We have some exciting news for you and your anxiety. As of today, low dose cannabidiol, aka CBD, is now approved to be available over-the-counter in Australian pharmacies. The decision from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) means patients will no longer require a referral, special approval or a prescription to be able to legally use low-dose CBD in Australia.
CBD is probably one of the buzziest substances of the moment, but its use and effects remains shrouded in a fair amount of confusion—absolutely not helped by brands and medicinal cannabis advocates keen to jump on the trend to race towards the hefty profits to be made. For context, it’s estimated that the cannabidiol market could be worth up to $9.69 billion USD by 2025.
On the other side of things, we’re also dealing with an old guard in the medical and legal system that are struggling to keep up with the latest research on the proven medicinal and therapeutic benefits of CBD. No small part of that stems from distrust and a misunderstanding around CBD as a derivative of the cannabis plant and its association with THC and weed more generally.
Whether you were an early adopter who quietly asked friends to bring back CBD skincare, oils or gummies from their trips to regions where the substance is legal, or if you’re curious about this natural health-aid, here, the digestible guide to CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD is the more commonly used term for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. This compound is non-psychoactive and won’t make you feel high: a key difference from the compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is also derived from the cannabis plant.
You’ll most often find ingestible CBD in an oil format, which is made by combining CBD oil from the cannabis plant with a carrier oil. That said, it can also appear as capsules, lozenges, gummies as well as infused into foods such as chocolate.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Low-dose CBD, according to clinical research has reduced or improved anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic refractory pain. It’s particularly exciting to the medical world because it’s a non-addictive, plant-based, and relatively inexpensive substance.
Also, CBD has an immediate effect within the first few hours of absorption, but also cumulatively—meaning people are able to assess its suitability and efficacy as a treatment much faster. Who amongst us hasn’t had to ride out weeks—if not months—of antidepressant and antianxiety medication side-effects while waiting to see if your headspace lifted? Not ideal, though of course very necessary sometimes.
So how long does CBD take to work?
As mentioned, depending on what ‘work’ you’re intent on the CBD achieving, it can take as little as an hour after ingesting. This is particularly true for those taking CBD as a relaxation, sleep or anxiety aid, though as with all things your mileage may vary, especially when taking people’s different body sizes and symptom severity levels into account.
With regular use, CBD has also been shown to have long-term downstream effects. For example, as an aid for people dealing with chronic health problems.
What does taking CBD actually feel like?
Again, your mileage will vary and everyone is different. For some, there’s no perceptible feeling at all. Others note feeling generally more relaxed, at ease or calm after ingesting CBD. Some people feel sleepy, which is especially helpful if you’re taking CBD as a sleep aid, but might be worth noting as a potential unwanted side effect if you’re not after sedation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as an inducement to use CBD, or medical cannabis generally. CBD is not a cure-all and may not work for everyone, nor may it affect everyone the same way. Some people may experience side effects when taking CBD. Please consult with your doctor or specialist medical practitioner before undertaking treatment.