The Ultimate Guide
This guide is written for the layperson and provides relevant information and study references concerning CBD oil in general, with some specific context for those living in South Africa. Its purpose is to assist those looking for the best medicinal cannabis option for themselves or others. For this purpose, we have kept medical and scientific jargon to a minimum and included explanations for the terms that we have used.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD Oil is typically made from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that has high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD) and trace levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is usually blended with a carrier oil such as Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, olive oil or hemp seed oil.
CBD offers a vast range of healing properties, and studies show that it has significant effects on various neurological and physiological disorders. Such disorders include anxiety, ADHD and ADD, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and hypertension. These in addition to inflammation, insomnia, migraines and headaches, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting, OCD. Furthermore, many in South Africa use CBD Oil to treat osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, seizures, spasticity, spinal injury and even stress.
There are over a hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant that belongs to a class of substances called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that modulate the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids which originate inside the body, and exogenous cannabinoids which arise outside of the body. 2-AG and anandamide are the two most significant endocannabinoids, while the THC and CBD found in cannabis are good examples of exogenous cannabinoids.
There are over a hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant that belongs to the class of substances called cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids in cannabis are Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD typically accounts for over 40% of the total cannabinoid content in the cannabis plant. CBD is well known for its many medicinal benefits. THC is well known because it typically causes a sensation of intoxication in users.
Cannabidiol (CBD), is one of the active ingredients in cannabis oil. CBD is the cannabinoid that has been found to exhibit many medicinal benefits for many conditions. It offers a vast range of healing properties, and studies show that it has significant effects on various neurological and physiological disorders. Such disorders include anxiety, ADHD and ADD, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and hypertension. These in addition to such disorders as inflammation, insomnia, migraines and headaches, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting and OCD. Furthermore, many people use cannabis oil to treat osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, seizures, spasticity, spinal injury and even stress.
Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is typically only found in minute amounts in CBD Oil. THC has an intoxicating effect on users; however, it has also been found to exhibit medicinal benefits for specific conditions.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body contains an endocannabinoid system, which according to the Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia:
is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Cannabinoids manifest their effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, that responds to cannabinoid ‘agonists’, or chemical messengers. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the psychological and physiological effects of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are of two types, endocannabinoids and exogenous cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids originate inside the body, while exogenous cannabinoids arise outside of the body.
CBD and the Immune System
The immune system is comprised of structures and processes within the body that protect against diseases and destroy foreign and infectious microbes. In some instances, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, resulting in a condition known as autoimmunity. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown by research to be an immune system suppressor, which is one of the reasons why it’s useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
Taken together, these data suggest that CBD suppresses T cell function and that CB1 and/or CB2 play a critical role in the magnitude of the in vitro anti-sRBC IgM AFC response.
CBD possesses a low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and therefore, does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana use. Despite this, CBD does exhibit immunosuppressive properties.
CBD and the Sleep Cycle
According to research, CBD improves insomnia and increases the amount of sleep because it reduces anxiety and chronic pain, as opposed to making one sleepy. Interestingly, CBD has also been shown to induce alertness when awake, and it has also been shown to improve REM Sleep Disorder.
What is the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?
Marijuana and hemp are simply different varieties of the cannabis plant.
Hemp, otherwise known as industrial hemp, is commonly used to produce textiles, clothing and rope. It has a very high CBD content combined with a low THC content of typically less than 1%. These days, most manufacturers produce their CBD products using hemp, as a result of the significantly reduced cost of production, as the THC need not be removed from the product.
Marijuana, in contrast, has higher levels of THC, the chemical compound responsible for the “high” that marijuana users experience. Marijuana is used to produce medicinal marijuana or cannabis oil, often used by cancer patients and those experiencing extreme pain.
What Other Kinds of Cannabis-Based Oils Are There?
CBD hemp oil and CBD oil are effectively the same as they are both produced from the same plant. It is vastly more cost-effective to produce CBD-based products from the hemp plant. The reason for this is that hemp naturally has a high CBD content and very low THC content. Manufacturing such products from the marijuana plant would necessitate the removal of the THC content, which would be a costly process.
