Cannabis plants contain hundreds of cannabinoids, and cannabidiol (CBD) is one of them. CBD is the most abundant in commercially available preparations and is also one of the most well-studied. In addition, it is proven to be safe for regular human use and might provide some health benefits.
Safety and legal status of CBD in the UK
A blanket ban on all cannabis-related products was introduced in the early 20th century, without realizing that not all components of cannabis are harmful. However, with lots of research and efforts by various agencies, it was finally realized that CBD products free from THC are safe and fit for regular use.
Thus, CBD products available in the UK do not contain more than 0.2% THC. It became possible by growing unique varieties of the cannabis plant that are naturally low in intoxicating THC. So, CBD product will not give high to anyone.
CBD has some psychoactive properties, but unlike THC, it does not alter behaviour, reflexes and is non-addictive. As a result, CBD does not show up in drug tests.
CBD is classified as a Novel Food in the UK. Novel Food is just any food item that was not traditionally consumed in large amounts by the people of the UK. Thus, despite a proven safety, there is a need to monitor its effect on a larger population continuously.
CBD and Hemp oil are not the same
Although both CBD and Hemp oil is extracted from various varieties of the cannabis plant, they are different. CBD oil is rich in cannabinoids, and people mostly use it as a health supplement. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is more like regular cooking oil that is rich in omega-3 and omega-6.
How does CBD work?
Since there are many claimed health benefits of CBD, it is logical to ask about its mechanism of action. But, unfortunately, researchers have only started to understand how it works and influences various body functions.
Studies show that CBD work by affecting the so-called endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. ECS is an extensive network of chemical receptors and enzymes that may help regulate various body functions. Since these receptors are present in almost every organ, it may explain such a broad impact of CBD on wellbeing. To date, researchers have understood the role of CB1 and CB2 receptors quite well.
Benefits of CBD
Legally, no ethical producer of CBD products in the UK should make any health claims related to CBD use. However, this does not mean that CBD does not work. It merely means that CBD should be used as a food supplement or nutraceutical to help fight health disorders. However, it should not be used to replace drug therapy or medical advice.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that CBD cannot be used to treat diseases or have no health benefits. In fact, UK has already approved cannabis for medical use. At present, doctors can prescribe certain cannabis-based approved products for resistant epilepsy in children, managing multiple sclerosis-related spasticities, and controlling chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting.
It means that CBD products may be especially good for specific health issues. Apart from those approved cannabis-based remedies, people often use CBD to fight stress, anxiety, regulate metabolism, improve hormonal and immune health, and much more.
Possible adverse effects and dosage of CBD
CBD is relatively safe and rarely causes and side effects. Nevertheless, some individuals may complain about dry mouth, gastrointestinal discomfort, changes in appetite, nausea. It may also cause allergic reactions in some. Extremely high dosages (above 300 to 600 mg per day) may cause low blood pressure, dizziness in some individuals.
Usually, it is accepted that any dosage below 70 mg a day is quite safe and would not cause any adverse effects. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to start with the minimum recommended dosage (refer to product information) and gradually increase the dose until the expected benefit is achieved.
Choosing CBD product
Choosing CBD product may be pretty confusing due to the availability of so many different CBD products. They come in the form of oil, pills, sprays, edibles, and so on.
Most CBD products can be divided into four categories:
- Full-spectrum – are products that contain all the cannabinoids and even THC in permissible amounts. Since such products contain hundreds of cannabinoids along with CBD, they are considered most effective due to the entourage effect (synergy between various compounds). However, full-spectrum CBD products are also more likely to cause side effects and allergic reactions.
- Broad-spectrum– these products are quite similar to full-spectrum but are free from THC and some other impurities. Thus, they might have similar efficacy as full-spectrum but a better safety profile.
- Isolate– as the term indicates, these products contain an isolated form of CBD, also sometimes called pure CBD. As one can guess, such products have a high safety profile, but they might have lower efficacy.
- Value-added products- this is a relatively new concept. These are products produced by adding other natural compounds to them. The most common of these compounds are terpenes. Adding terpenes might boost various health benefits of CBD products, improve their efficacy.
To conclude, researchers are still exploring various health benefits of CBD products. Those considering to use CBD must prefer products that were tested by third-party labs and are well-known among experienced CBD users. Such products are more likely to contain the amount of CBD as claimed on labels and are also free from various impurities.