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Is CBD Oil Safe? Here’s What You Need To Know

CBD oil is the new buzz word around town and everyone from anxious students, to cancer patients, to moms who need more sleep are putting this miraculous oil, with a light amber tincture, under their tongues and reaping the benefits.

Now that it’s been made legal in South Africa, more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon. But just how safe is it? And how do you know which products to trust?

The Legal Stuff

In May 2019, Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi moved Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from dagga, from the list of strictly-controlled drugs (schedule 7), to schedule 4, which means it is now available on prescription for medicinal use. At the same time, he issued a 12-month exemption from the requirements of the Medicines Act for low-dose CBD products – they may now be sold by anyone, be it a health shop or an online store, as long as they meet the following two requirements; the maximum daily dosage may not exceed 20 milligrams and the products may not claim to treat or cure a specific medical condition.

This exemption will expire on15 May 2020 unless renewed, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens to the control of the sale of CBD after that. In the meantime, thousands of South Africans are putting it to the test, taking it to treat a range of symptoms from pain, insomnia and depression to inflammatory diseases, cancer-related symptoms, and Alzheimer’s.

How Safe Is CBD Oil?

Reports indicate it is generally a safe substance even over 1000 mg per day. According to the Pre-Review Report issued in 2017 by the World Health Organisation to the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.“ At the time of the report, there had been no evidence of any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD. Clinical studies have also reported that even high doses of oral CBD do not cause the effects that are characteristic when THC (the compound that makes you “high”) is present, and evidence from experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential (ie it’s unlikely you can get addicted to it).

What Are The Risks Of Taking CBD Oil?

As with anything that sounds like it’s too good to be true, there are usually some caveats. CBD oil is still a relatively ‘new’ substance, and much more research is needed before we understand all the risks and consequences. Some reported side-effects include diarrhea, drowsiness, reduced appetite, and fatigue, but these may be as a result of interactions between CBD and existing medications, so speak to your healthcare provider before you start taking it.

The legal dosage for over-the-counter CBD oil is set to 20mg for a reason. This is the dosage that is considered safe as a food product. Anything above, and it acts as a medicine and would need a doctor’s intervention for effective treatment and dosage.

How Reliable Is The Product You’re Taking?

Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in some products. According to, a recent study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than labelled. In addition, THC was found in 18 products.

So make sure you are buying a reputable product. The Cannabex range of products for example, use pure CBD isolate, derived from the Hemp plant, so all of the other cannabinoids (including THC) are non-existent.

Cannabex also uses CO2 extraction as its means of extracting the CBD, which results in a pure, clean, quality oil, which needs little post-processing, is safer and is healthier for your consumption.

The information on this page is intended as an educational tool only and should not be used to treat illness. Please consult a medical doctor or registered homeopath if you have any questions or concerns with regards to your health.  

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