pure CBD, not CBD oils, or hemp/cannabis/marijuana as such (though many studies of the latter do attribute some of their subjects’ effects to CBD). Thirdly, the fact that a substance has a medicine status in one country does not automatically mean that it will be recognized as on in Poland (nor anywhere else, for that matter).
So let’s make it clear: the CBD hemp oils available in Poland are not medical products, they are dietary supplements. Any medical statements in line of “CBD hemp oil heals this or that”, are not only cynically foraging on the hopes of consumers, they are simply illegal, full stop! This issue is so sad – as a result of irresponsible marketing (also whisper campaigns), often based on horrendous statements like “CBD oil cures cancer”, the whole market, including honest manufacturers, could suffer, or even get a full ban.
Where does this myth come from? Cannabis in all forms has been used in folk medicine for millennia, with a number of their beneficiary properties being proven. But there is still a long way for the hemp us such, and for the hemp-derived products to be recognized as a medicine – in fact, there are no grounds for most of them to apply for such status. In countries where the use of “medical marijuana” (we’ll get to it later) is legal, there are medical CBD oils produced from specially selected plants – they may indeed have the status of a medicine, but this does not mean that natural hemp extracts available in Poland will also do – as we will explain in the next point, they are completely different products!
4. CBD hemp oil is actually medical marijuana
This misunderstanding has been already discussed by us on various occasions, yet since it is a matter both controversial and delicate it is always worth repeating some basic distinctions. The CBD hemp oils available in Poland have nothing to do with medical marijuana. Firstly: they are made from a different plant species than “medical marijuana”. Second: only a very specific form of cannabis (unpollinated female inflorescences) can be called “marijuana.” Last, but not least, even marijuana itself and „medical marijuana” are two very different things, the latter being, of course, subject to dozens of strict regulations. We can see, then, that the CBD hemp oils are three major degrees of separation away from the „medical marijuana”: different species, different preparation, different product class – comparing it with medical marijuana, is like putting plain bread next to clear vodka: after all they both are cereal products, aren’t they?
Where does this myth come from? In countries where the medical marijuana market is well regulated there are, actually, medical-grade CBD oils available – such oils are made from plants used to obtain medical marijuana, and meeting the purity requirements for pharmacological products. This is a very specific case that has nothing to do with CBD hemp oils available in Poland. By the way, there is one thing to keep in mind here: especially on American sites, it’s easy to come across articles claiming that CBD from hemp is somehow worse than the „medical” one. This obvious simplification stems from the fact that many producers of hemp oils care little for the proper composition of their product: for preserving the natural cannabinoid profile, including naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, etc … However, this problem can be remedied by simply choosing good quality hemp oils, as the CBD itself will always remain the same substance.
5. CBD products are illegal
Finally, a myth, fortunately, less and less widespread among conscious consumers, yet still persisting in the media, and among the public allergic to any mention of cannabis. As we stated at the beginning, hemp cultivation is legal in Poland, although under strict stipulations. Thus, CBD hemp oils are legal in Poland provided that: they are made from plants of the Cannabis Sativa L species, contain less than 0.2% of THC, and are grown in the EU from specially selected and certified seed and, finally their sell is contracted with an entity authorized to buy out fibrous hemp in the area of a given Voivodship . This regulations are strict, but fair, and there are more than a few producers providing CBD hemp oil from a legitimate source – in fact, many manufacturers grow their hemp themselves. A rule of a thumb for a consumer is fairly simple here: choose a professional product from a proven, certified supplier, and you have nothing to fear.
As the popularity of hemp product and CBD hemp oils in particular grows, so does the public awareness, and the most preposterous common beliefs gradually fade away. At the same time, however, new half-truths and urban legends emerge, often distributed by irresponsible (or cynical) producers and overhyped enthusiasts. Equating of marijuana and hemp and presumption of psychoactive activity of the latter, once quite common, has given way to misunderstanding of much more subtle, yet perfidious nature: quacks and frauds of all sorts are trying to cash in consumers’ naivety and good will, advertising CBD hemp oils as universal panacea, and making irresponsible medical statements. We therefore call for sensibility when dealing with any particularly optimistic reports on CBD – in any case a healthy dose of skepticism and a habit of corroborating information on one’s own is a crucial skill, especially now in – in the fake-news era. Cannabis is a wonderful plant with dozens of useful applications, it does not need artificially inflated sensations and spread online myths to deserve the attention of consumers.