It is important to note that some manufacturers produce a CBD hemp seed oil which contains CBD in a hemp seed oil suspension, as opposed to olive oil, coconut oil or MCT oil. Hemp seed oil is made from the cold-pressed hemp seeds and contains no CBD or THC. Many experts consider it to be one of the most balanced nutritional oils found in nature. Manufacturers produce the oil by cold-pressing industrial hemp seeds and extracting the oil. It is a natural source of essential amino acids and omega-3 & 6 essential fatty acids but is virtually free of cannabinoids.
Cannabis Oil, otherwise known as Medical Marijuana is made from marijuana, a variety of the cannabis plant that has moderate to high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and moderate to high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD). It is usually blended with a carrier oil such as Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, olive oil or hemp seed oil. It is known by various names such as medical cannabis, medical marijuana, marijuana oil, or THC oil. Because it has significant levels of THC, in sufficient amounts, it can cause a psychoactive effect. For the most part, however, because dosages are small and spread throughout the day, these effects can be minimised.
Full Spectrum vs Isolate
In addition to the cannabinoid content of cannabis, are the related terpenes or isoprenoids. These are the fragrant oils that give the various strains their diverse range of aromas. Terpenes also bind to receptors in the brain to produce multiple beneficial effects. The relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes is sometimes called the ‘entourage effect’, and is one of the factors that differentiate the various strains.
Many brands of CBD Oil are advertised as full spectrum, which refers to an extraction and processing method that has preserved the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in the original plant matter.
Manufacturers produce CBD isolateusing a process whereby they refine the raw hemp oil until only the CBD is left, leaving a highly pure single cannabinoid CBD, usually in a crystalline form, that is around 99.9% pure. Medical practitioners use isolates where they require only pure CBD, and the benefits of the rest of the spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are of no consequence.
CBD products are available in varying strengths, however, it is not accurate to compare CBD Oil with liposomal CBD. The reason for this is bioavailability. Liposomal encapsulation increases the extent to which the body absorbs the active ingredient in a supplement. Because a high ratio of the liquid is the liposomal suspension, the increased ratio of this substance limits the amount of CBD that can be blended into the liquid. This is the reason why liposomal products are of a lower concentration as compared to CBD oil products. The tradeoff, however, is in the increased bioavailability, but the more complex manufacturing methods increase the cost of these products substantially.
With that said, it is fair to compare various CBD Oils by concentration, which is typically denoted as a percentage. To do this:
1. Multiply the total volume of liquid in the bottle in ml by 1000 to get an overall liquid weight in mg.
2. Divide the liquid weight in mg by the CBD content in mg.
To explain more fully, 1ml of water weighs 1g or 1000mg, and while oil is slightly more dense than water, most manufacturers quote percentages in terms of water density. So, if we had a 10ml bottle, the liquid weight would be roughly 10g or 10000mg.
As an example, if we look at a product where the total liquid volume is 10ml, and the CBD content is 1000mg, we could deduce that the entire liquid weight is roughly 10000mg, of which 1000mg is CBD.
Therefore ( (1000/10000) x 100 ) would give you 10% CBD.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
The supercritical CO2 extraction method utilises a machine called a closed-loop extractor, which employs liquid carbon dioxide under high pressure and ultra-low temperatures to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter. When the pressure is relieved and the temperature increases, the CO2 evaporates quickly, returning to a gaseous form, leaving behind no residues or impurities. The resulting oil is amber in colour with no trace impurities.
Liquid Solvent Extraction
The liquid solvent extraction method utilises a solvent, usually butane or hexane to extract the resin from the plant matter. The solution which remains liquid under pressure then evaporates on release, leaving behind a dark oil. Drawbacks of this method are that trace impurities can persist, and it also tends to extract chlorophyll from the plant matter, giving a greener colour and a more bitter taste.
