Nature’s medicine, cannabis sparks global boom in health products market.
A new generation of health-conscious and wellness-oriented consumers are driving a shift towards natural living, opting for natural foods, natural body and skincare products, natural fabrics and natural remedies.
CBD, a naturally-occurring, active non-psychoactive compound found in the flower of the cannabis or hemp plant, has been used for its natural medicinal and therapeutic benefits for thousands of years, but it is only recently that interest in its potential health benefits has skyrocketed.
To better illustrate this growing trend, a study published on the JAMA Network Open online platform measured Google searches that mentioned “CBD” or “cannabidiol” in the US from 2004 to April 2019. The findings reveal that CBD searches accelerated from 2014, rising 125.9% year-on-year from 2016 to 2017, and 160.4% in 2018 compared with 2017.
But isn’t cannabis an illegal drug?
Rest assured that CBD products are not illegal and do not cause a “high”. The psychoactive compound that creates marijuana’s ‘high’ is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and all CBD products in South Africa must contain less than 0,001% THC to comply with local regulations.
These regulations were implemented in May 2019, when the South African Department of Health amended the Medicines Act to exempt from scheduling all products that contain a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD and are intended for general health enhancement or maintenance, or relief from minor symptoms not related to a disease or disorder.
This effectively made it legal to sell compliant products directly to the public without the need for a prescription. However, any product that contains a daily CBD dose more than 20mg is still considered a scheduled substance according to the Medicines Act and would require a prescription to legally purchase it.
A World Health Organization report also affirms that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
What you may not know is that CBD also occurs naturally inside the human body, in the form of endocannabinoids.
How does CBD work?
Cannabinoids interact with endocannabinoid receptors (there are two types – CB1 and CB2) in our body, which have various physiological effects and can positively impact on our health and wellbeing.
CB1 receptors in the brain are associated with emotions, mood, appetite, coordination, movement, and pain. CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system and throughout tissues of the spleen and tonsils.
Many suggest that cannabinoids like THC or CBD could help improve endocannabinoid system function and in so doing, help to enhance mood and memory, and reduce sensory perceptions such as pain.
As such, CBD is most commonly used to treat pain and inflammation, restlessness, sleeplessness and anxiousness. People are also finding that CBD is useful in instances where they may not have responded well to conventional treatments, or as an alternative or adjunct to certain pharmaceuticals.
Are these claims proven?
A study published in the European Journal of Pain showed via an animal model that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation related to arthritis.
Another study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2012, demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat.
Other studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters. Furthermore, several human studies found that a combination of CBD and THC effectively treats pain related to multiple sclerosis.
CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for both depression and anxiety. For instance, a study conducted on 57 men in Brazil, who received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before they underwent a simulated public speaking test, found that a 300mg CBD dose significantly reduced anxiety during the test.
A 2010 study conducted by German researchers also reported in the peer-reviewed Cell Communication and Signalling journal that CBD stimulates the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis) in adult mammals.
Further research is, of course, needed to confirm all the benefits linked to CBD, but there is already significant support for various uses.
How do I take CBD?
To create CBD products, like the wide range available at your local Dis-Chem, CBD is removed from plants during an extraction process and manufactured into oils, tinctures or capsules. You can also drink it in the form of CBD tea.
CBD oil is made by mixing a CBD extract from a cannabis plant into a base like hemp seed oil or alcohol, respectively. Isolate CBD oils are made by isolating only the CBD present in the plant; THC and other cannabinoids will not be present in these oils.
The CBD oil can be held under the tongue and absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Sublingual absorption provides a faster effect than absorption via the stomach when taking a CBD capsule or edible product.
It is recommended that you keep the CBD tincture under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. The longer you keep it there, the better it will be absorbed sublingually. The oil can also be swallowed diluted or undiluted.
Can you overdose on CBD?
CBD has been shown to be safe to use in high doses but never use more than the maximum allowable daily dose of 20mg per day to comply with South African laws and regulations.
A consequence of taking too much CBD is the increased chance of negative side effects like lethargy or drowsiness.
Hemp vs Cannabis CBD oil
CBD hemp oil is made from hemp, while CBD cannabis oil is made from marijuana plants. CBD hemp oil will, therefore, contain little to no THC, whereas CBD cannabis oil can contain significantly more THC than CBD hemp oil and may also contain an equal amount of THC to CBD.
It is also worth noting that CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not similar products. CBD oil is a liquid concentrate of CBD and is a medicinal product. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is a food product made from pressed hemp seeds. This makes it a highly nutritious food product that contains no CBD.
Where should I buy my CBD oil?
A quick online search will reveal numerous websites that supply CBD products. While buying CBD online is legal, as long as it’s derived from industrial-produced hemp and the products comply with regulations, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy online.
It is best to only purchase from reputable and trusted retailers that have a proven track record in the health product, supplement and medicine markets.