A Q&A For CBD in the UK
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CBD is being added to products across the retail spectrum from food to make-up.According to the Centre for Medical Cannabis, six million people in the UK have tried the cannabis compound and 1.3 million Brits now consume it regularly. Yet many consumers remain wary of CBD, unclear as to what it is, how it works, and whether it is safe.
Mike Barnes, a highly experienced neurologist, expert on medical cannabis and founder of Maple Tree Consultancy, offers his expert insight on CBD and how it can be used.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of about 100 compounds naturally occurring in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. A safe and non-addictive substance, CBD is a popular natural remedy used for a range of common ailments.
There is still some controversy around CBD, which often comes from its association with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that causes the sensation of being high. CBD, in contrast, is a non-psychoactive substance. The compound does not cause addiction and is safe to use.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, CBD is legal in the UK. It can be sold on the high street or on-line provided that the product is within the stipulations of the law. But the CBD must be properly labelled and have less than one milligram (mg) THC per container. Many products are now purified to become completely free of THC.
This February, the UK’s Food Standards Agency also stepped in with its first proper piece of CBD regulation and announced that any CBD oil, drink or treat without a "novel foods" application will be “taken off the shelves” by March 2021.
What types of CBD are there?
CBD has become a big seller in the UK’s best-known pharmacies, health stores, department stores, and supermarkets. Among a diversity of CBD products for sale are oils for vaping or for oral consumption via plastic syringes, as well as tinctures, gel capsules, sublingual sprays, topicals and edibles.
How can CBD benefit me?
Extensive scientific research and anecdotes from physicians and patients highlight CBD’s potential to treat a wide range of conditions and ailments, from multiple forms of epilepsy to issues such as insomnia and anxiety. CBD can also play a significant role when relieving pain by effectively blocking pain signals in the brain arriving from the rest of the body. Overall, it is often said that CBD has a balancing effect on the body, promoting relaxation and calmness.
How much CBD should I take?
It’s impossible to recommend a specific dose of CBD oil because each person’s endocannabinoid system works differently and CBD reacts differently in each body. The best way to find the right dose is to start with a very small amount (such as 5mg) and slowly increase your dose to avoid experiencing unwanted side effects. An average dose for an adult with pain, for example, is about 60-100mgs. Children with epilepsy will often need much bigger doses.
The amount of CBD you end up taking will also vary depending on what condition you are trying to treat. When experiencing nausea, for instance, you will usually only need low to medium strength CBD but serious conditions such as pain or epilepsy will usually require higher strengths. Often, especially with pain, a little THC helps to alleviate the problem further but that will need a prescription from a specialist doctor.
Is CBD addictive?
No, it’s not. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation, CBD is a non-addictive substance that exhibits no dependence potential. It is well tolerated by humans and safe for consumption.
What’s the best way to take CBD?
This really depends on your goal and why you are taking CBD. The biggest difference between edibles, oils, tinctures and vape pens is the speed of delivery and how long it lasts for. Vape relief is faster, delivering in a few minutes, but also wears off in about two hours, whereas edibles take longer to work but can last a good four to six hours.
Are there any CBD products I should be wary of?
Not all CBD oil is created equal, so if you are looking to buy CBD, it’s important to look for the latest and accurate information about high-quality CBD oils. This is particularly true when buying online given the question mark over its origin. Examine the product’s online reviews and buy from a well-respected source.
More detailed discussion on CBD is available within the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society’s comprehensive guide to CBD.