During the lengthy lockdown period in the Czech Republic, coping mechanisms have ranged from yoga to self-medicating or both — one recent survey suggests that Czechs are both exercising and drinking more during lockdown.
Use of yet another so-called anxiety-taming wonder ingredient has seen an increase in countries around the world during the coronavirus pandemic: cannabidiol, one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, commonly called CBD.
(Quick terminology check: CBD oil is made by extracting CBD and other cannabinoids from industrial hemp grown to have a THC content below 0.2 percent, then diluting it mostly with olive oil, MCT coconut oil, or hemp seed oil).
Jiří Novák is the CEO of Canatura, the largest online shop for health-related cannabis products in the Czech Republic. He says he has seen increased interest in CBD oil following quarantine restrictions and attributes the spike to several factors.
“People are looking for a way to strengthen their health right now and because physical stores are closed or reopening slowly, they’ve started largely buying online.” He also believes that more and more Czechs are looking for a way to calm their COVID fears — and scientific studies point to the fact that CBD has been proven to help a variety of anxiety disorders.
Available in lotions, capsules, tinctures, crystals, edibles, beverages, and patches CBD is also said to relieve chronic pain, aid sleep, and even boost immunity. But for first-time users, the flood of products available on the Czech market right now can be a little confusing.
Canatura stocks all of the above as well as hemp snacks, cosmetics, and pet care. Novák says that as CBD’s popularity in the Czech Republic grows so do questions about the best ways to enjoy its healthful effects.
“Generally, the three most popular ways of using cannabidiol are under the tongue, topically on the skin, or by swallowing capsules,” says Novák, adding that methods such as vaporizing CBD as well as different herbs have also become increasingly popular among his local customers.
Before choosing a product, he recommends determining what exactly you want to use it for.
“Research shows that cannabis has a lot of possible health benefits but for now it’s only medically approved to help treat certain conditions such as glaucoma or discomfort associated with cancer,” he says, adding that it is still perfectly safe and legal to purchase and consume CBD containing less than 0.2% THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana) in the Czech Republic.
The level of THC and the type of CBD oil in the product is another factor to consider when shopping around. CBD oil comes in three varieties: full-spectrum (all cannabinoids and THC included), broad-spectrum (various cannabinoids and without THC), and isolate (containing just one cannabinoid such as CBD or CBG).
While many first-time users are worried that CBD oil will make them zone out, full-spectrum CBD products, Novák says, contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so they won’t have a psychoactive effect and aren’t addictive.
“The problem arises when details on the product label do not correspond to reality. And this happens very often in practice,” says Novák adding that trustworthy sellers will present products with accurate labeling; his own staff is ready and able to advise customers over e-mail or phone.
In terms of choosing the right concentration of CBD oil, it is generally recommended that you start low and work your way up. Some products list amounts in milligrams (250 mg, 500 mg, or 1,000 mg) while others specify the concentration as percentages (5%, 10%, or 20% CBD).
Novák says 10 percent medium is the preferred CBD oil concentration of many of his customers.
Canatura works with trusted and Czech and European suppliers that offer high-quality and efficient products, at fair prices.
One Czech brand sold by on their site is Dobré Konopí (Good Cannabis), a producer based in the Sušice region of Pilsen. “They are real producers,” says Novák. “Everything is organic and handmade.”
Due to the increased popularity of CBD oil among first-time users, Canatura will soon be offering a starter kit containing a combination of capsules and oils as well as different packages for different types of customers and needs (fitness, detox, etc.).
For those not sure if vaping, creams, or oils are the way to go, Novák says the effects of CBD will vary from person to person. “For experiencing effects within a few minutes, oil drops under the tongue generally work well. For very quick relief of, say, pain or anxiety, inhaling CBD may be most effective, via a vaporizer,” he says.
He says the effects from lotion also vary from person to person — some may feel it right away, others not for several hours. CBD in food products is likely to take longer, he says, and can take 30 minutes or more to be absorbed into your system.
The legalization of cannabis has led to a burgeoning industry — the European market for CBD oil alone is likely to generate almost USD 251.20 million by 2023 — as well as a lot of hype.
Novák says that despite the current global pandemic, which some experts say could widely impact the cannabis industry, he believes it’s important to continue exploring its health benefits, especially in times of instability.
“Cannabis has many beneficial attributes that will be gradually discovered and confirmed, doing so will help further the growth of cannabis in society and better legislation in its favor.”
To learn more about cannabis in the Czech Republic or try cannabis products visit www.canatura.com/en.