CBD Oil: 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 Coconut oil, 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 it to treat osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, seizures, spasticity, spinal injury and even stress.
What are Cannabinoids?
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 CBD and THC found in cannabis are good examples of exogenous cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol is the main cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and typically accounts for over 40% of the total cannabinoid content. 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, anxiety, arthritis, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension and even stress.
Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is the second most prolific cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. THC is well known because it typically causes a sensation of intoxication in users; however, it has also been found to exhibit medicinal benefits for specific conditions.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body contains an endocannabinoid system, which are cannabinoid receptors located throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems and in the brain. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system which responds to these chemical messengers. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the psychological and physiological effects of cannabinoids.
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 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?
Cannabis Oil is known by various names such as medical cannabis, medical marijuana, marijuana oil, or THC oil. It is made from marijuana, a variety of the cannabis plant that has high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and moderate levels of Cannabidiol (CBD). It is usually blended with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, olive oil or hemp seed 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. For a more in-depth discussion on Cannabis Oil, check out our article Cannabis Oil: The Ultimate Guide.
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-based products 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 isolate using 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 a CBD tincture 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 tincture 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 tinctures 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. 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, the flavoured options will be their best bet. An unpalatable taste might rule out 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.
CBD tinctures 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. 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.
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.
CBD 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 traveling.
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
Should I use Cannabis Oil or CBD Oil?
CBD exhibits potent antioxidant, analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic 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 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 Safe for Pets?
CBD is safe and non-toxic even at high dosages for both humans and animals.
CBD Oil South Africa
Is CBD Legal in South Africa?
CBD oil in South Africa is legal primarily because of its lack of THC. The primary law regulating the use of medicines and substances in South Africa is the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act of 1965.
The South African 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
According to a SAHPRA report entitled COMMUNICATION TO INDUSTRY- SCHEDULING STATUS: THC AND CBD
In Government Notice No. 586, Government Gazette No. 43347, issued on 22 May 2020, the Minister of Health has amended the Schedules as follows:
Previous entries for cannabis, dronabinol, and tetrahydrocannabinol in Schedule 7 have been deleted.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is listed in Schedule 4, except –
in complementary medicines containing no more than 600 mg cannabidiol per sales pack, providing a maximum daily dose of 20 mg of cannabidiol, and making a general health enhancement, health maintenance or relief of minor symptoms (low-risk) claim; or
processed products made from cannabis raw plant material intended for ingestion containing 0,0075 percent or less of cannabidiol where only the naturally occurring quantity of cannabinoids found in the source material are contained in the product.
Products that meet those listed conditions will instead be regulated as Schedule 0.
CBD oil is one of the wonders of the plant world, with scientific studies now bolstering what was once just anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of so many ailments and maladies. If you live in South Africa, are interested and would like to know more before you buy, Please do feel free to contact our customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View Our Range of CBD Products Online
Best Value CBD Tincture
At 1.053mg CBD per Rand, this product offers the best CBD value, over 20% more than its nearest competitor!
Herbology CBD Oil Strong 1000mg 30ml