Last year Mason Ho called it “a magic oil that fixes everything in the world,” before describing how he fed some to an injured Noa Deane.
Jet-setting tube hound Koa Smith loves it so much he wrote a rap song about it. Its benefits are espoused by everyone from professional free-climbers to Kim Kardashian, and you can consume it in virtually any form the mind can imagine, including fried chicken, enthused jelly-beans and topical balms.
Welcome to the world of CBD; the new panacea taking over the health and wellness world. Here, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about what it is, what it does and where it came from.
What is CBD and where did it come from?
CBD is short for ‘cannabidiol’ and it’s the second most prevalent active ingredient in the cannabis plant. Unlike its counterpart THC, CBD doesn’t get you high, but rather boasts a whole wealth of other effects on the body and brain. Also contrary to THC, it’s completely legal to consume in the UK.
On a molecular level, CBD works by targeting a group of receptors in the brain and throughout the nervous system called the endocannabinoid system, which scientists believe to be the key mechanism for regulating functions such as pain, mood and sleep. CBD’s wide array of advocates claim it’s helped them with everything from muscle strain to insomnia. But if it is a miracle cure, then why are its abundant uses only just coming to light?
Cannabinoids have been used in medicine for thousands of years and form the staple of many ancient Chinese and Indian remedies. They’ve also featured in European medicine since the early 1800s after an Irish physician noted their efficacy on a trip to India. However, it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that CBD was isolated from the other compounds found in the plant and its standalone benefits explored.
In the late 1970s, after a series of animal-based studies suggested it may help with convulsions, a group of Brazilian scientists conducted the first double-blind study to test the effect of CBD on children with a rare form of Epilepsy. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with seizures dramatically reduced in all but one of the eight children given the oil.
While scientific interest in the area slowed over the following years, the seeds had been sown for what would eventually carry CBD out of obscurity and into the mainstream consciousness.
Decades later, the findings were rediscovered by a group of American parents, desperate to help their epileptic children and it was them, rather than pharmaceutical companies, whose experimentation would bring the therapeutic qualities of CBD to light.
The most prominent of these parents was Paige Figi, who after trying every medicine available, gave her daughter Charlotte a CBD rich cannabis extract purchased from a local grower. After the results proved transformative- first for Charlotte and then for the dozens of other children whose parents followed Paige’s lead- the US legislature was forced to take notice and a CBD treatment called Epidiolex was fast-tracked for approval. Britain followed suit last year- ruling that specialist doctors in the UK would now be able to legally prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products.
In the years since the popularity of CBD oil as both a medicine and a health supplement has exploded, with the media becoming awash with ringing endorsements from users across the world. However, the evidence for its efficacy isn’t just anecdotal. The last decade has seen a series of scientific studies that back claims CBD can reduce pain, help with social anxiety, and improve sleep.
Who is using CBD?
Action sports athletes were among the first public figures to spread the word about the benefits of CBD for health and recovery. Competitive climber Lisa Chulich described on her blog how CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, which are backed up by a 2015 study, have helped her:
“As a climber, I use [CBD] salve on my finger joints/tendons after brutal days climbing and finger training to reduce some of the stress there without sending anti-inflammatory signals to my entire body,”
Big wave world champion Billy Kemper also says he takes capsules everyday in order to “feel better and help with recovery.” Koa Rothman too is a big fan: “When the waves are good and you’re surfing a ton and get sore,” he explained in an interview with Surfer Magazine, “it makes you feel way better and you’re still totally clear headed and normal. I totally back it.”
After CBD was removed from the banned substance list in 2017 mainstream sports stars too, have began adding it to their daily health routines. British professional rugby players Dom Day and George Kruis found it so helpful during their own periods of injury recovery they decided to create their own range of organic CBD supplements and after eight months of rigorous development, fourfive CBD hit the market.
As professional athletes, the pair understand the vital importance of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body, leading them to prioritise the safety and reliability of their products above all else.
While a 2018 study found 70% of CBD products tested were mislabeled when it came to the amount of CBD present, fourfive provide independent lab reports for each of their varieties, so you know exactly what’s in them.
They were also the first CBD company in the world to have their 0% THC variety- which is designed specifically for professional athletes- certified as completely free of banned substances by the ‘Banned Substance Control Group’.
How do you take CBD?
Fourfive CBD comes in three different forms. As an oil; which is sprayed underneath the tongue to be absorbed by the body as fast as possible. As a capsule; for those on a busy schedule who want CBD released slowly into their body throughout the day. And as a balm; which can be applied directly to a specific area of the body. Users report that the oils and capsules work particularly well for dealing with stress and anxiety, while the balm is perfect for localised pain, as well as skin conditions like Acne, Eczema and Psoriasis.
In terms of dosage, fourfive recommends starting by taking one or two capsules per day, or two sprays, three times a day and then increasing the dosage if you require. With each product, they do not recommend that you ingest more than 200mg per day.
While science is still trying to map the full range of CBD’s potential benefits (there are over 20 studies currently underway in the US alone), the World Health Organisation released a report in 2017 stating unequivocally that there’s no evidence to suggest CBD is at all dangerous or habit-forming.
Accordingly, if you’re looking for a safe and organic way to treat pain, feel calmer and sleep better, it could be just the supplement you’ve been searching for.