Can’t sleep? Anxious? Depressed? In pain?
If you answered yes of any of these, chances are you’ve already heard of CBD, or cannabidiol. Derived directly from the hemp plant, CBD is one of hundreds of components in marijuana. But it’s Very Different in chemical composition and effect: CBD isn’t going to get you high, it’s not going to give you the munchies, and it’s not going to convince you to pack in your job and move to a beach in Goa.
Instead, CBD is a safe, legal substance that works gently with the body’s endocannabinoid system to bring any imbalances back to equilibrium. And for many, CBD brings much-needed relief from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or hundreds of other debilitating conditions.
“I suffered with anxiety and depression all my adult life, in fact all the way through my teens,” says Anne-Marie. “Doctors told me that this is just who I am, that it would always be a part of me. But by the time I was on the highest dose of medication my GP could prescribe, having worked my way up the ladder of anti-depressants over the years, I knew I needed to make a drastic change if I had any chance of getting better.”
A fresh start in Cyprus, “away from the rush of the UK, being able to enjoy my family more, the sunshine and the laidback Cyprus lifestyle, meant I was able to start to recover without the constant stress,” Anne-Marie continues. “And, for the first time, I was told by a pharmacist how very bad were the anti-depressants and similar medications I was taking. He warned of all the side effects and withdrawal symptoms and told me that these medications were ‘worse than heroin’.”
Fortunately, her husband Philip discovered an article on CBD and the amazing things it could do for those who suffered from conditions similar to Anne-Marie’s. Huge amounts of research followed, and then “I slowly began to reduce by medication, and introduce CBD oil,” says Anne-Marie. “The transition took about four months. And I have never looked back. Since then I have been through some personal losses and tough times, but CBD has seen me through, and I have never felt I could not cope. It has changed my life.”
The ever-growing list of CBD’s benefits and uses are still being heavily researched. But one thing is for certain. Unlike marijuana, CBD is not addictive. The World Health Organisation has even issued a statement to that end, acknowledging that “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Meanwhile, as people around the world discover the benefits of CBD, scientists are slowly starting to increase research into what many hail as a ‘wonder cure’. One of the largest reviews (covered by the Harvard Medical School) examining the health effects of CBD concluded that there is substantial evidence it is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. The FDA has already approved a purified CBD extract to treat rare seizure disorders. A study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology proved that CBD reduced nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety. The Permanente health journal has also published a clinical study proving that cannabidiol benefits anxiety-related disorders, with nearly 80 per cent of subjects showing noticeably decreased levels of anxiety within one month. And the Department of Veterans Affairs is currently funding a full study into the benefits of CBD on post-traumatic stress disorder.
“To date,” says Phil, “research has found that CBD can help relieve anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, epilepsy, balancing hormones, as well as general pain from headaches, migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and MS. In fact, when we were researching CBD as a treatment for Anne-Marie, I mentioned it to a work colleague whose wife suffered with MS, and he asked if we could get some for her too…
“As early as two weeks in, we both started feeling the great benefits of taking CBD oil ourselves!” says Anne-Marie. “And from then on, it just seemed like everyone we spoke to was suffering with one thing or another and we would respond with ‘have you tried CBD Oil?’ And, of course, then we were being asked to help get it for people. The business just grew from there.”
Currently, CBD Cyprus – which is online only, and based in Paphos – offers three brands of CBD oil, Surepure, Alpha and Arora, chosen for their quality and the fact that they are independently UK manufactured oils. Dropped under the tongue and absorbed sublingually is the most common method of administration, but there are other methods of absorbing CBD as well, and the shop sells CBD in the form of gummies, capsules, vapes, and teas.
There are also a number of CBD lotions, massage oils, and balms which can be applied topically, for those who suffer from skin conditions. “One customer had really bad eczema; she’d tried everything,” says Phil. “But the creams her doctor prescribed thinned her skin, and the steroid tablets caused her to gain weight. So she started taking the oil and using CBD lotions. Within a few days, she began to see improvements: the redness and inflammation were noticeably calmer and she was able to sleep so much better. Within a few months, she didn’t need the steroids or creams prescribed by her doctor at all; she was using just her normal moisturiser and supplementing with CBD oil.”
It seems that CBD – especially in the form of oil – can help treat any number of conditions, and the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, even here in Cyprus. Sotos, who suffers from arthritis, has been taking CBD oil for the past two years. “Before discovering CBD, I’d visited nearly every specialist on the island – neurologists, rheumatologists, endocrinologists; nothing they gave me eased the pain. Then a friend bought me a bottle of CBD oil from the UK. And, within a few months, I was back to leading an almost normal life.”
Moira, who suffers with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress, also enjoys the benefits of CBD. She takes Arora 500mg from CBD Cyprus on a daily basis. “It is the only thing,” she says, “without nasty side-effects. Conventional medicine – even Panadol and ibuprofen – fog my brain and upset my tummy. When I started using CBD oil, all that changed; it takes the edge off the pain with no ill effects. I had to experiment a bit to get the right dose, but now I have, I can function again.”
“Getting the right oil and the right dose is key,” says Phil. “Everybody is different, as is their pain threshold and their condition, so it can be a bit of trial and error to get the right dose. But through our own experiences and research, and others’ feedback, we’re able to guide new users of CBD to where they should start.
“As time goes on and CBD becomes more well known,” he concludes, “it will be available in so many more forms. We’ll be seeing it in everyday products such as makeup and personal care items. Already, America and Australia are a few years ahead in their CBD journey, and thousands are using CBD in all sorts of forms, for all sorts of conditions. But for now, here in Cyprus, the majority of our customers are seeking to heal themselves or someone they care about.”