What Is CBD?
In order to understand what CBD is, you must first understand the plant it comes from. Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceas family. When people refer to cannabis, they’re often referring to the plant, Cannabis Sativa. You’ll often hear the terms ‘hemp’ & ‘marijuana’ thrown around in reference to CBD and cannabis. The term ‘Hemp’ is often only used to refer only to varieties of cannabis cultivated for non-drug use, as hemp usually contains much higher levels of CBD vs. a very low THC content (0.3% or less).
Within the cannabis plant, there are at least 113 chemicals known as ‘cannabinoids’ - THC & CBD are likely the two most recognised of these cannabinoids in the world, both of which are chemically similar to your body’s own endocannabinoids. Whenever you consume cannabis, these cannabinoid chemicals enter your bloodstream and are pumped all over, reaching cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. Cannabinoid receptors are involved in a wide range of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood and even memory. These cannabinoid receptors are usually activated by endocannabinoids naturally created within your body - known as ‘anandamide’. Due to their chemically similar structures, THC and CBD are able to mimic the actions of anandamide, allowing it to bind with cannabinoid receptors, activating neurons and causing the effects on your mind and body.
What is CBD?
So you’ve probably heard of these two cannabinoids; THC & CBD. While these two cannabinoids are chemically similar as we’ve mentioned, they actually have very different effects on the body.
THC - also known as ‘tetrahydrocannabinol’ - is the most prevalent cannabinoid found in cannabis and is the main psychoactive ingredient and is responsible for the ‘high’ sensation often associated with cannabis.
CBD - also known as ‘cannabidiol’ - is the second most prevalent naturally-occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis, however, this cannabinoid is non psychoactive. Meaning it doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with cannabis, in fact, it can actually interfere with the binding of THC and dampen its psychoactive effects on the body.
Is CBD Legal?
Within the last few years, the UK's CBD industry has grown considerably. While CBD has been used as a medical product for some time in the US, the UK is lacking behind.
Recent changes have seen CBD products become much more accessible within the UK.
Under UK law, marijuana is still considered to be a Class B drug - carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years for possession and up to 14 years for supplying - despite much of the world now looking to legalise or decriminalise cannabis. It's due to this that many people within the UK believe CBD products also fall into this category.
However, under UK law, it is actually legal to sell or buy CBD products; the only rule around this is that these products must contain less than 0.2% THC. While the CBD content of a product has no impact on its legality. CBD products within the UK cannot be sold as medical products legally as the scientific research into CBD is still early. This is why you'll often find CBD products sold as dietary supplements in health food stores.
Is CBD addictive?
Due to CBD being non psychoactive and producing no high, it's potential for abuse is considered limited by scientists. A 2011 study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that CBD has a better safety profile compared to THC and other cannabinoids. Researchers found that high doses of CBD (up to 1,500 milligrams per day) were well-tolerated by human subjects. Compared with THC, CBD did not impair motor or psychological functions, nor did it alter the heart rate, blood pressure or body temperature.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
In many professions, mandatory drug tests are required. Many people worry that the CBD they’re taking to try and aid their back pain might show up in this test and cause them some issues with HR.
If you’re purchasing CBD products from a verified retailer that ensures all of their CBD products contain under the legal 0.2% THC, then nothing is likely to show up in a drugs test, and if it does its likely to be very minute trace amounts of THC. However, if you’re purchasing from a non-verified retailer, you might run into problems if their products aren’t regulated properly as they could contain more than 0.2% THC.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Currently, the only CBD medication that is fully FDA-approved is ‘Epidiolex’, used to treat certain types of epilepsy. However, many people swear that CBD has also helped with a wide range of other health conditions, including back pain, osteoarthrids, and even cancer. The main reason behind there not being too many approved CBD medications is that there is a severe lack of research into the field.
While more research is needed into the potential medical benefits of CBD, there are numerous published findings to show CBD can aid insomnia and sleep. There is also mild evidence to show that CBD can aid certain types of pain. If you’re ever sold CBD products as a miracle cure-all, you should hard-pass. While CBD is said to have many benefits and aid various conditions, diseases and ailments, it is not a cure-all medication.
Organisations around the world are now getting more involved in the research of CBD and cannabis to see if there are any proven health benefits that can be backed by scientific research.
What’s the best way to consume CBD?
Some people don’t want to ingest CBD in edibles form, while others don’t want to smoke it in flower form or as a vape. The main difference between all of these consumption methods is the speed of delivery and how long the effects will last.
CBD vape juice and pens tend to have fastest delivery time for you to start feeling the effects, but they’re often much faster to wear off, sometimes within two hours. Edibles however, take longer to start working but often last much longer - up to 5 hours before their effects wear off.
For example, if you wake up in the morning and are experiencing back pain then you might opt for a CBD vape as it’s delivery is much quicker and you’ll start to feel its effects sooner.