What to expect in this article:
Today, more people know about cannabis health benefits than ever before. Throughout history, this medicinal plant has been used by cultures across the world for its healing properties
Although it is still not legalised in many countries, this is slowly changing as therapeutic benefits continue to be revealed. Hemp-derived products such as CBD have begun to change the way that we see and use cannabis. CBD products are now used in everything from skincare to beverages.
What is cannabis, though and how have its health benefits made it one of the most powerful natural medicines?
A history of cannabis
Cannabis has been used throughout history for its healing qualities. While the earliest recorded use of medicinal marijuana was in 2737 BC in China, historic evidence shows its use in ancient Rome, Egypt, and India.
Napoleon was said to have brought it back from Egypt in 1798 for its pain-relieving and sedative qualities.
During the early 19th and 20th Centuries, cannabis was widely used as a patent medicine in the United States. It was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia for the first time in 1850. Early American journals noted that help seeds effectively treated venereal disease, incontinence, and inflamed skin.
Irish doctor William O’Shaughnessy of the British East India Company, made further findings that lead to the development of more treatments that utilised cannabis' medical properties. Medicinal cannabis was used to treat a range of symptoms, including cholera, tetanus, and rabies.
The criminalisation of cannabis
The popularity of medical marijuana continued to grow until 1906 with the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act. At this point, attitudes to the plant began to change - largely because of the abuse of morphine. In 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was introduced and the consumption of drugs was made a crime. The introduction of the Marijuana Act in 1937 outlawed the non-medical use of cannabis completely.
While public perception changed in the Sixties and Seventies through its widespread recreational use, the Eighties saw another crackdown as the ‘War on Drugs’ halted any progress into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Slowly, attitudes began to shift once again. Cannabis has been legalised in some countries. In South Africa, The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill was drafted after a Constitutional Court ruled the personal use and cultivation of cannabis in 2018. Using, buying and selling outside of personal dwellings is still not yet legal.
This means that medicinal cannabis is still not yet on the cards until legislation changes. With that said, CBD and its related products are legal in South Africa and some other countries.
The advent of CBD
The introduction of CBD played a major role in the changed perception of cannabis. CBD is made by removing THC – the active compound associated with the 'high' of cannabis. CBD products are used in a wide range of products made for well-being.
For more information on the history of cannabis, check out this map of the 6000-year history to see how far the CBD plant has travelled through time.
What does the science say?
Numerous studies have been done on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for symptoms and disorders ranging from epilepsy to anxiety, sleep, and pain. Because it is not legal in many countries, hemp-derived active ingredients of cannabis offer the biggest benefits due to its widespread availability.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is the second biggest active ingredients of the cannabis plant after THC. Although it is a component of medicinal marijuana, it comes from hemp, which is closely related to marijuana. Hemp-derived products do not contain THC. They are used for a variety of purposes, with CBD used to promote wellness in the mind and body.
How does CBD work in the body?
There is a system in our bodies comprised of receptors that interact exclusively with CBD and THC. These active ingredients directly interact with a complex network of receptors in the human body called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Think of it as a system of docking sites located in the brain and throughout the body, specifically designed to interact with cannabinoid-type substances. The receptors in the ECS are the most prevalent neuro-receptors in the brain and are prolific in the immune system, organs, bones, and skin. The cornerstone of CBD as medicine is based on how it works with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Benefits of CBD
More and more anecdotal evidence is reported and more research on CBD health benefits are being conducted, revealing its positive effects on a variety of conditions.
What we know so far is that its many parts and constituents have shown a remarkable potential to help everything from anxiety to pain management, sleep, and skincare.
Cannabis vs CBD
Is cannabis the same as CBD? Although they are close relatives, these two have a few key differences. To get a better idea of how CBD differs from cannabis, it helps to have an understanding of the cannabis plant's different components.
Hemp is a strain grown specifically for the industrial and therapeutic uses of its derived products. Hemp contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC and higher concentrations of CBD. Its commercial uses include clothing, rope, paper as well as CBD oils. Hemp-derived CBD is what you’ll find in all products at goodleaf.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that make up the cannabis plant. There are over 113 unique cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the most well-known and studied. Both are unique, with separate properties and an array of therapeutic benefits.
CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound extracted from the plant. CBD is the compound responsible for the overwhelmingly positive side effects and benefits of the plant, whereas THC is solely responsible for the ‘high’. CBD can have many great side effects (aiding in sleep, pain relief, and easing anxiety).
This psychoactive cannabinoid affects the chemical receptors in the brain and nervous system that control mood, appetite, memory, pain sensations, and psychoactive perception. THC is responsible for the ‘high’ produced by traditional marijuana. You can rest assured that THC is not present in any goodleaf product.
Terpenes are aromatic oils that are responsible for the wide variety of fragrant flavours and smells in cannabis. Scientists have identified over 200 terpene varieties. They have powerful aromatherapy and mind-calming benefits – without any psychoactive qualities.
How safe is CBD, really?
One of the biggest concerns for many is CBD oil safety. As interest in CBD grows and the market becomes flooded with products, there are a few questions you should ask to ensure CBD safety.
- Where was the hemp grown? This includes the continent, country, and local area.
- Where was the product processed? Was it lab-tested by an independent third party?
- How was the CBD extracted?
- What is the amount of CBD in each dosage? The recommended dose according to the law is 20mg per day.
- Does it contain 0.3% THC or less?
- What other ingredients are listed? There shouldn’t be a long list of other ingredients.
How to take CBD
CBD comes in a variety of forms. The most common ways to take CBD is orally and topically, as well as vaping. Whichever way you prefer, each form will give you the same benefits of CBD.
CBD oil drops
CBD oil drops are the most common way to take CBD. The oil is taken under the tongue, where it absorbs into the bloodstream. Drops are typically taken in doses up to 20mg.
Water soluble CBD is made by isolating CBD particles into nanoparticles that can be absorbed more easily. It comes in powder format and can be added to tea, coffee, smoothies or water. Bottled CBD beverages are also available.
CBD vapes contain CBD isolate and coconut-derived MCT oil, with a concentrated dose that ensures fast absorption.
Topicals include a variety of CBD-infused skincare products. Our collection includes soothing balms, body washes, facial skincare, rollers, and other products that promote healthy skin.
CBD and good health
We have no doubt that we will continue to see the evolution of cannabis in years to come. As more countries slowly start to legalise both cannabis and CBD, we hope that more people will begin to experience the healing powers of this plant.
Looking for premium CBD products? We have you covered. You will find everything you need to live your best life in our store. Shop online at goodleaf to experience the benefits of CBD for yourself now.