cbd oil in south africa

CBD Oil in South Africa: The Essential Guide

CBD Oil in South Africa: The Essential Guide

CBD Oil in South Africa: The Essential Guide is intended to be an intensive but by no means exhaustive discourse into the subject of CBD supplementation in South Africa. We have written this article for consumption by the layperson with little or no knowledge of the issue, but who has an interest in either merely finding out more, or who are looking for the best option for themselves or others. For this purpose, we have kept medical and scientific jargon to a minimum, but we have included explanations for the terms that we have used.

What is the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?

Marijuana and hemp are merely different varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp, otherwise known as industrial hemp is commonly used to produce textiles, clothing and rope and has a very high CBD content combined with a low THC content of typically less than 1%. These days, most manufacturers produce their CBD products using hemp, as this significantly reduces the cost of production, as the THC need not be removed from the product. Marijuana, in contrast, has higher levels of THC, the chemical compound responsible for the “high” that marijuana users experience. Marijuana is used to produce medicinal marijuana or cannabis oil, often used by cancer patients and those experiencing extreme pain.

What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is well known for its medicinal benefits, and Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the most well known of the cannabinoids because of its psychotropic activity or psychoactive effect, causing a sensation of intoxication in users. These are two of over a hundred identified cannabinoid substances within the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoids vs Cannabis

You may well be confused by the terminology, so what is meant by cannabinoids and how do they differ from cannabis? Cannabinoids are a class of several chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors in cells that modify the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Cannabis, on the other hand, is a type of plant, of which marijuana and hemp are varieties.

The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids manifest their effects in your body by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is generally speaking is a collection of cannabinoid receptors present on the surface of cells in various parts of the central nervous system, that respond to cannabinoid ‘agonists’, or chemical messengers. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the psychological and physiological effects of cannabinoids, of which there are two types: endocannabinoids, which originate inside the body, 2-AG and anandamide are the two most significant endocannabinoids and exogenous cannabinoids which arise outside of the body, such as the THC and CBD in cannabis.

What is Cannabis Oil?

Before 2014, CBD was only available as a constituent of medical cannabis or cannabis oil, which typically has a high THC content, and while this remains a popular option, both legality issues and the unwanted high from THC led to the first CBD extracts from hemp. Cannabis extracts with high concentrations of THC are usually known by various names such as medical cannabis, medical marijuana, cannabis oil, marijuana oil, or THC oil, whereas extracts with high levels of CBD are commonly known as CBD oil, cannabidiol oil, hemp oil or CBD hemp oil.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is typically made from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that has high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike cannabis oil or medical marijuana, which is usually made from marijuana, another variety of the cannabis plant that has a high level of THC, CBD oil has a minimal level of THC, making it non-psychoactive.

Should I use CBD Oil or Cannabis Oil?

CBD has been under intense scrutiny for many years, and its medicinal benefits are well studied and documented. It is often used for conditions such as:

  • Pain
  • Arthritis and Inflammation
  • Epilepsy and Seizures
  • Mental disorders and psychoses
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Depression

THC because of its psychoactive property is less well researched from a medicinal perspective but is often used for conditions such as:

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Low appetite
  • Nausea

Certain circumstances may prevent one from using cannabis oil containing THC such as:

  • The need to maintain concentration and focus.
  • Job requirements to undergo routine drug tests (pilots).
  • Personal incongruence with the use of prohibited drugs.

What is CBD Hemp Oil?

CBD hemp oil merely is CBD oil that has been produced from industrial hemp. Most CBD oil tends to be CBD hemp oil because it is vastly more cost-effective to produce CBD oil from the hemp plant. The reason for this is that hemp naturally has a high CBD content and a negligible THC content while producing CBD oil from the marijuana plant would necessitate removal of the THC content, which would be a costly process.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Many experts consider hemp seed oil to be one of the most balanced nutritional oils found in nature. Manufacturers produce hemp seed oil by cold-pressing industrial hemp seeds and extracting the oil. It is a natural source of essential amino acids and omega-3 & 6 essential fatty acids but is virtually free of cannabinoids. Unlike CBD hemp oil which is extracted from hemp plant matter, hemp seed oil is made from the cold-pressed hemp seeds which contain no CBD or THC.

What about CBD Hemp Seed Oil?

It is important to note that some manufacturers now produce a CBD hemp seed oil. This should not be confused with the hemp seed oil described above, as this is a CBD product that uses hemp seed oil as a carrier or suspension, as opposed to olive oil, coconut oil or MCT oil.

