What Is CBD? | Effects, Uses & Products in South Africa

For many years, the cannabis plant was viewed negatively as a drug and hence war was waged against it. However, in recent years, popular opinion about it has changed.

The movement for the legalization of cannabis in South Africa has brought with it the freedom, not just to use marijuana recreationally, but also to enjoy CBD’s many benefits.

The rising interest in this compound has led to research efforts to gain a greater understanding of how CBD functions and how we can use it for our benefit. As a result, its popularity has soared.

So, what does CBD mean, and what is this wonder compound? Let’s find out.

What Is CBD?

Cannabis sativa is a member of the Cannabaceae family of plants. This plant produces compounds known as cannabinoids, and, among others, two types are widely known, namely: THC and CBD.

It is essential to distinguish between them because they function differently and have different effects.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a substance that is found in high quantities in marijuana. It is psychoactive; in other words, it can make you “high”.

Cannabidiol (CBD), unlike THC, does not give you that “high” feeling. It has emerged as a health product with purportedly significant medicinal uses and health benefits. You can use CBD for humans, and it is also safe to use on your pets.

What Does Cannabidiol Do?

a plastic model of the human brain

While CBD does not give you a high, it can still significantly affect a person.

Effects on the Brain

When cannabidiol enters the brain, it acts on CB2 receptors and is reported to create anti-inflammatory responses in the immune cells that are located within the brain. This can possibly lead to a reduction in the extent to which inflammation can cause damage to the brain.

Research has also shown that cannabidiol acts on CB2 receptors in a way that possibly decreases oxidative damage. Oxidation contributes to the deterioration of brain tissue, so cannabidiol can function to protect brain cells from being harmed.

Lastly, cannabidiol increases the levels of anandamide in the brain. Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid made in the body, and it’s been reported to play a role in the regulation of other chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Effects on the Body

Once it has entered your system, cannabidiol reacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are a part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS extends throughout the entire body and plays an important role in numerous bodily functions.

The ECS impacts your metabolism, immune system response, appetite stimulation, inflammation, and the way in which your body responds to pain.It’s been said to also promote healthy bodily responses, decrease pain, inflammation, and stress, among other things.

What Is CBD Used for?

Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, which can make it safe to use as a medicine without the fear of potentially unpleasant experiences. But first ensure you speak to your doctor.

CBD users take it for various conditions, as it has proven to have a positive effect across a wide spectrum of health issues.


There is scientific research that has given strong evidence that CBD is very effective in the treatment of epilepsy. It effectively treats those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome in a way other anti-seizure medications fail to do.

Chronic Pain

Research shows that CBD may inhibit neuropathic and inflammatory pain, which are otherwise difficult to treat. It can also lower inflammation and arthritis-related pain when applied transdermally.


Research has shown that the calming effects of CBD may also help with staying asleep and falling asleep.


People commonly report that CBD helps with anxiety, so those with anxiety may have a more natural treatment that they can take.


Studies found that, under certain conditions, CBD can help to lower tobacco and heroin cravings. It may also help lessen the cravings for cannabis, opioids, alcohol, and stimulants.


There is evidence that CBD may aid in the prevention of the spread of some forms of cancer. It aids in suppressing the growth of cancer cells and promoting their destruction. There is a call to do more research to discover the ways in which cannabidiol can be used in cancer treatment.


The effectiveness of cannabidiol as an anti-inflammatory may improve your skin’s appearance. Acne is caused by overworking sebaceous glands and inflammation. The topical application of CBD may aid in reducing inflammation and the production of sebum, which can result in clearer skin.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is also associated with inflammation. The condition occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, leading to inflammation. Cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory properties may ease it and thus help to protect against or even delay the emergence of type 1 diabetes.


CBD medical products have been shown to possibly function as an antidepressant due to their interactions with the serotonin receptors within the brain.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the degeneration and death of brain cells. Cannabidiol protects brain cells, and a study has shown that CBD could help to slow down the onset and progression of this disease.

CBD Health Products

CBD is simply a compound that can be extracted from a plant. This opens the doors for its incorporation into many different types of products due to its versatility.

There is a wide range of CBD products to choose from, so here are a few:

CBD Oil Tincture

a tincture bottle of cbd oil on a cannabis leaf

What is CBD oil? It is an oil that can be consumed orally. One way to consume it is sublingually, by using a dropper to put a few drops under the tongue.

These drops cannot easily be measured, so specific dosages are not possible if the oil has been prescribed. When held directly under the tongue, there is a rapid onset compared to being swallowed.

CBD Oil Capsule

cbd capsules in the palm of a hand

Another way to take CBD oil is by means of a softgel. This way it is metabolized by the liver, which sends its active compounds around the body over the course of a few hours. They may be difficult to swallow, and the onset time is longer.

Edible Gummies

a few of edible gummies

These gummies are consumed orally. It is easy to dose them, but they can melt. It also takes a longer time for them to onset.


These include lotions, creams, ointments, and patches. They are applied to the skin and can apply relief to a specific area of the body. It is difficult for these to be dosed.

Vape Juices

These are liquids infused with CBD. They are inhaled through a vaporizer and have the fastest onset time. There are greater health risks associated with this, which include lung damage.

What Are The Side Effects Of CBD?

There are some known side effects of CBD.

The calming effect of CBD can result in drowsiness and fatigue. It can also lead to a reduced appetite, a dry mouth, nausea, irritability, and diarrhea. 

Cannabidiol may lead to an increase in blood thinning. The use of high doses of cannabidiol can lead to abnormal liver functioning. It also interacts with other medications.

What Drugs Should Not Be Taken With CBD?

a tipped-over pill bottle with pills inside

There are certain medicines you shouldn’t take when using CBD products.

  • Avoid corticosteroids. These treat inflammation.
  • Avoid antidepressants, as they interact with CBD and can increase other adverse side effects such as drowsiness.
  • Avoid antipsychotics because they interact with CBD and can lead to increased sleepiness.
  • Avoid benzodiazepines because they interact with CBD and can exacerbate symptoms of fatigue.
  • Avoid antihistamines because they interact with CBD and can worsen side effects.
  • Avoid opioids, as they interact with CBD and can lead to increased fatigue.
  • Avoid taking CBD along with stimulants because this can lead to a decrease in appetite.

CBD leads to something called “altered concentration”, which comes from CBD competing with or interfering with the enzymes that break down drugs in the liver. This altered concentration can result in medication not working or increased risk of possible side effects.

How Much CBD Oil Can You Get From One Plant?

field of cannabis plants

The popularity of cannabidiol has made it a lucrative opportunity for those who are interested in growing marijuana and using it to treat minor ailments.

Cannabidiol is mainly harvested from hemp plants. This is because hemp has the least THC and a much greater amount of CBD. A single hemp plant can produce around one pound of CBD oil.


Cannabidiol is a compound that effectively serves many purposes. Therefore, it can be beneficial for your overall health, plus it’s natural.

The wide variety of ways in which it can be used, whether swallowed or applied, is a testament to its purported ability to positively impact every part of your body.

If you haven’t tried it yet, consider using CBD for any of the above purposes and more. That said, be cautious and consult your healthcare practitioner before trying CBD, especially if you are taking other medication already.

Who knows, you may even grow and harvest your own cannabis in your garden for recreational or medicinal use.


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