CBD Oil: A Guide To The Hemp Extract That’s Taking Over The Wellness World

What it is, what it does and where you can buy it in Japan

By Lucy Dayman
October 16, 2019
Health & Beauty, Trending Now

Everything you need to know about the latest newcomer to the health and wellness world.

If you’ve been tuning into any lifestyle blogs, magazines, or pop by health food shops of late, there’s a very likely chance that you’ve stumbled upon the acronym, CBD. That’s because it’s taking the wellness world by storm. 

Today you can get lattes, chocolates, oils, and lotions infused with the stuff, and you’ll find users online regularly championing the benefits of this hemp extract. 

While already popular in the States and Europe, it’s now slowly but surely creeping into the Japanese market. But like anything that comes from the hemp plant, there’s still a bit of ambiguity about what CBD is, what it does, and its legal status here, in a nation with very strict anti-marijuana laws. So in an effort to clear up any ambiguities, we’ve put together a crash course on CBD with a specific focus on Japan.

What is CBD?


Without getting too scientific, CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in the flower of the cannabis plant. No matter your attitude to the plant, it’s hard to deny that this famous green flower has a bevy of medicinal properties. These properties have been utilized by cultures across the globe since the discovery of its powers.

CBD is one of the hundreds of phytocannabinoids, or often simply referred to as a cannabinoid, produced by the plant. A cannabinoid is a compound that reacts to the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell-signaling system that experts are still trying to learn more about. In general, the ECS plays a significant role in the regulation of many of our crucial human functions, including sleep, stress, appetite, mood, memory, and even reproduction and fertility


While a cannabinoid can be manufactured artificially, CBD is naturally occurring, and it’s a safe, non-addictive substance. It’s closely linked to THC, the compound in marijuana that makes you high. Both compounds have been found to have relaxation and mood-elevating effects (from higher levels of dopamine), though those effects can vary from person to person. Although similar to THC, an article by the Healthline states that studies confirm CBD reacts to the human body in a very different way to THC, and will never leave a consumer feeling ‘high’ or ‘stoned.’ 

What is it used for?

Sleep CBD

CBD’s effects and uses greatly depend on the consumer. But many people use it for pain relief, relaxation, to reduce stress and anxiety, battle Alzheimer’s, improve sleep, as an alternative to antiseizure medications, and a multitude of other issues. 

Priyanka Yoshikawa, an entrepreneur, charity ambassador, model, and Miss World Japan 2016/17 is a huge advocate for CBD’s positive effects. She’s about to release Mukoomi, her own brand of CBD oils and CBD-infused skincare products targeted to the Japanese market. 

Priyanka Yoshikawa - CBD Oil

Priyanka carries a bottle of CBD oil in her purse at all times.

“While I was modeling, I experienced an immense amount of work pressure,” Priyanka explains. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in that aspect of my career, and it started to affect my health physically and emotionally. Every time you go to an audition, you’re being judged and critiqued, you never know whether you’re good enough. Those everyday work anxieties start to build up. I started to struggle with sleeping, and my skin really broke out.” 

When she went to the US a little over a year ago, Priyanka discovered the growing popularity of CBD and how it could provide her with some clarity and relief. “Before the US, I didn’t know about CBD. When I was there; however, it was everywhere. I tried it and haven’t looked back.” 

It’s still relatively unknown in Japan—perhaps thanks to the stigma around marijuana—but it has a lot of potential here. “I love Japan,” says Priyanka, “but living here can be stressful, Japanese workers face a lot of pressure, stress levels are high. People in Japan drink alcohol and smoke a lot compared to other countries too. I think if there were more accessible alternative options for stress relief, the country would only benefit.” 

Is CBD legal in Japan?

Hemp Oil

When explaining to uninitiated folk about CBD and its origins, the cannabis plant, the two main questions that often first come up are:

  1. Does it make you high? No—it doesn’t contain THC, the element of the plant that makes you high. That being said, outside of Japan, there are countries where it is possible to purchase THC-infused CBD oil. But not here, and to avoid jail, don’t bother even trying to bring it in.
  2.  Is it legal? The answer is yes! Because it contains no psychoactive elements like THC, it’s treated similarly to a health supplement here.

How do you take CBD?

CBD tablet

CBD comes in so many different forms. There are lotions and skincare products, shampoos, chocolates, vapes, gummies—basically, if there’s a way to get CBD into your body, someone has created and produced it, marketed it, and is already selling it. The foundational way, however, to consume CBD is as an oil or capsule. 

Priyanka recommends those who are new to the word of CBD to go for the oil. “You can mix it into water, food, or tea,” she explains. “But of course it’s oil, so it doesn’t always dilute so well. Another more direct alternative is to drop it straight under your tongue, using a tincture and leave it there for around a minute before swallowing.” If you choose to take it as a capsule, you would take one each morning with your breakfast, just like you would a vitamin capsule. 

What to look for when buying CBD?

The first thing to look for is the type of CBD oil. When shopping around, you’ll notice there are three main variations: CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD. 

  • CBD isolate: THC-free. Isolated from the other cannabinoids and compounds of the plant, making it 99 percent pure. If you’re just starting out, this is the way to go.
  • Full-spectrum CBD: contains THC, so it’s illegal in Japan. 
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: THC-free. Sits somewhere between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate; while the THC has been removed, some compounds found within the plant stay in the oil, unlike CBD isolate.

The next thing to look for is how much is in the bottle. Good, trustworthy CBD will make clear how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in the bottle. Being smart about how much you consume takes a little calculating, but it’s worth the effort. Use this website to calculate how much you’ll need according to your body weight.

There are CBD stores in Tokyo currently, like Healthy Tokyo which has outlets in Minami-Aoyama and Haneda airport. Cosme Kitchen is another popular beauty store in Japan that carries CBD oil in Japan.

So what’s next?

CBD chat

With this overload of information, it can be a little overwhelming. So to figure out whether you’d benefit from CBD, or what type to buy, it’s always best to do a little homework yourself, read the reviews, and shop around. 

Have you used CBD oil before? Tell us your experience with the oil in the comments below!

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