In Australia, using Cannabidiol is still quite controversial. There is still some confusion on what it is and ways it affects our bodies, despite people applying or taking it to treat different health symptoms.
Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, has a number of potential health benefits but it could also pose some risks. It’s important to know this because while it is not legal in most countries around the world, products that contain CBD are now legal in Australia. People now have the choice of different forms of cannabidiol starting with CBD sprays, oil tinctures, and vaporisers. This has made it possible for Australians to receive the health benefits they need in many different ways for their different health conditions.
In this article, we will look at what CBD is, how it’s used, its potential health benefits, the possible risks, and its legality in Australia.
What is The Legal Status of CBD in Australia?
In Australia, CBD was legalised in 2016 and available only through a prescription issued from a licensed doctor. Even with this, medical cannabis still has other various legality issues. The strict criteria that affects its access has led to many Australians being unable to access CBD hemp oil or CBD oil.
Although this legalisation has meant progress for many patients, the resulting use has proven to be limited. This means that only a few patients who are suffering from specific sets of health issues are benefitting from it.
What is CBD Oil?
The cannabis plant has many compounds called cannabinoids, with Cannabidiol (CBD) being one of them. Since discovering its potentials, researchers have been studying the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD.
Oils that have concentrations of CBD are known as CBD oils. These concentrations and uses of these oils tend to vary depending on the product.
These oils are believed to have excellent healing properties and are useful for a number of medical uses. As per the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Cannabidiol oil acts as an antioxidant, anti-psychotic and anti-inflammatory agent, which means the body will benefit it many more ways than researchers originally expected.
How CBD, THC, and Marijuana are Related
There are about 500 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and each has some form of benefit on the human body. The two main cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant are CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The most active component in marijuana is THC, despite also having CBD. Even mixed together, each of these compounds causes different effects in the body. When someone smokes or uses THC in cooking, it will give a mind-altering “high” because when it is ingested or heat is applied, THC will break down and be absorbed into the body.
Unlike THC, CBD is different and is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t doesn’t affect one’s state of mind every time it is used.
How does CBD Work?
All cannabinoids can cause effects in our bodies by connecting to specific receptors. On its own, it has been proven that the body does produce certain cannabinoids. It also has two receptors, CB1 and CB2, that connect to cannabinoids.
CB1 receptors are found throughout the body with the highest concentration located in the brain. In the brain, the CB1 receptors are responsible for movement, coordination, pain, mood, emotions, appetite, thinking, memories, and other functions. Additionally, THC will attach itself to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system, and are responsible for pain and inflammation. Initially, researchers thought that CBD would attach itself to the CB2 receptors. However, it now seems that CBD doesn’t directly attach to either of these receptors. Instead, it appears to cause the body to utilise its own cannabinoids more without any other additions if need they aren’t required.
What are the Benefits of CBD?
CBD oil works by affecting the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS helps maintain a balanced state in bodies. Through the use of CBD oil, a person can improve their mood, sleep functions, hormone, pain, appetite, and immune response. The ECS also assists the body produce its own Cannabinoids.
Taking CBD will affect the body’s natural production of cannabinoids, which may help to maintain the efficiency of the receptors of the ECS.
CBD can also affect the opioid receptors. The oil is also said to impact the serotonin receptors and dopamine receptors, meaning that it can help regulate aspects of behaviour and cognition such as motivation and affection (dopamine) or cause issues such as anxiety (serotonin).
1. Fighting Cancer
CBD is believed to combat cancer. According to a study conducted by McAllister, the CBD compound can inhibit the growth and combat the spread of certain cancer cells.
Researchers have also noted that this compound may suppress cancer cells growth and help eliminate them entirely. Additionally, studies show that CBD compound has low toxicity levels, making it possible to be a safer form of cancer treatment.
2. Anxiety Disorders
Doctors may advise people suffering from chronic anxiety to not use cannabis since THC can trigger or amplify feelings of paranoia and anxiousness. CBD oil however, which contains no THC, can be used medically help to relieve those feelings and many others.
For example, a 2011 study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology on Nature.com indicated that CBD can help reduce social anxiety, a common anxiety disorder. The review stated that Cannabidiol can lessen anxiety-related behaviorus in individuals with conditions like:
- Panic disorder
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorders)
- General anxiety disorders
- OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Social anxiety disorders
It was also noted that current treatments and anti-depressants for anxiety can be more severe and can cause side effects and additional symptoms, which could cause people to stop treatments completely. CBD serves as an alternative to these.
Another likely use of CBD is in treating acne, a common skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells
A 2014 research published by the Clinical Investigation Journal showed that Cannabidiol helps lower the sebum production that causes acne due to the anti-inflammatory effects it has on the body. The overproduction of sebum, an oily substance which clogs pore, can cause eventual acne. CBD can slow down this process and it has the possibility of stopping entirely in some people if CBD usage is continued.
