Magic Plantpower? CBD in Japan
When I say #Plantpower, I usually refer to veggies, greens and other delicious "bunny food" that keeps this healthy, Vegan body striving. But this time, I am sharing me and my partner's experience with CBD in Japan.
Born and raised in THE paradise for party-goers and drug tourists; Amsterdam, I have never been interested in any type of drugs. I have never touched a cigarette in my life, and had never even drank any alcohol before coming to Japan (- Hajmemashite, izakaya, 'nomikai' and dating life). Years ago host families and teachers would carefully confirm their suspicions that drugs are legal in "my country"; Officers at the airport immigration would double check my luggage, and recently young people excitedly ask if I "can get them some". Ya'll got the wrong girl! I couldn't even tell you if- and to what extend drugs are or aren't legal in the Netherlands, because I've never cared. Marijuana was just the stuff my slightly delinquent classmates would smoke before being kicked out of class, and what my great-aunt would smoke for some relieve to the cancer pain. Nothing more.
So when I first heard about CBD oil, I had 0 interest. But then I came across HealthyTOKYO, Pioneering CBD in Japan since 2016. Then I had lunch at Organic Hemp Cafe Magokoro (review here), and -unfortunately briefly- visited Hemp Cafe Tokyo, and I found all these fun, plant based companies that had nothing to do with "weird, scary drugs", but all seemed to have something in common - CBD infused foods. Although my curiosity was piqued a little, I still didn't go out of my way to actually try any of them and happily stick with my muffins and veggie lunch.
"You had my curiosity,... but now you have my attention"
Then my MMA coach promoted his favorite brand on his SNS channels. And he wasn't the only one. More and more fighters and athletes seem to swear by CBD oils and balms to help with pain relieve and injuries. Forever-injured as a beginner in Jiu Jitsu and MMA, while suffering from hyper-mobile joints (what could go wrong?!), the CBD story started to become more interesting. When I also saw more and more reviews and articles online about CBD helping with anxiety and mood swings, the deal was sealed!
I'm not even going to try and explain or educate about CBD. CBD is relatively new and much more research on large scale is needed to confirm its effects - both positive and negative. But here is what matters:
- CBD is NOT Marijuana. Short for "Cannabidiol", it is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant, and a natural occurring substance. It does not contain THC, which is the "fun" part of Marijuana.
- Therefore, CBD is legal in many countries, including Japan, for as long as it does not include THC (or more specifically <0.03% in Japan). As many foreign produced CBD oil contain more than this limit, it is always safest to buy CBD products produced in Japan that are abiding by the Japanese law! Do not joke around with this, as the penalties (incl. possible jail time) for illegal drugs are very high. Not to mention what would happen to us Gaijin... The legal, secured brands on the other hand, are completely fine and even available in a wide range of health stores throughout Japan.
*CBD can have an effect on other medication, so consult with your doctor before using.
**CBD will not get you high. #CanthHaveItAll
What it will do? As previously mentioned, further scientific research is needed for hard facts. But reviews, articles and interviews, both in Japan and abroad, seem to agree: It can help with pain (muscle) relief, with mood swings, stress, PMS and anxiety, and for many, it seems to support a good night's sleep.
"More importantly, how is the flavor?"
OK, my usual catch phrase may not exactly be the most important factor in this story - although there is definitely differences out there. The cafes mentioned above often use CBD in their foods and drinks, and many come in a particular flavor; think yuzu or coconut. So far I haven't tried any flavored CBD oil, nor infused foods, so I can't really comment. What I can say, is that my current "natural flavor" CBD oil from CannaTech tastes like Marijuana smells.... and that's not exactly something I'm excited about.
I started off with the 1000mg/10% CBD oil from CannaTech. How much CBD you should take is one of the most often questions on any sales platform, but also the hardest to answer. I know some brands in the US offer advice services especially for this, but I just had to wing it.
Making a terrible reading error, I first took half a pipette each time. Expensive mistake...Happy days. Now I take 2-3 drips in the morning and 2-3 again after work.
Dripping them under my tongue and keeping them there for a full minute, or as long as possible, before slowly swallowing them - and this way fully enjoying that powerful Marijuana-ish flavor...#fml
When on my period, or before a stressful event I might increase it slightly (meeting the in-laws for the first time? bottoms up!). So far, so good! I seem a lot more relaxed, stable and generally more calm, even during more stressful situations (like, ya'know... pandemics and stuff).
I have just received my first order with Naturecan - who have recently debuted in the Japanese market. Keep an eye out for my review of their 15% and 40%(! ready for anything!) oils and hardly needed muscle relief balm. Both brands are Vegan and GMO-free.
There are different ways to use CBD. Under the tongue, in food and drinks, or per vape.
My partner has been using CBD "wax" per vape for about 2-3 months now and his results are amazing! He has a highly stressful job and his stress levels, despite the usual drama at work, have been much lower. During, and right after smoking, he is very mellow (again, not high!), as the effect per vape is more immediate than the oil. (but it also lasts shorter..) And he is generally more relaxed and un-phased. Also, his body and shoulders seem to feel more "らく" (easy-relaxed). He uses the Nagomi line-up from VapeMania, which come in flavors from "Mango Kush" to "Granddaddy Purple" - who doesn't want that?
Research suggests that taking CBD oil orally takes about 30 minutes - 1 hour to feel the effects, but they will last 8–12 hours. Vaping should give you effects in 30 seconds to a few minutes, but the effects in turn are said to last 3-5 hours.
CBD products are gaining popularity all over the world as a natural supplement that could help with mental stabilization as well as physical pain relief. As long as the product does not contain THC, usage is legal in Japan and so far the effects me and my partner have experiences are quite significant and we will continue to test their effects.
Verdict: So far so good! As I'm getting back into training after a bad injury, I am looking forward to see how CBD will support my progress.
➡️ HealthyTOKYO has some in-depth articles on CBD usage and science, specifically in Japan, here.