Another factor has to do with dosage – how much is the right amount? At this moment, most people in India are self medicating and may not have a clinical approach to the dosage. This largely has to do with the fact that we are not aware of THC vs. CBD content of the oil, and sometimes to get the right amount of CBD you may have ingested too much THC – which would just get you really, really high. If this isn’t something you are familiar with, there could be a lot of issues such as paranoia, anxiety, and fear. The only way around this is to start slowly, upping your dose everyday as your body gets used to it. Dheeraj says, “It’s not designed to slap you in the face – if you have 10 cups of coffee the first time you ever drink coffee, you’d be wired. You can’t do that to yourself – your body would go into shock, and not because it’s bad for you but because it’s just not used to it. It’s the same thing – people who are non vegetarian turn vegetarian and instantly they feel their energy levels rise or drop, but there is a shift and your body is responding in one way or the other.”
We also spoke to Varsha*, a 26-year-old Musician from Mumbai, who tells us that she suffered from a chronic cough and throat infection that lasted almost 6 months. It was getting in the way of her recordings, performances, shows and her voice at large. She admits that “within a week of use (I started with a vaporiser and graduated to ingesting the oil) my cough had disappeared, entirely. And hasn’t returned since. In fact, the last time I went to a doctor for anything was 2.5 years ago and before that I was at the doc’s every week for some malady or the other.”
Cannabis oil has been touted as one of the means for therapy for children with epilepsy in the west – however, the oil that has been approved in cases for children has been pure CBD oils. These oils have no THC in them which eliminates the potential ethical dilemma of getting children high. Unfortunately, because the oil production is at a very nascent stage in idea, we are bereft of these choices. Hence, the full utility of the oil as therapy simply cannot be explored until we start presenting ourselves with combinations and options – all of which requires research. But how does one allow for research into a subject that stands to be criminally prosecuted?
The Dark Side Of The Moon
A large number of people have heard of this form of treatment through the word of mouth, surprising for a country such as ours that is widely accepting of alternative medical treatments and medicinal value derived from nature. One of our sources, Nischay*, a filmmaker and Vegetalismo (a tradition of Peruvian healing) who has done intensive research on the subject tells us that “Personally, I offer people seeds to grow their own medicine because right now there really isn’t enough medicine to go around. Cancer rate is increasing literally by the hour per day in India so accessing it – a lot of people are actually purchasing it from avenues across the country. This obviously creates an issue when we come down to what we call normal human conditioning – basically our idea/ conditioning of consumerism and not really working for our own self. Plants are grown for free, nature gives it to us for free, so when it comes down to medicine if people just grew it, everyone’s going to be better off. I have a few people that have started to cook their own medicine, they’re just getting into it because if you actually cook it, it wouldn’t cost you more than INR 4000 including everything that’s needed – it wouldn’t cost as much to make one syringe which is about 10ml.” Buying the treatment can cost you anywhere from Rs. 7,000 to 1.2 lakhs, we’ve been told. Usually the medicine can cost about Rs. 15,000 on average for a vial that can last anywhere between 1-4 months depending on how frequently you dose yourself, which is incredibly high even after accounting for all that people go through to produce it.
Varsha notes that “the wonderful thing about cannabis oil is that if you manage to get good leaf you can make the medicine for yourself, all links are readily available on YouTube. I say medicine because that’s exactly what it’s been to me and now millions of people across the world who have used it for diseases ranging from cancer, to bronchial diseases, depression, epileptic and other seizures, autism, ADD, autoimmune diseases and STDs to name a few. It is, however, difficult to get the leaf itself because it comes under contraband in India but if you have a little garden or a balcony or a space where you can put planters, grow your own plants, make your own medicine.”
Make Your Oil And Eat It Too?
CBD is extracted from marijuana plants as either an oil or powder. These can be mixed into creams or gels. They can be put into capsules and taken orally, or rubbed on your skin. All topicals (cannabis-infused products) should be applied directly to the site of inflammation or pain to work in a specific area.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) outlaws the recreational use of cannabis. The NDPS Act, however, does not apply to the leaves and seeds of cannabis plants. In case the CBD is extracted from the leaves of the cannabis, then technically it is not illegal. CBD oil manufactured under a licence issued by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 can be legally used. However, the use of cannabis as a medicine is not much prevalent in India. The recent controversy about the use of drugs in Bollywood has further stigmatised the usage of CBD.
CBD oil is an extract from the cannabis plant. The two main active substances in it are cannabidiol or CBD and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The high that is caused by the consumption of cannabis is due to THC. CBD, however, does not cause a “high” or any form of intoxication. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
What are the effects of Cannabidiol?
There is not enough robust scientific evidence to prove that CBD oil can safely and effectively treat cancer. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain associated with cancer. Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine. The US-based National Cancer Institute says that CBD may help alleviate side-effects of cancer treatment.
Cannabidiol has effects on the brain, preventing the breakdown of a chemical that aggravates pain and affects mood, and mental function. It can reduce pain and anxiety. It also reduces psychotic symptoms associated with conditions such as schizophrenia as well as epilepsy.
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Earlier this week, late actor Irrfan Khan’s wife Sutapa Sikdar made an appeal to legalise CBD oil in India. Her appeal followed the criticism of actor Rhea Chakrabaorty after it was reported that she had administered CBD oil, used as a pain reliever for some, to Sushant Singh Rajput when he was alive. What is CBD oil? What are its effects? Is its use and consumption legal in India?