Cannabis oil: what is it and what are the health and beauty benefits?

Cannabis-based medical products have been legalised in the UK. [Photo: Cult Beauty]
Cannabis-based medical products have been legalised in the UK. [Photo: Cult Beauty]

Cannabis is a hot topic right now.

Just this week, home secretary Sajid Javid announced medicinal cannabis is to be legalised in the UK for patients in “exceptional clinical need”.

This legislation follows the controversial case of Billy Caldwell, after the cannabis oil prescribed for him in Canada to treat his severe epilepsy was confiscated at Heathrow airport.

Billy went seizure-free for over 250 days when taking the oil, but they started again as soon as it was withdrawn.

Billy was granted a special licence to use cannabis oil for treatment, which opened up a larger conversation about it’s legality.

Now that cannabis products are legal, we’re sure to notice their prevalence in the UK – but what do they do and how can they be beneficial?

What is cannabis oil?

Cannabis oil is used by sufferers of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer and is widely credited with various medical benefits such as helping anxiety and insomnia.

It is produced using steam distillation to extract active substances from cannabis plants and typically consumed orally.

Its effects come from two cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

A low concentration version is available to buy over the counter in the UK – provided it contains less than 0.0.5% THC.

Holland and Barrett recently started stocking Jacob Hooy’s CBD (cannabidiol) oil.

The Dutch brand advise “CBD+ Oil has a ‘distinctive’ taste – have a small drink of water after taking the oil and the taste will be gone within 30 seconds.”

Cannabis-based medical products have been legalised in the UK. [Photo: Getty]
Cannabis-based medical products have been legalised in the UK. [Photo: Getty]

What are the medicinal benefits of cannabis?

The topic remains controversial, but cannabis can help with problems like appetite loss and relief of nausea during chemotherapy, for example.

It is also widely used as an anti-inflammatory to manage chronic pain, such as with arthritis and rheumatism, and is often preferred to conventional painkillers.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation website, there is evidence that cannabis can be helpful in controlling seizures, especially for difficult-to-control conditions like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in children and adults and Dravet syndrome in children.

Trials of cannabis-based drugs are ongoing in the UK for a host of medical conditions.

The NHS said: “We won’t know whether these treatments are effective until the trials have finished.”

MGC Derma is a cannabis specialist skin care brand <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:stocked on Cult Beauty." class="link ">stocked on Cult Beauty.</a> [Photo: MGC Derma]
MGC Derma is a cannabis specialist skin care brand stocked on Cult Beauty. [Photo: MGC Derma]

What else can cannabis be used for?

Believe it or not, cannabis is said to be the next big thing in beauty.

Brands are capitalising on the topical ingredient by adding in into their products, claiming a host of health benefits such as healing irritation, minimising signs of ageing and moisturising.

From CBD face oils to cannabis-scented candles and hemp face masks, you can barely get away from the ingredient right now.

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