There still abounds some confusion over what exactly CBD products are, what they can do and whether in fact they’re legal. As CBD comes out of a bunker of trendy hippy products into the mainstream, most of us are increasingly curious about what it can do.
Here we find out what CBD is and review a selection of some of the best CBD oils, supplements and skin care products available.
So, what exactly is CBD?
CBD is an extract from a Cannabis plant and stands for 'Cannabidiol' - a specific type of ‘Cannabinoid’. Cannabinoids are a group of over 100 compounds characterised by their similar shape and chemical composition. First discovered in the Cannabis plant - hence the name 'Cannabinoid' – they were later discovered to also be used inside the human body.
Will it make me feel high?
CBD in and of itself is non-psychoactive. However, when we extract from the Cannabis plant, although CBD is the main component, there are other cannabinoids and phytonutrients present. The psychoactive properties of Cannabis come from perhaps the most well-known of all the Cannabinoids: THC. So, whether or not a particular CBD Oil causes you to feel high, will depend on how much THC is in there.
If CBD Oil is an extract from Cannabis, how can it be legal?
When it comes to Cannabis, the law is particularly convoluted and confusing. That’s because the term 'Cannabis' actually covers a broad range of different strains, each with their own 'Cannabinoid Profile'. There are some strains of Cannabis – known as Hemp Cannabis – that have been used in the UK for hundreds of years to make rope and contain very little THC (so smoking it won’t get you high). When strains of Cannabis high in THC started to make their way around the world in the early 20th Century, provisions were made to protect the Hemp Cannabis industry that was needed for making extra strong rope for the Royal Navy. To ensure the Hemp industry was unaffected, a legal distinction was made: any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.2% THC would be classified as industrial Hemp (and therefore legal to be grown, bought and sold), whilst any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.2% THC would be classified as Cannabis (and therefore illegal). Even though we call Hemp, “Hemp”, and not “Cannabis”, it is still technically a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant, and although it doesn’t contain much THC, it does still contain large amounts of other Cannabinoids, such as CBD.
So, by extracting CBD from a Hemp strain of the Cannabis plant, it is perfectly legal to be bought and consumed as a food supplement. Well, sort of. There is still a load of other conditions that need to be met, and to make matters more complicated, different countries have different definitions for Hemp. For example, in the UK, a Cannabis plant is considered Hemp if it contains less than 0.2% THC. However, in Switzerland it is 1% THC! So, what’s considered Hemp extract in Switzerland may still be considered Cannabis extract – and therefore illegal – in the UK. Like I said, it’s complicated!
Taking CBD Oil – does it need to be ingested to work?
CBD doesn’t need to be ingested to be absorbed and can be applied topically for targeted support. To really get it into your system and build up your levels of CBD over time, we recommend using a tincture style dropper to place a few drops below your tongue and hold for 60 seconds before swallowing*. It’s best to start low with just a few drops a day and increase over time until you find your optimal level. We've found the best way to accurately track the size of your dose is to use a mirror so you can clearly see how many drops leave the pipette. This is also a good way to make sure it's going right below your tongue into your sublingual glands.
*CBD Skin care products should not be ingested unless stated otherwise.
When should I take CBD Oil?
How often and when you take your CBD Oil will depend on what you are using it for. Many of our customers will start off by having a few drops in the morning and then a few more in the afternoon. Everyone is different, so it's about finding what works for you. You may find that having it once a day is enough!
Some people will also try having it in the evenings, about 1-2 hours before bed. We encourage you to experiment and find the best time of day for your own personal needs. It can also help to speak to friends and family that are also using CBD Oil to see what times of day works best for them.
You can use your CBD Oil up to 3 times daily and we recommend not exceeding a maximum of 70mg total CBD each day.
Is it safe for everyone to use and are there any risks?
Although CBD has always been present in Cannabis, it’s only relatively recently that it has been taken in high doses as a food supplement. As such, there aren’t many studies on the safety profile of CBD and as a precautionary measure, the FSA recommend that “healthy adults do not take more than 70mg a day, unless a doctor agrees more”. The FSA also advise against CBD for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for people taking medication. If you do have any health concerns surrounding the supplementation of CBD, please contact a healthcare professional.
What are the benefits of using CBD Oil?
The reported benefits of CBD Oil have so far been largely anecdotal and have spread quickly via word of mouth. Although research into CBD is accelerating, there is still a huge lack of clinical trials surrounding purported health benefits. That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits to taking CBD Oil, but just that large-scale clinical trials haven’t been conducted yet.
What research has been carried out?
CBD Oil has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it's no coincidence in timing. This recent spark in public interest is in part a result of the recent discovery of a whole new system inside the body: The Endocannabinoid System. This discovery, along with the subsequent revelations of its role inside the human body, led to an unprecedented boom in research into the cannabis plant starting in the 1990s. As research into cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System has started to mature, countries have started to legalise Cannabis for medicinal use to help ease restrictions on further research. In fact, since the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System in 1992, 33 countries, including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, along with 32 US states, have legalised cannabis for medicinal use.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System is a complex series of receptors spread throughout the human body that we now know is responsible for regulating some of our most vital life functions. Our immune system, sleep, mood, pain and stress response have all been linked to the endocannabinoid system… go back 30 years however, we didn't even know it existed!
