CBD (cannabidiol) is the latest health craze, and it’s being touted as a cure for everything from psoriasis to depression and anxiety. It’s even been used to boost heart health – but is it actually doing any good? Emily Ray investigates.
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the cannabis plant – or ‘hemp’ as it’s more commonly known – and doesn’t contain the chemical THC, which is what makes you high. Because of this, CBD oil is legal to buy and sell in the UK if it has a very low THC content – as long as it’s derived from hemp plants which have been grown using approved seeds and have been authorised for cultivation by the government regulator.
There are several different types of CBD products on the market, including oils to be dripped under the tongue and capsules, creams and vape liquids. However, it’s important to do your research before you make any purchases as some CBD products aren’t fully regulated.
In fact, a recent report by the Centre for Medical Cannabis blind tested 30 products advertised as CBD and found 45% of them had measurable levels of THC. This is a problem as the Home Office classed THC as a controlled drug, so any product that contains it is illegal in the UK unless it has been authorised for sale by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
When shopping for CBD UK-regulated products, look out for a MHRA licence number on the packaging. The MHRA is responsible for consumables like CBD oils, tinctures and supplements. This means they will have to comply with EU laws, which includes only making authorised health claims and using ingredients that are legal in the UK.
The MHRA has published a list of CBD foods (Opens in new window) that have been formally assessed for safety. However, the list is not exhaustive and many products sold on the high street haven’t been through this process yet.
Taking CBD supplements in the form of an oil or capsule is very straightforward. The most common dosage is 20 to 40mg per day. However, you can use more or less depending on your needs and the effects you want to experience.
CBD is believed to have many benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body and improving sleep quality. It’s also thought to ease the symptoms of a number of chronic conditions, including pain, anxiety and seizures.
It’s worth remembering that the majority of CBD studies have been done on animals or in laboratories, so there’s no guarantee that these results will translate to humans. In fact, some people who take CBD have reported side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness and nausea.
Another thing to bear in mind is that CBD may interact with some medications, especially anti-coagulants, anticonvulsants and antibiotics, so it’s best to check with your GP before you try any new treatments. It’s also worth checking with your local pharmacy or a trusted online retailer for advice. CBD UK