This extraction method involves soaking the plant material for about 5 minutes in high-grade alcohol to expel the resin and then boiling the alcohol off for 15-30 minutes, leaving behind a dark resin that becomes more viscous as it cools. Some suspect that this method may destroy many of the plant waxes, which could have health benefits.
Other Extraction Methods
Oil extraction, often using olive oil, involves heating the plant material and the oil to around 100 degrees Celsius for 1-2 hours. However, this method produces an oil that is perishable and does not last for long. Another extraction method is cold pressing the seeds, but CBD yields are typically low using this technique.
CBD Product Types
CBD products are available in a wide variety of forms. Finding what’s ideal for you can often be a challenge and may even involve a level of trial and error. A reliable place to start is the reason you’re considering supplementing with CBD. As an example, chronic pain, cancer and epilepsy sufferers are likely to consider much higher concentrations than someone that’s thinking of using CBD as a treatment for insomnia, so high-concentration oils or tinctures may be ideal.
For those that don’t like the taste of CBD, the flavoured options will be their best bet. An unpalatable taste might rule out CBD concentrates and some tinctures but would include capsules and sprays as an option. If you’re a regular traveller and need a portable option, capsules or sprays might be the way to go. If you’re looking to treat localised pain, topicals may be your answer. For people who vape, CBD vape juice may be the logical choice. If you’re interested in CBD, but don’t know which option is right for you, feel free to reach out to our customer service team at email@example.com, or click the chat button on our website.
CBD Oils are by far the most prolific of all the various types of CBD supplements available. Compared to the other product types, tinctures and concentrates are probably the purest forms of CBD, as there is no further processing of the oil. Many brands now offer flavoured options in addition to the ‘natural’ flavour, which can be unpleasant for some.
Take tinctures sublingually and do not swallow immediately. It is best to place the drops under the tongue and leave it there for as long as you can. With that said, you can most certainly add the tincture to almost any drink you enjoy during the day. However, it is advisable to avoid adding it to hot drinks, as these may destroy some of the beneficial nutrients.
A liposome is a nano-sized bubble or sphere (vesicle) made from a phospholipid (in many cases phosphatidylcholine, the same substance found in our cell membranes). Liposomal encapsulation is a process that fills these bubbles with hydrophobic or hydrophilic supplements such as CBD. Liposomal encapsulation provides a very effective method of bypassing the destructive elements of the gastric system and aiding the encapsulated nutrient to be delivered to the cells and tissues.
Take liposomal CBD on its own or with a cold drink of your choice. There is no need to take sublingually, as this supplement is designed to be swallowed and pass through the digestive system.
Capsules are probably the most convenient way to supplement with CBD. They are naturally much more straightforward to take than tinctures or concentrates. CBD capsules usually come in a softgel form. These are precisely dosed, making it easy to keep track of your daily serving size. They are particularly useful for those who travel, but also for those who would prefer not to have to measure out drops under the tongue.
Take one capsule or more as recommended by your healthcare professional, with water or your favourite drink.
CBD concentrates typically contain the most potent dosage of CBD, in some cases up to ten times the concentration compared to other types of supplements. Compared to tinctures, concentrates are usually not flavoured, and the taste can be a bit much for some people.
As with tinctures, take concentrates sublingually and do not swallow immediately. Place the drops under the tongue and leave it there for as long as you can.
Topicals come in the form of salves, creams, balms, lotions and oils. Use topicals to treat muscle stiffness, inflammation and painful joints. There are now also CBD topical creams available to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Manufacturers often combine topicals with a range of other ingredients to provide additional benefits such as added pain relief or skin conditioning.
Use topical CBD products are externally on the skin. They are a great way to provide localised pain relief where one does not require full-body effects. Apply liberally to the affected area and rub into the skin until fully absorbed.
Sprays often have the weakest concentration of CBD compared to the various other types of products. Dosages tend to be more imprecise as spray volumes are more inconsistent, compared to other oral forms of ingestion. Sprays are however quite popular as they are easy to carry and administer while travelling.
Spray one serving (usually 2-3 sprays) into the mouth. Serving sizes should be visible on the bottle label.
