Tempted to try CBD oil? Before you step into your health store, get to grips with cannabis and how extracted cannabidiol can impact your health and wellbeing.
BY HELEN CLEMSON

Let’s start with the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind; can cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, make you high?
No. “Most CBD products get their CBD from the Hemp plant, a variety of cannabis which has a lower concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and a higher concentration of CBD,” explains Sean Willard from Releaf Pharmaceuticals, a pharmacist and certified holistic cannabis practitioner.

The marijuana plant however is the reverse; a much higher concentration of THC and lower
concentration of CBD, Sean adds. Why is this important to know? Firstly, how these cannabinoids (“both are chemical compounds” explains Sean) can impact your physiology. “CBD and THC work differently in the body in terms of how they interact with the endocannabinoid system,” he says.

“We all have this system – just like we have a digestive system or sympathetic nervous system – and CBD and THC work on that system too.” Our endocannabinoid system is
all about balance and regulating our bodies systems and functions and keeping them in homeostasis (equalised).
For example, if you feel pain or fever from an injury, it throws your systems out of balance.
“CBD modulates or supports our body’s own system and THC interacts with that system too. It does so differently however, and because it binds directly to the CB1 receptors in the brain, it can cause a “high” – known as a psychotropic or psycho-toxic effect,” Sean reports.

BUY THIS, NOT THAT
It’s critical to read labels before buying and where possible, establish if there is a ‘certificate of analysis’ which verifies that what is on the label is actually in the product – “because the COA will confirm that there is less than 0,001 percent THC,” says Sean.
Why the fuss? Rules and regulations. “In terms of South Africa’s regulations from the
Department of Health (under the recommendation of South African Health Products Regulatory Authority), regulations were passed in May of 2019 stating that certain cannabidiol products can be sold as a supplement under certain conditions and those regulations were updated this year.

The maximum daily dosage of CBD can’t exceed 20 milligrams per day and the pack may not exceed more than a month’s supply (in other words, no more than 600 milligrams per sales pack) and the concentration of THC should not be more than 0.001 percent, so it’s
almost negligible.”

HELPFUL HEALER
As Bio Med Can’s managing director, Marcel Hartman explains, CBD is well-known for its
large range of highly therapeutic and immune boosting qualities. And while it is non-psychotropic, it’s psychoactive in its “ability to regulate serotonin positively,” he explains.

In fact, CBD can help for anxiety – or symptoms of anxiety – so it does work centrally but it doesn’t cause the high, adds Sean. How can you incorporate it into your everyday regime to reap the health and wellness benefits? In terms of South African regulations, the two
main categories where CBD is helpful as a wellness and health product is for those with pain and inflammation as well as anxiousness, stress and mood, he unpacks. But don’t be fooled; though CBD boasts a number a significant number of benefits, it is in no way a cure for any disease or condition, says Elouise Trichardt, CEO of Nabinoi Wellness.

“Cannabidiol can treat symptoms, but not the root cause, and is a pharmaceutical alternative for those who desire natural treatment for their symptoms.”

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH DOSAGE?
Sean’s golden rule if you’re a first timer? “Start low, go slow,” he says.
“Cannabis has a bi-phasic effect, so you may have a response at a very low dosage or you may need a slightly higher dosage – but you won’t know until you’ve tried it.” In other words, one person may be fine on two or three drops per day but others may need 10 or 20 drops.
“It really is just up to the individual”, he adds (Elouise calls it “finding your sweet spot”). And, how you get your CBD into your system depends on your preferred supplementation.
Marcel reports that one of the best approaches to taking large doses of bioactives (like herbs and vitamins) in conjunction with CBD is through ingesting capsules. However, if you’re only supplementing with CBD (in small milli doses), “the most effective and bioavailable approach is transmucosal, such as using a tincture,” he says.
“Your mucous membranes allow for fast and efficient absorption of compounds directly into your blood system.” Importantly, Elouise recommends you give your CBD product of choice at least 14 days to show results. “Don’t take it for two days and say it doesn’t work,” she
says, as you need two weeks to make an educated decision.