Despite its overwhelming popularity in the US, CBD oil is relatively unknown in Britain. This nutritional supplement is set to be the star of 2018. Here’s what you need to know about CBD.

What does CBD stand for?

CBD stands for cannabidiol (can·na·bid·i·ol), an ingredient naturally sourced from hemp plants that are bred for nutritional purposes and contain only trace amounts of THC (see ‘What is CBD oil?’ for further information on THC). CBD oil is not to be confused with medical marijuana or cannabis oil. Medical marijuana and cannabis oil are sourced from different strains of the cannabis plant, and contain enough THC to cause a so-called 'high'.

What is the difference between ‘CBD oil, ‘Medical marijuana or cannabis’ and ‘Cannabis oil’? 

CBD is a huge topic at the moment, but confusion remains regarding the difference between ‘CBD oil’, ‘medical marijuana’ or ‘medical cannabis’, and ‘cannabis oil’, especially when it comes to the legality of each ingredient. There have been plenty of news reports about the confiscation of CBD-related products at national borders, but inaccuracies in these reports have led to even more uncertainty about what is and isn't legal.

To clarify: medical marijuana, or cannabis oil, can be prescribed by doctors as a licenced product – Sativex is one such example. However, it's illegal for it to be on general sale in the UK. Medical marijuana contains controlled levels of THC, which is the ingredient within the marijuana plant that causes a so-called ‘high’. When medical marijuana is prescribed, it is used to help people with conditions such as MS. 

The reason CBD is often confused with medical marijuana is that a specific brand of CBD, Epidiolex (a product containing concentrated amounts of CBD), has recently been approved as a medicine that can be prescribed by doctors in the USA and Canada, but the UK is yet to follow suit. So, if someone turns up from the USA at the UK border with this type of CBD, it will be seized because it’s not an approved or licensed medicine in Britain. 

The concentration of CBD in Epidiolex is well above that found in CBD nutritional supplements such as Healthspan’s. That’s what differentiates the two products.  And the reason CBD in the form of a nutritional supplement has been legalised in the UK is because it only contains trace amounts of THC, and not enough to cause the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is bred specifically, unlike the marijuana plant, for nutritional purposes. It is completely legal and safe to take.

What is the difference between isolate CBD and full-spectrum CBD?

Whereas isolate CBD - otherwise known as broad-spectrum CBD - is a pure form of CBD stripped of any other ingredients, full-spectrum CBD contains a wide variety of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, plus added vitamins and oils. Isolate CBD is crystallised in texture, while full-spectrum CBD tends to be oily. All Healthspan CBD products are full spectrum, and our CBD oil capsules contain olive oil and hemp oil to aid absorption. The CBD droppers contain peppermint flavouring to disguise the unpleasant taste of hemp. 

Is CBD oil legal in the UK?

It is entirely legal to buy and take CBD supplements in the UK. Healthspan is a member of the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTA UK), a body created to ensure legal and ethical CBD trading standards in the UK. CTA UK works closely with the MHRA, FSA and CTPA to comply with EU and UK legislation and regulations. Only selected companies that meet exceptionally high quality standards are allowed to carry its seal of approval; its members guarantee transparency in trading, registration, batch testing and labelling, with reliable and accurate product information to give consumers peace of mind.

How to use CBD oil?

If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking vitamins or supplements.

As is increasingly the case with delivery methods for nutrients now-a-days, cannabidiol extracts are available as capsules, gummies, drops and oral sprays.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is sourced from the hemp plant. As it’s oil soluble, it is often mixed with hemp, coconut or olive oil to enhance its absorption. This CBD plus oil mixture is known as CBD oil. CBD is extracted from non-marijuana strains of the cannabis plant. The marijuana plant and the hemp plant are both from the ‘cannabis’ family, but the latter does not contain sufficient amounts of an ingredient known as THC. THC is the ingredient in cannabis that has ‘psychoactive’ effects and it’s particularly prevalent in the marijuana cannabis plant. Hemp cannabis, on the other hand, does not contain enough THC to cause these ‘psychoactive’ effects. Hemp is industrially produced, specifically to allow us to benefit from CBD without the effects of THC. Just be clear… ‘psychoactive’ effects are what many would describe as a drug ‘high’.

CBD is in the limelight after extensive scientific research in America on its potential health benefits. Despite the assumption that it stems from cannabis and the resultant connotations of this, CBD oil does not make you ‘high’ and is a naturally sourced ingredient that is set to take centre stage in 2018 as a nutritional supplement.

How long does CBD stay in your system?

Healthspan Medical Director Dr Sarah Brewer says, ‘The effects of CBD last for around 3 to 5 hours. After this, the dose will have fallen below levels that produce noticeable benefits, although it will take 1 to 2 days for all the CBD to disappear from the body. For optimal results, you should take CBD at regular intervals throughout the day.’

How long does it take for CBD oil to work?

“The speed at which CBD works will depend on the delivery method you choose for your intake of CBD oil. Capsules typically have a slower release, while oral sprays and liquid drops of CBD are absorbed more quickly.

The absorption of CBD depending on the format you buy it in will have an impact, too. CBD oil capsules which contain additional olive oil will aid the absorption of CBD into the body”, says Dr Sarah.

Will CBD show up on drug tests?

CBD is a legal ingredient and is therefore not tested for in drug tests used to detect illegal drugs. As long as you take a pharmaceutical grade CBD product, which has been independently tested to ensure no significant content of psychoactive THC, then CBD will not show up in a drug test.

What should I look out for on the packing to ensure I’m dosing effectively?

On the packaging of products the norm is to see the amount of CBD displayed as a percentage. But if you don’t know exactly how many grams of CBD is in your capsule then it might be difficult to dose effectively. Try to find a product that displays the amount in grams. For example, super strength CBD oil 60 capsule pack states that there’s 900mg of CBD in the whole packet, but also states there’s 15mg per capsule. Products with this labelling allows you to see exactly how much CBD you’re taking.

Is CBD addictive?

The simple answer is no. An addiction to marijuana develops out of a person’s reliance on the psychoactive consequences of THC – the ingredient in the marijuana plant which causes a high. CBD comes from an entirely different plant – the hemp plant – that contains trace amounts of THC which is not enough to cause a high. An addiction to CBD is not possible.

Do not use CBD during pregnancy or breastfeeding

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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