CBD oil and other therapeutic cannabis preparations have soared in popularity over the past several years. In the United Kingdom alone, an estimated 6 million people — 11% of the population — have tried CBD products.
CBD oil is being used for everything from anxiety to debilitating seizures. But what CBD exactly? Is it legal? Let’s take a closer look at what’s driving the next big British health and wellness trend.
CBD: The Non-Intoxicating Cannabinoid
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s one among more than 100 cannabinoids — the main therapeutic components of cannabis.
Unlike its close relative tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause any mind-altering effects. In other words, it doesn’t make you high. This means you can use CBD to reap the health benefits of cannabis without any of the intoxicating effects.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a preparation made from hemp — a variety of cannabis plants that contains 0.2% or less of THC. Specifically, CBD oil is made from the stalks, stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant.
It shouldn’t be confused with hemp seed oil — sometimes simply called hemp oil, hence the confusion — which is isolated from hemp seeds and does not contain any cannabinoids.
CBD oil is the most popular type of CBD product. It’s used sublingually (under the tongue) to help with a variety of health issues.
CBD Oil Benefits
Research on CBD is still in its early stages. However, that hasn’t stopped millions of Britons from using CBD oil for a wide variety of conditions and symptoms, including anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, arthritis, seizures, headaches, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and insomnia.
So far, only the clinical use of CBD for seizures is warranted by sufficient research findings. Most other uses are only supported by early evidence, such as test tube and animal studies, and early clinical trials.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
The legality of CBD oil is a hot topic because of its ties to cannabis. As it stands, CBD oil is legal in the UK — and many other places around the world — as long as it’s made from hemp.
In the UK and the rest of Europe, hemp plants must contain 0.2% or less of THC, which means they cannot cause any intoxication. Meanwhile, any oil with more than 0.2% THC is considered cannabis and is therefore illegal.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
By and large, CBD oil is a surprisingly safe substance. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers CBD to be “well tolerated with a good safety profile,” and research studies report that CBD can be taken daily in doses as high as 1500 mg without causing any serious adverse health effects.
Having said that, CBD does come with some side effects, including sleepiness, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, dizziness, diarrhoea, dry mouth, and changes in appetite or weight.
However, these side effects are relatively minor and unlikely to occur at the CBD oil dosages most people use.
What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil
The CBD market is largely unregulated, which means you have to be careful about what you buy. There are plenty of low-quality and misleading products out there.
First and foremost, make sure any CBD oil you’re interested in buying comes with third-party lab test results. These tests are performed by an independent laboratory, verifying that the product in question contains CBD in the advertised quantities.
It also confirms that the oil contains no more than 0.2% of THC, which means it’s legal and will not cause intoxication. If these certificate of analysis (COA) documents are nowhere to be found, it’s a major red flag.
Furthermore, we highly recommend researching reviews and ratings of specific CBD oil products and brands. For instance, CBD Shopy offers reviews of the top UK CBD oils. This way, you can choose the brands that other people found effective and avoid buying low-quality CBD oil.
Other important factors to consider are hemp quality and manufacturing methods. The best CBD oils are made from organic, non-GMO hemp cultivated in Europe and extracted with CO2 or ethanol — the industry-leading extraction methods.
Finally, we recommend purchasing a full-spectrum CBD oil, which is thought to be more effective than isolated CBD because it contains hundreds of other beneficial cannabis compounds.
Written by: Charlie Williams