Is CBD Oil Legal in South Africa?

CBD, because of its lack of THC has been legal in South Africa since it first became available. However, in a landmark judgement on 18 September 2018, the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court effectively decriminalised the cultivation, storage and use of cannabis in the privacy of one’s home, ruling that the prohibition of private cultivation, possession and consumption of the plant at home was unconstitutional. Before this, it was technically illegal, even for those using medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of diseases such as cancer. The ruling does, however, decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, as previously many of those who used medicinal cannabis products to alleviate various symptoms, such as cancer patients, and those suffering from anxiety, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, were technically doing so unlawfully.
Read the full article: Private Cannabis Use Now Legal in South Africa

What are the Health Benefits of CBD?

The health benefits of CBD are numerous. It is a wondrous molecule with potent antioxidant, analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antipsychotic effects. It alleviates the cognitive decline associated with ageing, and it also reduces the risk of diabetes. For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, check out our article The Health Benefits of CBD.

CBD Oil Usage

CBD has a vast range of healing properties. Studies show that it has significant effects on various neurological and physiological disorders. Such disorders include anxiety, ADHD and ADD, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bipolar, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and hypertension. These in addition to inflammation, insomnia, migraines and headaches, multiple sclerosis, nausea, OCD. Furthermore, many use CBD to treat osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, schizophrenia, seizures, spasticity, spinal injury and even stress.

Full Spectrum vs Isolate

In addition to the cannabinoid content of cannabis, are the related terpenes or isoprenoids. These are the fragrant oils that give the various strains their diverse range of aromas. Terpenes also bind to receptors in the brain to produce multiple beneficial effects. The relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes is sometimes called the ‘entourage effect’, and is one of the factors that differentiate the various strains. Many brands of CBD oil advertise a full terpene spectrum, which indicates that they have not extracted the terpenes from the product. Strictly speaking, full-spectrum in the context of CBD oil products refer to an extraction and processing method that has preserved the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in the original plant matter.

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is manufactured using a process whereby the manufacturers refine the raw hemp oil until only the CBD is left, leaving a highly pure single cannabinoid CBD, usually in a crystalline form, that is around 99.9% pure. Medical practitioners use isolates where they require only pure CBD, and the benefits of the rest of the spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are of no consequence.


CBD products are available in varying strengths, but it is not accurate to compare a 10% CBD tincture with a 10% liposomal CBD, and the reason for this is bioavailability. Simply put, liposomal encapsulation increases the extent to which the body absorbs the active ingredient in a supplement. Manufacturers use Phosphatidylcholine as the liposomal suspension, and the increased ratio of this substance decreases the amount of active ingredient by proportion. The tradeoff, however, is in the increased bioavailability, but the more complex manufacturing methods required to increase the cost of these products substantially.

With that said, it is fair to compare various oils or tinctures by concentration percentage. The way to do this is to multiply the total amount in the bottle in ml by 1000 to get an overall liquid weight in mg, and to divide this by the CBD content in mg. To explain more fully, 1ml of water weighs 1g or 1 000mg, and while oil is slightly more dense than water, most manufacturers quote percentages in terms of water density. So, if we had a 10ml bottle, the liquid weight would be roughly 10g or 10000mg. As an example, if we look at a product where the total liquid volume is 10ml, and the CBD content is 1000mg, we could deduce that the entire liquid weight is roughly 10000mg, of which 1000mg is CBD.
Therefore ( (1000/10000) x 100 ) would give you 10% CBD.

Extraction Methods

Supercritical CO2 Extraction

The supercritical CO2 extraction method utilises a machine called a closed-loop extractor, which employs liquid carbon dioxide under high pressure and ultra-low temperatures to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter. When the pressure is relieved and the temperature increases, the CO2 evaporates quickly, returning to a gaseous form, leaving behind no residues or impurities. The resulting oil is amber in colour with no trace impurities.

Liquid Solvent Extraction

The liquid solvent extraction method utilises a solvent, usually butane or hexane to extract the resin from the plant matter. The solution which remains liquid under pressure then evaporates on release, leaving behind a dark oil. Drawbacks of this method are that trace impurities can persist, and it also tends to extract chlorophyll from the plant matter, giving a greener colour and a more bitter taste.

Alcohol Extraction

This extraction method involves soaking the plant material for about 5 minutes in high-grade alcohol to expel the resin and then boiling the alcohol off for 15-30 minutes, leaving behind a dark resin that becomes more viscous as it cools. Some suspect that this method may destroy many of the plant waxes which could have health benefits.