Many brands now offer CBD vape oil, otherwise known as CBD vape juice, produced explicitly for vaping. Vaping CBD appears to have a lesser effect as compared to other modes of administering CBD. It could also be that heating the oil may destroy much of the beneficial substances. The advantage, however, is that one can continue to vape until they feel the desired effects, as one can feel the effects much more quickly
CBD vape oil employs the use of a vaporiser. You can fill the cartridge with a CBD vape juice of your choice.
Injectible CBD is usually sold in syringes and is typically highly concentrated. Doctors use these products to treat patients with chronic conditions such as cancer or epilepsy.
Healthcare professionals typically administer these products in hospitals or clinics.
CBD Oil Usage
CBD has a vast range of healing properties. Studies show that it has significant effects on various neurological and physiological disorders. Such disorders include anxiety, ADHD and ADD, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and hypertension. These in addition to inflammation, insomnia, migraines and headaches, multiple sclerosis, nausea, OCD. Furthermore, many use CBD Oil to treat osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, seizures, spasticity, spinal injury and even stress.
Should I use CBD Oil or Cannabis Oil?
The decision should be determined by whether THC is indicated for a particular condition. If it is not, then you should consider CBD Oil.
The Medicinal Benefits of Cannabinoids
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CBD has been under intense scrutiny for many years, and its medicinal benefits are well studied and documented. It is often used for conditions such as:
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Arthritis and Inflammation
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- Mental disorders and psychoses
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
THC, because of its psychoactive property, is less well researched from a medicinal perspective, mainly as a result of its historical prohibition. It is often used for conditions such as:
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Muscle spasticity
- Low appetite
Certain circumstances may prevent one from using cannabis oil containing THC such as:
- The need to maintain concentration and focus.
- Job requirements to undergo routine drug tests (pilots).
- Personal incongruence with the use of prohibited drugs.
How Should I Take CBD Oil?
CBD supplements are most commonly taken orally as drops. Take your drops sublingually, or under your tongue and hold there for around a minute before swallowing. This action allows the drops to be diffused through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue. Because there are a great many capillaries under the tongue, it has a direct route into your bloodstream, allowing it to work faster and more efficiently.
Taking your drops sublingually is preferable to swallowing immediately. The reason is that it must first pass through your gastrointestinal tract, the stomach and the intestines where most absorption takes place, but also where some of the CBD may be destroyed stomach acids. Then it is filtered by the liver before entering the bloodstream.
CBD capsules can be swallowed immediately and are preferred by those that can’t handle the taste of CBD. It should be noted that however, that higher dosages may be required as less of the CBD may enter the bloodstream as a result of the destructive effects of the digestive system.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?
Ideally, your dosage should be prescribed by a qualified and experienced healthcare professional. Various brands have products offering different strengths. Also, different conditions require different dosages to be effective, and some people may need more than others to have the desired effect.
Typically, one should start with the recommended dose for a week and build up weekly in small increments until no further benefit is felt. Then, gradually reduce the dosage incrementally until you find an ideal dosage for the desired effect.
While there is no RDA or officially recommended dose for CBD, there are various clinical studies, research papers and resources from which such information can be drawn:
- Preventative: Up to 10mg/day
- Anxiety: 15 – 25mg/day (Source: Reddit Dosage question about help with anxiety)
- Cancer: 500mg-1000+mg/day or 10mg/kg/day (Source: Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug)
- Chronic Pain: 2.5 – 20mg/day (Source: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Epilepsy: 200 – 300mg/day or 20mg/kg (Source: Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome)
- Glaucoma: 15 – 40mg/day (Source: Neuroprotective Effect of(-)?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in N-Methyl-d-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neurotoxicity)
- Sleep Disorders: 50 – 150mg/day (Source: Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report)
- Schizophrenia: 400 – 1250mg/day (Source: A Four-week Clinical Trial Investigating Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Acutely Ill Schizophrenic Patients)
The time it takes for the effects of CBD to manifest when taken orally depends a great deal on how long ago your last meal was, and how much you ate. Typically, it’s best to take CBD on an empty stomach for the effects to be felt more immediately, as the more substantial and more recently, a meal was eaten, the more delayed the effects.
