Cannabidiol (or CBD if you rather) has been all the rage lately. And it’s not without good reason.
Derived from the hemp plant – as we’ve outlined in more detail below – it would only be expected that products carrying CBD as an ingredient would elicit discussion on both the ‘For’ and ‘Against’ sides of the aisle.
One of the big questions on everyone’s mind is – Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
This is one of the topics we shall be dissecting in this UK CBD guide, seeing as there seems to be all sorts of conflicting statements flying around with regard to local CBD laws and regulations.
We shall also delve into the multiple uses of CBD (and people who might find it useful), the things you need to keep in mind when shopping for cannabis oil products and of course, the very important issue of whether CBD does really get you high.
Before we get too far into the weeds (no pun intended), however, perhaps it’s important to start by understanding what exactly CBD entails.
What is CBD Oil?
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of at least – at a conservative estimate – 85 identified cannabinoids, naturally occurring chemicals found in the Cannabis sativa (marijuana) plant.
It’s kind of a big deal not just for its perceived effects, but also for the fact that it accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extracts, depending on the plant.
With its origins in Central Asia, the cannabis plant is believed to have been first used medicinally as far back as 750 B.C., although those estimates vary.
Speaking of perceived effects, a lot of people seem to confuse the effects of CBD to those of its more famous sibling: THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in full.
THC is the major active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. CBD whilst does illicit psychoactive benefits, does not get you high,
The effect you get after using CBD is a contrast: CBD imparts a feeling of calm and relaxation when you use it.
Does that mean CBD won’t get me high?
That’s correct, CBD won’t get you high.
THC, as we just pointed out, is the ingredient responsible for that euphoric feeling you get after taking weed. CBD, on the other hand, has a more calming effect, making you feel more relaxed or less anxious when you use CBD in its myriad formats – oil, gummies, tincture or other product laced with CBD.
In a nutshell, CBD offers the soothing benefits of THC but without the ‘stoned’ effect.
In fact, if you use a cannabis product with CBD and a relatively generous amount of THC content, the CBD may negate the high from the THC, so you’ll feel less stoned.
However, worth mentioning is that people react differently to CBD, which is probably why some will attest to feeling ‘delightful’ after taking CBD.
What’s the Relationship with Hemp?
You’ve probably noticed the terms marijuana, cannabis and hemp being used in relation to CBD.
Both CBD and THC are present in all types of cannabis plants, albeit in varying quantities. In the case of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, most varieties of these two plant species have a higher amount of THC and low amounts of CBD.
Looking at the potency of the cannabis plant over the years, the average cannabis plant was found to contain 12% of THC as of 2014, with less than 0.15 per cent, according to research conducted by scientists in the US.
The Cannabis sativa plant comes in two species, namely marijuana and hemp, aka industrial hemp since it’s grown primarily for industrial use.
Both contain THC and CBD, but the hemp plant has a lower potency of THC compared to its marijuana counterpart (less than 0.3 per cent) although the average hemp plant boasts a higher CBD amount (up to 18% CBD).
In other words, in comparison of the two plants:
- Hemp plants have higher CBD and lower THC
- Marijuana plants have higher THC and lower CBD
When people talk of hemp oil, they mean the oil extracted from hemp seeds. Hemp oil does not contain any cannabinoids (THC or CBD). This is an ingredient more famed for its health benefits: it’s a rich source of essential fatty acids and healthy fats.
What is CBD Oil Used for?
So then, if cannabis oil cannot get you high, what’s all the hype with CBD products lately then?
Well, it all has to do with it’s many touted benefits of bringing your endocannabinoid system (which CBD regulates) back in to homeostasis. The endocannabinoid (ECS) system is now being studies as the bodies master regulatory system.
Here are some of the most popular reasons why many are boarding the train of regulating their ECS, backed by scientific evidence:
The use of marijuana as a pain reliever is well documented, going back as far back as 2900 B.C.
More recently, scientists have found certain elements in marijuana (among them CBD) explain the pain-relieving effects associated with the plant.
This usually happens when CBD impacts a specialised system in your body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) whose role is to regulate a slew of functions, including pain, appetite, sleep and immune system response.
There have been multiple studies conducted on animals and humans alike that have shown a combination of CBD and THC does indeed help patients suffering from pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
To that effect, some countries have approved the use of an oral spray called Sativex to help patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis find relief.
In the UK, the use of Sativex falls under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is placed under the less restrictive Schedule 4 (as per the 2001 Regulations). That eliminates any obscurity with regard to the legal status of Sativex in the country, meaning it can be prescribed legally without any restrictions on supply.
Reducing anxiety and depression
Fun Fact: CBD products with less than 0.3 per cent of THC are hemp.
So, what’s the big deal with CBD products if CBD doesn’t get you high?