From reducing inflammation, calming anxiety, helping insomnia, to a glowing complexion, CBD oil claims to have many health benefits, but its use is controversial and benefits may be overstated.
Cannabidiol – or CBD for short – is popping up all over the place. It’s one of the many non-psychoactive components (and there are over 100 cannabinoids) found in cannabis – except it won’t get you “high”. Why? CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the mind-altering component of cannabis. However, CBD does appear to produce significant physiological changes in the body.
Unlike THC which attaches to specialised brain receptors that deal with coordination, movement, pain, emotions, cognition, appetite, and memories, CBD on the other hand does not attach directly to receptors, instead it stimulates the body to produce more of its own cannabinoids.
Proponents claim that CBD can treat a wide variety of health problems, including skin disorders, anxiety, epilepsy, chronic pain, high blood pressure and insomnia, however research trials to date, with the exception of the treatment for epileptic seizures, have been carried out on small sample sizes and conducted mainly on animals. So, while the health benefits do sound promising - a lot of additional research is needed.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant that are naturally abundant in CBD and low in THC, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. This is where the confusion may arise, as hemp seed oil is completely different from CBD oil. CBD oil is generally taken orally via a tincture by consuming a few drops under the tongue.
While hemp seed oil and CBD oil are both from the cannabis plant, they come from different parts of the plant. As the name implies, hemp seed oil is extracted and cold-pressed from the seeds of the plant. Since it contains trace amounts of cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC, it is legal in Australia. Hemp seed oil is rich in antioxidants, omegas-3 and -6 fats, and vitamin E. It also offers a great source of complete proteins as hemp seeds have all of the essential amino acids, a trait rarely found in plant-based proteins, making them a particularly nutritious option for vegetarians and vegans.
In the US, you can find the use of CBD in the form of lotions and oil in treating inflammatory conditions, such as skin disorders (i.e. acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis) and arthritis. It’s also found in a drug, which is taken orally, to control seizures in epilepsy patients. In Australia, CBD has been approved by the Therapuetic Goods Administration (TGA) as a prescription-only drug for therapeutic use only, which means you need a prescription under a government-approved access pathway.
The health benefits of CBD oil sound promising, however research is still in its infancy and more evidence is needed before we start to make compelling health claims.