“CBD” is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment. With the recent changes in the law in both the UK and many other countries around the world, the general public are becoming increasingly aware of it, and its potential. However, there is still a lot of confusion around CBD…
What’s all the fuss about? Is it legal? Is it the same as marijuana? Will it turn me into a stoner or a hippy? Will it cure me of all the illnesses that I have? What exactly will it do to my body?
The CBD industry is one of the fastest growing universally, and for good reason. In this guide, we will explain everything that you need to know about CBD, from what it is and where it comes from, to how it effects the human body, and the legalities of buying it in the UK.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a compound that is found naturally in the flower of the cannabis plant. There are over one hundred Phyto cannabinoids that have been discovered so far in the cannabis plant, of which CBD is only one. It is thought, however, to be one of the compounds which can have the most influential effect on the human body and is safe and not addictive.
How does CBD work?
CBD affects the endocannabinoid system in the body. This is a system in itself (just as other systems like the reproductive or digestive systems) which is responsible for keeping the body in a state of homeostasis, which basically means keeping your body in balance. It is the system which regulates factors such as:
- Energy levels
- Body temperature
So, by having a healthy endocannabinoid system, you can help to keep all your other systems in good working order and maintain your overall health and well-being.
The endocannabinoid system was only discovered in humans in the 1990’s and many scientists believe that it is deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system that can lead to other health issue.
Within the endocannabinoid system, there are two kinds of receptors – Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid 2 (CB2):
- Cannabinoid 1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system, and to a lesser degree around the organs.
- Cannabinoid 2 receptors are usually found more around the peripheral organs – especially the ones which are linked to the immune system, and these affect mostly the immune, cardiovascular and muscular systems.
CBD can stimulate the two cannabinoid receptors and cause a reaction, helping to keep the endocannabinoid system working properly. It can be taken as a nutritional supplement which can help to support, maintain and optimise the endocannabinoid system, keeping the body in homeostasis, and giving you all of the health benefits which are associated with that.
Although there is substantial evidence to suggest that CBD can be used to treat a number of conditions, strict UK rules do no allow us to make any medicinal claims about CBD, publish links to those making medical claims, testimonials or reviews.
Will CBD get you high?
Another compound that is found in the cannabis plant is called THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and it is this compound which makes you feel the ‘high’ which is commonly associated with cannabis. CBD or cannabidiol is not psychoactive like THC, and so you won’t feel any sort of ‘high’, regardless of how much you take.
CBD and THC are actually very similar – in fact, they both have the same molecular formula – C21H30O2, but their effects on humans can be very different as they don’t act in the same way to the receptors in the body.
In the UK, the law stipulates that products with levels of THC higher than 0.2% cannot be bought or sold, which means that most of the CBD products that are available are made from hemp.
Where does CBD come from?
The terms that are used in the world of CBD can become confusing – hemp, marijuana and cannabis are all often interchanged. However, they are not all the same thing.
Cannabis refers to a family of plants, which are divided into two strains – Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Whilst they might look similar to outsiders, the two types of cannabis strains are actually very different in their properties as well as visual appearance.
Marijuana can be classified into either the Cannabis indica family or the Cannabis sativa family. These plants can have high levels of THC (up to 40%) and CBD.
Hemp is only classified into the Cannabis sativa family and has low levels of THC (lower than 0.3%). It is usually hemp that is used to make CBD products, and its fibre is also used for other products such as rope, clothing and paper.
So the general rule of thumb is that CBD is produced from Hemp plants due to it’s low levels of THC.
What is CBD Isolate, Broad Spectrum & Full Spectrum CBD?
When CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, it can be extracted on its own. However, there are numerous other compounds which are also found in the plant, and it is believed that some of these can have an impact on how effective the Cannabidiol actually is. The presence and effect of these other compounds is known as the ‘Entourage effect’.
Research shows that products which contain certain other compounds can be more effective than ‘pure’ CBD products, and so products with the entourage effect are often more desirable.
Terpenes are the molecules which give something its smell. There are over 200 terpenes in the cannabis plant, and it is these that help to give it its distinctive smell. Terpenes offer more than just a smell, however. Again, it is said that the presence of terpenes can enhance the effects of CBD.
CBD isolate is CBD at its most pure – usually at about 99% CBD. It has been processed to have all of the waxes, other oils, chlorophyll & THC removed, so that only the CBD is left behind.
Full spectrum is also known as whole plant extract and as you might imagine, it includes all of the cannabinoids and compounds which are found in the hemp plant – giving you the full entourage effect. Full spectrum CBD also contains Omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, terpenes & up to a maximum of 0.2% or less THC.
Broad spectrum is the exact same as Full Spectrum except with no THC.
NB! Do not confuse CBD Oil with Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil comes from the hemp plant seeds and these seeds contain a low percentage of CBD and practically no THC.
How to take CBD?
CBD nutritional supplements can be taken in a number of different ways, each with their own pros and cons. As everybody is different, every person will have their preferred method based on their individual wants and needs. Depending on the method of consumption, dosage control and the speed at which the CBD takes effect can differ. It is important to remember that everybody is different, and as much as preferred methods differ, dosages will also vary from person to person.
Sprays or drops under the tongue is a super effective way of consuming CBD. By putting the CBD oil under the tongue, it is absorbed through the lining of the mouth and again, goes directly into the bloodstream.
Using the sublingual method is the second quickest way of consuming CBD after vaping, taking roughly between 20 and 40 minutes to come into effect. It also gives you good dosage control as you can decide on the number of drops or sprays you wish to consume in one go.
Some people don’t enjoy the taste of CBD oil, but it does not linger and can easily be hidden by eating or drinking something afterwards.
CBD oil which is to be taken sublingually usually includes CBD and another oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. This extra oil is added to help the CBD to be absorbed – it is fat soluble and not water soluble, so by mixing it with fat, the CBD will be absorbed better than if it were to be taken ‘pure’ or with something else.
It is important to note that hemp seed oils are also available. As this is made from the pressed hemp seeds, it contains no Cannabidiol, unlike CBD oil which is made from the plant itself.
Capsules or Edibles
Another option for consuming CBD is through pill-like CBD capsules or other edibles. The most common edibles are CBD gummies or chocolates (although there are always new products coming to the market), but capsules can be taken, just like any other health supplement, orally.
This method of consumption, however, takes the longest to work, and is also less effective as it has to pass through the digestive system. Its speed and effectiveness is affected by how much and what you have eaten (although it is usually recommended that it is taken on an empty stomach) and whilst it is possible to control the number of capsules you take, you don’t have the more exact dosage control that some of the other consumption methods give you.
It is also possible to take Cannabidiol in a topical form. CBD Topicals come in many forms including balms, creams or gels can be rubbed straight into the skin. Although it can take a while for the CBD to be absorbed, its effects can last for up to five hours. As the CBD does not go into the blood stream, this can be applied as much or as little as you need or wish.
Vaping involves using a vaporiser or vape pen into which the vaping liquid is added. Those who choose a vaporiser would put a mask over their face and inhale, whereas those who use a vape pen would inhale the vapour like a cigarette.
Once the e-liquid is added to the vaporiser or e-pen, the liquid is then heated through an electric coil. The vapour is inhaled, meaning that it goes straight into the lungs, and quickly into the blood stream. This means that the CBD works almost instantly. Vaping is quicker than other methods because it enters the bloodstream through the lungs and not the digestive system. This makes it up to four times more effective and gives you good control over dosage as you can start and stop whenever you wish.
By vaping the CBD, users don’t open themselves up to other risks that come along with smoking (not to mention the fact that the CBD is heated to lower levels and therefore more effective). There are also many vape pens available now which can be very discreet for those who are concerned about being seen vaping and modern e-liquids ensure that the smell is almost impossible to detect.
CBD Vape oils also known as e-liquids are usually made with Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycol, which are essentially thinning agents, ensuring that the liquid is viscous enough to work with the electric heater coil which is inside the vaporiser or vape pen.
What are the side effects of CBD?
CBD is considered to be a safe nutritional supplement to take. The only side effects that are known are low risk ones as CBD is non-toxic for humans. It can, however, alter the effect of some medication, so it is recommended that you speak to a medical practitioner before taking CBD nutritional supplements.
Of course, if you are taking products with high THC levels (and also illegal in the UK) this is a different story.
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
The legalities around CBD and cannabis can be very confusing. It doesn’t help that the laws are changing all the time both in the UK and around the world.
In the UK, CBD is 100% legal, but you should be careful about the levels of THC in a product as this can push it to become illegal. At the time of writing, and in compliance with the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, hemp with a level of THC of less that 0.2% is completely legal and can be bought, sold and consumed as a health supplement by the general public.
Some of the high-profile cases seen recently in the media about medical marijuana concern people who are trying to get CBD products with higher than legal levels of THC in them. Whilst some exceptions are getting though and being allowed, it is still strictly illegal in the UK to buy or sell products with THC levels over 0.2%.
In the UK, no specific medical claims can be made about CBD at the moment, however, scientific research into it is looking bright for a number of medical cases.
The potential that CBD and other compounds derived from the cannabis plant have for the endocannabinoid and other systems is massive. As research continues, it is highly probable that we will see an increasing amount of usages for CBD, but its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system is already very important.
By promoting homeostasis, we can improve our general health and well-being and CBD supplements are the ideal way to give this a boost.
Where to buy CBD in the UK?
CBD Shopy is the leading retailer of CBD products in the UK. We source & stock only the highest quality brands from across the globe, all products are tested by independent 3rd-party labs for quality assurance.
Above all we want our customers making informed decisions regarding any purchases on our website, so we’ve crafted in-depth guides throughout our website hoping to educate them on all aspects CBD.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us.