Cannabis sativa – a plant that many people think of as a soft-illegal drug. This plant actually has two versions. Marijuana is the highly modified version that is often smoked or eaten in its leaf form and alters the mind. Hemp is less processed and therefore without most of the psychoactive elements. However, even without the psychotropic effects, hemp has been shown to have an effect on people. This is through its CBD.
What is CBD and CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prevalent active ingredient of cannabis plants. The most active ingredient is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Most of the CBD used in oils is derived from the hemp plant rather than the marijuana plant. As marijuana has been bred over the years to contain higher levels of THC, the less-modified hemp is better for extracting the CBD. CBD, unlike THC, is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause a “high.”
CBD oil is made by mixing the extracted CBD with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut. CBD oils contain various concentrations of CBD for a variety of uses. The dosages depend on factors such as the health issue, the concentration, and the person’s body weight. These oils can be mixed into foods or drinks, taken with a dropper, massaged onto the skin, or mixed in a spray that goes under the tongue.
While recreational use of cannabis is illegal in New Zealand (at least until the legalization referendum is held next year), medical use was legalized this past December after being banned since 1927. Some cannabis-based pharmaceuticals, including CBD products, were approved even before, but only for certain patients seen by a specialist doctor.
What are its uses and benefits?
The strongest scientific evidence for CBD’s effectiveness has been for treating epilepsy, particularly two childhood syndromes. Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) do not typically respond to antiseizure medications. DS appears in a child’s first year and involves frequent, fever-related seizures. LGS appears between the ages of 3 and 5 and involves various types of seizures. Many studies have found that taking CBD greatly reduces and even in some cases completely stops seizures. The United States FDA approved one CBD-containing medicine, Epidiolex, for these conditions and now doctors can prescribe it.
Stress and anxiety buster
One of the most common uses of CBD is for anxiety and insomnia. While people with chronic anxiety should avoid THC as it may trigger or amplify anxious and paranoiac feelings, CBD can reduce anxiety in some disorders. These include post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Taking CBD can help those with insomnia calm down and sleep faster and easier. More importantly, CBD does not have as many side effects as traditional prescription medications for these conditions. People may stop taking their medications due to these side effects, so a treatment without these adverse effects would be better followed. Whether it’s massaging CBD oil or playing casino games, stress relief is better without bad effects.
Pain and inflammation relief
A European study found that CBD oil applied to the skin could help lower arthritis pain and inflammation. It also can inhibit neuropathic and inflammatory pain, both very difficultly-treated chronic pains. Scientists hope to conduct human trials soon to see if the results will be the same.
Some CBD products claim they cure cancer. This is unfortunately not the case. However, CBD can be used as an accompaniment to standard cancer treatments to provide relief from chemotherapy side effects and pain. It can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and anxiety which come from treatments. And CBD and THC combined have been shown to reduce cancer pain. There are test-tube and animal studies looking into the anticancer properties of CBD. One test-tube study with human breast cancer cells saw concentrated CBD kill the cells. A mice breast cancer study saw CBD inhibit the spread of these cells. Doctors and scientists should be looking into human studies soon to see if CBD could eventually be used as a treatment.
Stop smoking/ other addictive drugs
Researchers have found that using CBD can help people stop smoking and recover from substance abuse. When CBD was used in an inhaler, the number of cigarettes and nicotine cravings went down. And CBD use has been shown to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, pain, insomnia, and mood-related symptoms, for other addictions.
Reduce acne and take care of skin
CBD’s anti-inflammatory effect on the body can lower skin’s sebum production, reducing oiliness and fighting bacteria which causes acne vulgaris. At the same time, cannabis essential oils can prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging, as well as protecting against eczema and psoriasis.
Are there any side effects and interactions?
CBD is not completely without side effects. It may cause nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue, and irritability. CBD oils should be discussed with a doctor in order to avoid interactions with other medications and to help determine the dosage needed.