For Richard Holt, what was supposed to be a stag weekend of fun left him with life-changing injuries. Sleeping in a top bunk next to the open window of his hostel, Richard had two choices when waking up in the middle of the night - go left down the ladder of the bunkbed or right, straight out of the window.
Mistakenly, Richard chose right. All 24ft of it.
Various bones in his feet and lower legs were re-aligned in weeks of operations and unimaginable pain was the norm for Richard’s foreseeable future. His previous love for martial arts was on hold, until he discovered cannabidiol. Holt says, 'The effect on the pain has been profound’1.
This story, published by The Telegraph, is one of many that have graced our headlines recently in reference to cannabidiol, or CBD for short. CBD oil is 2018’s biggest health trend, partly because it's a legal source of cannabis that’s void of THC – the component in cannabis that makes you ‘high’, but mostly because of its proposed health benefits that include pain relief, reduction in muscle spasms and respite from asthma, epilepsy and insomnia symptoms. It’s even been named a saviour for those with Chrohns disease, with sufferer Greg De Hoedt (on being granted access to medical CBD oil) saying, ‘Within a month I was doing activities like walking up mountains and socialising in ways that I couldn't when I was bedridden’2.
The studies behind the stories
CBD and epilepsy
Over the past few years, CBD has received considerable attention in reference to seizures and recently (for the first time) it was prescribed as a nutritional supplement by the NHS to an 11-year-old child with epilepsy. Basic research studies have provided strong evidence for the safe use of this ingredient as a management technique for epilepsy, provided care and attention is paid to the medication already being taken. Recently a survey in the US of 19 parents, 12 of whom had children with Dravet syndrome – a rare type of epilepsy – explored the use of CBD as treatment. 53% of respondents reported an 80% reduction in the number of epileptic seizures their child was having and 11% even reported that their child was seizure free for the three-month trial.3 It is, however, important the treatment is carried out under medical supervision.
CBD and social anxiety disorder
Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions and sufferers can be negatively impacted to the point where even leaving the house is a challenge. A study, published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, compared the levels of anxiety experienced by participants given CBD with those who’d been a given placebo, and concluded that those taking CBD showed fewer symptoms of social anxiety disorder.4 Those given CBD also had fewer anxiety symptoms in relation to cognitive impairment – when a person struggles with remembering, learning new things, concentrating and even making everyday decisions.
Looking deeper into the effects of CBD on anxiety disorders, the same study showed CBD to be of great help to participants suffering from discomfort in their speech performance, with the placebo group again showing higher levels of anxiety compared with those taking CBD.
CBD oil and beauty
It’s not just the health world CBD has impacted, beauty wants its fair share, too. According to the New York Times, American beauty products containing CBD oil have long since had devout fans, including actress Olivia Wilde who uses CBD oil for its pain-relieving properties during an intense run of Broadway shows. Jessica Richards – founder of Brooklyn’s Shen Beauty and top beauty trend setter – swears by CBD lotion for pain management against a painful hip that hinders her enjoyment of spinning classes. And fashion stylist Karla Welsh prescribes the same CBD lotion for the feet of clients such as Katy Perry and Ruth Negga when they’re set for a long stint in high heels on the red carpet.
CBD oil is taking over the UK beauty scene as well, with ELLE putting the trend at the forefront with the statement ‘our new obsession is cannabis-based beauty’. Everything from CBD sleep-spray or perfume, to day cream sees beauty professionals raving about the ingredient’s anti-inflammatory properties, that are said to help with conditions such as acne. And guess what? Gwyneth Paltrow and her budding health business ‘Goop’ are totally on-board.
What are the benefits of CBD?
News headlines are one thing. But what does Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan Medical Director, have to say about CBD oil’s health benefits?
1. CBD oil could help you battle insomnia
Dr Sarah says, ‘Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular way to get a better night’s sleep, as it promotes refreshing REM sleep to reduce excessive daytime sleepiness. REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, is essentially the term for the phase of sleep in which you dream and lay down new memories.’
2. CBD oil could help improve your mood
‘Cannabidiol helps to reduce muscle tension, restlessness and fatigue as well as helping to generate general feelings of wellbeing. It has a naturally calming effect to damp down the effects of excessive stress and anxiety. Some people have even found that CBD helps with the anxiety that can occur when stopping smoking.’
3. CBD oil could provide pain relief
‘CBD hemp extracts are antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory effects to help improve joint stiffness ad aches. They may also have pain-relieving effects due to their interaction with certain parts of the brain’ 5.
For more information, see our CBD supplement guide
by Dr Sarah Br.
CBD oil safety
Dr Sarah Brewer says, ‘Some CBD products are synthetic. Select a CBD oil that is 100% natural and extracted from whole hemp plants. Healthspan’s CBD oil is obtained from industrial hemp plants that are grown in Europe without herbicides or pesticides, purified and independently tested to ensure they are non-GMO and certified to contain trace amounts of psychoactive ingredients such as THC. Just to be clear, trace elements of THC will have no measurable effects on your physical or mental health.’
1. Holt, R, (October 2017) How cannabis oil helped me get off painkillers, The Telegraph Online
2. Unknown, (February 2018) Cannabis: The science behind super-strength skunk, BBC News Online
3. Cilo, M. R, Thiele E. A, Devinsky, O (May 2014) The case for assessing cannabidiol in epilepsy, Epilepsia Volume 55, Issue 6
4. Crippa J, Derenussin G, Ferrari T (September 2010) Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report, SAGE Journals, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol 25, Issue 1
5.Miller RJ, Miller RE, (September 2017) Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain? PubMed.gov, NCBI