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?
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.