Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound in marijuana that delivers a ‘high’ – by dry weight. This non-intoxicating cannabis and has been harvested for over 10,000 years to produce things like food, rope, clothing, paper and housing material. CBD is one of over a hundred chemical compounds known as cannabinoids and can be extracted from hemp plants.

It has been discovered that humans and mammals actually have a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex network of cell receptors and neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. The ECS improves the communication between the immune and nervous systems and is believed to also affect and control a range of biological functions, including sleep, mood, temperature control, immune response, perception of pain and pleasure, fertility, memory, and appetite. Whenever the brain senses an imbalance in the body, the ECS releases endocannabinoids to restore it. Taking CBD products stimulates the ECS to produce its own cannabinoids and helps them stay in your body for longer.

Harvard Medical School states that “CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep,” adding that CBD may also offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain.

CBD oil has been shown to calm the nerves and anxiety of pets, support healthy hips and joints and to make them more comfortable. 

CBD and its ability to ease depression and anxiety

While research around the effectiveness of CBD products in the field of anxiety treatment is in its early stages, indications are that cannabidiol could hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders. As natural compounds found in cannabis oil can activate the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and social behaviour, CBD can have a significant effect when it comes to relaxing the mind, releasing pleasure hormones, reducing stress and inducing a sense of calm and relaxation.

Local health and wellness platform, Faithful to Nature, notes that according to a 2015 review of studies in the journal Neurotherapeutics, CBD demonstrated potent anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effects in animal research. It also noted that lower doses of CBD (10 mg per kg or less) were better able to treat symptoms of anxiety.

Using CBD for sleep

Our health and energy levels are directly linked to our quantity and quality of sleep. Many CBD products appear to help with sleep because of the chemical compound’s anti-anxiety properties and its ability to promote relaxation. Furthermore, according to CBD Store in South Africa, it has also been noted that CBD may help to treat REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness too. CBD is, essentially, a supplement for boosting our very sophisticated and sensitive recovery system.

Pharmacist will tell you that the most common drugs handed out daily are anti-depressants and sleeping pills. These pharmaceutical drugs can, however, have some unfortunate side effects. CBD oil offers a natural alternative…

CBD and pain relief

Although more research is required to confirm some uses and effects of CBD oil, it is shaping up as a potentially promising and versatile treatment for a wide variety of pain responses, notes CBD Store. The science behind this goes back to CBD being and the body’s endocannabinoid system.

African cannabis and CBD legislation

Lesotho issued the continent’s first commercial cultivation licenses in 2017 and exports the bulk of its production for the international medical market. The personal cultivation and use of cannabis has been decriminalised in South Africa since 2018.

Medical cultivation is also legal in Zimbabwe, while Uganda issued its first commercial cultivation license in December 2019 and in the same month, Zambia legalised the cultivation and export of cannabis for the medical market.

Malawi’s parliament passed a bill in February this year, legalizing cultivation and processing of cannabis for either medical marijuana or industrial hemp. The crop could be set to rival their traditional chief foreign exchange crop – tobacco – for a slice of the 60% it contributes to the country’s GDP, in the near future. Ghana’s parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill in March 2020, allowing the use and production of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes.

Kenya looks likely to be the next country to explore the cannabis industry, though it currently has some of the harshest cannabis-related laws in the world.