CBD is a cannabinoid – a chemical found in the cannabis plant – which has become a big hit in the wellness world, with advocates saying it eases everything from chronic pain and anxiety to insomnia and depression. It has also sparked a craze for infused products, with CBD oil a common sight in bottles to be dropped under the tongue or e-liquids to be vaped, as well as appearing in lip balm and gummy sweets, and in everything from beer and tea to bath bombs and yoga mats.
Despite this, the evidence behind claims that it has ‘miracle cure’ powers is far from conclusive. The NHS warns that while it has potential to help with some symptoms, there is little research into its use for other health conditions, including heart and circulatory problems.
It is classed as a food supplement, rather than a medicinal product, so it doesn’t have to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). This means that you won’t know for sure that what you buy contains the active ingredient claimed on the label, or at the dosage recommended, and it could contain contaminants from pesticides or heavy metals.
Some of the higher strength oils available online – including those at Holland & Barrett and Boots – can contain up to 20% CBD. This may be beneficial for people with certain conditions but it can still cause side effects, such as drowsiness. It can also interact with some medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, so it is best to check with your GP before trying it.
There are also concerns that the industry is taking consumers for a ride, with no regulation to ensure claims of being able to relieve a wide range of conditions are genuine. For example, a study by the Centre for Medical Cannabis blind-tested 30 products advertised as CBD bought on the high street and online, finding that half had measurable levels of THC – which makes them illegal in the UK.
The good news is that, as long as you don’t purchase a CBD product with THC in it, the chances of getting ill are very low. However, with the UK’s CBD market growing rapidly, it’s vital to understand what’s legal and what’s not. So, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the laws and regulations surrounding CBD Oils UK.