I tried 3 CBD self-care products, here's what I learnt. Plus, what experts want you to know

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CBD tends to have a biphasic effect, meaning that it may give you more energy at low doses, while at higher doses, it may well make you feel some fatigue, which is why it may assist with those struggling to sleep. Illustration photo by Getty Images
CBD tends to have a biphasic effect, meaning that it may give you more energy at low doses, while at higher doses, it may well make you feel some fatigue, which is why it may assist with those struggling to sleep. Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • I used three different CBD products (herbal tea, hand cream and tissue oil) to test their efficiency and if they match my personal preference. The jury is still out on whether I'll be using them permanently.
  • I also spoke to experts about CBD.
  • While one company producing CBD products did not comment on my questions, ReThink shed some light to help us understand what the hype is all about.

Since CBD seems to be fast establishing itself as a popular self-care ingredient, it was a no-brainer to try some CBD products out. So, when a ReThink CBD package landed on my desk, I put the kettle on the stove and boiled some water - and yes, I do use a whistling kettle. It's nostalgic, reminiscent of someplace I'm yet to visit where we wear pastel-coloured preppy dresses and fascinators and drink tea all day.

And as Snappy Chef puts it, "those old-fashioned, copper or stainless-steel kettles your grandma used back in the day are once again in vogue".

So, the first product I used, ReThink CBD Dream Tea, was prepared royally, albeit there were no biscuits or cake slices in sight.

According to its packaging, the tea is said to be an aromatic, antioxidant-rich rooibos infused with CBD, lavender, chamomile and is meant to enhance health and well-being. Also, the box says if you need your beauty sleep, "settle down and still the mind with a cupful as you wind down to bedtime."

And that's just what I did. It was a strong cup, with a really great flavour and you can reuse the teabag, unlike the Livewell chamomile tea I'd been taking, which is only good for one cup. So in terms of taste, it's excellent.

CBD, products, tea, lotion, tissue oil, hand cream

The ReThink CBD range of teas. All images supplied by Eclipse Communications

However, I had a slight itch on my body a few minutes after taking the cup on both occasions I drank it. A friend who also tried it didn't have the same sensation. But it was relaxing and gave me the best, most restful two nights I've had in a while. I still haven't decided if the itching is worth the reward though, so the jury is still out on that one.

READ MORE | CBD beauty products: Why they are popular and what to look out for in the labelling

Then I tried the ReThink CBD Body Hand Cream with added linalool. This product contains hemp seed oil, vitamin E, mango butter and shea butter. It's meant to absorb quickly (which it did) and provide continuous moisture to nourish and soothe the skin.

I found it too matt for my preference, as I prefer my hands to be slightly shiny. However, this is how the cream is meant to be. Even the box tags it as non-greasy. So, it's full marks for accurate "advertising". Ultimately the product does what it says it does, so I'd most likely turn to it in summer when I prefer more matt hands due to the heat.

CBD, products, tea, lotion, tissue oil, hand cream

The ReThink CBD Body range, which includes the hand cream and tissue oil that I tried.

Lastly, it was the ReThink Body CBD Tissue Oil. As expected, this product is meant to help improve the appearance of stretch marks, scars and skin tone. It contains hemp seed oil, vitamin E and myrcene. The smell is very neutral and it rubs well on the skin. However, due to the nature of the product, it would take much longer to notice skin improvement. So, in general, I'd give it a try over a more extended period to see how it fares.

READ MORE | 'I tried these 6 TikTok beauty hacks to see if they really work'

CBD products are probably worth a try, out of curiosity or genuine interest. But what do we need to know?

I reached out to experts at ReThink, as well as another company that produces CBD products. The other company, which I will not name, let me know they could not comment on four of my questions:

  • Are CBD products safe for use while driving?
  • Is there an age limit for using CBD products, and why is that?
  • In terms of cosmetics, what makes CBD versions different from regular ones?
  • How are CBD products priced compared to regular products?

The company also offered to provide product-specific information to other questions but could not answer any general questions. Make of it what you will.

Nonetheless, ReThink did respond, and I have to note that on some of their products (such as the tea), they do put an age restriction of 18.

Below, Sean Willard, a pharmacist and certified holistic cannabis practitioner, answers seven CBD-related questions to help us better understand what the hype is all about.

1. What are the benefits and side effects of CBD?

Consumers globally are becoming more and more open to using natural alternatives as their first step toward addressing their wellness needs.

Cannabis has many chemical compounds called cannabinoids, one of which is CBD. It has been used for hundreds of years as a very effective means of bringing balance to the various systems of our body, including helping with resting and chronic pain.

There are many health benefits associated with using CBD. It has been shown that it may assist with relieving symptoms related to pain and inflammation and restlessness, sleeplessness and anxiousness.

