There’s a lot of talk in the worlds of wellness and wellbeing lately about CBD oils. Springing up as if from nowhere, suddenly they’re being pitched as the cure for all ills – CBD oil as a cure for anxiety, CBD oils as pain relief, even talk of CBD oil as a cure for cancer.
When it comes to alternative therapies, I’m generally a pretty big sceptic. If you spend enough time on the internet, you can find ‘evidence’ that most things are great/terrible, do lots of good stuff/don’t do any good stuff, are amazing for you/are bad for you… and so on. Finding scientific studies with clear results one way or the other is generally a good starting point, and in the case of CBD oil, the research so far is compelling.
Scientists have published early evidence that this stuff can reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, ease chronic pain and reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. Among other things. It’s early days, in verified research terms, but clearly it’s promising stuff.
As some of you will have spotted on my Instagram page, a UK CBD oil supplier called Supplements for the Soul recently gifted me two oils to try out for myself. My inbox blew up with questions and curiosities and now that I’ve had a few weeks to trial the products, here’s some information for those of you who want to know more about what CBD oil is and what it can do.
What is CBD oil?
CBD is a chemical that occurs naturally in cannabis plants, known as a cannabinoid. While most of us are more familiar with cannabis as something people smoke to get high, CBD is not a psychoactive substance and no, it doesn’t get you high. What usually does that in cannabis users is THC, another cannabinoid which is psychoactive but which is only found in tiny trace amounts in some CBD products.
CBD oil is just one of a number of ways of consuming CBD, and is sometimes mixed with more familiar flavours like coconut oil.
Is CBD oil legal?
Yes, you can legally buy a whole bunch of different CBD oils in the UK, USA and other places around the world. Provided a product has no more than 0.2% THC, it is legal to sell it in the UK. Cannabis oils, which have a much higher THC content, are not legal – with the exception of one spray called Sativex which is sometimes prescribed to multiple sclerosis sufferers.
What are the benefits of using CBD oil?
Scientifically speaking, CBD oils have been proven to reduce chronic pain and joint inflammation, to combat nausea and even to reduce seizures in people with certain types of epilepsy. Studies have also found that it reduces anxiety in people with ‘social phobias’, can treat arthritis in animal studies, that it reduces symptoms of IBS and that it can help in treatments for high blood pressure. Quite the résumé.
I don’t have seizures, arthritis or high blood pressure – but I do get anxious in some social situations, and I have persistent pain in both of my knees from old snowboarding injuries that never really got properly fixed. So as far as reviewing this stuff goes, my primarily concerns were: does this actually make me any less anxious, and am I still going to have persistent pain in my creaky, crackly old lady knees. (I’m 27 going on 90, for real)
How I got on
My personal review is obviously a no-control-group, anecdotal tale of the benefits of CBD oil – but I have to say, I am impressed.
The two oils I was sent to try were a 200mg and a 500mg version, though you can also buy this stuff in strengths ranging from 100mg to 1000mg. There’s no specific recommended dosage to take, but I did find this page which details suggested doses for people of different weights depending on the severity of pain or other issue that you’re hoping to treat. I opted for four drops, twice a day, held under my tongue for about a minute each time.
I was warned in advance that one oil was going to taste better than the other – CBD oils aren’t renowned for their delicious aftertaste, but as you’re supposed to drop them under your tongue, this shouldn’t be a massive concern. Just try and keep the liquid under and not on your tongue until the last second, and wash down with a mouthful of water if you find the flavour is too strong!
I latched on to using the lighter oil pretty quickly, which is a tube of CannabiGold 5% phytocannabinoid oil. Bit of a mouthful to say, but four drops under the tongue in the morning and the evening were inoffensive, even if I inadvertently got them on top of my tongue as well. I hadn’t picked up on how much of a difference it was making to the joint pain in my knees until I forgot to take it, at which point the usual aches reappeared. Effective stuff.
The Advance Biotech Alchemic CBD Oil, which is a 2% formula, is darker and has a somewhat stronger flavour – though this is dumbed down a little by the coconut oil mixed in, and if you do a decent job of keeping it under your tongue instead of on it, all is well.
They were both pretty easy to take, and personally I feel like both made a difference. My stress levels have been particularly tested over the period that I’ve been trialling them, but I haven’t crumbled into tiny pieces and I’ve definitely found that they help me get to sleep a little faster at night. (And as I was asked, I can confirm, they didn’t stop me from dreaming – though I did sleep better on nights I remembered to absorb a few drops than nights I forgot.)
There are a lot of different CBD oils out there and the tastes vary between easy-to-swallow and “this is quite earthy, isn’t it?” (a.k.a, “I want to wash this away ASAP”) but the potential to ease off chronic pain and sleep soundly through the night are not to be overlooked. I’d recommend giving either of these a try. Other people I know who’ve been testing CBD oil out have had similar experiences – reductions or complete removal of aches and pains, lowered anxieties and better sleep. And, you know, science agrees.
Other ways to take CBD oil
You can buy CBD oil in capsule form and in spray bottles, as well as adding the oils to a vape pen if vaping is your thing. This has the added benefit that you can combine the oil with a flavoured vape ‘juice’ to make it taste less like CBD, but I’m not sure how the dilution affects the overall dosage you end up getting or how much you’d need to vape to get the equivalent of a few drops straight into your mouth.
If you’ve tried CBD oils and had any big wins or disappointments, do let me know in the comments – I’m not an expert on this stuff by any means, but curious to know how it’s helping others! I’m also more than happy answer any other questions people have – so don’t hesitate to ask.