Study Buddy (Explorer): What you need to know about CBD oils – myths and reality explained by Hong Kong’s CBD Peoples

  • Each week, Study Buddy Explorer presents an interesting story that we have adjusted to be more accessible for all English learners
  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
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There are a lot of misconceptions about CBD oil, but it can have many benefits if you know how to use it. Photo: Shutterstock

Content provided by the British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] After learning about a cannabidiol (CBD) brand called Hemptuary Hawaii, Hong Kong-based Christina Ko and Loretta Chan decided to bring its products to Hong Kong. CBD is an active ingredient of cannabis that is being sold as a “wonder cure” for aches, pains, stress and other ailments. But as the pair started doing market research, they soon realised most consumers and the wellness industry in the city knew very little about CBD. Their mission expanded to education, as they shared tips on how to use CBD. This is how the platform CBD Peoples was born.

[2] “We’re really trying to let consumers know what’s worth the money – and what are just gimmicks. We see a lot of low-dose CBD oils that will do nothing for you, CBD aromatherapy products which are basically useless ... restaurants or bars that are just looking for ideas for their next monthly promotion,” said Ko. CBD Peoples’ Instagram account offers product reviews, advice and all kinds of useful information about CBD. Here, they shed light on some common misconceptions.

[3] Is CBD derived from marijuana? Ko and Chan said that while CBD was present in marijuana, most commercially available CBD was derived from hemp, which has a much higher concentration of the ingredient. The hemp plant is used for a wide variety of products, from rope and cloth to paper.

[4] They said CBD acted on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which was how your body helped you feel “normal” in response to stress and other factors. So, CBD cannot and will not get you high – it will help your body activate its natural relaxation response. Often, people do not feel anything at all.

[5] Is CBD for sleep? The duo said CBD could help you relax by releasing physical or mental stress, so it could help some people with sleep issues. But it is not a sleeping pill. They said they took CBD in the morning to help deal with the frenetic pace of Hong Kong work life. It helped people deal with issues ranging from nervous sweating to anxiety over deadlines and unfinished tasks, they added.

[6] Is CBD best taken orally? Ko and Chan said they preferred using CBD topically, which you could make at home by adding CBD oil to a body cream. They added that they loved using it before a workout to loosen tight muscles.

[7] It is also great for muscle soreness after a workout. After experimenting extensively with CBD balms, creams and gels, Ko and Chan said that anti-inflammatory topical CBD also worked wonders on eczema, sunburn and kitchen burns. They suggested rubbing it on your feet before a hike.

[8] Is there a perfect CBD dosage? Ko and Chan said CBD brands often wanted to create a golden formula for CBD dosage. So you might read that your recommended starting dose is 0.5mg per 1kg of body weight. But it is very much a process of trial and error. Clinical studies show even if you take an insanely high dose, you will still be OK. Other factors matter, too – how stressed you are, how much food you have had, what form of CBD you are taking and what time of day it is.
Source: South China Morning Post, November 28


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:

1. According to paragraph 1, what doesn’t CBD People do?
A. sell CBD
B. teach people about CBD
C. import CBD from overseas
D. advocate for a ban on the sale of CBD

2. Find a word in paragraph 2 that means “tricks to attract business”.

3. Other than extracting CBD from it, what is hemp also used for?

4. Read paragraphs 3 and 4, and decide whether the following statements are True, False or Not Given. (4 marks)
(i) Hemp has a lower concentration of CBD compared to marijuana.
(ii) Teenagers are likely to get addicted to CBD.
(iii) CBD can help some people relax.
(iv) Most people prefer CBD sourced from hemp rather than marijuana.

5. Who can benefit from using CBD according to paragraph 5?
A. those who suffer from nervous sweating
B. people who are feeling anxious
C. someone who feels stressed because of work
D. all of the above

6. What does the word “topically” in paragraph 6 suggest about how CBD can be used?

7. Based on paragraph 7, list three instances for which the use of CBD is recommended. (3 marks)

8. Will a similar amount of CBD have the same effect on everyone, and why? (2 marks)

9. Which of the following could be an alternative headline for this article?
A. Benefits and uses of CBD oil
B. The potential side effects of CBD
C. The trouble with CBD oil
D. Ethical concerns about CBD oil

Christina Ko (left) and Loretta Chan founded CBD Peoples in Hong Kong after learning about a CBD brand based in Hawaii. Photo: Nora Tam


1. D
2. gimmicks
3. It is used to make products such as rope, cloth and paper.
4. (i) F; (ii) NG; (iii) T; (iv) NG
5. D
6. It can be applied on the skin.
7. relax muscle soreness after a workout / eczema / sunburn / kitchen burns / on your feet before a hike (any three)
8. No, because the effects depend on factors such as body weight, stress level, the form of CBD, the amount of food they had eaten and the time of day they took the CBD.
9. A

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