Cannabidiol-infused products are becoming popular in South Africa. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The status of cannabidiol (CBD) has changed and is now legal for trade in South Africa.

It’s a compound derived from cannabis that is showing up in everything from muscle pain-relief creams to beauty products.

Dr Asafika Mbangata, who works at the Community-Oriented Substance Use Programme, said tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was one of many chemicals found in dagga which has psychoactive effects which makes you high.

Depending on consumption, the effects may kick in within minutes after smoking or ingesting and may last from five to 24 hours.

However, CBD impacts the central nervous system without the high and can be used for medicinal purposes.

Relief of chronic neuropathic pain, such as from multiple sclerosis, HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, cancer, chronic alcohol use and rheumatoid arthritis, is among the research-proven benefits of CBD.

In South Africa, CBD was legalised for 12 months by former health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi earlier this year.

That makes such CBD preparations legal to sell - by anyone, not just pharmacists - and to purchase without a prescription.

There are restrictions to the legislation and it includes two conditions. Firstly, the prescribed maximum daily dose of CBD must be 20mg or less and be sold in a certain concentration.

The product also cannot be advertised as a treatment or cure; it can only be marketed as a “general health enhancement”.

Since this has come into effect, CBD has become more popular each day. Jena Goncalves and somatologist Emi Grobbelaar co-founded Alchemy Elixzar, which uses CBD-infused products as part of their skin-care range.

Goncalves, who has many years' experience in the medical and acupuncture field, said they import their tested CBD from the US, since locally pure lab-certified CBD was not readily available yet.

It is widely reported that CBD has a number of health benefits and is taking the industry by storm.

“Another interesting fact about CBD in the health and wellness industry is that it seems to be an industry that is dominated by women. Women are the biggest players in the beauty industry and it is no surprise that they would be the leaders in this new field of natural and organic compounds that seem to be able to alleviate many different ailments and make us look fresh and rested at the same time.

“Who would go for anything less?”

However, it is important to note that CBD oil is not the same thing as hemp seed oil.

Goncalves explained that the health benefits of having cannabis-infused health products and beauty products included: anti-ageing, countering free radicals, anti-oxidants, reducing acne (because it works as an anti-inflammatory) and fighting rosacea and eczema.

Like any other treatment, it’s always best to first check with your doctor or homeopath if this is the right solution for you and what ails you.

Just because CBD is now legally available in South Africa doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right treatment for you.