CBD – you’ve been hearing all about it lately from family and friends, but what is it precisely? You may have noticed that it is often marketed in vague terms, with promises that it can soothe your anxiety and increase your daily focus. But at the same time, you may have also noticed that this product is not well-regulated in the UK. As such, you may have some reservations about whether CBD products, such as CBD oil, are legal in the UK in the first place.
Rest assured, CBD oil and all of its associated products are legal to use in the United Kingdom (within certain standards). With that out of the way, you can start to consider the numerous benefits that regular CBD use can bring into your life. You may well be surprised at how accessible CBD products are becoming, making this a great time to try them out yourself.
Of course, you don’t want to just dive in and try the first CBD product you see on the store shelf (and if you do, we suggest buying CBD oil from Blessed CBD). After talking to your doctor, you should begin to research CBD and its intended effects in users. From there, you may also want to research the differences between CBD products, including their method ingestion and their quality.
You could hunt all around the internet to find definitive answers to those inquiries. However, you could also instead stay right here and read through this new guide to CBD in the UK. Here, you’ll start from the basics and work your way up to understanding the many forms CBD is available in in the UK.
With all of the actionable knowledge in this guide, you should be ready to try out CBD products on your own in the near future and see what all the buzz is about.
Are you new to CBD? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that crowd. More and more people every day are beginning to learn about CBD and its potential benefits. You could be the next person to embrace CBD, but only after you learn about what CBD is at a basic level. These following primers should get you up to speed on CBD’s scientific basis:
What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
At a basic level, cannabidiol (often shortened to “CBD”) is one of around 113 cannabinoids known to exist in the chemical composition of a cannabis plant. Like other cannabinoids, CBD can be ingested by humans for the purpose of synthesizing some of its known psychoactive effects. However, compared to another well-known cannabinoid – THC – CBD’s therapeutic effects are much more subtle and gentle. As such, CBD is not liable to provide the “high” associated with high-THC cannabis products.
In the past, CBD was primarily concentrated into CBD oil, which could be taken by themselves or incorporated into other ingestible items. However, in recent years, a surge in CBD popularity has allowed numerous other CBD mediums to come to market, both in the UK and abroad. To that end, CBD can now be enjoyed via vaping, aerosol sprays, capsules, edibles, and more.
Research into CBD today is ongoing, both in the UK and abroad. As recently as 2018, for example, the American Food and Drug Administration began regulating a CBD-derived drug for use in children with certain epileptic conditions. Regulatory conditions for the sale and procurement have also continued to evolve in recent years, allowing more and more people to try the product without needing a prescription.
What are Some CBD Benefits?
CBD effects can be categorized as either positive or negative (as is the case with almost all drugs, regulated or otherwise). When you are deciding if CBD is right for you, you should weigh these benefits and drawbacks with your doctor.
CBD’s positive benefits almost always come up first in conversation. For example, one of CBD’s most noteworthy positive benefits of use is its pain-relieving qualities. This is because CBD interacts efficiently with the human endocannabinoid system, where some pain receptors lie. CBD can help calm these neurotransmitters to some degree, even in cases of chronic pain (such as from multiple sclerosis) and acute pain (such as from a surgical incision.)
CBD is also known to impart psychological benefits that can help manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression. While CBD cannot fully eliminate or treat these conditions, it has been shown in a lab setting to encourage the brain’s ability to produce and utilize serotonin. As a result, proper usage of CBD can help an individual better manage their mental health on a day-to-day basis.
Currently, CBD is also being looked at for its ability to support the health of individuals living with neurological disorders. To that end, a large body of scientific knowledge has begun to show promising results for the use of CBD to manage symptoms from epileptic disorders and Parkinson’s disease. As a result, one of the first commercial CBD-based medications, Sativex, has begun to see use in the US for treating muscle spasticity and children with epileptic disorders.
What are Some CBD Drawbacks?
By no means should you look at CBD (or any alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals) as some kind of miracle drug. This is because CBD also carries its fair share of drawbacks that a prospective user must carefully take into consideration. Only then can they make an informed decision about using CBD.
For the most part, adults are able to tolerate CBD well without showing severe side-effects. However, when side-effects to CBD do become apparent, they tend to include changes in weight and appetite. This tends to derive from the extended use of CBD, which can also lead to bouts of diarrhea and fatigue. These can all become more acute if a larger dosage of CBD is taken.
Also, recent research has revealed that CBD may have harmful interactions with a variety of prescription medications. These interactions are numerous and not yet fully documented, leading some medical providers to advise against using it if an individual relies on a prescription medication for their day-to-day health. Some CBD products from the US may even carry an FDA warning now that outlines a lack of clinical definition for these drug interactions.
