It feels like everybody’s talking about the heroic health benefits of CBD yet just as many are shaking their heads, still prejudiced against this controversial cannabinoid because it’s derived from cannabis which has suffered decades of highly-politicised prohibition world-wide.
It doesn’t help that consumers are feeling befuddled by the enormous amount of misinformation out there, and the irreputable brands riding the upswing of the CBD trend, who are selling what amounts to little more than expensive olive oil.
That’s why we asked Laura Johnston, founder of Mary's Muse, the local Cape Town-based company that produces the premium CBD oils we’re proud to sell, to answer some FAQs on this hot topic.
Laura is a qualified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and has enjoyed a decade-long career in the health industry, so she really knows her stuff. She’s also passionate about the healing properties of this power plant, so if you missed Part 1, catch up on it here, then read more in Part 2 of the series, below.
Q: I thought dagga was this dangerous 'gateway' drug but now my daughter-in-law is telling me I should try CBD gummies to help me sleep. Will they make me high and can I overdose if I take too much?
A: CBD is the cannabinoid found in cannabis that’s responsible for many positive health benefits while THC is another cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties that can get you high. Rest assured, if you choose a reputable brand of CBD gummies that does third party testing to ensure that the legal THC limits are followed, you will not get high. And there’s little-to-no chance of overdosing on CBD - at worst, you’d feel drowsy. Follow the ‘start low, go slow’ approach to find your personal comfort level. In South Africa, the daily legal limit is 20mg, and generally a moderate dosage of 5-20mg per day should be sufficient.
Q: I have acne and heard CBD heals breakouts but don't like the idea of putting oil on my skin. Please help?
A: While scientific evidence has found that cannabis has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties; and that CBD oil can be helpful in reducing key acne triggers like inflammatory reactions in the cells of the skin and excessive sebum production, other factors, like hormonal imbalances, genetics, diet, stress, and even some medications, can also increase the severity of a person’s symptoms. What this means is that success using a CBD oil to prevent breakouts may vary in each case, depending on what kind of acne a person has, and what is causing it.
It’s vitally important to choose a CBD oil that has a good quality oil ‘carrier’. Mary’s Muse uses ozonated olive oil which is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well, increasing the potency and absorption of the CBD.
Q: Can I use CBD if I'm pregnant and planning on breastfeeding?
A: For obvious health and safety reasons, pharmaceutical/health products are not tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women so to protect you, and your baby, we always recommend consulting with your doctor before using any CBD-related products during this vulnerable time.
Q: I hurt my knee running and it's just not getting better: can CBD help and what should I use?
A: Recent research reveals that the positive benefits of exercise arise from the body’s own endocannabinoid system: a complex system of networks in the brain, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems, that work to maintain homeostasis and balance among the major systems in our bodies, regulating pain, inflammation, memory, emotion, sleep, and metabolic function.
Our bodies create their own cannabinoids, however, the addition of plant-based cannabinoids, like CBD, can help stimulate and increase the functioning of your own endocannabinoid system, including boosting athletic performance, relieving muscle pain, reducing swelling and protecting cells and neurons from damage and death. Good news for athletes all round!
An interesting side note: CBD was legalised for usage during the 2020 Olympics (now obviously postponed); and many athletes own their own CBD brands – that’s how highly they vouch for it!
Q: Can children with ADHD safely consume CBD? And if so, how much is safe for kids?
A: Thanks to the stigma associated with marijuana and its psychoactive compound, THC, very few studies or clinical trials have examined the use of CBD in children. In fact, only one CBD product (Epidiolex: a prescription drug used to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What is interesting to note, however, is that when you consume CBD, the compounds engage with two receptors in your body. These receptors, known as cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), have a direct effect on specific parts of your body. CB1 is more abundant in the brain and is directly related to epilepsy. CB2 is more abundant in the immune system and is connected to pain and inflammation. The compounds from CBD appear to trigger your body to use more of the cannabinoids it produces naturally.
The uptick in the use of naturally-occurring cannabinoids may lead to a number of benefits, including decreased anxiety and reduced hyperactivity. But since any actual evidence of successful CBD usage in children is anecdotal, I’d highly recommend you consult with your child’s paediatrician before giving your child any CBD products.
Have more questions on cannabis or CBD? Email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you.
Interested in trying CBD for yourself? Visit our CBD Shop section for CBD products, including the beautiful range of Mary’s Muse premium CBD oils.
Illustration: Si Maclennan