CBD oil has garnered massive popularity over the past few years. However, being just an emerging market in the UK, we still have much confusion surrounding it.
What exactly is CBD? Are these products safe and legal, and if so, what do you look for when shopping?
Let’s take a closer look!
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over 100 compounds classified as cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is mainly extracted from flowers of the hemp plant, although the leaves, stem, and stalks are used as well. Usually, a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil is used to dilute the concentrated form of CBD.
Unlike THC – the popular cannabis constituent that makes users “high” – CBD doesn’t have significant psychoactive effects. Also, while CBD is abundant in hemp, THC is abundant in marijuana- both are classified as cannabis plants.
CBD has now hit the mainstream media with significant force, thanks to its zealous advocates and regulations that allow its use – more on that later. It is now found in a variety of products, from vape liquids to creams, sweets, and even pills.
The primary reason behind CBD’s wide acceptance is its therapeutic abilities. Although it is not prescribed as a cure, it relieves multiple symptoms from various conditions such as:
- Chronic pain
- Drug withdrawals
- Neurological disorders
Types of CBD
Some people view types of CBD as the topical gels, vape oils, pills, and edibles. Others are confident it’s the full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate groups. The latter is accurate, and the former is not far off either, although those are better categorized as CBD products. So, what’s with the spectrums?
- Full Spectrum: As the name suggests, this is the total package, including THC and all cannabinoids. Since it is all-inclusive, full-spectrum CBD is considered to give the “entourage effect” – again, more on that later. Stick with me.
- Broad Spectrum: This is a relatively new term in the industry, referring to the type of CBD that has all the extracts of the flower except THC. Most of the other cannabinoids are present, though.
- Isolate: Any ideas? Yeah, you’re right – this one has CBD only, and no other cannabinoids.
Now, why so many types? Well, it’s all about preferences.
Some people would like to get the whole thing, and they go for the full spectrum, which gives the “entourage effect”. Each cannabinoid has a unique set of therapeutic properties. However, when consumed in combination, they complement each other. They become more effective together.
On the flip side, some consumers can’t have or don’t want THC but still appreciate the beneficial attributes of all the other elements in cannabis. That’s where broad-spectrum CBD saves the day!
Then, there’s isolate CBD – no terpenes, THC, or any other cannabinoids but CBD only. This takes away all the concerns that consumers might have about the other cannabinoids. Moreover, it can be applied in situations where the other types of CBD wouldn’t work.
For instance, water infused with full- and broad-spectrums CBDs wouldn’t be as desirable and tasty to drink as the one that only has isolate CBD. Why? Because isolating CBD strips away flavour profiles such as terpenes, which might ruin the taste of drinking water.
Bottom line: It all depends on what you prefer. They are all legal, and the THC content is regulated by law. Talking of regulation…
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
CBD oil is allowed in the UK by law, but only if the THC content is no more than 1mg per product. THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. What? Just understand that THC is still illegal in the UK, and CBD producers cannot have products containing more than 1mg of it.
Moreover, the CBD must come from an industrial-grade hemp strain that has been approved. Remember, hemp is naturally high in CBD and low in THC, unlike marijuana. This puts hemp in a unique position to pass the THC test.
Lastly, you have to be either a licensed medical distributor or market your products as a nutritional supplement to sell CBD in the UK. As a supplement, the product must be labelled per The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003.
What to Look for When Shopping for CBD Oil in the UK?
So, you want to give it a try and experience its therapeutic effects firsthand, or perhaps see what the fuss is all about. Where do you start?
Type of Product
Begin by identifying the type of product that suits you best. Here are the options:
- CBD oil drops: These are the most popular and can be taken orally. They take effect in 30 minutes to 2 hours and last up to 8 hours.
- CBD sprays: They come in milder concentrations, although high-strength CBD sprays are also available. There are also different flavours for those who don’t fancy the plant’s ‘green’ aroma.
- Hemp tea: Brewing dried cannabis flowers, buds, seeds, leaves, and stems provides an enjoyable and affordable way of taking cannabinoids and is rich in CBDa. The dry herb can also be used for cooking or baking.
- Topicals: These are creams, balms, and body salves that can be applied directly to the skin. They are more suitable for specific target areas such as the alleviation of muscle pain.
- Capsules: For CBD that can be taken in the same way as your multivitamins, pills make an excellent candidate.
- Vapes/ e-liquids: Unlike sprays, the carrier here is composed of vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol, which allows the active ingredient to be vaporised.
- Sweets and gummy bears: You could go naughty with sugary CBD gummy bears and candies. Be sure to keep them away from children.
THC and CBD Concentrations
Don’t forget the 1mg and below THC content. As for CBD, higher cannabidiol contents provide a more complete or rapid effect. Consider starting low, but it’s totally up to you.
Now that you know the three types, which one do you want to go for? You might also want to take a step farther and examine the extraction method used.
It is advisable to go for superficial CO2 extraction since it doesn’t use solvents or chemicals and mostly produces higher-quality CBD in terms of purity.
Third-Party Lab Tests
Look for a certificate or marker of authenticity from a lab. They should have a link to their lab reports, detailing the contents. That way, you’ll be sure that the manufacturer did their due diligence.
Where Do I Buy CBD Oil in the UK?
They only list products that have been carefully selected from renowned companies that:
- Are Cannabis Trades Association Members and abide by the strict UK guidelines
- Have their products independently lab tested for quality
- Have been recommended by market-leading authorities