A burning question for a simple answer: yes. But under what conditions? And what about the European legislation? These are many questions that we will try to answer in this article. But let’s start by trying to understand what CBD is and what links it to the cannabis plant .
What is CBD?
The term CBD refers to the cannabidiol molecule found in the cannabis plant. This molecule is called a cannabinoid, a family of active ingredients found in cannabis. There are more than 80 of them, but the best known (and most important) are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Each of these cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 neuroreceptors. But whereas THC can cause narcotic effects, CBD has no psychotropic impact. Its interaction with the body seems to be limited to therapeutic benefits: pain relief, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, anti-stress. So many positive effects that explain its popularity on Swiss and international markets.
How to consume cannabidiol?
As mentioned above, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. It would, however, be simplistic to think that the only way to consume this extract would be through smoking. Indeed, with the ever-increasing success of this substance, a growing number of alternatives have emerged. Here are a few of them.
Extracted from dried and crushed cannabis flowers by a very precise process, cannabidiol oil has seduced the wellness aficionados. How come? Its success is largely the result of the multitude of scientific studies that praise its merits:
- Antonio W. Zuardi and his team have proven the effectiveness of CBD oil on anxiety by comparing it to a standard anxiolytic available in pharmacies. According to the results of his experiment, an adequate dose of CBD provides the same effect as the aforementioned medicine.
- This other research conducted by Professor Moran Hausman-Kedem highlights the reduction of epileptic seizures in children and adolescents using CBD.
These are just two – among many – studies on the benefits of CBD oil.
Flowers are the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of CBD use or, more generally, cannabis use. But, as already explained above, CBD, unlike THC, does not cause a psychotropic effect. And this is also true for flowers. This mode of consumption will rather be reserved for recreational use, with the aim of relaxation. It should also be noted that the use of a vaporizer is more recommended as opposed to combustion. (link vapo)
Other CBD derivatives include relaxing infusions and e-liquids.
Cannabidiol and legality
Legislative issues in relation to cannabidiol may appear complex; firstly, because of its link to THC, and secondly, because of the differences in laws between countries.
Cannabis: legal in Switzerland?
Since 2011, according to Swiss legislation, cannabis containing less than 1% THC is not regulated by the Narcotics Law (LStup, SR 812.121). CBD itself is also not regulated by this law because it has no psychotropic effect. Moreover, the quantity of cannabidiol in the cannabis plant and its derivatives has no impact on whether the product is or not legal. The CBD molecule is legal in whichever amount.
This means that as long as a product – oil, flower or herbal tea – does not exceed the threshold of 1% THC, it is legal, regardless of the CBD content. This is a very interesting law that guarantees to consumers a non-psychotropic experience while taking into account the therapeutic benefits that can result from a low dose of THC.
Cannabis: legal in Europe?
To date, there is no European legislation on cannabis. Each EU country is therefore responsible for establishing its own laws on the subject. This explains the differences that can be encountered when crossing borders. One thing is clear, most of the countries surrounding Switzerland are less tolerant of cannabis. In France, Germany and the United Kingdom, for example, only hemp containing less than 0.2% THC can be cultivated. In Italy, the theoretical limit is also 0.2 per cent, but a margin of error of up to 0.6% THC is tolerated.
Why choose Swiss cannabis?
As mentioned above, the difference between Swiss cannabis and its European cousins is mainly due to the amount of THC allowed. A difference of 0.8% for can, however, be decisive in the impact of the product. A phenomenon known as the entourage effect can make a particular cannabis-based solution more or less effective.
The Entourage Effect
The term “entourage effect” describes the interaction between the various components of a cannabis plant.
According to the theory, there are more than 480 components in a strain of cannabis. These components can be divided into three different categories: cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Each of these three types of components plays an essential role in the consumer experience: cannabinoids are primarily responsible for the physiological effects, terpenes determine the taste and smell, while flavonoids are responsible for the color of the plant.
Two genetically distinct strains of cannabis will cause two different effects on the same user. Why is this? Precisely because of this entourage effect. The components interact together to cause this or that sensation. Each combination has its own particularity. And the more varieties of cannabis components there is, the more effective the product will be.
However, this entourage effect does not work as well in products containing only a limited number of components. This is why the legal dose of THC in Switzerland is more interesting than that of its European neighbours.
Legislation in relation to cannabis has changed considerably in recent years. This is partly due to the emergence of various studies on the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. We are, however, still at the very beginning of this field of research. Various governments are therefore still struggling to enact definitive legislation on the issue. A number of revisions and updates of Swiss, European or even worldwide laws are therefore still to be expected.