Spotlight on CBD oil

Your Healthy Living takes a look at the facts around CBD oil and its potential health benefits

CBD oil is rapidly becoming one of the most talked about health supplements in recent times. According to figures from the Cannabis Trades Association UK, there are now 250,000 users of CBD oil in the UK and around 1,000 new users each month. But what is CBD oil and how could it benefit our health and wellbeing?

What is CBD oil?

CBD or cannabidiol is one of several compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis or hemp plant. CBD oils contain concentrations of cannabidiol. THC is the chemical compound found in the cannabis plant which has psychoactive properties, producing a ‘high’ when smoked. CBD on the other hand does not produce this effect. In order to be sold legally in the UK, CBD oil must contain less than 0.2 per cent THC.

How does it work in the body?

“There is a system in the body known as the endocannabinoid system,” explains Nick Tofalos, a registered osteopath and director of CBD One (www.cbd-one.co.uk). “This is a series of receptors in the brain and nervous system which regulate a wide variety of processes from the immune system to memory function and pain sensation. The endocannabinoid system is a vital mediator in homeostasis, in keeping everything balanced in the body. When we are in good health, our bodies produce small amounts of our own cannabis, called anandamide, which interacts with all these receptors to encourage homeostasis. However, for various reasons such as a poor diet, stress or illness, our endocannabinoid system can become unbalanced. So, when we take an external version of CBD this effectively interacts with our endocannabinoid system and gets it working again to restore balance.”

Which health conditions can benefit from the use of CBD oil?

“There’s vast industry research being done to address many health issues like autism, anxiety/depression, diabetes and auto immune diseases,” explains Jade Proudman, director of Savage Cabbage (savagecabbageltd.com). “Some experts see CBD as a way to offset the opioid epidemic because of its pain management properties and non-addictive nature.” Nick adds: “In 1990 there were approximately 300 research papers on cannabis – now there are 17,000. The amount of research has exploded in recent years.”

Clinical trials in the US and Europe have shown that pharmaceutical preparations of CBD can help two severe forms of childhood epilepsy. Other studies have shown CBD to have anti-inflammatory, anti-pain and anti-psychotic properties. And a World Health Organisation (WHO) report suggested that CBD oil could help with anxiety and depression due to its calming effects. The report also suggested that CBD could help with a range of other health issues from Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis to Crohn’s disease.

How is it taken?

“CBD products can be consumed as a daily health supplement and can be bought in various forms: an ingestible oil, capsule format and topical applications,” explains Jade. “Many people put a few drops of the oil under their tongue and allow it sit there for a minute before swallowing,” says Nick. “The oil can be taken two or three times a day, but everyone reacts differently to it. The dosage is an artform. It’s about finding what works for you.”

How do you go about choosing the right CBD oil for you?

When choosing a CBD oil, look out for a full spectrum product as this means that it contains all the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This is also referred to as “the Entourage Effect”. Nick explains: “This describes a process in which all parts of the cannabis plant work together to increase effectiveness. We believe that removing some of the important compounds lessens the effect on the body.”

Jade adds: “In order to source a quality CBD product, ask the manufacturer if they do their own extracting and request batch testing to make sure there are no issues of contamination, toxins, heavy metals etc. Also, do your research. Is it working for other people? Carry out some internet research and speak to friends, family or neighbours.”

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