4. Type 1 Diabetes
Inflammation due to the immune system attacking cells in your pancreas may cause Type 1 diabetes, but CBD has found to be able to fight against it.
In 2016, the Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation published a research that showed that CBD can ease the inflammation in your pancreas, a breakthrough in discovering a potential CBD-based cure for Type 1 diabetes.
In the same year, a paper was presented in Portugal, that further suggested the same idea and also showed how CBD can protect from Type 1 diabetes over all.
5. Alzheimer’s and other Neurological Disorders and Symptoms
Research is still being done on the impacts of CBD on different neuropsychiatric disorders and complications.
According to a review published in 2014, it is believed that CBD carries anti-seizure properties as well as a lower risk of side-effects for individuals with epilepsy.
Findings recommend that CBD might also heal many complications related to epilepsy such as, neurodegeneration, psychiatric diseases, and neuronal injury.
Another research published in the Current Pharmaceutical Design indicated that CBD might have similar effects as those from some antipsychotic drugs. Even though there are concrete cases of CBD helping those with neurological disorders, studies will have to continue over a long period of time to see how much it can truly do and its side effects.
Initial studies published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease show that CBD can help combat the development of the deficit of social recognition in participants.
It has been found that through CBD usage, affected people will be assist facial recognition. While this is already beneficial, more research has to be done for this part to see how else CBD can aid Alzheimer’s.
Is CBD Safe?
More research is emerging in support of the use of the CBD compound for diverse conditions. The research is also examining the long-term effects, safety, and possible side effects.
There are still a few valid concerns on the long-term use, of cannabidiol, which needs further testing before it can be prescribed for other diseases. CBD is seen as one way to manage pain, physical diseases, and as a good alternative to addictive drugs. Globally, the use of CBD Oil has proven safe across hundreds of thousands of community reviews and anecdotal evidence.
How is CBD Used?
CBD is one of the many compounds found in marijuana and is not psychoactive. There are different ways of using CBD oil to get relief of various symptoms. It is important that when considering CBD, a medical professional is strictly consulted with first.
Again, CBD-based products are available in many forms – tinctures (oils), sprays, vaporisers, topical creams, gummies, capsules, and pastes
The recommended dosages will vary from person to person and is dependent on various things such as CBD concentration, your body weight, and your health issue.
Is CBD oil Addictive?
CBD is not addictive unlike other recreational marijuana products.
In 2018, WHO(World Health Organization) published a report that clearly stated that to date, there are no recorded public health issues (drug cases like driving under the influence) linked to use of pure CBD.
What Should I Consider when Buying CBD Products in Australia?
There are some important factors to know when purchasing CBD-based products:
- What is the right dosage for CBD products?
Dosages are measured in milligrams and will vary depending on the form the CBD product comes in. Experts recommend for a person to start out slow and then gradually increase the doses as they become more experienced with their products. Read our article here on the correct dosage for CBD.
- Which form of CBD do you want and why?
While CBD is expected to be effective in all forms, it is suggested you select your CBD depending on the effects that they desire. For example if you need instant relief, then inhaling CBD might be the best form as it will give you these effects within a few minutes. Though a few CBD topical lotions will have an immediate effect, others could take several hours. CBD available as a food product such as gummies, will often take more than 30 minutes to be effective.
- Does the product have third-party lab results?
Good quality CBD brands will always share third-party lab findings with their consumers. To assist consumers with choosing the best products for them, it is recommended to always pick those that provide a certificate of analysis (COA). When a CBD product comes with a COA, it shows that the manufacturer had the product tested for any contaminants and that it meets laboratory safety standards.
- How has the CBD been extracted?
CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant in various ways to get CBD oils. It’s important to note that all these methods are not created equally if the quality and purity of the end product is considered. The top-quality CBD oils are normally created using the supercritical CO₂ extraction. In this method, carbon dioxide is used under high pressure to preserve, isolate, and uphold the purity of CBD. Although it’s more expensive to operate, it means that the resulting products will be pricier. Despite this, it’s assured that the product bought is of quality since CO₂ extraction does not use any toxic substances.
- Where was the hemp plant grown and what‘s in it?
The hemp plant is a bioaccumulator, meaning that it can absorb both the bad and good from the water, air and the soil it is growing in. That’s why it is very important to know that CBD oil is made from organically grown hemp. No consumer wants their CBD oil to contain accumulated toxic substances like herbicides, pesticides, or heavy metals. Due to this issue, there is now a global push for organically grown products.
CBD oil popularity is rapidly growing wordwide and it seems it is about to boom in Australia. Before using any CBD-based product, it is important to consult with a licensed doctor, especially for cancer patients or anyone on any current medications.
People need to be cautious with the CBD brands they are choosing and use the mentioned tips above. Before considering CBD, we recommend all of Australia to do further research to see if CBD oil is right for you.