Everything You Need To Know About CBD Oil

Everything You Need To Know About CBD Oil

Hailed as a ‘miracle cure’ for pain, muscle spasms and more, CBD oil has been making headlines in the medicinal world recently. But – derived from the cannabis plant, classed as illegal in the UK – it’s unavailable to those who desperately need it. So what exactly is CBD oil , and why are people being denied the right to use it? Here’s everything what you need to know.

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol, often reduced to the acronym CBD, is an extract from cannabis plants. The two main active substances in cannabis plants are the cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. The balance of these two compounds depends on which plant the oil comes from – oil from hemp plants contain plenty of CBD, which oil from ‘skunk plants’ contain more THC. The main difference between the two is that THC produces the high that recreational cannabis users want, whilst CBD has no psychoactive properties.

What are the benefits?

Many advocates of CBD oil have pushed its medicinal value. There are thought to be many benefits of CBD oil, predominantly its pain-relieving properties. Cannabis has long been thought of as a pain reliever – Queen Victoria even used it to cure her period pains. These days it’s used all over the world to help ease the symptoms of several diseases and ailments.

Our bodies contain a specialised system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps to regulate our sleep, pain, appetite and immune system functions. Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that attach to the cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system and studies have shown that the use of CBD oil could help reduce chronic pain by impacting the activity of these receptors;therefore reducing inflammation.

CBD has also shown promise as a replacement for SSRI medication in those with anxiety and/or depression – and without the typical side effects such as low sex drive and insomnia. One study, that provided participants with a social anxiety disorder with 600mg of CBD before a public speaking test, found it significantly reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment during their speeches. And CBD oil has even been used to treat insomnia and anxiety in children with PTSD.

The benefits of CBD oil don’t stop there – it’s said to help two severe forms of childhood epilepsy know as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Plus, studies also show it can help reduce the symptoms related to cancer and the side effects caused by cancer treatments, like nausea, vomiting and pain.

Why has it been in the news recently?

In June, Charlotte Caldwell and her severely epileptic son Billy had his cannabis medication confiscated at customs as they entered the UK. The pair had travelled to Canada to pick up the oil, which suppressed Billy’s fits, but it was seized upon their return.

Eventually, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced he would grant a licence to reinstate Billy's treatment. He said at the time: "This morning, I’ve used an exceptional power as Home Secretary to urgently issue a licence to allow Billy Caldwell to be treated with cannabis oil. This is a very complex situation, but our immediate priority is making sure Billy receives the most effective treatment possible in a safe way. We have been in close contact with Billy’s medical team overnight and my decision is based on the advice of senior clinicians who have made clear this is a medical emergency."

In February of this year, Aflie Dingley, a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy – experiencing up to 30 fits a day – was denied the right to use CBD oil, despite it dramatically reducing the number of seizures.
The banning of CBD oil for medicinal purposes has now been called into question – if the medication has the ability improve the living conditions for children like Billy and Alfie, and others suffering from debilitating conditions, then why does the government continue to ban the substance?

Why is it illegal?

Some CBD oil isn’t illegal – in fact, you can buy it in Holland and Barrett. Any CBD product is legal as long as it is derived from one of the 63 EU-approved industrial hemp strains. However, the use of other types of cannabis oil is still prohibited due to the THC levels (the legal limit of THC in UK cannabis oil is 0.5%).

As the levels of THC contained in CBD oil needed for medicinal purposes – such as preventing epileptic seizures – are higher than in the mild versions sold in Holland and Barratt, they are classed as illegal.

We do, however, have four drugs based on cannabis compounds already available in certain parts of Europe. This includes Nabilone, a synthetic compound that mimics THC, given to chemotherapy patients to reduce nausea and vomiting; and Savitex, used for multiple sclerosis – both of which contain too much THC to administer to children.

But the problem for children like Billy is, the oils become a life-saver in a very literal sense. The day after his medication was seized, he suffered the first seizure he’d had in 300 days. "[The government have] signed his death warrant,” his mother Charlotte said at the time. “It's anti-epilepsy medicine. Nothing else. You can't get a high off this medication, even if you drank 40 bottles of it."

However, there could be hope on the horizon for people like Billy who would benefit from daily doses of CBD oil, as the benefits of it continue to be proved. In the Netherlands, doctors can prescribe cannabis products for multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, long-term pain, cancer and suppressing the tics associated with Tourette’s.

CBD has shown promise as a replacement medication for those with anxiety and/or depression – and without the typical side effects such as low sex drive and insomnia.

In the US, at least 29 states allow for the medical use of cannabis. In 2013, CNN aired a documentary called Weed, which saw Colorado as one of the only states which allows children to be registered patients for marijuana treatment. The release of the documentary saw a huge surge of families moving to Colorado with their sick children in order to take advantage of the ruling; currently, there are 427 children under the age of 18 on the state’s medical marijuana registry.

What’s being done now?

After Charlotte Caldwell managed to get the government to allow the oil for her son, she said: "History has been made today. One little boy has achieved the impossible. Billy’s medication has been released by the Home Office and is on its way. Today was about Billy. But from tomorrow it’s about thousands of other children. My experience throughout this leaves me in no doubt the Home Office can no longer play a role, in fact play any role, in the administration of medication for sick children.”

The Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott added that the Government could no longer ignore the benefits of CBD oil: “The overriding priority of any government should be preserving the life and well-being of our citizens. This is all that Billy Caldwell’s mum wants for her son. The Government’s current approach to medical drugs is not doing that”

Under UK law, marijuana is categorized as ‘schedule 1’, defined as having no medicinal value and therefore unable to be prescribed by doctors. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said this schedule would be reconsidered under a two-part review.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily