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Cannabis without the high – why CBD is the new true superfood.

CBD. Cannaboidol. You've probably heard of it, or have a girlfriend whos taking it, and you're wondering what all the buzz is about. Touted as an appetite suppressant, acne treatment, anxiety and pain reliever amongst many other things, this phytocannabinoid was actually discovered back in 1940. An extract of the cannabis and it's relative hemp plant, CBD is the non-psychoactive component of weed that doesn't get you high. In fact, it actually works against the compound that gets you high (THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (pssst - the “delta-9” is silent…)) acting as a buffer against the effects of weed. It's has been approved for medical use in Australia (think reducing seizures in epileptic patients and nausea control in chemo patients), but currently is VERY strictly controlled.

via: @viktoria.dahlberg and @weloveplantstlv

Before we go on, I have to clear up one thing. Cannabis of any kind (unless prescribed by your licenced GP) is not yet legal within Australia without a prescription. Whilst CBD is an extract of the cannabis plant that has no psychoactive effects, it still remains illegal to purchase, carry or hold in your home. That being said, there are retailers overseas (and a few in Australia now!) selling CBD products that are flying under the government radar. Interested? Check out Hemple, Floria and Ananada.

NB: I am not condoning this, merely providing information for the canna-curious.

Go here to read the official statement on hemp seed oil’s legality in Australia.

Whilst clinical research is still so desperately needed to confirm the mass of anecdotal evidence emerging from frequent CBD users, this phytocannabinoid still desperately requires a solid research base. Fortunately, my very own college is leading the way in a world first clinical trial investigating whether medicinal cannabis can benefit patients with malignant brain tumours. I'm hopeful more research will begin to appear around the globe focusing on the benefit for the everyday consumer. Let's be honest - who isn't anxious and/or struggling to get enough sleep?

Reported Health benefits of CBD

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Mood boosting
  • Pain relief (oh HEY menstrual cramps)
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Alleviates cancer-related symptoms
  • Reduces acne, eczema and psoriasis
  • Neuroprotective properties - reducing tremors and seizures
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Anti-ageing (thanks to the stress reduction)
  • Appetite suppressant

How it works in the body

It gets a bit technical here, but for the purpose of this (already lengthy) post, a quick overview: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) part of your body's internal communication system that is located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

Your natural chemical messengers produced in your bod that interacts with the ECS are called cannabinoids. They interact with receptors, including the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, to regulate many physiological systems in the human brain and body, helping to improve health and homeostasis (balance within the body). Ingesting a cannabinoid like CBD is essentially a replication of the body's own natural defence system to boost it back to good health. OH YEAH. Not only that, CBD is a legitimate alternative plant-based option for those currently taking chemical medications.

via @gldleaf

My personal experience

I can report that after many research trips to Canada where Cannabis use is now legalised (both medical and recreational) as of October 2018, I have had my fair share of experiences with legal CBD. Experiences with the plant extract so far have been everything I had hoped and given I'm a Type-A inherently anxious person, I have definitely experienced many benefits - notably deeper sleep, anxiety relief and pain reduction on my torn ankle ligaments via topical application.

Where you'll find it.

The black market is growing, and fast, in response to consumer canna-demand in Australia and a quick search online bring up a number of stores selling CBD products - just like this one.

Overseas where it's legalised, you'll find CBD in everything from bath bombs, gummies, face creams and vape pens to medicinal chocolate peanut butter cups. Jealous.

Interestingly, after a recent trip to the HHI Expo in Sydney, I found that there are even Australian-based companies selling products that allow you to make your own perfectly-dosed edibles at home with 'medical butter' machines.

Note: Products called hemp oil or hemp extract may contain little-to-no actual CBD. Unless the label tells you how much CBD is in the bottle and how much CBD there is per serving, you can’t be sure it’s legit and you may be wasting a LOT of dollars.

DISCLAIMER: Please for the love of god do your own research on CBD and speak to your GP if you plan on using it (which again, is currently illegal in Aus, officially). Although a natural product, CBD can interact with other medications. The results of any CBD product will vary depending on a person’s own biology. After all, cannabis is complex and it can affect people in different ways. Your receptors will be different to my own, and Felica on Instagram who's waving her vape pen around. If you do decide to try it (medicinally, of course) - always dose low, and go slow.

Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

Sal is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too. After losing 14kg from adopting a healthier lifestyle, she shares her journey with others on The Fit Foodie Blog. She also works as a commercial food photographer and stylist, is studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is the author of two cookbooks: Love Move Eat (Bauer Media, 2017) and Meal Prep Plan (Murdoch, 2019).


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