WARNING: contains grapic images of wounds some people may find distressing
A model whose dream career was cut short by a savage dog attack has told how taking cannabis oil has rescued her from crippling anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.
At the beginning of 2018, Suzel Mackintosh had the world at her feet as a commercial pin-up. But an unprovoked attack by a friend’s Staffordshire bull terrier on New Year’s Eve left her with deep lacerations to her face and her nose hanging by a thread.
The subsequent facial scars left Suzel, ‘broken’ both mentally and financially. For the past 18 months she’s battled anxiety and dread brought on by the attack.
But now the 25-year-old, who was originally born in Australia and now lives in London, says she’s finally found a way to cope with her mental health issues – in the form of CBD oil, aka Cannabidiol, a substance extracted from cannabis plants and which is enjoying a huge surge in popularity in the UK.
And she’s urging others suffering similar issues to explore the benefits.
Suzel, who now works in marketing, reveals: “Since the attack, I have been dealing with anxiety on a daily basis.
“The fear of looking in the mirror every morning, the fear of dogs… the fear of everything.
“And the attack has put a dampener on my life in so many ways, both emotionally and financially.
“At one point I didn’t feel like carrying on. I didn’t see the point in anything.
“It affected my work, and then it affected my confidence, and it just had this huge domino effect on my life. I lost my apartment, my work dried up, my social life disappeared and my confidence completely went.
“I came to a point where I was faced with a choice: Give up or carry on. But taking CBD oil has honestly changed my life. It has made me so much stronger.
“And that’s why I’m speaking out because it’s definitely something I believe in. It’s been a big step for me in the process of healing over time.”
Suzel’s nightmare began during a camping trip with pals near Perth.
At around midnight, she’d gone to a friend’s car to retrieve her bag and she did so, she patted her friend’s dog on the head – the same dog she’d been happily been playing with a day earlier. And while the subsequent attack lasted just 18 seconds, it would have a lasting effect on her life.
Suzel, once an animal lover, says: “My lip and nose suffered nerve damaged and the tissue is never going to get back to how it was before.
“I have a dip in my nose which shows in photos. I can’t model anymore. And yet what upsets me most is that the dog’s owner never said sorry.”
Suzel eventually went in search of help for her anxiety but didn’t want to be ‘dosed up’ on drugs.
Instead, she found a UK firm called CBD Armour, having read about the substance’s claimed results when it comes to combating anxiety. Cannabidiol is perfectly legal in the UK and sold as a food supplement – as well as in skin and hair care products.
It contains only trace amounts of cannabis’ high-giving chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, aka ‘THC’.
And a host of celebs have also endorsed CBD, including the likes of Hollywood actresses Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio.
Suzel explains: “After the attack, I found myself looking for answers medicinally but I didn’t want to be dosed-up on drugs that block everything out.
“I had heard a lot about CBD oil but it hadn’t occurred to me to take it before. I researched it and it seemed like the most organic and naturally beneficial thing for me, so I started taking it.
“It immediately started to help me feel calmer.”
Suzel says she still get bouts of panic when people look at her, and isn’t yet at ease when she looks back at her reflection.
She adds: “I look in the mirror every morning and I still see what’s wrong with my face. I get sad that it won’t go back to how it was.
“But by taking CBD Armour oil, I also feel more comfortable, and even humble about what I still have. There’s still a long way to go for me but I feel much better about my situation.”
Suzel’s experience with CBD in coping with anxiety also appears to be endorsed by science.
In April this year, Dutch researchers from Utrecht University found that Cannabidiol could overcome anxiety-related phobias, when used in conjunction with ‘exposure therapy’, where a patient is gradually exposed to the source of their anxiety.
A separate study, by the University of Colorado’s Department of Psychiatry, found CBD could helped ease anxiety in almost 80 per cent of the patients they treated.
Lead author Dr Scott Shannon reported: “CBD appears to be better tolerated that routine psychiatric medications. Furthermore, CBD displays promise as a tool for reducing anxiety in clinical populations.”