I have really struggled of late
I have struggled with my injuries, the pressure of trying to juggle various roles and responsibilities and I have struggled to write anything for this blog.
That’s not to say that I haven’t been writing
In fact, the last three months have probably been my most productive, stressful and rewarding as I have been copywriting for not one, but two exciting start ups.
I just haven’t felt able to write a fitness or health blog while I am feeling neither fit nor healthy and while another influencer seems to gain enjoyment bullying and fat shaming me online.
There would have been a time when the latter would have resulted in a spiralling descent into depression, self loathing and self harm (basically stuffing my face).
But is it possible that I have learned to control how I respond to negativity or am I simply too exhausted to react?
For my weight gain brought back some other old friends and one of these is sleep apnoea. My snoring had become so bad that I had to sleep in another room and I was also noticing my energy levels reducing and my appetite increasing.
Until I stumbled upon the unlikeliest of cures, that is.
And no, this isn’t a post about me shilling a snoring cure. It is one of my objective, honest and respected (not usually by the manufacturers) supplement reviews (my Ariix post is still read daily).
The Honest Hemp Oil Review
I was contacted by For the Ageless who wanted to gift to me one of their products to review and being closer to 50 than 40, I wasn’t quite sure what they had in mind.
Curious, I had a look at their site and saw instantly that they were primarily a retailer of premium cannabidiol (CBD) products rather than purveyors of any age defying products and with my curiosity stoked and assurances I wouldn’t get stoned along with some guidance on what to look for, I placed my order for a 10ml (250 drops) bottle of BioPurus Hemp Oil with CBD and CBG.
I have dabbled with CBD before, having briefly used a cheap oil from Holland and Barrett, so the first thing I noted on the For the Ageless website was the price of many of their hemp oils, but having become a Google Expert (six hours of reading) on CBD, I quickly realised that For the Ageless specialised in retailing the purest, richest and most organic CBD oils that are available.
What this means for the consumer is a thick, viscous oil that is fully certified. And in a market that seems to lack regulation and which is facing increasing scrutiny from governments around the world, I believe it pays to spend some time researching what and where you are buying from.
So why would you take Hemp Oil with CBD and what evidence of its efficacy exists?
According to Cathy on Facebook, the benefits of supplementing with CBD are boundless. I wanted to make sure they weren’t groundless, so I did my own research via PubMed.
One of the major claims about CBD is that it is a cure for cancer and although there is strong evidence that CBD can serve as a mildly effective adjuvant and ease some of the symptoms of traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, there is insufficient (i.e. zero) clinical evidence that supplementing with Hemp Oil will cure cancer. However, test tube and animal studies do suggest that more studies are needed (1) and in a clinical setting and at a high dosage, CBD could have a role in cancer treatment.
Many proponents of CBD also praise its pain management qualities and despite strong anecdotal evidence, again there is little evidence supporting the use of CBD in general pain management (2).
However, supplementation of CBD has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy; although it is always worth noting the dosage in most of these trials and trials in general. In one trial (3) it was up to 50 mg per kilo of bodyweight per day (the entire bottle of the Hemp Oil sent to me contains 500 mg of CBD) while one positive trial looking at Parkinson’s Disease involved doses of 300 mg daily (4).
One of the other documented benefits that appealed to me were its anxiety reducing properties while I was also interested in its anti-inflammatory properties. Although the general scientific consensus, including a very recent study (5) is that CBD is thought to have some medicinal properties, including relieving inflammation, pain relief and reducing anxiety, there is insufficient conclusive scientific studies on this (6) and again, one trial reported a dosage of 600 mg of CBD (7) that far exceeds any dosage recommended by any Hemp Oil manufacturer.
Time and time again we see supplement sellers and supporters either ignorantly or misleadingly attributing results gained from much higher dosage to their products and sadly, most Hemp Oil sellers are no different.
Can we view Hemp Oil as anything other than an overpriced, overhyped and under regulated food supplement?
What were my anecdotal findings?
I had previously stopped consuming CBD oil because of the side effects (headaches, a dry mouth and a little nausea) and a lack of any experienced benefits, so I was keen to see if a premium brand would make a difference.
I wouldn’t personally spend £89.90 on a bottle of Hemp Oil, but this Biopurus product contained not only CBD but also cannabigerol (CBG) which, since 2017, has been the subject of increased research with evidence that it is effective as a regulator of endocannabinoid signaling (8). This has been shown to positively influence the motivation for natural rewards such as palatable food, sexual activity, exercise and social interaction (9).
Without going into too much detail, these are activities that I want to increase and I have found myself enjoying food and the company of others more (but not in that way) while I responded recently to being bullied online by going for a 3 mile walk rather than for a 3 pack of chocolate bars.
However, has this been because of the Hemp Oil or because January has ended or because I’ve had wonderfully relaxing holidays to Seville and Paris?
Correlation does not equal causation.
Despite the overwhelming lack of evidence, there has been one surprising benefit of supplementing with Hemp oil containing CBD and CBG and that is a reduction in my snoring. While there is research (10) that shows improvements for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, this involved using a highly controlled man made form of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). All Hemp oils sold in the UK must contain no more than 0.2% THC and there is insufficient clinical evidence (11) to support my own findings, although CBG, as the parent molecule of THC, might benefit from additional research.
However, I have stopped snoring and after a week supplementing with Biopurus CBD/CBG my quality of sleep has improved.
Again, correlation does not equal causation, but unlike my mood, I cannot think of any change that would explain my lack of snoring.
As a product, the taste of the Biopurus Hemp oil is not unpleasant and much improved from my Holland and Barrett purchases while the instructions of use are clear.
In fact, For the Ageless followed up the order with some emailed instructions on dosage and delivery. While it can be added to food or to the Hemp Tea that For the Ageless very kindly added as a bonus, I chose to adopt the standard approach of placing a few drops under my tongue to hopefully improve its bioavailability, although at 6 mg of CBD per serving, I could probably inject without seeing any of the widely and falsely reported benefits of Hemp Oil supplementation made by too many in the industry, although I must make it clear that For the Ageless actively avoid making any wild claims.
With the Biopurus Hemp Oil, I have suffered no headaches and no nausea and I have even noticed a reduction in my consumption of Diet Coke, which again could be down to any number of reasons, not least my improved sleep, but will I continue to use it?
Despite many inspirational stories of cancer, MS and Parkinson’s patients responding well to cannabidiol and cannabis and my own experience, there is simply insufficient clinical evidence to promote Hemp Oil as a recommended supplement and I would not urge anyone to spend £89.90 on a 10ml bottle.
With limited clinical research, an unregulated market – in what is predicted to be a $1billion a year industry in 2020 (11) – and questionable claims it would be remiss of me to recommend buying Hemp Oil products that have zero evidence of efficacy at the suggested dosage.
However, I am very happy to have stopped snoring while I have enjoyed the customer service at For the Ageless. Until my weight drops significantly, I am going to continue supplementing with the Hemp Oil they gifted me. When my current supply ends, I will see if my snoring returns and if so I will most likely buy and test the CBD only product at only £33.90 to see if it works equally as well.
So, while I would not recommend buying Hemp Oil and urge you to do your own research, I am going to continue taking it. Go figure!
Please let me know if you have found this article helpful or if you are a user of Hemp Oil, what has your experience been?