CBD is in the spotlight right now! It all seemed to happen so quickly, but what’s crazy is that it took this long at all.. But what's the hype all about?
There are claims it can do everything from treating insomnia to reducing the appearance of wrinkles - and a multitude of things in between. CBD is poised to be the next game-changing health product in an industry that is booming across the world.
But is CBD a miracle molecule or is it just another health trend with an expiry date? Let’s take a brief look at the science behind it.
So, What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. This is a chemical compound found in the cannabis Sativa plant genome. CBD is extracted from cannabis flowers, and often mixed with a carrier oil to increase its bioavailability when consumed by humans.
The human body has two cannabinoid receptors, CBD1 and CBD2, most of which are found in the brain. The CBD1 receptors in the brain deal with things like pain, emotions, appetite and mood. CBD2 receptors are found in the immune system and are responsible for pain and inflammation.
Understanding this is important because CBD oil stimulates the body to use more of its own cannabinoids. This can help regulate brain and bodily functions, ease pain, and reduce inflammation in areas that CBD1 and CBD2 receptors are found.
Will CBD Make You 'High'?
There are so many misconceptions about CBD. Many people confuse CBD for THC, or believe that because it comes from the same plants as marijuana that it must be psychoactive.
This is far from the truth!
CBD is not a psychoactive substance, which means that it cannot make you high like THC. Generally, Hemp only contains levels of less than 0.3% of THC.
And while the marijuana has higher levels of THC, it is only legal to sell CBD oil with levels of THC lower than 0.3%. Even then, CBD can be isolated from flowers that contain THC. So when you’re buying CBD, don’t expect to get high
The psychoactive effects of THC generally only occur when concentrations are higher than 7%, so this level of THC is too low to give you any feeling of being high.
THC Vs. CBD
Both THC and CBD have the same molecular structure but are arranged slightly differently, which results in different interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
THC binds with the CBD1 receptors in the brain, which results in the feeling of being high. On the other hand, CBD binds weakly with CBD1 receptors (if at all). This is why CBD is not psychoactive.
Another key difference in effect is that CBD has virtually no side effects, while THC can cause dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, memory loss and slower reaction times.
That’s not to say THC can’t be medicinal, but as you probably know, it can be highly intoxicating.
Generally, high-THC products are the recreational users choice, and high-CBD products the medical users choice. A lot of people don’t want to get high!
Is CBD Proven To Cure Medical Conditions?
Some huge claims are being made about the healing properties of CBD oil but how much evidence do we have to prove these claims?
While research on the effects of CBD oil is still in its infancy, there have been studies done to determine whether CBD can be used to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety and cancer.
There is strong scientific evidence for CBD’s effectiveness in treating epilepsy. There are many studies which show that CBD was able to reduce or completely stop seizures in patients.
In June 2018 the FDA in the United States approved Epidiolex, which is the first prescribed epilepsy medication which contains CBD.
Although this is more anecdotal evidence, you can also look on YouTube and find videos of seizures stopping almost immediately after high CBD tinctures were administered.
There is growing evidence to suggest that CBD can effectively relieve many symptoms of anxiety. A 2015 analysis of several studies found that CBD can help treat or provide relief for many forms of anxiety including PTSD, social anxiety, OCD, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Despite seeing many positive outcomes, little research on what effects CBD use can have when treating these conditions with it in the long term. While CBD will not cure the root causes of why someone has anxiety, it is certainly a worthy alternative to mainstream anti-anxiety drugs.
CBD is by no means a cure for cancer, but it can undoubtedly be used to help cancer patients manage symptoms and side effects of their medical procedures. This can have significant impacts on their comfort and quality of life, which can significantly affect outcomes.
There are also now more studies being done to see how CBD can be used to treat cancer. Research is in the preliminary stages, but so far the results look promising. There is evidence to suggest that CBD may reduce tumour growth in and help to improve the effectiveness of other drugs used to treat cancer.
Other studies have also demonstrated that CBD can reduce breast cancer cell proliferation, inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer cells, and reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
CBD has the potential to be an incredibly powerful treatment for many kinds of illnesses.
What Is The Legal Status Of CBD In Australia?
Are you dying to get your hands on CBD oil to see how it could improve your life? Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple to get hold of in Australia… but it’s not as hard as it used to be either!
While some countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK have made CBD oil easy to access or legalised it entirely, Australia is lagging behind a bit.
There is only one way to legally get your hands on CBD oil in Australia: To go through the governments’ Special Access Scheme.
This scheme gives patients access to drugs that are not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which includes CBD oil. But now, people can even get through-and-through Australian grown medical cannabis!
Getting access involves getting a government-approved prescription from your doctor which can then only be dispensed from a licensed pharmacy.
In most major cities, you can get a referral to a cannabis clinician from your GP. The first appointment generally costs around $250, and some clinics even offer your first order of medicine complementary with the consultation.
Being a new industry in Australia, it is still quite expensive to buy these products legally. However, as access becomes easier, and Australia establishes a domestic industry, this is sure to change.
One thing is for sure… It's getting easier to access CBD in Australia every day.
CBD oil has the potential to improve the quality of life for almost everyone on the planet. What was once just speculation and ‘hippy nonsense’ is now showing scientific results, and backing up the claims made by producers and users.
With little-to-no side effects, potential benefits far outweigh any costs. While CBD oil isn't easy to get your hands on now in Australia, it is likely that the government will soon follow the lead of other countries and decriminalise CBD making it readily available for Australian consumers.