CBD Oil in the UK
A Hot Topic
2018 was a monumental year for the legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis. Canada became the second country ever to fully legalise marijuana (Uruguay being the first). In the US, 32 states now allow cannabis for medical use, and CBD has created waves across the UK.
The non-intoxicating marijuana extract CBD -also known as cannabidiol oil- is just one of 104 chemical compounds found in cannabis. The most popular and well-known cannabinoid derived from marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is essentially what gets users ‘high’ and unlike this substance, CBD is not psychoactive. It's this difference between THC and CBD that has made it such an attractive option for those in search of relief from pain and other health related symptoms. Relief without the high.
Legality of CBD in the UK
There is a great deal of confusion surrounding CBD laws in the UK. In short, CBD and CBD products are completely legal in the UK.
Because it’s not a controlled substance there are no restrictions over its use. This is of course as long as the CBD product is derived from one of the “63 industrial hemp strains that have been approved by the EU”. If so, it is 100 percent legal.
However, this is not to say that all cannabis oils can be used, and cannabis oil itself is still illegal to buy, sell, and possess in the UK, due to the much higher THC content it holds. Currently for CBD oils to be legal in the UK, the maximum THC content is 0.2% and anything higher remains illegal, with its use prohibited. THC in the UK is a controlled substance and under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, it is unlawful to possess or supply.
CBD UK Popularity
According to the Cannabis Trade Association UK, CBD has soared in popularity in the past year with the number of cannabidiol consumers rising from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018. This can be seen as a direct result of cannabis-derived products gaining worldwide recognition for its medical uses.
The World Health Organisation revealed in a 2017 report that CBD may help treat symptoms related to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), pain, anxiety, depression, cancers and some diabetic complications.
How can CBD Benefit our Health?
Cannabis has been used for medicinal needs for over a thousand years worldwide, mainly popular in China, India, and the Middle East. More recently it has been discovered that certain components of the marijuana plants are responsible for its pain-relieving effects, and these include CBD.
The reason CBD could potentially be so effective in mitigating chronic pain is down to our endocannabinoid system, which functions to control tiredness, appetite, mood, and pain. Studies have shown that CBD can relieve pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and reacting to neurotransmitters.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety disorders and depression in the UK are most commonly treated with pharmaceutical drugs. Some of these can cause major side effects such as headaches, sexual dysfunction, and agitation. Using CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies and many affected by these disorders are interested in a more natural approach.
One 2011 Neuropsychopharmacology research study provided 24 people with social anxiety disorders either 600mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. The group receiving CBD has significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance when compared to the placebo group.
This reduction in anxiety or mood is linked to CBD's ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, responsible for regulating mood and social behaviour.
Alleviate Cancer-related Symptoms
CBD is an effective way to help reduce symptoms associated with the side effects of standardised cancer treatments. The substance is said to help reduce vomiting, nausea, and pain. Research conducted by the Cancer Pain Relief Committee in 2010 found that patients receiving CBD experienced a significant reduction in pain in comparison to others who received a THC extract.
They also found that CBD may help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, the most common chemo-related side effects for patients suffering from cancer.
Research into CBD and cancer even goes as far as to suggest that CBD may possess anti-cancer properties. However, a lot more research is needed to assess the efficacy of these claims.
A Healthy Heart
Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for both the heart and circulatory system. These studies indicate that it could be a natural and effective treatment for high blood pressure, which is often link to stroke and heart attacks.
It is suggested that CBD’s stress and anxiety reducing properties are responsible.
Additionally, several animal studies have shown that CBD treatments reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease.
How to Take CBD Oil
CBD can come in many forms including oils, tinctures, topical creams, and even sweets. The most popular form of CBD in the UK is Oil. This is taken orally and usually held under the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. In terms of dosage, the following chart from Mayo Clinic provides specific recommendations.
- Loss of Appetite in Cancer Patients: 1 mg of CBD for six weeks
- Chronic Pain: 2.5-20 mg of CBD
- Epilepsy: 200-300mg of CBD daily
- Sleep Disorders: 40 mg-160 mg of CBD 1-2 hours before bed
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms: 2.5-120 mg CBD combination daily for 2-15 weeks
Dosages are subject to height and weight.
Where can I get CBD Oil in the UK?
CBD is readily becoming available in health stores in the UK, even launching at Holland & Barrett in the last year. It is, however, important to note that some products sold at health stores have often been found to contain very small amounts of CBD (no more than 5%). Whilst these can be beneficial they should only be used as a health supplement. Whether consuming CBD by tincture or vaping CBD oil be sure to consult your doctor before using.
CBD oils available online such as ‘Charlotte’s Web’ can contain up to 20% CBD and can be useful for chronic pain, stress, anxiety and a host of other health benefits.