The cannabis plant has been around for more than 6,000 years and has a rich history of medicinal usage¹. The most commonly used strain of cannabis is known as the Cannabis sativa plant² and contains cannabinoids including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)³.
While THC is the psychoactive (mind-altering) component of cannabis, CBD is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have several beneficial pharmacological effects for a number of conditions and symptoms. These include pain, inflammatory disease, epilepsy, anxiety, nausea, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis⁴.
Pain, anxiety and depression top the list of uses
Almost 62% of consumers report using CBD to treat a medical condition, particularly pain, anxiety and depression. Specific examples listed include chronic pain, joint pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia or other sleep disorders, various headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Most patients reported that CBD relieved their symptoms effectively, in the absence of conventional medicine, and without serious side effects.⁵
Unlocking relief from symptoms associated with pain
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, typically caused by illness or injury. It is usually described as being either chronic (usually associated with long-term illnesses such as osteoarthritis), or acute pain, which typically comes on suddenly and has a limited duration. It may be as a result of damage to tissue such as bone, muscle or organs, and the onset is often accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress.⁶
In recent decades, one of the most debated topics has been the health benefits of the cannabis plant. Myths and legends are now being backed by science, and CBD has been proven to assist with the relief of minor pain. The pain relief offered by CBD includes pain caused by inflammation, or damage to tissue, muscle, joints or nerves.⁷
CBD may offer relief from inflammation and pain without the risk of becoming habit-forming⁸. There is no psychoactive effect (that “high” associated with cannabis use), and CBD is suitable for daytime use⁹.
When stress takes its toll …
One of the most unnerving “South Africanisms” of recent years is when you’re stressed out and someone tells you to, “Just relax, OK?”. Great advice but difficult to follow, particularly in a year where the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our state of mind. Stressors that come to mind, include retrenchment, reduced pay, worrying if isolated elderly parents are coping, wondering whether we were infected when the person in front of us coughed in the checkout line the other day … the list goes on.
Simply put, stress is how your brain and body react to any type of stressor or challenge. Physical expressions include a racing pulse, increased breathing and tensed-up muscles. Resulting symptoms may include headaches, insomnia, anger, irritability or sadness. Over time, uncontrolled stress could lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or mental disorders*.
How do we cope and turn a bleak outlook around? Around the world, more and more people are honing in on the benefits of cannabidiol or CBD; a compound in the cannabis plant. Extensive research has separated the myths from the facts, highlighting CBD’s ability to assist in providing relief of minor symptoms associated with stress such as muscular tension, fatigue, restlessness and poor concentration⁴.
A milestone for CBD use in SA
In the amended Government Gazette, May 22 2020, regulations state that CBD preparations containing a maximum of 20mg per daily dosage, may be sold in SA as S0 Complementary Medicines, opening up new treatment options.