CBD’s effects on women who are pregnant, and breastfeeding is also not yet well understood. As such, some regulatory groups have chosen not to issue a safe dosage rating for CBD in this at-risk population. With this in mind, it is typically recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid CBD products until a later time.
CBD vs. Cannabis vs. Hemp Oil
Today, there remains a great deal of confusion about what CBD is and is not. Part of this is a result of public misunderstanding, not to mention decades of legal prohibition on other closely related products in the cannabis family. However, those looking to use CBD today should fully understand how this product differs from traditional cannabis as well as from hemp oil.
As noted above, CBD (cannabidiol) is one of numerous cannabinoid derivatives from a cannabis plant. This derivative is often turned into an oil and added to other ingested products, such as pills, foods, and drinks. CBD can also be taken on its own to provide a bevy of soothing effects for psychological benefits as well as pain-relieving benefits. Also, CBD does not produce a “high” when used.
Meanwhile, cannabis in general is a leaved plant that may be broken down to its chemical components or utilized whole for a variety of medicinal effects. These effects (which are typified as “disassociative”) can be attributed to the presence of THC, a cannabinoid that causes cannabis to give an individual a “high.” THC contents can differ from strain to strain, but they are almost all higher than the THC content of CBD products (which are typically under 1% THC).
At times, both CBD and cannabis are mistaken for hemp. In general terms, hemp is a cannabis plant strain with less than 0.2% THC. Hemp can be used to make a variety of products, including oils (for cooking) and supplements. These supplements often fall under the purview of CBD products, given their naturally low THC content and high concentrations of other non-high inducing cannabinoids.
In all, these three cannabis-related products share their similarities and even some of their biological origins. However, they should not be confused for one another or conflated as being the same.
Can You Get High from CBD?
This a very common question among prospective CBD users, both in the UK and around the world. The answer in short is – no, CBD will not get you “high” as some other well-known cannabis-related products do. This is because CBD, by definition, is low in THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that has physiological effects on the human body.
Instead, as the product’s name implies, CBD oils, sprays, creams, edibles, and more contain a higher volume of cannabidiol (CBD, for short). Cannabidiol is a cousin of THC that provides a much mellow effect on the human body. As a result, CBD products can be used to relieve anxiety and pain without the risk of intoxication.
However, CBD’s relatively low volume of THC does not mean that you cannot experience adverse effects from consuming an excessive amount of it. In truth, CBD products can have unintended side effects when used too frequently or at too high a volume. Some of these side effects are described in the above section.
About Blessed CBD
Blessed CBD was formed in 2017, shortly after the UK legalized the use of CBD. This company is family-owned and operated and they have an incredibly unique story. While we saw companies popping up all over the market just trying to turn a profit, Blessed CBD recognized a need for quality and reliability.
Their goal from the beginning was simply to provide you with a natural product that truly was made with CBD oils, while so many that were claiming this did not have consistent quality or potentially did not even contain CBD as they claimed.
This small business struck forth simply to make a difference. Their products are high-quality with reliable potency and quality overall. They use organic hemp and their products are full-spectrum with less than .2% THC.
We recommend this company simply because their quality and their reliability stands out amidst the competitors.
Criteria for Quality CBD Oil
Now that you know a bit about the basics of CBD, you can begin to turn your attention to the types of CBD you might be interested in trying. While there are numerous options outlined in the “How to Use CBD” section below, you may consider first focusing on CBD oil. That’s because it is readily available and popular within the CBD community.
However, CBD’s popularity has also made it a target for unscrupulous suppliers. A lack of regulation in many countries has also led to unsubstantiated claims about effectiveness to flood the market. As such, you need to keep the following criteria in mind when shopping for CBD oil:
First and foremost, you should know what goes into your CBD oil. As noted, a lack of regulation on these products means that suppliers are not required to disclose the presence or precise volumes of certain ingredients. When they do, they tend to do so as a percentage of the entire active ingredient profile, making it hard to know how much of the active CBD ingredient you are getting.
With that in mind, you should always search out CBD oil brands who clearly label the ingredients in their mixtures. Specifically, you should favor brands that clearly indicate the amount of key active ingredients by weight in milligrams (mg). This kind of labeling makes it far easier to determine your own dosage based upon your age, weight, and other factors. Otherwise, you may be getting more or (often) less than you bargained for.
Also, along these lines, you should always double-check the THC content listed on a CBD oil bottle. If it falls beneath the legal limit for the UK, you are in the clear to use it. However, different countries around Europe maintain different THC in CBD standards. So, be aware that some imported products may not be legal for use under current UK standards.
