There’s no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. It’s gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. I got a taste for it after talking to Brenda Chan of Altum Asia at the DB Handmade Hong Kong Market last month. Altum supplies CBD products throughout Asia – and opened Found (Hong Kong’s first CBD retailer and café) in Sheung Wan last July. Here in DB, you can find Altum’s CBD products at YogaUp (check out the 90-minute CBD therapy sessions) and My Pet Shop (yes, it benefits pets too).
Even though it’s infiltrating pretty much every corner of the wellness world, CBD remains a little confusing, especially when it comes to figuring out the right way to use it and how to make sure the product you’re buying is, well, legit. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound derived from the hemp plant – Cannabis Sativa. It’s a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not intoxicating. It won’t get you high.
CBD can be legally bought and sold as an edible, as long as the product has testing accreditation and conforms to Hong Kong’s regulations regarding banned cannabinoids.
What are the health benefits?
CBD has been a key part of Chinese medicine for centuries. Today, it is commonly used by individuals to assist with anxiety, stress, insomnia, pain and inflammation. A natural stress and pain management solution, it affects people in different ways. While some find it helps them relax and sleep, others use it to enhance sports performance – they find it helps them focus during training and recover more quickly after work outs.
CBD helps to balance the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), the body’s ‘master control system’ that is involved in regulating everything from appetite, metabolic health and pain, to muscle control, mood and memory. Put simply, if our ECS is balanced, inflammation can be reduced, stress responses can be controlled more effectively, and thinking and memory abilities can be more efficiently governed.
Stress, poor diet and a lack of exercise can overstimulate receptors and create imbalance in our ECS. CBD-use is a way to ease this overstimulation, bringing the body back to its natural state.
Interestingly too, since all mammals have an ECS, our pets can enjoy the same positive benefits we get from CBD. Used on pets, CBD can calm over-excited behaviour, soothe pain, stimulate appetite and aid with
All that being said, you need to be wary of unrealistic health claims. While CBD provides many positive health benefits, it is not a miracle cure. Claims that it can treat cancer, cure depression and prevent (or even cure) COVID-19 are not substantiated by scientific research. Companies making absolute claims like these set out to mislead the public into buying their products.
How do I choose a product?
CBD is one of the fastest growing wellness trends in Hong Kong, and there are an increasing number of CBD products on the market. For this reason, it’s important to know what you are buying and using.
Firstly, you need to be sure that the CBD product you purchase does not contain THC or other locally banned cannabinoids. THC is illegal in Hong Kong and it’s responsible for the sensation of being ‘intoxicated,’ which is associated with traditional cannabis consumption. If a CBD product is labelled as full-spectrum CBD, it means it contains THC. Contrary to the claims of many CBD brands in Hong Kong, there is no such thing as full-spectrum CBD with 0% THC.
You should always ask for a Certificate of Analysis, issued by a reputable third-party laboratory, to make sure the product you are interested in does not contain THC or other illegal cannabinoids (such as CBN).
Secondly, be mindful that the labelling on CBD products can be confusing. When buying a product, first take a look at how much CBD it contains. If there is no serving guide, which is often the case with tinctures, divide the total amount of CBD (mg) by the volume of the container (for instance 10ml, 30ml) to find the amount per dropper.
If you’re new to CBD, start with a small serving (0.5mg of CBD per 1kg of bodyweight) and work your way up to find your best fit. Since CBD affects everyone differently, you may need to take more or less depending on your body’s composition. Most people adjust their serving size incrementally over time to find their sweet spot. It’s advisable to wait a few hours between each serving unless you are very comfortable with the effects of CBD.
Having an understanding of serving size will allow you to judge whether a product will work for you. Depending on your needs, you might be better served by a product with a higher or lower CBD concentration. This can also lead to potential savings, since high concentration products usually contain more CBD per dollar.
How do I take CBD?
The most common and effective forms of CBD are CBD oil and water-soluble CBD liquid. You drop CBD oil under your tongue and wait 30 to 45 seconds before swallowing – the CDB is absorbed into your bloodstream quickly and easily. If you don’t like the taste of oil, you can choose water-soluble CBD liquid, which you add directly to a favourite food or drink.
Other edible CBD products include CBD capsules, CBD gummies, CBD chocolate and CBD tea. If you are looking at CBD to help ease muscle and joint pain, try a CBD muscle balm which you apply directly on to the skin.
CBD use is personal. There is no right or wrong way to incorporate it into your lifestyle. It can fit into any routine and you can use it at any time of the day. That said, some CBD products may contain melatonin or relaxing botanical blends to promote sleep, while others have energising properties that may be more suitable for daytime use.
If you are a first timer, the best way to try CBD is at home in the evening. This way you can learn about the effect CBD has on your body – and really feel the benefit – without having to worry about rushing off somewhere. Just chill!
FIND ITCBD, health, wellness