This guide is written for the layperson and provides relevant information and study references concerning CBD 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?
CBD, known formally as Cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant that belongs to a class of substances called cannabinoids. CBD typically accounts for over 40% of the total cannabinoid content in the cannabis plant. CBD has received a great deal of attention in the media as being a cure-it-all for for such conditions as cancer and epilepsy. Perhaps as a result of the hype, there have been numerous studies into it’s efficacy in treating various conditions. This resulted in the first cannabis-derived medicine containing CBD called Epidiolex. For the most part though, CBD is primarily available as a supplement, and with varying strengths and concentrations comes the complexity of selecting a dosage.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are 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 THC and CBD are examples of exogenous cannabinoids.
CBD vs THC
There are over a hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant that belong to the class of substances called cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). To compare CBD vs THC, we must first understand the concept of cannabinoids.
CBD is a cannabinoid that has been found to exhibit many medicinal benefits for many varying conditions. It is well tolerated by both humans and animals.
THC is a cannabinoid that typically has an intoxicating effect on users, however, it has also been found to exhibit medicinal benefits for specific conditions.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
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 these chemical messengers. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the psychological and physiological effects of cannabinoids.
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.