Other Extraction Methods

Oil extraction, often using olive oil, involves heating the plant material and the oil to around 100 degrees Celsius for 1-2 hours. However, this method produces an oil that is perishable and does not last for long. Another extraction method is cold pressing the seeds, but CBD yields are typically low using this technique.

CBD Product Types

CBD products are available in a wide variety of forms. Finding what’s ideal for you can often be a challenge and may even involve a level of trial and error. A reliable place to start is the reason you’re considering supplementing with CBD. As an example, chronic pain, cancer and epilepsy sufferers are likely to consider much higher concentrations than someone that’s thinking of using CBD as a treatment for insomnia, so CBD concentrates or high concentration tinctures are ideal. For those that don’t like the taste of CBD, the flavoured options will be their best bet. Unpleasant taste might rule out CBD concentrates and some tinctures but would include capsules and sprays as an option. If you’re a regular traveller and need a portable option, capsules or sprays might be the way to go. If you’re looking to treat localised pain, topicals may be your answer. For people who vape, CBD vape juice may be the logical choice. If you’re interested in CBD, but don’t know which option is right for you, feel free to reach out to our customer service team at support@organica.co.za, or click the chat button on our website.

CBD Tinctures


CBD tinctures are by far the most prolific of all the various types of CBD supplements available. Compared to the other product types, tinctures and concentrates are probably the purest forms of CBD, as there is no further processing of the oil. Many brands now offer flavoured options in addition to the ‘natural’ flavour, which can be unpleasant for some.


Take tinctures sublingually and do not swallow immediately. It is best to place the drops under the tongue and leave it there for as long as you can. With that said, you can most certainly add the tincture to almost any drink you enjoy during the day. However, it is advisable to avoid adding it to hot drinks, as these may destroy some of the beneficial nutrients.

Liposomal CBD


A liposome is a nano-sized bubble or sphere (vesicle) made from a phospholipid (in many cases phosphatidylcholine, the same substance found in our cell membranes). Liposomal encapsulation is a process that fills these bubbles with hydrophobic or hydrophilic supplements such as CBD. Liposomal encapsulation provides a very effective method of bypassing the destructive elements of the gastric system and aiding the encapsulated nutrient to be delivered to the cells and tissues.


Take liposomal CBD on its own or with a cold drink of your choice. There is no need to take sublingually, as this supplement is designed to be swallowed and pass through the digestive system.

CBD Capsules


Capsules are probably the most convenient way to supplement with CBD. They are naturally much more straightforward to take than tinctures or concentrates. CBD capsules usually come in a softgel form. These are precise dosages, making it easy to keep track of your daily serving size. They are particularly useful for those who travel, but also for those who would prefer not to have to measure out drops under the tongue.


Take one capsule or more as recommended by your healthcare professional, with water or your favourite drink.

CBD Concentrates


CBD concentrates typically contain the most potent dosage of CBD, in some cases up to ten times the concentration compared to other types of supplements. Compared to tinctures, concentrates are usually not flavoured, and the taste can be a bit much for some people.


As with tinctures, take concentrates sublingually and do not swallow immediately. Place the drops under the tongue and leave it there for as long as you can.

Topical CBD


Topicals come in the form of salves, creams, balms, lotions and oils. Use topicals to treat muscle stiffness, inflammation and painful joints. There are now also CBD topical creams available to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Manufacturers often combine topicals with a range of other ingredients to provide additional benefits such as added pain relief or skin conditioning.


Use topical CBD products are externally on the skin. They are a great way to provide localised pain relief where one does not require full body effects. Apply liberally to the affected area and rub into the skin until fully absorbed.

CBD Sprays


Sprays often have the weakest concentration of CBD compared to the various other types of products. Dosages tend to be more imprecise as spray volumes are more inconsistent, compared to other oral forms of ingestion. Sprays are however quite popular as they are easy to carry and administer while travelling.


Spray one serving (usually 2-3 sprays) into the mouth. Serving sizes should be visible on the bottle label.

CBD Vape-Oil


Many brands now offer CBD vape oil, otherwise known as CBD vape juice, produced explicitly for vaping. Vaping CBD appears to have a lesser effect as compared to other modes of administering CBD. It could also be that heating the oil may destroy much of the beneficial substances. The advantage, however, is that one can continue to vape until they feel the desired effects, as one can feel the effects much more quickly


CBD vape oil employs the use of a vaporiser. You can fill the cartridge with a CBD vape juice of your choice.