Just as you should know what is in your CBD oil, you should also be on the lookout for CBD products that contain a wide spectrum of known CBD-supportive compounds. These compounds are usually also cannabinoids that derive from the same cannabis plant as the CBD. They tend to be far less potent than THC in terms of therapeutic effects also, making them safe for use for pain management.
Here are just a few cannabinoids that you should look out for when search for a full-spectrum CBD oil:
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBGV (Cannabigerivarin)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
- CBCV (Cannabichromevarin)
Along the same lines, you should always check a CBD oil’s label for information to back up claims of an “entourage effect.” This is a theorized effect caused by the interactions between several cannabinoids, leading to a more efficient therapeutic result. However, this effect has not yet been confirmed through independent testing, so claims of it should be backed up by the ingredients.
Whenever possible, your chosen CBD oil should make clear what growing methods were used to produce their source materials. Specifically, those interested in purchasing sustainably sourced products should seek out labeling that indicates the oil’s base components adhere to an established regulatory regimen. This information may also be listed on a company’s website, rather than on the bottle itself.
There an assortment of possible growing method certifications that are worth keeping an eye out for. For example, if you adhere to a vegan diet or lifestyle, you can stay alert for vegan labeling that indicates a production process free of animal products. Meanwhile, labeling for lab testing can also be useful in determining which products are certifiably safe for consumers.
As the CBD oil industry has begun to heat up, brands looking to gain an upper hand have started to list their brand’s specific CBD extraction methods. Though these vary quite a lot, CO2 extraction has become very popular for the quality of its resulting product. In particular, this method excels at maintaining as many cannabinoids as possible within a blend. So, if you see this extraction method being used, you’ll have a good idea of its intended potency.
Positive Reviews and Testing
All of the criteria described above are great for determining the best CBD oil based upon the facts surrounding a specific brand or strain. Though that information can be very helpful, you may also find it useful to turn to reviews from other CBD users. Such reviews can give you a nuanced view of a product, including if it lives up to its claims. User reviews are also a great place to gauge if a specific brand is entirely trustworthy, despite their marketing.
If at all possible, you can also supplement your product-specific research with publicly available lab-testing information. Though there are only a few outfits doing comparative testing on CBD oils at this time, those test results can give you an unbiased look into the actual active ingredient content and productivity of certain popular strains.
How to Use CBD
Learning to properly use CBD can take some time, with your results varying based upon the amount you use and how much you use it. Also, current research indicates that CBD in certain forms may not be as effective for all people. As such, there are a wide variety of CBD options available today that can meet consumer demand.
With each of the products listed below, be sure to obtain as much information about dosage as possible before you begin using it. That way, you’ll be able to use just the right amount without deluding the product’s effects or wasting your supply.
How Much Should I Use? How Often?
Before jumping into the available CBD products, though, let’s take a moment to answer two of the most pervasive questions in the CBD community. When folks try out CBD for the first time, they often question how much of a certain type they should use, and at what frequency they should take it. While some may expect there to be a solid answer that broadly applies to most users (as is the case with OTC medicines), the truth is that CBD is not nearly that standardized.
To that end, CBD remains an emergent alternative to traditional pain relief practices that continue to undergo more research each year. Even so, its lack of systematic research means that there is not a consensus for how many CBD drops or CBD gummies constitute “1 dose.” Instead, you should try to follow the dosing instruction provided with a given product or follow the recommendations of your qualified healthcare provider.
However, despite this lack of dosing standardization, most trustworthy manufactures have settled on a reliable maximum dosage for a single day. Specifically, most experts do not recommend an adult to intake more than 200 mg of CBD per day. These same experts also recommend starting with doses as small as 10 mg and then working one’s self up while keeping an eye on your physiological reactions to the product.
Available CBD Products and their Uses
There are a wide variety of CBD products out there today. Here’s a collection of some of the most popular CBD products that you can obtain here in the UK market and from suppliers abroad:
First up is CBD oil, which is one of the classic CBD products with a substantial share. Many CBD aficionados consider CBD oil to be the most “pure” form of the product, not least because it is concentrated and tends to contain the majority of its source plant’s original cannabinoids. Some manufacturers will also claim that only CBD oil can precipitate the “entourage effect” between dissolved cannabinoids.
CBD drops are most often taken orally, through a sublingual channel. In other words, many CBD oils will recommend placing a drop or two beneath one’s tongue up to three times a day (depending on the concentration). This method can result in an effective period of up to eight hours after a 30 minute to two hour absorption period. Alternatively, CBD oil can be added to everything from smoothies to baked goods for more immediate consumption.
