CBD Oil – The Myths and the Reality
The story of CBD oil is one saturated in mythology, hype and fear. The vast majority of what you’ve likely heard about this ancient botanical is probably untrue or exaggerated, from the legal implications to the conditions it can be used to treat. In this blog, we aim to address some of this misinformation with a healthy dose of reality, and to take a look at the reality of CBD oil in Australia and the rest of the world today.
Myth: CBD Oil and Hemp Oil are the same thing
Reality: It’s worth noting that CBD (or Cannibidiol) oil is NOT the same ingredient that we use in our botanical skin formulations. Our hero ingredient is Unfiltered Hemp Seed Extract, or Hemp Oil, which (along with CBD oil) is just one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant.
Like hemp oil, CBD is a natural botanical remedy but there are important differences between the two ingredients, centred around their respective THC levels and how they’re produced. You can read more in our blog on the subject HERE.
Myth: CBD oil is illegal in Australia
Reality: In recent years, low-dose CBD has been approved as a Schedule 3 medicine here in Australia, which means it does not require a prescription but is only available from pharmacies. Just last year, the country’s biggest pharmacy chain, Chemist Warehouse, signed a deal to supply certain CBD products over the counter.
However, there’s a hitch. Right now, there are no CBD oil products approved for sale in Australia by the ARTG. If and when they do approve products containing CBD oil, they’re likely to be very low-grade, but they will be available in chemists.
As such, currently to legally use CBD oil here, you need to be prescribed it by your doctor. Typically, this is to treat chronic pain, anxiety or insomnia.
Myth: You can get high from CBD oil
Reality: CBD is not the cannabinoid (i.e. a compound naturally found in the cannabis or hemp plant) that you’re after if you’re looking to get high. THC – AKA tetrahydrocannabinol – is the one known for its psychoactive effects, producing a ‘high’ when consumed.
Neither hemp oil nor CBD cause a high like THC, though CBD can cause a very mild, calming or uplifting effect in higher doses.
Myth: There’s no evidence for CBD oil use in medicine
Reality: Increasingly, scientists are proving the efficacy of CBD oil in treating certain conditions. Without their research, there is little chance that Australia’s strict drug approval system would consider allowing CBD oil to be pharmaceutically available. Leading the way at this point is the clinical evidence for CBD oil in treating epilepsy – the first condition for which doctors can legally prescribe CBD oil in Australia.
Epilepsy Action Australia reports on a 2018 trial that…
‘there was (a) 43.9% reduction of drop seizures in CBD group and 21.8% of the reduction in the people who were in the placebo group. Besides drop seizures, the frequency of other types of seizures was also reduced drastically which reflected a wide spectrum of effects of CBD in controlling different types of seizures.’1
Numerous studies have also been undertaken in the past 5 years to determine the efficacy of CBD oil in treating anxiety and insomnia, with encouraging results. In a 2020 New Zealand study, 72 adults with anxiety or sleep problems were treated with CBD oil. After the first 2 months of CBD treatment, 78.1 – 79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms, although between 15-20% reported symptoms worsening.
Clearly, further research needs to be conducted to determine optimal dosage and how CBD oil works in combination with other therapies, but it’s promising that research continues to suggest that CBD oil is safe, effective at treating a broad range of conditions, and with few side effects.