Many companies have also combined CBD with botanicals or herbal ingredients to assist with, for example, stress, mood, immune and pain symptoms.

CBD is being studied extensively, and many clinical trials are under way – one has to look at a site like clinicaltrials.gov to see the hundreds of trials currently under way for memory, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, depression, etc. While only a couple of drugs are currently FDA approved, there will undoubtedly be many more in the near future.

Having said this, in this article, we are focused on CBD supplements and, as such, cannot and should not make "disease or disorder" claims. This is a health supplement and, as such, we are only allowed to speak to the relief of symptoms as above.

Sahpra (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) has stipulated that companies selling cannabidiol (CBD) products can speak to: (a) general health enhancement without any reference to specific diseases; (b) health maintenance; or (c) relief of minor symptoms (not related to a disease or disorder).

The WHO (World Health Organisation) released a paper in 2017 that noted that CBD is "generally regarded as safe and well-tolerated.

There's always the possibility of drug interactions. So, it is crucial that if consumers are on chronic medication, always check in with their healthcare advisor before using any supplements.

Minor side effects reported include diarrhoea, vomiting, decreased appetite and abdominal discomfort and, at higher doses, sedation, lethargy and fatigue.

Remember that these may well be dose-related, so always "Start low and Go slow".

READ MORE | Jabu Stone praises the benefits of sativa oil found in its new CBD haircare range

2. Are CBD products safe for use while driving?

CBD is interesting in that it tends to have a biphasic effect, meaning that it may give you more energy at low doses, while at higher doses, it may well make you feel some fatigue (which is why it may assist with those struggling to sleep).

We would always tell consumers to "start low and go slow" and monitor how they feel before using any supplements while driving. Most people confuse CBD with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which tends to make people feel "high".

To be clear, CBD does not make you "high" but, again, one needs to ensure you are taking a pure CBD product that doesn't have any THC in it.

3. Is there an age limit to using CBD products, and why is that?

Sahpra has recommended that CBD health supplements not be taken by people under the age of 18 years, and therefore most CBD supplements will specify this in their patient information leaflet.

A CBD-containing drug on the market overseas is FDA approved for epilepsy in children from two years of age, but that's a different scenario as it is a scheduled drug, not a health supplement.

A minimum age has been set because not enough studies have been done to verify safety at younger ages at this stage, so they err on the side of caution.

READ MORE | From skincare products to hair treatments, could cannabis oil be the future of beauty?

4. In terms of cosmetics, what makes CBD versions different from regular ones?

CBD, when added to a pharmaceutical range, can confer various health benefits. Just like we have various receptors in our Brain and Body that CBD can interact with via various mechanisms of action, similarly, we have these same CB1 and CB2 receptors in our skin.

CBD has been shown to increase the concentration of one of our endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made in your body) called anandamide. This cannabinoid has been shown to assist with symptoms such as pain and inflammation, for example.

CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect on sebocytes, the skin cells that produce sebum. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD may help reduce swelling, pain and redness from existing breakouts or irritation from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

5. How are CBD products priced compared to regular products?

CBD is currently all imported, but it is cost-effective if one considers the value that it offers consumers.

There are many different forms (oils, capsules, teas, shots and creams, for example) that allow consumers to choose an affordable dosage form for their specific needs.

In due course, CBD will be locally sourced, and this will, in turn, reduce the price of the end product to the consumer as well.

READ MORE | Time to put your skin on a vegetarian diet to rid it of all its concerns

6. Have the products been tested for safety?

ReThink products have all been tested and endorsed by the CRI (Cannabis Research Institute of South Africa). Firstly, the CBD, which is organically grown in Switzerland, is tested at source for over 300 different pesticides, insecticides, toxins and heavy metals, etc.

The CBD is then once again tested at the certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) manufacturer here in South Africa.

Each batch of product goes through stringent testing, and a Certificate of Analysis for that specific batch is issued – the batch is then signed off and released by the responsible pharmacist.

7. Why do you advocate for CBD use?

Firstly, consumers tell us how it addresses various symptoms and how great they feel using it. Although this is anecdotal evidence and not clinical studies per se, at the end of the day, the consumers are the ones who know whether it is assisting them or not. So, it's always encouraging to hear positive feedback. We have a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system, and although this was only recently discovered back in the late 80s early 90s – we've always had it.

This system plays a vital part in our wellness by bringing about a sense of balance (homeostasis) to the systems in our bodies.

CBD has been shown to help support this system in many different ways. I believe that taking CBD to maintain or enhance your overall wellness and support this system is recommended.

Whether you want to address symptoms of pain, stress and anxiousness or whether you want to maintain your health, CBD is a supplement I'd add to my daily health regime.

Have you used CBD products before? Tell us here.

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