What is CBD? A Comprehensive Guide

CBD is a naturally occurring substance that is used in a range of different products today. It is becoming widely accepted throughout the world, particularly in the UK where it is available in a range of different products, from CBD oil, creams and toothpaste, to edibles such as CBD gum or gummy sweets.

In fact, according to the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the UK CBD market is worth a staggering £300m and is expected to reach £1 billion by 2025. But what is CBD exactly and what can it do for you?

Table of contents:

1. What is CBD?
2. Does CBD make you high?
3. Is CBD legal in the UK?
4. What does CBD oil taste like?
5. What does CBD do?
6. Are there any side effects to CBD?
7. What type of CBD should you use?
8. When should I take CBD?
9. How long does it take CBD to work?

What is CBD?

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CBD, short for the scientific term “cannabidiol”, is one of over 110 chemical compounds (known as cannabinoids) found in the Cannabid sativa plant.

The chemical compounds act on cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body as part of its endocannabinoid system. This helps balance bodily functions, such as pain, mood, memory and appetite.

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, which are similar to those found in the cannabis plant. The body’s endocannabinoid system is self-regulating but many of us need a boost, which is where CBD products come into play.

Does CBD make you high?

The short answer is no. Even though CBD is a component of the cannabis plant, it does not cause a “high”. This is because the plant is made up of two key components: CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Of the two, THC is the part of the plant that contains psychoactive elements, which is the major active ingredient in the class B drug marijuana. CBD is entirely separate and doesn’t contain any THC, thus meaning it is not psychoactive in any way.

In fact, the World Health Organisation says: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”.

Bear in mind that it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised, or even contains small amounts of THC. As a result, ensure you conduct thorough research before purchasing CBD – especially when travelling abroad with CBD to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities.  

Is CBD legal in the UK?

CBD is 100% legal in the UK and can be found in several high street stores around the UK, including Boots and Holland and Barratt to name a few. However, it is classed as illegal if it contains THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The only exception to this is prescribed medication to treat medical conditions.

In 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that “products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine”, providing they meet a strict set of “safety, quality and efficiency standards to protect public health”.

What does CBD oil taste like?

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For the most part, the taste of CBD depends on how you consume it. CBD oil drops have been said to have an earthy taste, often likened to taking a spoonful of linseed oil, which many people say tastes unpleasant.

If this sounds familiar, there are other ways of taking CBD to ensure it tastes more appealing to the taste buds. One way is through our CBD gum which has a minty fresh taste (coming in both spearmint and peppermint flavours), taking the oil in capsule form or purchasing CBD oil in a flavour, such as lemon or coconut.

What does CBD do?

There’s still a lot to learn about cannabidiol, but the history of CBD shows that CBD was first identified back in 1940 and a THC was uncovered in the 1960s, which was where the focus remained for some time.

It wasn’t until 1980s that several clinical trials took place and showed CBD as an effective treatment for epilepsy. And in 2019, the NHS approved two CBD-containing medicines: Sativex (to relieve cancer pain) and Epidiolex (to treat childhood epilepsy) – a major breakthrough.

CBD is also said to help with symptoms of other medical conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Crohn’s
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Addiction

Are there any side effects to CBD?

This can vary from person-to-person – some people may not experience any side effects of CBD while others may experience one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Mood swings (such as irritability)
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Dry mouth

It is important to reiterate that you will not experience any psychoactive effects or addiction with CBD oil – otherwise referred to as feeling “high”. When creating CBD for consumption, manufacturers are able to remove THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, it is worth noting that CBD affects people in different ways. As a result, when trying CBD for the first time, it is a good idea to consult a doctor beforehand and be accompanied by another adult.

What type of CBD should you use?

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There are three different types of CBD available: isolate, broad or full spectrum. Each type has varying effects which suits each individual in different ways, depending on your reason for taking CBD. It was previously said that CBD isolate is the most effective type of CBD oil, however people now believe it is full spectrum instead (which we use in our CBD products). However, there is not one answer for everyone – everyone reacts differently.  

When should I take CBD?

This is very much a personal decision and depends on what you are taking CBD for. To some CBD users it can be relaxing and reduce anxiety, whereas others finding it stimulating. If you are new to CBD, it’s simply a case of trial and error to find out the best way for it to work for you and your body.

Therefore, newbies should try taking CBD at various times during the day and keep a diary of how they feel. It is advisable to not increase the dose rapidly, instead gradually increase your dosage once a week and monitor how you are feeling during this time. By doing this, it will give you a good idea of which dosage to take and how often.

If you are concerned about overdosing on CBD, a 2017 World Health Organisation report states that it’s not possible to overdose.

How long does it take CBD to work?

When taking sublingually (through droplet or gum form), CBD typically enters your bloodstream within 20 minutes. Other methods, such as capsules or edibles, can mean a slower system entry – around 2 hours.

A common misconception with CBD is that people expect to see instant changes to your body and well-being. From person-to-person, it is important to note that CBD may take some time to fully affect you whilst your body begins to accept it. This could take a month or two to really feel the benefits, such as reduction in anxiety or pain relief. If you still don’t notice a change by this point, it may be worth increasing your dose of CBD.



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