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The Miracle Plant

There’s an acronym you might have seen in shop window displays and heard in conversations on health. CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, was legalised to produce, sell, and buy and possess in 2017. Yet, despite its legendary association with improving well-being, the stigma of its association with its B class brother has meant that many of us still don’t know what it is, what it does and why it’s such an exciting product for modern mental and physical well-being. So, I had a chat with renowned northern osteopath-turned CBD business co-owner, Nick Tofalos, to sort truth-from-myth on the topic of Cannabidiol.

“If someone had told me I would be a cannabis business man, I would have laughed them out of town and said it sounds ridiculous.” chuckles Nick, who’s passion for the cannabis plant was as much of a surprise as his career change to Osteopathy. Formerly a drama teacher in Pendle and Bolton, Nick discovered his current profession through a friend, and went on to gain a Bachelor of Osteopathy degree from the British School of Osteopathy, membership of the Institute of Classical Osteopathy, and open two practises, a health food shop and now CBD One with his younger brother, “CBD is an extract of the cannabis plant; there are 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and CBD is the most common one that people know aside from THC. THC is the bit that gets people high or stoned and that’s the controlled substance – the illegal bit. You can grow particular strains of cannabis that are high in CBD and low in THC, and then, when you extract it, you almost completely remove the THC and it becomes a legal extract. CBD interacts with a system in your body called the endocannabinoid system, which is a system of receptors that are in your brain, your nervous system, your organs, your skin, your muscles, and your joints. A lot of what they do is help your body stay balanced, something called homeostasis, which is your body’s ability to maintain its health, no matter what the environment.”

“Queen Victoria took cannabis for period pain”

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the ailments of Nick’s clients are broad and diverse – ranging from those struggling with anxiety, depression and stress-induced sleep problems to more physical conditions such as arthritis and period pain. “Queen Victoria took cannabis for period pain, and when my wife was taking CBD her period pain basically disappeared… also in our background, which we often don’t mention but we should mention more, is the fact that I had an elder brother Deno who died because of his MS – eight years ago. We were aware that cannabis oil might have been something that would have helped him, but there was no such thing as CBD. You just couldn’t get hold of it.”

So, for Nick, the wellbeing potential of his product is highly personal – but the power of this plant isn’t just restricted to health; hemp (the variety of cannabis used for industrial purposes) is widely used in the manufacturing of rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel, “It makes better quality paper than paper made from trees. If you buy a nice car, chances are the inner panels of your Mercedes are made out of hemp. You can grow a crop in 12 weeks and when replanted, it absorbs more C02 than trees. So, it’s really good for the environment – it is just a miracle plant on every level. ”Despite all this, its stigmatisation by association has clouded its reputation as a health product. This, combined with intense recent commercialisation: “There are as many CBD products out there as there are products on a supermarket shelf. It’s one of the problems: people don’t know where to start. You go online and type in CBD oil and you find a myriad of companies; there are people selling CBD bath bombs, gummies, and alcohol – the problem is a lot of these products are very, very low-grade gimmicks. So, it’s a really tricky balancing act finding something that is good quality and will help – what’s the point of selling a health food product as beer or wine? You may as well flush your money down the toilet.

Commercialisation is getting CBD a bad name when actually, if you find a very good reputable supplier with good quality product. It is interesting stuff and very useful. ”The best route to finding success with CBD is to cut through the noise and contact an expert, like Nick, with your health at the heart of their business.

“Absolutely speak to someone who knows what they’re talking about. At CBD one, we offer a free advice line; people can go to our website, click information, click health advice, and send an email to me – I reply to everyone. My advice would be that you get a much more effective product if you’re taking a full spectrum extract. So, you want to look for an oil that has quite a strong, pungent, spicy, earthy smell and dark gold or dark-brown colour. You can also buy a water-soluble CBD to put in a drink, or you can get a topical CBD which is a cream people use for skin problems.

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