How much do you really know about CBD? This controversial cannabinoid has been at the forefront of UK news in recent months, and for good reason! You don’t need to travel far these days without seeing shops advertising this ‘wonder product,’ and telling you all about the latest varieties. But what do you actually know about CBD? Are you concerned that you might be ‘taking drugs’ and breaking the law?
It may sound a little dramatic, but in fact, there are hundreds of thousands of people unaware of what CBD really is, and even more who assume, like THC, it is an illegal substance here in the UK. So, if this sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place as today we’re going to be delving deep into what CBD is and whether it’s a drug to be avoided or something you should get to know better.
What is CBD?
CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol, which makes up 40% of the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is one of 113 cannabinoids in the plant and is known as a phytocannabinoid – a bit of a mouthful, but all it means is that it is naturally occurring, rather than produced in the body of humans and animals (endocannabinoids). It might surprise you to know that CBD celebrates its 80th birthday in 2020. Yes, it was discovered in 1940!
I’ve heard people speak of THC. Is that the same as weed?
We know that CBD is a naturally occurring substance and is found in both marijuana - the female plant (the bud or flower), and the hemp plant, the male cannabis plant. Both of these contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but in different amounts.
THC is another of the 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and the most active isomer, essentially meaning that this is the psychoactive ingredient that will get you high or stoned. Products containing high levels of THC in cannabis are illegal in the UK and come under Class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
So, that’s the boring bit – but if you’re new to the world of CBD that may offer little in the way of answers, so let’s explain in another way. CBD and weed are often discussed as one and the same by those who have never tried either, but although closely related, there are in fact some crucial differences:
- Cannabis, high in THC has been used medicinally across the globe for thousands of years. Before it was made illegal in the UK in 1928, it was used medicinally a great deal. Did you know Queen Victoria used it to relieve period pain?
- Interestingly, CBD and THC have exactly the same atoms, but they are arranged differently, so they don’t impact on the body in the same way.
- Both TCH and CBD are known to have therapeutic properties. Would you believe that, in the ‘right’ quantities, CBD can reduce or even neutralise the unpleasant effects of THC?
- THC is known to produce euphoric effects. CBD lacks this quality, which is why many people prefer it to THC.
- CBD is considered generally safe to use, but some people have reported side effects, such as:
- Weight and appetite changes
It is worth noting that CBD can interact with prescribed medication, so if you’re thinking of trying it out, do check with a doctor or pharmacist first.
- THC usually invokes feelings of relaxation, feeling mellow; or conversely, feeling high, elated or euphoric. People often find hilarity in thoughts or situations that they would not normally find humour in. There can also be unpleasant side effects, such as:
- Impaired motor skills
- Short-term memory issues
- A risk of drug-induced psychosis.
So, is CBD a drug?
According to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and to get to the point, CBD is not a drug, providing it contains less than 0.2% of THC. In this regard, it is classified as a dietary supplement. At this level, it has no psychoactive properties and cannot get you ‘high.’
Well, if it’s not a drug, how does it work?
CBD is known as a phytocannabinoid. All this means is that it is a plant-based cannabinoid. Endocannabinoids, located in different parts of the human body – including the brain and central nervous system, are part of the endocannabinoid system. CBD acts upon the body’s endocannabinoid receptors and promotes homeostasis, in other words, stability and equilibrium. The stabilising effects of the body’s endocannabinoid system are complemented by CBD products.
If you are really interested in the science of all the above, there are plenty of resources available online.
Is CBD legal, here in the UK?
The hemp plant naturally has very low levels of THC, which is why CBD products can be sold in the UK; provided that the product contains no more than 0.2% of THC and as long it is derived from industrial hemp. As you now know, CBD is a dietary supplement, and so can be sold on the High Street or online, as it is not classed as a drug. This is an exception as nearly all cannabinoids are classed as controlled substances.
It may be worth a word of caution here. Due to the legality of CBD in the UK, there has been an uprising of untrustworthy, and in some cases even harmful CBD products hitting the shelves as non-reputable sellers look to grab some easy money from unsuspecting customers. Luckily, there are ways of avoiding both purchasing and consuming low-quality or harmful CBD products, and we’ve written much more on this here.
It’s always worth checking whether an independent third party has verified the THC content in your CBD products, just to make sure you’re not having too much and risking breaking the law. Most reputable sellers will provide this information willingly on their packaging or website, but if they don’t – ask! Whilst highly unlikely, you don’t want to risk being caught drug driving or failing any drugs test!
Tell me about the forms CBD is available in.
We all have different tastes and preferences and CBD is available in a myriad of forms, so you should find something to suit you from this range:
- Tinctures for under the tongue
- Gel, to apply topically
- Capsules, if you’re not keen on the taste
- E-liquids, if vaping is your thing
So, what can it do for me?
Many of us are fed up of unpleasant side effects, associated with some medications and the fact that CBD is a naturally occurring substance also may have great appeal. People in their thousands are extoling the virtues of CBD and claim that it helps to relieve the symptoms of:
- Chronic pain
- Neurological conditions
- Gut problems
- Skin problems, including acne
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CBD can also ease symptoms associated with:
- Complications as a result of diabetes
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple sclerosis
So that’s it! Hopefully, this article has helped answer at least a few, if not all of your questions on the topic of CBD as a drug. Although it is early days in terms of the availability and use of CBD products, who knows where it all may lead?
If you’re looking to try CBD for the first time, and want to feel assured you’re going to a reputable company, why not contact us here at the CBD Club? We sell a range of CBD products that have proven time and time again to be of the highest and safest quality. Ready to shop? You can find our entire collection of CBD products here!