With Whole Foods listing CBD & Hemp as a top trending food for 2019, there’s no doubting that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment.
But what is CBD and why are people taking it?
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is the non-psychotropic compound found in cannabis. It’s most often taken either in oil form, vaporised, or incorporated into food to impart a feeling of relaxation or calm, reduce inflammation, and help treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD won’t get you high.
CBD has been hyped as a treatment for a myriad of conditions such as —chronic pain, cancer, Crohn’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, antibiotic-resistant infections, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and more. Numerous scientific studies have backed up these claims, which has given way to widespread commercial interest from both retail and pharmaceutical companies.
Scientists refer to CBD as a “promiscuous” compound, meaning its therapeutic values can benefit health in a variety of different ways by tapping into how we function on a deeper level both physiologically and biologically. Extensive preclinical research and some clinical studies have shown that CBD has strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective qualities.
What’s even more impressive is CBD’s ability to change gene expression. For example, CBD has been found to remove beta-amyloid plaque found in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. Recent discoveries such as this have led many scientists to believe that cannabis, in particular, cannabinoids CBD and THC, can play a pivotal role in treating and possibly preventing the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
CBD vs THC
CBD and THC work best when combined together. They interact synergistically to potentiate each other’s curative qualities. CBD can enhance the positive qualities in THC while also reducing the negative side effects sometimes experienced with THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.
Is CBD legal?
There is currently a great deal of confusion surrounding the use of CBD in UK law. While cannabis is outlawed under the Misuse of Drugs Act, some products derived from hemp (low-THC cannabis) are completely legal in the UK.
Therefore, CBD products are legal provided it has been made from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved and contains less than 0.2% THC. You can even find CBD oil in high-street shops such as Holland & Barrett.
How do I take CBD?
The most common ways to take CBD is via oil. Other popular ways include vaping CBD e-liquid and consuming CBD-infused foods, .
Most consumers prefer not to smoke and instead opt for CBD oil, which is administered via a dropper. Just squeeze a few drops out and hold under your tongue for about 90 seconds. This will give the CBD time to be absorbed through your sublingual tissue.
How much CBD should I take?
An effective dosage depends on a variety of factors, such as age, height, weight, the condition being treated, consumption method, etc. Dosages can range from as little as a few milligrams to a few hundred (although safe, this would be expensive).
A general rule is to begin with a small dose and work from there. Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days and observe the effects. Then increase or decrease the dosage as required. Smaller doses of CBD can be more stimulating whereas larger doses can sedate.
This is not a given, however. Everyone is unique and this is reflected in their experience with CBD.
What should I look for when buying a CBD product?
You’ll want to look for products whose labeling shows a clear and detailed breakdown of:
- Full spectrum vs isolate – Are you looking for a full-spectrum product or one made from isolated CBD? Full-spectrum products are considered superior as they feature a complete profile of compounds from the hemp flower, including low levels of other cannabinoids such as THC, CBN and CBG. Full spectrum products will have ‘hemp flower extract’ in their ingredients and should be clearly labelled as ‘full-spectrum’.
- Healthy ingredients – Avoid products with too many ingredients, artificial additives or flavouring, thinning agents or preservatives. If you’re buying CBD vape oil you want to watch out for VG and PG, which are food-grade substances whose long-term effects when inhaled is unknown.
- Lab results – CBD products should, at the very least, offer third-party lab results showing cannabinoid content. Ideally, it should also be tested for mould, bacteria, pesticides, solvent residues and other contaminants.
Where to buy high-quality CBD products in the UK
With the huge demand for CBD products, many UK CBD shops and brands have launched in an attempt to secure their piece of the pie. However, not all products are the same and finding a reliable source can be overwhelming.
Luckily, we have been keeping an eye on this industry for the last few years and have come to know and trust a number of well-established companies that sell proven products. Here’s a good place to start:
Does CBD have any adverse side effects or drug interactions?
CBD is an extremely safe substance with no serious side effects. However, consuming too much CBD can lower blood pressure and result in drowsiness. Therefore, it is recommended you experiment with how CBD is affects you before driving or operating machinery.
It is also important to note that CBD can interact with many common pharmaceuticals. At moderate doses, CBD can impact how we metabolise painkillers, statins, blood thinners or insulin. Patients taking prescription medication should monitor changes in blood levels and, if need be, adjust dosage. That being said – problematic interactions are more likely when consuming high doses of CBD isolate products.
Although sometimes these drug interactions can be dangerous, it is worth noting that both THC & CBD can improve the effectiveness of some medications and also help mitigate side effects, thus improving a patient’s quality of life.
A good example of this that is currently being widely researched is the relationship between cannabis and opioid painkillers. Early research has found that when taking opiate painkillers, THC will enhance the pain relief effects whilst CBD can reduce any withdrawal or dependence symptoms. This is just one of many examples where cannabis has the potential to drastically improve a patient’s quality of life.
Now you have a rough understanding of what CBD is and what to look for when buying it, why not take at this: