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What is cannabidiol, and what are its benefits?

A guide to cannabidol (CBD)

Cannabis is a genus of flower plants in the family Cannabaceae. The cannabis plant is also known as the hemp plant and has long been used for hemp fibre, hemp seeds, and hemp seed oil. Cannabis is often divided into 3 species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

Cannabidiol is one of the many chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabidiol is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract. It binds to a wide variety of physiological targets of the endocannabinoid system within the body.

Is there a difference between CBD and cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol is better known as CBD and is one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. They are called cannabinoids as they interact with receptors (CB1 and CB2) found in the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in regulating a variety of functions like appetite, anxiety, depression, and pain sensation.

THC is also a cannabinoid. However, THC is a psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana plants, whereas CBD is not psychoactive, and will not cause you to feel high. According to the World Health Organization, there are no public health-related problems associated with the use of cannabidiol.

Is cannabidiol a health supplement?

CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a food supplement, not a medication. Currently, the only FDA approved CBD product is Epidiolex, a prescription medicine used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. CBD is often used to ease forms of epilepsy and reduce convulsive seizure frequency alongside prescribed medications. Many people include CBD in their wellness routines: as a topical solution for easing body aches and pains and oral solutions to alleviate anxiety or stress. CBD oil is the main way to use and take CBD, as it can be infused or combined with other ingredients to make edibles or even lotions. Using CBD alongside other dietary supplements can be very effective for your health. CBD and cannabis oil is different to hemp oil, as hemp oil does not contain the cannabinoids which create the health benefits that CBD offers. 

CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in the endocannabinoid system, which sends signals between the cells to help regulate your movement, mood, homoeostasis and immune system. 

What does cannabidiol help with?

The UK CBD industry has grown in recent years. According to surveys conducted by YouGov and Dynata in 2019, between 8 and 11% of the adult population used CBD. Another survey by Cowen & Co. found that the percentage was higher in younger age groups. 15% of CBD users were 25 to 29-year-olds, 7% from 55 to 65-year-olds, and 8% of the CBD users were 65 years and over.

If you are interested into looking at the potential health benefits of CBD, we would recommend conducting your own research for the specific ailment you are looking for it to work with.

What are the side effects of CBD?

When taken the wrong way, CBD can cause some side effects such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, light-headedness and drowsiness. Some have also experienced a change in appetite and worse cases, signs of liver injury.

As there is no exact dosing of CBD, you should start with the lowest possible dosage if you want to try CBD. Typically, the dosage starts at 5 mg and may increase depending on your doctor’s suggestion and what you want to treat.

Is CBD a banned substance in the UK?

No. CBD is perfectly legal in the UK under certain conditions. The conditions are that any CBD product should only contain THC in a concentration not higher than 0.3%. CBD products higher than this amount of THC will become a psychotropic product. 

In 2020, the European Court of Justice published a judgement stating that CBD should not be considered a drug under the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drug and cannabidiol can be qualified as food, provided that other conditions of the EU Food Safety Regulation are also met. 

Will cannabidiol make you high?

No. CBD is alone is non-intoxicating and will not make you high. CBD and THC come from the same plant so many people assume they both have the same effects. However, CBD can be isolated from the cannabis plant and THC compound. It’s usually infused into tinctures, oils, and edibles without the high-inducing THC.

Is cannabidiol an antioxidant?

Yes, CBD is an antioxidant. This means it interrupts free radical chain reactions, capturing free radicals or transforming them into less active forms. CBD also has neuro-protectant properties which help to protect the body against neurogenerative diseases.

Many people like to use cannabidiol products for their antioxidant benefits because…

What are the effects of vaping CBD?

Vaping is a popular method of using CBD. People choose to vape CBD as it is the quickest way to feel its effects. CBD made for vaping is called CBD vape oil but it does not contain any actual oil. 

CBD vape juice and CBD oil are not the same. Unlike CBD vape juice, CBD oil tinctures are strictly for ingestion. If the CBD product contains anything other than PG, VG, CBD extract, terpenes, and cannabinoids, then it’s used for inhalation. Always check the label as some of them do not have warning labels and are sold in e-juice style dropper bottles.

There is no exact dosage for CBD. Start with the minimal dosage then gradually increase depending on your desired effects. For CBD vape, a cartridge containing 100 mg of CBD delivers about 1-2 mg of CBD with each puff.  The average CBD vape users take an average of 10-30mg per day. Talk to your doctor first before taking CBD.

Is CBD oil, OK to give to dogs?

Currently, there are no formal studies on how CBD affects dogs. However, CBD is known to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors which help maintain balance in the body. According to Dr Klein from the American Kennel Club, CBD is known to treat neuropathic pain in dogs, as well as help them control seizures.

Even though pet treats and tinctures containing CBD are sold in stores and online, they are not approved by the FDA, which means veterinarians are not allowed to recommend them. According to Stephanie McGrath, an assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, nothing is alarming about CBD and its safety for dogs. However, more research is needed to know if CBD is 100% safe for dogs.

What types of Cannabidiol products are there on the market?

Cannabidiol products are available in three forms. These are full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates. 

  • Full-spectrum CBD. This form contains all cannabinoids and THC not more than 0.3%.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD. This form contains other cannabinoids, but no THC. 
  • CBD isolate. This is the purest form, with no other cannabinoids.

CBD is also available in a range of products. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • CBD oils and tinctures. These are CBD-infused that is taken sublingually (under the tongue). This is the quickest way to feel the effects of CBD but some people don't like how they taste.
  • CBD gummies. CBD edibles like gummies are the most popular and easiest way to take CBD as they are discreet and very easy to take a daily dose. They take 30 to 45 minutes to take effect as the gummies need to pass through your digestive system.
  • CBD capsules. CBD-containing pills or soft gels are also a way t ingest CBD. They are easy to dose but some people may find it hard to swallow them.
  • CBD balms, creams, and lotions. CBD topicals are directly applied to the skin and they provide direct relief to a specific spot on the body but there is no exact dose of how much you should put on the affected area.
  • CBD vape juice. CBD vape juices are inhaled using a vaporizer and they have the fastest onset time. However, they may pose health risks including lung injury.

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