CBD oils, whether they come as a tincture with a dropper, processed into an e-liquid for a vape, or infused into drinks and edibles, are surprisingly omnipresent in the world of wellness. Two or more years ago, this cannabis derivative was unavailable to the public, and prescribed by doctors in only the rarest of circumstances – if at all. Now, you can buy a CBD coffee from your high street café. What’s changed, and why does everyone love CBD now?
Why Can I Buy CBD?
The first question you might have is why CBD is suddenly so widely available. It’s extracted from the cannabis plant, which is a class B drug in the UK, and subject to a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine with no upward limit.
The big change that opened CBD up to the wellness market was a report produced by the World Health Organisation. This found that, in isolation (which is to say, without any of the other chemical compounds that make up cannabis), CBD was not addictive, not psychoactive or intoxicant, and had no “potential for abuse”.
While the WHO didn’t look into any of the specific claims about the efficacy of CBD for treating health issues, it did make it clear that there was no reason to block it from sale as long as it was free THC which is the compound in cannabis that does cause the euphoric high that characterises the drug.
What Does CBD Do?
The first thing it’s important to make clear is that studies into the effects of CBD are still ongoing, so current medical evidence is somewhat thin on the ground. We have to work with limited, early studies, and anecdotal evidence. This appears very promising and persuasive, but you should bear in mind that this is not the same as a confirmed opinion from the medical and scientific establishment.
Many people who use CBD oil find that it is helpful with managing some mental health concerns, especially anxiety, depression and low mood. This is because CBD affects your endocannabinoid system to produce results similar to some clinical anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. It’s also renowned for its ability to help you sleep, though not by directly stimulating drowsiness, as a sleeping pill might, but calming anxiety and taking away barriers to rest.
Other people use CBD to manage pain. It’s a subtle effect, more helpful for managing chronic pain than sudden, acute pain, but the evidence is emerging that it’s an anti-inflammatory, which makes it useful for managing arthritis. You can even buy creams and lotion, to apply CBD topically and stimulate endocannabinoid receptors local to the pain!