By Nia Purslow, 8th Feb, 2021
Now more than ever, due to the current and challenging circumstances of lockdown, there has been a surge in people suffering from poor mental health daily, with one in every ten individuals diagnosed with a mental disorder globally. In fact, 80% of these individuals have declared that Covid19 has made their symptoms worse and the isolation and loneliness that comes with it. Serious and severe mental health illnesses can have widespread impacts throughout our bodily functions, and anxiety disorder, in particular, is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and psychiatric illness.
Improving our mental health may no longer be as simple as talking to a friend on the phone or relying on our daily medication to keep our symptoms at bay – It could be that you are in search of something that will treat the problem, not mask it.
Are you looking for a natural way to boost your mood? Do you need something that won’t cause havoc on your body, that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals with nasty side effects? Then let me introduce you to CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD is known as a cannabidiol and is one of the many active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. Unlike its psychotropic counterpart, the compound THC, CBD is non-intoxicating; therefore you won’t get high.
Cannabis has provided a valuable healing source throughout history, which goes back centuries. The first use of cannabis-extracted medicine stretches right back to 2737 BC, when the Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used tea infused with cannabis to treat several diseases, such as malaria, rheumatism, memory loss, and gout, therefore not only treating physical but mental issues too. From this moment forward, its success paved the way for CBD to become popular and extended throughout Asia, the Middle East, and the coast of Africa.
A study published by Irish physician and medical researcher William B. O’Shaughnessy, which outlined the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, opened the doors towards the discovery of compounds that would one day be called cannabinoids; therefore other researchers began to consider the medical applications of cannabis in modern medicine.
CBD and mental health
Preclinical tests have strongly shown that CBD can be used to supplement the treatment of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder and schizophrenia – Anxiety being the most common due to its anti-compulsive and panic effects on the brain. Research also shows that it can be effective in treating depression, PTSD, and sleep disorders.
A study was carried out on a group of participants who had a social anxiety disorder, where they would ingest a CBD capsule before they took part in a speaking task. The compound was proven to reduce levels of stress significantly, in comparison to a placebo. Volunteers then took a CBD capsule following the consumption of THC. Both elements combined reduced signs of anxiety, thus proving that CBD is effective in anxiety disorders, and that the psychoactive properties of THC can indeed be beneficial to the pathological process and nervous system.
It seems that due to its non-intoxicating properties, CBD can help aid in concentration and focus. It is said that it can support the brain’s area which processes memories and emotions, known as the hippocampus, therefore taking a daily amount of CBD can boost our overall well-being and emotional state.
Many people are turning towards alternative medicine to treat themselves, as synthetic treatment costs are so expensive, and maybe doing them more harm than good. Often, anxiety patients are turning down medical treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy due to cannabidiol being so effective. What’s more, there are no long-term risks associated with taking it.
Many people have given marijuana a bad reputation by labeling it ‘the gateway drug,’ which has created a stigma. This claim has led people to believe it is dangerous, addictive, or harmful – But this couldn’t be further from the truth, and therefore extensive research has undermined these stereotypes.
Furthermore, the legalization of medicinal marijuana in the United States and parts of Europe has evoked the need for further investigation into CBD’s potential uses, hence why so many countries use it in medications to remedy several chronic medical conditions, such as cancer and rare cases of epilepsy.
For example, a young girl named Charlotte Figi, who suffered from a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome, was having up to 300 seizures a week. Her parents decided to turn towards CBD as a form of therapy to help her, and soon after, her seizures went from 300 a week to 2-3 a month. This is a remarkable personal story on what CBD can do for someone with a chronic illness like hers. Charlotte has inspired the CBD movement forever and is now a symbol of the possibilities that CBD can bring to someone’s life.
By changing personal perceptions, educating the world, and sharing personal stories on CBD’s benefits, this has created a surge of awareness about its advantages across the country.
How to add CBD into your routine
I am not claiming that CBD should replace your medication or that it is a cure; the choice is yours in how you wish to use it. It is not one size fits all; we are all different in terms of what we can tolerate and how things respond to us, but as alternative medicine, I believe anything natural that has been proven to help with all kinds of diseases, including the shrinking of cancerous tumors, the ability to help relieve chronic pain and to help with insomnia, has to be pretty amazing.
Whether you are looking to take CBD for your mental health or for a better sense of well-being, there really are no fixed guidelines on how and when to take it. If it makes you feel relaxed and ready for sleep, then take it in the evening before bed, or if it gives you a feeling of get up and go, then take it in the morning with your coffee. Implementing it into your daily routine is whatever works best for you and your lifestyle, but it is always recommended you speak to your doctor before trying any CBD products.
So, now that we have cleared that up, here are some of the many ways in which we can incorporate CBD into our lives.
- CBD Vape Juice
- CBD Oil
- CBD Gummies
- CBD Balm
- CBD Bath Bomb
- CBD Body lotion
- CBD Body Wash
- CBD Shampoo
As you can see, there really is something for everyone. If you do not want to consume it or don’t like the taste, then have a luxurious bath with some relaxing CBD fizzers, or massage the balm onto your skin for its medicinal effects to relieve eczema. However, if you decide to use gummies rather than oil, then it will take longer for the CBD to be absorbed into your body for its full effects. People who suffer from physical illnesses such as mobility problems or back pain may benefit by taking CBD orally, along with cream for maximum relief.
