From supplements and pet treats to skin care products and beer, this ‘it’ substance has burst onto the scene with gusto. Despite its popularity, most people don’t understand what cannabidiol (CBD) is, where it comes from and how to use it.

Before you begin imagining hopped-up puppies, let’s get some insight into the compound formally known as cannabidiol.

The mother plant, Cannabis sativa, can be farmed to grow marijuana (the plant containing THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid compounds) or hemp, a crop with many uses like health foods and building materials. While both from the same family, this is where marijuana and hemp go their separate ways.

Despite its meteoric rise in popularity, CBD is still commonly misunderstood, so here are the facts about what it is, what it isn’t and what it can do.

Forget all your Amsterdam associations and joint jargon, Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is not psychoactive, so it won’t get you high. To get high, the memorably named, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has to be present; CBD has zero THC.

When you ingest, apply, or inhale CBD, time won’t slow down, you won’t find things inexplicably hilarious, and you won’t develop a desperate desire to snack. At the same time, it doesn’t come with the risks of using THC and marijuana; it’s not addictive and won’t cause cognitive impairment.

If this wonder-oil could wear a cape – it would. Packed with scientifically-proven health benefits, CBD is a promising champion of mental health. A recent study found a dose of CBD oil can notably reduce public-speaking-induced anxiety, and lessen the unease of social anxiety. As well as empirical evidence, there are endless personal accounts of how CBD oil has helped individuals heal a wide variety of conditions from opioid addiction to PTSD.

CBD oil is a proven natural anxiolytic which successfully minimises anxiety and social anxiety, without the side effects that can accompany pharmaceutical options. While research is still in preliminary stages, CBD not only combats inflammation but could also impact the brain. Studies have shown effects parts of the brain associated with anxiety; reducing activity in the amygdala and augmenting prefrontal cortex activation.

Because CBD calms anxiety, sleep comes more naturally, allowing your zzzz’s to grow from so-so to superior. It can up how much sleep you get, ease insomnia, and bring better slumber to people living with chronic pain. When taken in modest doses, CBD can keep you alert and stave off lethargy, paving the way for optimum performance and fortifying the regularity of your sleep-wake rhythm.

The first trial exploring cannabis-based treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis took place in 2006. And while studies have been somewhat small, the majority of research is encouraging, pointing to reduced pain and inflammation. They also show CBD enhances sleep with little side effects that are mild at most. Of course, further studies are necessary to get to the bottom of CBD’s healing properties.

Where mainstream methods fail, cannabis can offer an alternative treatment. The Cancer Council NSW recognises CBD can alleviate nausea and vomiting that can come with chemo. It also serves as a supplementary therapy for modest to acute pain and can boost appetite in patients who are losing weight and muscle.

Research shows cannabis can help tackle chronic pain and inflammation in adults. The clincher is, pain sufferers don’t build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so there’s no need to increase the dose continually.

Busier than ever, and scheduled to the hilt, we’re juggling career, family and passion; every waking moment has a momentum that doesn’t rest. The constant niggling of anxiety at our core can corrode our productivity and our joy. To calm the unrest, more of us are coming to yoga to relax and release. Using CBD oil in your practice is safe and sound and can help you with your flow.

CBD has the potential to positively impact the lives of people suffering from a plethora of conditions. As research continues to add robustness to its healing properties, this miracle oil offers a lot of hope to a lot of people.

Sarah Martino