CBD Oil Spray
CBD oil may also be sold in a spray form that makes it slightly easier and more palatable to ingest orally. In such a case, CBD oil is mixed in with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil), allowing it to be aerosolized directly into a user’s mouth on demand. However, dosing standards from the base CBD oil still apply.
This form of CBD oil is ideal for folks who want a more flavorful and convenient option for taking their CBD. Those looking for a more moderate dosage can also use this method to mitigate their daily intake.
Hemp tea has long been a popular drink, so it is no surprise that it has seen a rise in consumption within the CBD community. Using this method, the flowers, buds, stems, leaves, and seeds from a hemp plant are dried out and ground down. This mixture can then be steeped in hot water, allowing a flavorful tea to be made in no time.
This method is preferred by folks who already drink tea. At the same time, hemp tea is a great way to relax, whether enjoyed in the morning or in the evening.
You’ll likely be able to find a variety of CBD topicals available from many CBD sellers today. These include balms, salves, lotions, and any other product that uses dissolved CBD oil in a lipid solution. These topicals can be applied to the skin to allow for dermal intake. This is seen as an efficient method of taking in CBD given that all absorption goes directly to the body’s capillaries.
This is another conventional method of ingesting CBD oil orally. However, it is often viewed as being more convenient because each pill contains a set dosage without the need to count out oil drops. Though they take longer to begin working, they are also known to last longer due to their GI-level absorption. Also, you can often get a capsule refill from a local pharmacy if you have a prescription.
As vaping and e-cigarette use have grown in popularity, so has the ability to intake CBD through this channel. Almost all brick-and-mortar CBD retailers sell CBD capsules for use in a conventional vaping pen at this point. Many users like this method because it allows for almost instant absorption. However, it does not minimize the known risks associated with vaping, overall.
Finally, CBD edibles are also on the rise among folks who would not traditionally enjoy other CBD products. CBD gummies, in particular, are very accessible and allow individuals to simply take CBD on an occasional basis, rather than every day. These are only sweet treats for adults, though, and should not be given to children.
CBD in the UK – Understanding the Law
One big question floating around CBD is whether or not it is legal in the UK. Let’s jump right in and answer this important question head on.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
In one word – yes. For the most part, CBD products are legal to buy, sell, and produce in the United Kingdom. So, by extension, CBD oil and many products made from it are also legal. However, all CBD products brought into the UK market are subject to regulations from the government, including on their overall THC content. To that end, no CBD product may be sold in the UK if it exceeds a THC content of 0.3%.
Besides this, the UK also places special restrictions on how CBD oil is advertised. Specifically, UK manufacturers of CBD oil and foreign companies selling in the UK market may not advertise their product as providing explicit medicinal benefits. Those that do may be barred from the market, though actual crackdowns on unsubstantiated CBD claims remain sparse.
CBD regulation in the UK is also in a state of flux as of 2020. That’s because, starting in January 2019, the UK government began a process of requiring CBD manufacturers to register their products as so-called “novel foods.” This application period will remain open until 2021, after which new standards for gaining UK-based sales authorization will come into place. Those failing to obtain this certification will not be permitted to sell any CBD products in the UK market.
A Note on the European Union
Even as the UK begins the process of exiting the European Union’s regulatory authority in 2020, the country still remains in line with the EU’s standards for the regulating CBD extracts, synthesized CBD, and all CBD products. As such, the UK remains on track to establish both safety tests and consumption standards that would be applied to all CBD products marketed in the nation.
However, it remains unclear if this process will remain on track after Brexit occurs. After that point, the UK will be more able to set its own standards that may be higher or lower than those set by the EU. This is important for prospective CBD users to consider going forward because many CBD imports come from continental Europe. As such, it may become more difficult to obtain those products in the future if the UK becomes more restrictive to foreign CBD products.
Other EU-based CBD brands, such as Nutra CBD (who sell “CBD olie” in the Netherlands) won’t be affected, and this is seen with their growing popularity in the NL market.
The Final Word
All in all, there’s a lot to know about the UK CBD market. From the basics of CBD to its various consumer forms, including CBD oil, UK citizens today have a lot to learn about and enjoy by making CBD a part of their life. Of course, this opportunity still comes with the need to be vigilant for unscrupulous manufacturers looking to sell a sub-par product on our shores.
Take a look at the below “best CBD oil” buyer’s guides by major publications to see which brands are the best to buy in 2021 and beyond.
By now, you may still have some questions about CBD, CBD oil, or any other aspect of UK CBD regulations. Don’t just sit on those questions – send them our way and we can answer them without delay. We can also give you some great recommendations for CBD products that exceed market standards and can really help you enhance your daily life.