Most importantly, CBD will not cause you to get “high” or experience a sensation of intoxication as it has a minimal level of THC, making it non-psychoactive. It will not adversely affect your sensory perception, reflexes, reaction time or your behaviour in general.
CBD is safe and non-toxic even at high dosages. According to CannLabs, a testing lab for cannabis products, there is no established lethal dosage of CBD, and interestingly, there have been no reported cases of CBD overdosage.
Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. Conversely, some studies reported that this cannabinoid can induce some side effects, including inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism, alterations of in vitro cell viability, decreased fertilization capacity, and decreased activities of p-glycoprotein and other drug transporters.
In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research. The majority of studies were performed for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. Here, the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.
What are the Health Benefits of CBD?
The health benefits are numerous. It exhibits potent antioxidant, analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antipsychotic effects. It alleviates the cognitive decline associated with ageing, and it also reduces the risk of diabetes.
For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, check out our article The Health Benefits of CBD Oil.
CBD Oil For Pets
As science continues to discover more of The Health Benefits of CBD Oil for humanity, we naturally find ourselves asking whether CBD Oil has the same benefits for our pet friends. From a scientific perspective, cats, dogs and most mammals for that matter have similar anatomy to humans, and therefore also have an endocannabinoid system that modulates their physiology and psychology. Generally, CBD suitable for humans is usually also suitable for pets. Typically one would halve recommended dosages for pets as dosages are based on weight.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Pets?
CBD Oil is safe and non-toxic even at high dosages for both humans and animals.
CBD Oil South Africa
Is CBD Oil Legal in South Africa?
CBD Oil in South Africa has been legal since it first became available, primarily because of its lack of THC, but this was not the case for Cannabis Oil until recently. The primary law regulating the use of medicines and substances in South Africa is the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act of 1965. The organisations governing medicines and substances in South Africa are the South African Department of Health, the Medicines Control Council and the South Africa Health Products Regulatory Authority.
CBD Scheduling in South Africa
In August 2017, the Medicines Control Council (MCC) rescheduled Cannabidiol (CBD) from a schedule 7 to a schedule 4 substance. The rescheduling required South Africans to obtain a doctor’s prescription to buy CBD in-store or online. In a landmark judgement on 18 September 2018, the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court effectively decriminalised the cultivation, storage and use of cannabis in the privacy of one’s home, ruling that the prohibition of private cultivation, possession and consumption of the plant at home was unconstitutional.
On 23 May 2019, however, after a legal petition by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), the Department of Health’s Dr Aaron Motsoaledi published an update effectively excluding certain preparations of CBD from the schedule 4 classification. In particular, such preparations should contain a maximum daily dose of 20 mg Cannabidiol (CBD). Interestingly, the exemption is effective for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months from the date of signature of the notice. So, unless renewed, the exemption will expire on 23 May 2020.
What Are People Saying?
Rogier de la Porte
I've been using CBD for a while now to help with my migraines and it works! I started with CBD oil and then tried liposomal CBD and even when I do have a migraine, it's so much less painful.
I thougt that CBD was a bit of a luxury buy and I did actually go on a limb buying it, but I must say that since I've been taking it, I really do sleep so much better.
Constance Le Roux
I'm a single mom and cancer survivor, and I want to tell you that you can take action to beat cancer. I'm confident that CBD played an important role in my recovery and remission and I still take it daily.
I'd already been sold on the idea of CBD oil, but I hadn't been able to get hold of any. I found these guys while browsing the web and I bought the Cannaco product. I must say that their service has been really good and so far my debilitating pms has been kept at bay.
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While there is much information to absorb on the subject, there is little doubt that CBD truly is one of the wonders of the plant world. It would almost seem that the health benefits of CBD are too good to be true. Scientific studies are now bolstering what was once just anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of so many ailments and maladies.
If you are interested and would like to know more, please do feel free to contact our customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click the chat button on our website.