Injectible CBD


Injectible CBD is usually sold in syringes and is typically highly concentrated. Doctors use these products to treat patients with chronic conditions such as cancer or epilepsy.


Healthcare professionals typically administer these products in hospitals or clinics.

How Long Does it Take for CBD to Take Effect?

The time it takes for the effects of CBD to manifest when taken orally depends a great deal on how long ago your last meal was, and how much you ate. Typically, it’s best to take CBD on an empty stomach for the effects to be felt more immediately, as the more substantial and more recently a meal was eaten, the more delayed the effects.

What are the Side Effects of CBD?

Most importantly, CBD will not cause you to get “high” or experience a sensation of intoxication as it has a minimal level of THC, making it non-psychoactive. It will not adversely affect your sensory perception, reflexes, reaction time or your behaviour in general.

Is it Safe to Take CBD?

CBD is safe and non-toxic even at high dosages. According to CannLabs, a testing lab for cannabis products, there is no established lethal dosage of CBD, and interestingly, there have been no reported cases of CBD overdosage. This fact makes it a reliable means of pain management and seizure control.

Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa Constituent: View Research Paper

Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. Conversely, some studies reported that this cannabinoid can induce some side effects, including inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism, alterations of in vitro cell viability, decreased fertilization capacity, and decreased activities of p-glycoprotein and other drug transporters.

An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies: View Research Paper

In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research. The majority of studies were performed for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. Here, the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.

How Should I Take CBD Oil?

CBD oil is most commonly taken orally as drops. Take your CBD oil drops sublingually, or under your tongue and hold there for around a minute before swallowing to allow the drops to be diffused through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue. Because there are a great many capillaries under the tongue, the CBD Oil has a direct route into your bloodstream, allowing it to work faster and more efficiently. Taking CBD oil drops sublingually is preferable to swallowing immediately, as the CBD oil must first pass through your gastrointestinal tract, the stomach and the intestines where most absorption takes place, but also where some of the CBD may be destroyed stomach acids. Then it is filtered by the liver before entering the bloodstream.

CBD capsules can be swallowed immediately and are preferred by those that can’t handle the taste of CBD, but it should be noted that higher dosages may be required as less of the CBD may enter the bloodstream as a result of the destructive effects of the digestive system.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?

Ideally, your dosage should be prescribed by qualified and experienced healthcare professional. Various brands of CBD oils have products offering different strengths. Also, different conditions require different dosages to be effective, and some people may need more than others to have the desired effect. Typically, one should start with the recommended dose for a week and build up weekly in small increments until no further benefit is felt. Then, gradually reduce the dosage incrementally until you find an ideal dosage for the desired effect.

What is the Recommended Dose of CBD Oil?

While there is no RDA or officially recommended dose for CBD, there are various clinical studies, research papers and resources from which such information can be drawn:
Preventative: Up to 10mg/day
Anxiety:  15 – 25mg/day (Source: Reddit Dosage question about help with anxiety)
Cancer: 500mg-1000+mg/day or 10mg/kg/day (Source: Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug)
Chronic Pain: 2.5 – 20mg/day (Source: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs)
Epilepsy: 200 – 300mg/day or 20mg/kg (Source: Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome)
Glaucoma: 15 – 40mg/day (Source: Neuroprotective Effect of(−)Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in N-Methyl-d-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neurotoxicity)
Sleep Disorders: 50 – 150mg/day  (Source: Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report)
Schizophrenia: 400 – 1250mg/day (Source: A Four-week Clinical Trial Investigating Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Acutely Ill Schizophrenic Patients)

Where Can I Buy CBD Oil?

Buy CBD Oil Online at Organica

You can purchase CBD products from our online store, and we will courier your package to your door or a nearby collection point anywhere in South Africa. For international customers, select the ‘Quote for Worldwide Shipping’ option at the checkout. Take a look at our most popular CBD products below.

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While there is much information to absorb on the subject, there seems to be little doubt that CBD is truly one of the wonders of the plant world. We hope that you have enjoyed reading CBD Oil in South Africa: The Essential Guide article as much as we have enjoyed writing it. Once again, if you are interested in CBD oil and would like to know more, please do feel free to contact our customer service team at support@organica.co.za, or click the chat button on our website.


Below are more CBD related articles that may be of interest to you.

The Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Can CBD Help with PMS?

The Therapeutic Role of CBD in Epilepsy

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