Have you tried CBD oil? You’ve probably heard of it – the new, legal form of cannabis has become big business in the UK. Sold as an alternative, natural therapy for all kinds of pain, I wanted to find out if it works, and how to best use it as a woman.
My first proper introduction to CBD oil came at an event with OHNE (pronounced “on”), an organic tampon brand working to empower women. Their anti-teardrops oil contains 1% CBD oil, and was created to be applied to the skin – similar to a body oil, but with a pain-relief edge.
Having tried it out over the period of my last cycle, I can happily report that the oil does make my cramps chill out. Whether it’s the action of warming the oil between my hands, massaging my stomach, or the oil itself, all I can say is that it’s my new go-to when I’m on.
So, what is CBD oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s the non-psychoactive part of cannabis, meaning it doesn’t affect the mind, but it does affect the body.
CBD oil is made from strains of the cannabis plant that are low in psychoactive properties. It is rigorously tested before being allowed onto the UK market, and it was made legal in the UK on November 1st 2018.
You may see CBD oil described as full-spectrum, too. Full-spectrum CBD includes a range of cannabinoids, which supposedly provides a greater effect than isloated CBD. Full spectrum CBD also contains a mix of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, but as it’s consumed in a miniscule amount, the benefit of these is low.
What does CBD oil do?
Cannabidiol was discovered by scientists in 1940, with its medical properties being formally recognised in the 1960’s. It has been tested in clinical trials for anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.
Personally, I use CBD oil as a form of natural pain relief. It’s my first choice when I get a headache or menstrual cramps. I either us my 1% oil across my skin, or a stronger CBD oil that I can orally ingest. CBD oil works by being absorbed into the bloodstream, so it can be inhaled, smoked, vaped, sprayed, ingested, or absorbed by the skin.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
CBD oil is a natural oil, made purely from cannabis plants. It’s best to think of it like an essential oil. Pure CBD oil has an overwhelmingly earthy scent, and needs diluting with carrier oils for the best scent, taste, and effect.
There are no reported side effects of CBD oil use. Because the oil is newly legal in the UK, you may be worried that there could be new side effects we don’t know about. Rest assured, it has been approved by both the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical use, and the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) for use in food products too.
What’s the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?
Hemp is another legal bi-product of cannabis. However, it has no medical or psychoactive properties at all. Hemp oil can be used in cooking, or as a carrier oil. It too, has a strong earthy scent.
When I visited Hempstory during my trip to Amsterdam in 2016, I covered the benefits of hemp – it’s one of the world’s fastest growing plants, and can be used as a fabric, in food, as a bioplastic, and even as a source of complete protein. It’s worth noting that hemp oil retails around £3 for a litre, so it’s a lot like cooking oil, but prices are sneaking up as the popularity of CBD grows.
Which CBD oil is best?
Asking which CBD oil is best is a bit like asking, which over-the-counter pain relief pill works best. Some people swear by paracetamol, others choose ibuprofen, some like herbal remedies.
If you’re looking to try CBD oil, it may be worth speaking with a medical practitioner first. This is especially true if you are looking to use it as pain-relief for diagnosed illnesses or diseases. Do not swap prescribed medication for CBD oil without consulting your doctor.
Right now, the market is flooded with a mix of CBD products – some are measured with a percentage, others with milligrams, making them hard to compare. My best recommendation is to check how much hemp oil has also been mixed with the CBD oil, as the majority of oils on the market are diluted with hemp oil (and hemp has no healing properties at all).
Also, try to find a full-spectrum blend. This is the highest quality CBD oil, and is worth the extra investment.