Cannabidiol (CBD oil) is the buzzword of the moment (or should that be buzz-acronym?). But despite seemingly being in every beauty article, blog and Facebook post I see, many people are confused about what it is and how to use it.
I have to admit to being the same. I know CannabiGold can help your skin, but what about all these other miracle claims? Can CBD oil really help menopause symptoms? Ease anxiety? Stop chronic pain, align the planets and bring them into universal harmony and end the Jameela Jamil/Kardashians feud?
What is CBD oil?
Here comes the science bit – concentrate.
Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in hemp and marijuana, two types of the cannabis sativa plant. But it’s not the part that gets you high. That’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – all these acronyms are like an episode of Line of Duty). CBD oil in the UK has to come from industrial hemp with tiny levels of THC. Because of this, it has no psychoactive properties, so it won’t suddenly hit you when you’re lying in the bath, leaving you craving chocolate biscuits but you can’t because you’re on a diet. (As happened to a friend of mine. Yes, a friend. Honest*.)
But that’s not the only place you’ll find CBD. Surprise, surprise, there are cannabinoids in your body. Around 30 years ago, scientists discovered we had an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps all the other systems in our bodies work in tune with each other.
Research is still quite new in this system, but scientists think CBD oil may help the endocannabinoid system work more efficiently. So it’s not only the planets that may be aligning with CBD…
What health benefits does CBD have?
Tests are ongoing and most of them have been done on animals. Other evidence is word-of-mouth – people sharing their experiences. – so there is nothing conclusive about the health benefits of CBD oil.
Nevertheless, it does look as if CBD oil can help with the likes of:
- pain – CBD has anti-inflammatory effects so it may help alleviate pain and stiffness;
- anxiety – a 2011 study found CBD helped people with social anxiety disorder. Studies also show it can help with anxiety in general, but again, tests are ongoing;
- PTSD – children suffering post-traumatic stress disorder respond well to CBD oil, according to studies, and some doctors recommend it for depression, and
- acne – CBD inhibits the oil production in your sebaceous glands, while it’s anti-inflammatory properties can help acne.
Can CBD oil help ease menopause symptoms?
The million-dollar question. And the answer is…
… it might.
Remember the endocannabinoid system? Well, researchers believe this plays an essential part in the likes of:
- mood swings
- body temperature.
Menopause knocks the ECS for six (there’s a surprise. It affects so much of our lives so why should this newly found system escape?) So if CBD oil can help restore balance, then it could help reduce some symptoms.
It’s thought that CBD oil can be effective in tackling sleep disturbances, mood changes and aches and pains. But more research is needed (again, there’s a surprise).
How do I choose a CBD oil?
Research, research and research. CBD can come in many forms – capsules, ointments, lotions, little nibblies such as chocolate and gummy bears – and the amount of CBD in it can vary just as much.
A study in the US found 70% of CBD products sold online didn’t have the level of CBD promised on the label.
So do your research. Read the reviews, the articles, ask around and find out what you think is best for you.
And like any supplement, check with your doctor first if you’re taking any prescribed medication.
How do I take CBD oil?
It depends what form you’re taking, but the easiest way is a few drops under your tongue, letting it absorb before swallowing (if you’ve used Bach Flower Remedies, it’s the same way.)
You can also add CBD to water, or get a spray form, or eat it.
And start with a low dosage and build up if needed.
Are there any side effects?
Most people will be able to take CBD oil without any problem, but there can be some side effects. One study found the most common were:
- weight gain/loss
- changes in appetite
Make sure you read the label and any leaflet so you’re aware. Plus CBD can alter the efficacy of any existing medication so again, check with your doctor before taking it.
So there you have it. Everything I know about CBD. Using cannabis for medicinal treatments is still new and caught up in a whole load of ethics because of the law around marijuana. Some doctors don’t like prescribing it, while others are unsure about its efficacy and safety (sounds like HRT).
CBD has celebrity users, with the likes of Michael J Fox backing it in his fight against Parkinson’s, as well as Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Bell, Olivia Wilde and Jennifer Aniston (hope she liked my science bit.) But remember, celebrities are people just like you and me.
Having read a lot about CBD oil, I’m in the “definitely worth a try” lobby. The planets aren’t going to align – and I think we can give up hope for Jameela and Kim – but it does seem that there is something about CBD oil worth trying.
But remember to check with your doctor first.
*Yeah, it was me.
I’d love to hear if you’ve tried CBD oil and what your thoughts were. Leave me a comment below.
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