There is a certain irony about being a travel writer and having chronic back pain. The amount of time spent curled up on plastic airport chairs or wedged in between gap year travellers on a long-haul bus does nothing for my lofty 6’ 3” frame. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, it just gets a little uncomfortable at times. Actually, it can be utter agony. I’ve had back issues since I had my teenage growth spurt (six inches in one year – not that I’m bragging). Yes, there are ample pain killers out there, but I’ve always been more into the natural side of life and tried to stray from man-made pharmaceuticals wherever possible.
So when I discover the world of CBD cannabis-based remedies, I’m intrigued. Are they legal? Do they work? Well to answer the first question, yes, they most certainly are acceptable in the eyes of the law. CBD is just one of many the cannabinoids found in cannabis. Not only is it the one with the most medical benefit, but it’s also one of the ones that doesn’t get you ‘high’… that’s THC (currently not legal).
There is such a wide variety of companies offering great products in the CBD market that I want to try a few that offer different products.
CBD Brothers – pain free campervanning
As well as having beautiful recyclable packaging and being handmade in Suffolk, the Brothers provide a plethora of CBD supplements. On a motorhome trip around the north of Scotland, I try a combination of what they offer to see if there was anyway of improving my notoriously bad sleeping habits in my friend’s campervan. I try their Purple Edition Whole Plant Extract CBD paste before bed each night and the Blue Edition oil drops during the day, which you place under your tongue.
Throughout the trip, my sleep definitely improves and by the fifth night I sleep straight though with minimal back pain when I wake up. We had been visiting a distillery that day, but I tend not to sleep too well after a drink or three. I actually feel less hungover than usual… who knows, maybe that was the CBD. I rub some of their CBD balm on my forehead which seems to alleviate any tension that previous night’s whisky may have caused.
Canabidol™ – chilled out flying
These guys offer a wide spectrum of products and have different strength drops, which I try before my flight to France. Not that I’m a particularly anxious flyer, but there are reports of CBD helping people with this issue. It beats an airport-price Gin & Tonic to settle the nerves. (Although I do like gin…) I’m not at all concerned in the airport carrying these products, as CBD is legal throughout the European Union. Let’s hope Brexit doesn’t mess that up. But enough about that.
Whether it’s a placebo effect or not, I feel relaxed as I board the plane and experience little discomfort during the flight, despite the charming toddlers going berserk in front of me the entire time.
I’m also interested in their cacao tablets. Some CBD products can taste a little…interesting shall we say, so my sweet tooth welcomes the added flavor of cocoa. I simply let one dissolve under my tongue (chewing will reduce the potency apparently) and enjoy the rich flavours it released. It is a welcome treat after my fourth budget airport coffee of the morning.
Endoca – sea steady sailing
One thing I do suffer with is sea sickness. This isn’t often a problem, but generally on the ferry to Ireland to see my family, I feel pretty terrible. So in the couple of days building up to the ferry crossing to Belfast, I try Endoca’s CBD capsules. It makes sense that capsules are the best way of a slow release CBD effect. Since you digest them, they take the longest time to take effect, but last the longest. I try two forms of the capsules, the raw and the refined. CBDa is the raw form of CBD – this supposedly has greater health benefits, even if it means the products don’t taste as refined.
As we board the ferry and set off, I feel calmer and more balanced than I ever have on a watercraft. There is no dashing to the side of the boat or panicked banging on the door of toilet door. I actually quite enjoy this trip and as I arrive and greet my cousins, they comment on how my face is less green than usual.
In summary I would say that a combination of CBD could be best. Discover what works for you and enjoy the benefits of dear old Mother Nature.
John Harfield is a travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh.
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