CBD oil, which comes from the cannabis plant, is now legally used to treat medical conditions. But which medical conditions can be treated with cannabis and how do you take CBD oil?
Use of CBD oil follows recommendations from various official bodies, and it has taken a long time to get cannabis oil legalised. An initial review by Dame Sally Davies, chief medical adviser, concluded that there was evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, said doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.
Medical marijuana contains cannabinoids. The two main ones used in medicine are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has no psychoactic properties but can have a medicinal effect on the brain, while THC is responsible for the high, and has pain-relieving properties.
With doctors now able to prescribe the substance, here are some of the conditions where the properties in marijuana could help patients.
Medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis
In the news, medicinal cannabis is most frequently linked to controlling epileptic seizures. Some of the biggest cases were Billy Caldwell, 13, and Alfie Dingley, 6, who were issued licenses to use cannabis oil to control their severe epilepsy. They went through very public battles, which very well could have put pressure on the government to make this change in the law.
Research like a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that taking CBD can see a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
Billy’s mother Charlotte welcomed the news. She said: “Crucially, my little boy Billy can now live a normal life with his mummy because of the simple ability to now administer a couple of drops a day of a long-maligned but entirely effective natural medication.”
Scientists have found a relationship between CBD and the immune system, and a 2009 study published in US National Library of Medicine suggested that “cannabinoids play an important role in the regulation of the immune system”.
One major use of this could be to reduce inflammatory responses in the body, and could be used to treat disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to a January 2017 paper published by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, oral cannabinoids were found to improve short-term spasticity symptoms in patients with MS.
Not only this, but medicinal marijuana can be used to significantly reduce pain symptoms. This is extremely useful for people who suffer from conditions like MS.
The change in law allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients was welcomed by MS sufferers.
Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said: “It is an immense achievement and relief that this decision has been made. Evidence shows cannabis could help as many as 10,000 people living with MS. This is a momentous milestone for people who have been forced to choose between living with relentless pain and muscle spasms, and breaking the law.”
Due to cannabis’s anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, it also can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This is a painful disease where joints become inflamed, swollen and stiff.
Studies like this one published in Rheumatology show that sufferers who took cannabis-based medicine saw a reduction in pain when they were moving, resting and sleeping, which could be life-changing for people with arthritis.
HIV stands for ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’. It is a disease that attacks your immune system and weakens your body, and it’s been suggested that cannabis can help manage the symptoms.
Research in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management details how it can be used to improve appetite, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety and nerve pain. Considering that HIV is such an all-encompassing and debilitating disease, alleviation of these symptoms could do much to help sufferers.
Medicinal cannabis could be a huge discovery in treating medical conditions. Speak to your GP to discuss your suitability.
What’s the difference between medical marijuana and CBD oil?
CBD oil contains no THC, the ingredient that makes you ‘high’. This means you don’t need a prescription for CBD oil, and can pick it up online or in shops. CBD oil will never get you high, regardless of how much you take. There are more than 100 other chemical compounds in the plant, of which cannabidiol, or CBD, is one.
It’s extracted by soaking the plant in alcohol and then evaporating the liquid. And unlike its outlawed neighbour, CBD won’t have you rummaging for snacks – but it does come with a long list of promised health benefits.
Healthspan make a range of CBD oils, including their High Strength CBD Oil Drops, available on Amazon.
CBD oil isn’t the only cannabis-based product to enter the market. Natural beauty companies are jumping on the hemp bandwagon, Garnier for example offers an Organic Hemp Multi-Restore Facial Night Sleeping Oil, available on Amazon. And Ocado launched the first hemp-infused water available in the UK. A quarter of a million of us are already using CBD oil in some form, according to the Cannabis Trades Association UK.
What can CBD oil treat?
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report suggests CBD oil could be used to treat anxiety and depression thanks to its soothing effects. This might explain the product’s popularity – around 4 in 10 of us feel stressed during a typical week, a recent survey by Axa found, while around 6 million Brits suffer from depression, anxiety, or both.
In true Hollywood fashion, celebrities are leading the craze; Jennifer Aniston is reported to be a fan of using the oil for a number of ailments. She was quoted in an interview with US Weekly saying: “CBD helps with pain, stress and anxiety. It has all the benefits of Marijuana without the high.”
“CBD oil has a lifting and relaxing effect on mood with none of the adverse psychoactive effects associated with marijuana,” says Healthspan medical director Dr Sarah Brewer.
“It acts via the body’s own endocannabinoid system to promote feelings of wellbeing. It’s a great choice if you’re finding it difficult to relax, as it’s not habit-forming”, she adds, noting that the oil is “particularly helpful for reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation and restful sleep.” CBD oil doesn’t have the same capacity to treat medical conditions as when treated with medicinal cannabis.
The WHO report also states CBD oil’s potential benefits for sufferers of physical ailments such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Everyday aches are claimed to calmed by the miracle oil, and it’s even been suggested that some forms of cancer can be overcome – though experts conclude that more research needs to be done.
How to take CBD oil
What’s not the love? The taste, for one thing. Holland & Barrett suggests dropping it under the tongue two or three times per day, but warn that the thick oil has a “distinctive” flavour. That might be an understatement; you’ll need a glass of water at the ready if you do choose to go down the direct route. The oil has a pungent, earthy taste which isn’t exactly subtle.
But there are ways to get your fix that don’t torment your taste buds. Stirring a couple of drops into water is far less offensive, and blending it into a smoothie can make the taste disappear entirely. The oil is also available in capsules, which have a slower release. We like the Healthspan High Strength CBD Oil Capsules, available on Amazon.
You can also get CBD gummies, such as these CBD gummy bears which are made in the UK, available on Amazon. CBD gummies tend to have a pretty strong artificial taste to cover the flavour of the oil. They’re more expensive than normal gummy bears and have a suggested amount to take per day.
Plenty of health trends go up in smoke after a few weeks, but the popularity for CBD oil certainly hasn’t gone to pot just yet. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s being used more and more each day, and it’s worth a try if you’re suffering from aches, anxiety, or if you’re tossing and turning until the early hours.
Be prepared to get creative with how you enjoy the stuff – even the most passionate CBD convert would admit it’s something of an acquired taste.
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