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CBD - What are its benefits and uses?

What is CBD and what does it stand for?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the many cannabinoids, and our body has endocannabinoid receptors which attach to cannabinoids. Try saying that fast 10 times. You also get CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and CBC (cannabichromene) as well which have different functions on the body.

CBD is an extract from the Cannabis plant. The Cannabis plant generally comes in three varieties, Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis and belongs to the same family as hops, used to make beer. So its got to be good. Hemp is a strain of Cannabis Sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC. While cannabis is also commonly known as dagga, weed, zol, pot, marijuana, CBD is an extract from that plant, and the "high" or fun part of weed comes form THC, and that is removed in a CBD supplement.

The bud of a flower contains the most cannabinoids, and so the buds are primarily harvested, and not the leaves.

CBD is often sold as an oil. This means CBD is mixed or blended with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or mct oil. However, the flavor can be quite "herby", so CBD is sometimes put in other things like gummies, chocolate or honey. It can also be hard to get an exact dose with an oil.


THC (tetrahydracannabinol) is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, and causes the sensation of "high", also know as getting goofed. CBD extracts remove the THC from extract, so 0% THC is often quoted, meaning there is no "high" to be had. THC is not legal for purchase in South Africa. Technically, though, it is currently legal to grow cannabis for personal consumption.

How does CBD work?

Put on your smart hat now, it's gonna get complicated.

The body produces endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. They’re similar to cannabinoids from plants, but they’re produced by your body. Studies are still ongoing, and some theories have been thrown about. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) contributes to homeostasis, which refers to stability of your internal environment. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation. It's like water being splashed about in a bottle, and then it finding its way to being still again.

Many believe CBD works by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down. This allows them to have more of an effect on your body. It's like filling your car with fuel, and not pouring it on a braai. More fuel in your car, means you can go further. Others believe that CBD binds to a receptor that hasn’t been discovered yet. They may also believe in fairies, we're not sure.

What does that all mean? Our body makes little good guys that keep our body all warm and happy. Some things come into the body and take out the little good guys. CBD is like a bodyguard. It protects the little good guys, so they can do their job of keeping us all warm and fuzzy inside.

Is CBD legal in South Africa?

CBD is legal in South Africa, with some restrictions, while THC is not. The situation is currently, what legal experts call "fuzzy". CBD is legal to be sold, provided no more than 20 milligrams per day is sold. So a single serving of 20mg can be sold, or a monthly supply of 600mg. The CBD must not contain more than 0.001% THC. However, the law has not been 100% defined, and this is an interim arrangement.

What is CBD isolate? What is CBD distillate?

CBD comes in isolate and distillate versions. CBD isolate, is only CBD. 100% CBD. CBD distillate, also called full spectrum, contains CBD and some other components, like CBN, CBG and CBC. Distillate is more expensive, but it's because tests have to make sure there is no THC, and then the distillate is tested for percentage of CBD. ZANG uses 88% distillate, which means 88% CBD, and 12% other components. These other components have benefits of their own, and can help the CBD work better.

Why is CBD so expensive?

CBD is an extract. Extracts can be done in many ways. Making tea, is essentially an extraction, where hot water releases components of the leaf into water. A tincture is like tea, but done with alcohol. These methods are fairly simple, and fairly cheap. CBD is a bit more complicated.

In order not to damage the CBD, it can't be heated to high temperatures, or have lots of solvents put through it. So a process called film wipe vacuum distillation is used. Basically, only the buds of the flowers are used, put in a vacuum, and heated. Because of the vacuum, a lower temperature is needed to boil off the oils. A large film collects the oil, and then the oil is wiped off with a kind of squeegee and collected. It's like getting your windscreen cleaned in space. Easy.

Then it has to be processed to ensure the THC is removed, and then tested to make sure what was expected actually came it. Like Sheryl Crow said, "No one said it would be easy." But it is worth it.


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