Health advice should always be taken with a healthy degree of scepticism. We are constantly presented with new products that are supposed to make us live longer, happier, and more beautiful lives. It’s all very tempting – but at the same time you know that if you fall for the hype about everything that comes onto the market, you’ll end up spending your entire life (and income) ingesting industrial quantities of supplements.
However, in the last few years it has been impossible to ignore the chatter about the all-healing powers of CBD, or cannabidiol – often referred to as cannabis oil – a compound found in cannabis plants.
The range of medicinal benefits claimed for cannabis is vast, but includes: reducing epileptic seizures; lessening chronic pain and inflammation; overcoming insomnia and nausea; managing anxiety and stress; quitting smoking; reducing the effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal; combating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease; and even helping stop the spread of certain cancers.
That makes cannabis sound like a miracle cure – but, inevitably, it’s harder to substantiate claims than make them. For a start, the field is complicated by the fact that cannabis oil can be used to refer to products that contain CBD and/or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical in the plant that gives users a feeling of euphoria – it gets you high, in other words. The latter compound is illegal in the UK, but as was demonstrated during the case of Billy Caldwell, whose mother fought a long campaign to get her son prescribed medicinal cannabis, oil containing both CBD and THC can reduce seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy.