Cannabidiol (CBD) has been hot topic for the last few years being covered by mainstream media and independent bloggers/vloggers alike.
Many are using it as a post workout supplement, where others are using it as an important ritual of their skin care routine.
In this article, we’ll break down what CBD Oil is and the benefits, plus drawbacks, of using it.
What is CBD Oil, what does it do?
CBD is the chemical compound derived from cannabis. It’s one of the many naturally occurring chemicals found in the marijuana plants. However, unlike other chemicals found in the marijuana plant, CBD Oil does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive element found in marijuana.
Therefore, CBD Oil does not get you high, and the World Health Organization has gone as far to say CBD Oil does not exhibit any effect of abuse or dependency (meaning it’s not addictive) [source WHO].
How does CBD Work?
CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which is a cell system that plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, memory and fertility. ECS is essentially a cannabis-like substance that occurs naturally inside us [source].
The ECS system works by stimulating CB1 (central nervous system) and CB2 (peripheral nervous system) cell receptors.
Through these two receptors, the ECS helps regulate functions such as appetite, immunity, inflammation, sleep, mood and pain.
While the ECS works independently itself, CBD can stimulate activity of the ECS which is useful where there maybe times where the ECS stops functioning properly.
Is CBD safe?
CBD is generally considered as safe to use, although it is not as rigidly regulated as medicine so you should exercise caution when buying CBD Oil – ensuring it is from a reputable brand to minimise the risk of illegal or incompatible chemicals being added.
Side effects of CBD do include fatigue and irritability. And as CBD is not marketed as a medicinal product, but a supplement, there is a large grey area on the safety and dietary recommendation of this product.
What should I look out for?
There are hundreds of brands claiming to produce and sell the “best CBD oil”, with 5% strength all the way to 20% strength. With claims of it supporting your health and relieving pain and being completely legal and tested.
These are all bold claims for an as yet [July 2020] young industry. You should ask yourself the following questions before trying or buying any CBD:
Has this product been independently tested and verified by a third-party lab?
As the supplements industry is largely unregulated, you should check to ensure the CBD product you are consuming has been tested by an independent and reputable third party.
This will validate the ingredient profile is what it says on the label, the dosage is correct and it’s not got something that shouldn’t be in the bottle.
Where are you buying it from?
Wholefood and natural / organic retailers, particularly with a large online or offline store presence will typically put an item and company through extensive background checks to ensure the product (and brand) is what it claims.
Does it claim to cure your illness?
Anything that claims to cure something should be avoided like the plague. CBD Oil has beneficial properties for certain conditions but isn’t to be used as a “cure”. With less regulation across this sector, smaller brands who are unaware or private labelling the product may make bold statements – which should send you red flags to question the product itself.
Do the ingredients make sense?
Many supplement companies are guilty of adding low cost fillers which add to the weight but don’t add to the health value. Or, adding ingredients which may counter the effect of CBD. As always, read the label and consider if the ingredients make sense.
How to take CBD Oil?
Today, you can buy CBD oil, edibles such as gummies and capsules, vapes and even CBD infused skin care products.
You can Vape / Smoke CBD but this isn’t something we recommend. e-Cigarettes and vaping products are relatively new to the market and their effects aren’t well known. There are also questions which rise on the quality of the vape stick and medium in which you’d be inhaling the CBD.
Using oil drops is a great way of getting quick absorption, with a higher % of the CBD absorbed into your body.
Therefore, you get a larger benefit and feel the results much faster.
The problem with the oil drops is the taste, which isn’t for everyone.
Edibles, such as gummies or mints are a great way of consuming and getting the benefits of CBD without the aftertaste.
However, edibles are not highly absorbable, and studies have shown you will only absorb 20-30% of the content.
Skin Care Products
From creams, lotions and balms – you can find many CBD topicals which are applied directly onto the skin.
Topical based CBD is great to target a particular issue – i.e. using CBD oil to reduce eczema-based inflammation.
Can I give CBD Oil to my dog?
It is possible to give your dog CBD oil to cope with pain, as most mammals have the same internal system to process the cannabinoids – the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
What are the health benefits of CBD Oil?
What does CBD Oil do? CBD as a product is still in its infancy. Despite this, there are a few well known health benefits.
Cannabis is researched as having positive effects on pain symptoms, stemming from muscle injury sustained while working out in the gym, to more chronic pains from arthritis and back pain.
CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help manage the pain symptoms and create a feeling of ease.
Research indicates CBD may help relieve anxiety, and is particularly useful for those who suffer insomnia, as it may help you fall and stay asleep [source – Harvard Health].
CBD may help with generalised anxiety, as well as PTSD.
This benefit is largely linked to how CBD interacts with our brain serotonin levels.
CBD maybe useful for skin conditions like eczema or acne. As it contains anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce the inflammation induced by eczema or acne and help reduce the pain associated, reducing the itchiness and therefore contribute toward healing.
CBD oil can help prevent your skin from producing too much natural oil – which itself is responsible for acne breakouts.
May support Brain Health
CBD oil can reduce inflammation and is known to interact with brain receptors (hence its ability to reduce anxiety). As such, there is still research needed to understand how it can help protect the brain from degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s or stroke.
How much should I take?
This depends on what you are using CBD oil for and which kind you’re taking.
Full-spectrum CBD is the oil which contains all naturally occurring cannabinoids (including THC) in the cannabis plant. Full spectrum oil is typically stronger, and you can begin by consuming less of it while determining the appropriate dosage for your needs.
CBD Isolate does not contain any THC and is more widely available / safer when concerned with legalities of CBD in different countries.
Typically beginning from 5mg and increasing double each day while assessing your reaction is the safest way.