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System
Endocannabinoids respond to counteract changes in our body. If our body, or a system within our body, is working as it should and is in equilibrium, then we say it is in a state of homeostasis. If something external happens that throws us out of homeostasis, then Endocannabinoids work to bring us back to normality and a state of equilibrium. In a way, their job is to ensure balance.
This is how Endocannabinoids regulate some of our most vital life functions - acting as messengers between different parts of the body and even influencing our emotions and feelings. They’re produced after exercise, when we’re hungry, in a response to pain, or stress or anxiety. They make sure our bones get repaired, our food gets properly digested, and that our immune system deals with tissue inflammation in a measured way. For example, if we are stressed, endocannabinoids work to destress us. If we need food, our Endocannabinoid System gives us an appetite. If tissue is damaged or inflamed, our Endocannabinoid System goes into overdrive to let our body know that it’s damaged and that it needs repairing.
Content background - with special thanks to YourZooki.
YOURZOOKI CBD OIL
YourZooki CBD oil is a simply delicious spearmint flavoured 20% CBD tincture that tastes pleasant and comes in lovely fresh and vibrant packaging. The zesty flavour seems to add to the impression that this oil gives a bit of kick when you need that boost. It is sourced from American and goes through a clean Co2 extraction method. Simply place a few drops on your tongue, then swallow after 60 seconds.
We love YourZooki and will be ordering more.
YourZuki is stocked in Harrods, Selfridges, Planet Organic and The Queens Pharmacy John Bell & Croyden.
BUD AND TENDER CBD OIL
We loved this CBD oil which we tried in the 10% version. It has a pleasant floral taste. The oil is also very pure and refined with lab notes even featured on the website of this small British brand.
After about half an hour of putting a few drops under our tongue, we felt more chilled but still alert and focused.
CANNARAY CBD OIL
This is another great CBD product that we shall be ordering again soon. Their CBD drops which we tried have been formulated with an exclusive Juniper Lime natural flavouring providing a clean and bright taste profile, plus USDA certified Organic Coconut Oil.
We tried the ample 750g version, which lasts a good few weeks, if used sparingly. A nice mellow feel was reported by our reviewer, alleviating the mild stress he was experiencing.
Like the other brands we tried, Cannaray also produces other amazing CBD products such as capsules and skin care products.
PASO CBD GUMMIES
We LOVED these gummies that tasted nice and were a decent size for chewing or letting dissolve slowly in your mouth.
We tried two versions - the brand’s CBD Cranberry Gummies £24.95 and CBD Blueberry Gummies. They also come in apple flavour.
Paso CBD gummies are all made from natural fruit juices and contain nothing artificial or any additional sugars. At 20mg per piece they are much stronger than most CBD gummies for sale in the UK.
WOODIES CBD HAND SANITISER
We’re all using hand sanitiser now, so rather than using something with an overpowering smell that’s hard on the skin, Woodies CBD Hand Sanitiser is kind to the skin and smells nice too.
Whilst excessive hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser tends to reveal the cracks in people’s dry skin, CBD works to counteract this with moisturising properties.
Endocannabinoids regulate the functionality of skin cells, including keratinocytes which form the protective outer layer of the skin.
WOODIES CBD OIL
This lovely CBD oil is available in lemon and peppermint and tastes very pleasant. As well as being very effective at alleviating some mild levels of stress, this oil also came in some of the nicest packaging. We could easily see this oil in our handbag for a long while to come!
To order: https://woodiesuk.com/products/cbd-oils
MY LIFELINE CBD DRINKS
If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink that packs a punch but with none of the side affects and all of the relaxation, look no further than these amazing CBD drinks.
The brand’s CBD Cold Brew Coffee range, a new chilled and bottled infusion, each delicately blending a single measure of organic coffee and 20mg of CBD.
Manufactured in the UK, the new range is a premium CBD-infused product made from an organic coffee blend sourced from Colombia, Peru and India, which carefully balances caffeine for alertness and cannabidiol for composure. From growing and harvesting, to roasting and blending, My Lifeline is dedicated to a complex process that produces a smooth yet rich finish, whilst also ensuring that its range is sugar-free and vegan.
The range comes in three varieties, all infused with 20mg CBD.
More details and to order, here: https://www.my-lifeline.co.uk
HEMPTOUCH SKIN BALM
Therapeutic CBD Skin Balm contains our richest CBD Oil, with Shea, Mango Butter and Vitamin E. It provides acute care for cracked, flaky, itchy, reddened, swollen, irritated and aggravated skin.This balm calms skin reactions and eczema flare-ups and reduces itching and areas of redness. It is particularly effective at restoring balance to oily, acne-prone and blemished skin.
Available online only: https://www.hemptouch.com/uk/therapeutic-cbd-skin-balm
XYLEM CBD BODY OIL
The 100% organic CBD massage oil was created to help everyone cope with their busy lives by providing a day-to-day solution to relax those tired muscles and stiff joints. This lovely product contains: Full Spectrum CBD Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E Oil. It was great to use and seemed to make our skin feel smoother, which together with its relaxing properties, is a winner for us!