Are there different levels of CBD?
Yes, there are. It is important to know the difference between the three categories.
FULL-SPECTRUM – Contains CBD and all the other natural components of the cannabis plant, including THC.
BROAD SPECTRUM – Similar to full-spectrum but have undergone more purification and processing to ensure THC’s removal.
CBD ISOLATES – Only contains CBD. Extraction process from the other associated components, CBD in its purest form. (This is a good choice for those with sensitivity to other cannabinoids or THC).
All of these choices have overall health and wellbeing benefits; however, the best option for you would be based on personal preference and how you tolerate them. When buying, be sure to buy from a trusted third party company that is transparent in what they’re selling; for example always check for the correct product labeling and read customer reviews to see if the brand has developed consumer trust. It is also vital to look for products that have been lab-tested, which confirms the amount of CBD and cannabinoid content in them. If you are not sure, continue with further research before purchasing.
Top CBD brands
According to Reader’s Digest, here are some of the best and most trustworthy brands of CBD in 2020.
- Blessed CBD
This brand is known to have the purest and strongest CBD range in the UK market today. It is also full-spectrum, which includes a long list of cannabinoids for added health benefits. Furthermore, their plants are grown using only organic practices, and you can research their lab results on their website, making them a trustworthy brand.
- CBD Pure
This is a small company that carefully chooses their products, each being of high quality and effectiveness. CBD Pure maintains third party authentication, with extraordinary levels of purity and grade due to the extraction process of CO2. Their compounds are kept 100% organic, non-GMO, and without the use of extra chemicals or additives.
- Love Hemp
Based in London, this company prides itself on quality. Love Hemp uses organic Hemp chosen from crops, which are selected genetically for their phytochemical type, delivering a full-spectrum CBD oil. Boasting its organic properties, this one keeps it clean of chemicals just like the rest. They are a bit pricier than other brands, but after all, it is about quality, right?
- Endoca Raw
This is an organic, vegan, and gluten-free brand of CBD oil. If you like to take great care to know where your products come from, with minimum effects on the planet, this is a fantastic option for you. The company provides ingredient listings and reports with each batch and is available in tinctures and capsules.
- Holistic Hemp
To this day, all their plants are grown across European farms, where strict standards are applied, and the brand believes in handcrafted CBD. No chemicals or pesticides are added in the process, and their hemp flowers are all handpicked, thus making the product as close to nature as possible.
Quite a recent name to the UK CBD market, providing a full range of oils, edibles, and tinctures, all the way up to vape oils and capsules. The oil itself is European grown, again with third-party lab registration and certification from the Cannabis Trades Association UK. Another brand making for a good choice to add to your list.
- Bud and Tender
Also relatively new on the scene, unlike all the others in our top picks, their oils are extracted and strained to apply the ethanol extraction technique, resulting in a light, floral and fruity flavour. The company is extremely open in communicating online and provides a trustworthy, reliable service, and lab reports for every batch. It may be exciting to try this brand before it gets big.
- Select CBD
Produced in America, UK consumers are now able to experience Select CBD products. Using the CO2 extraction, there is absolutely 0% THC present, which makes it legal in the UK. The range of flavours available makes this brand stand out from the rest and masks the original flavour of the earthy CBD. The only downside is that delivery may take a little longer.
So there we have it. Some of the top quality and best-reviewed brands for CBD in the UK. I think it is safe to say we are spoilt for choice here, but it is clear that quality is everything, and choosing a trustworthy brand is key in taking steps to wellness.
Healthy lifestyle habits
Alongside taking CBD, whether it is orally or topically, there are some lifestyle changes we can make to improve our mental health and wellbeing for our bodies and minds to function at the optimum level.
- Meditating (Allows us to be present with our thoughts and how our body is feeling by taking a moment within ourselves to process the day)
- Getting out for a walk in nature (May soothe the mind and change the way our brains work, improving our mental health and clarity)
- Eat healthy (Benefits our mood and our bodies)
- Exercise (Releases good endorphins into the brain)
- Sleep well (This is a critical component to our mental health, as lack of sleep can lead to insomnia, stress, and exhaustion).
- Avoid alcohol (This could contribute to our low mood and cause depression and anxiety).
- Stay connected – (Combat the isolation that we all feel right now, do not suffer in silence, stay in touch virtually with those close to you, this will give you a sense of belonging).
- Taking a social media cleanse (Too much time pointlessly scrolling on social media can cause us to feel anxious and stressed, and interrupt with sleeping habits, spend less time on the tech).
CBD can provide us with a wealth of physical and mental health benefits, and therefore can be used as a natural and alternative way for us to improve our overall well-being. We are quick to take man-made harmful medicines, but why should we be so quick to dismiss natural alternatives that could heal us from within?
And as CBD is non-narcotic, proven to produce such positive effects on our health, I see no reason why we should not all be trying it for a life of longevity.