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A Complete Beginner’s Guide to CBD (Cannabidiol)

Whether you’re interested in natural health or you simply stay up to date with the latest health trends, you’ve no doubt heard about CBD. 

CBD stands for cannabidiol. As a naturally-occurring substance found in the hemp plant, CBD has spent the last few years growing from a niche product into one of the most popular natural health products on the market. 

Today, people use CBD to treat and manage the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions, from anxiety and insomnia to acne, chronic pain and more. 

Unlike many other cannabis-based products, CBD is completely legal in the UK, EU and various other parts of the world. There are a variety of ways to use it, from the ever-popular CBD oil to a selection of capsules, vape e-liquids, edibles and more.

Interested in learning more about CBD? Below, we’ve explained CBD with and first-time users in mind, covering everything from what CBD is to how it affects your body, its potential benefits for health and wellbeing, how you can use CBD and more. 

What is CBD? 

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a type of cannabinoid that’s sourced from the hemp and cannabis plants. 

Most people are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is a cannabinoid that’s found in marijuana. It’s the active ingredient in cannabis that causes you to feel high after you smoke, eat or otherwise consume cannabis.

Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid. However, it has completely different effects on the body than THC. While THC causes you to feel high after consumption, CBD doesn’t have any noticeable psychoactive effects. This means that you won’t feel high after you consume it.

Instead, CBD is linked to a range of potential health benefits. Currently, it’s being studied as a potential treatment for a variety of conditions, from anxiety disorders and depression to serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis.

Is CBD Legal?

CBD oil is legal in the United Kingdom. Unlike THC, which is listed as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, THC is not a controlled substance. This means that you can legally purchase and use products containing CBD in the UK.

Products containing CBD are also legal throughout the European Union, as well as in many parts of the United States. If you’re travelling outside the UK, make sure you check the local laws for any country you visit (including the USA and those in the EU) before carrying CBD. 

Many countries limit the THC content of CBD products, meaning you’ll need to check for any relevant local laws before travelling with any full spectrum CBD products. You can learn more about the laws regarding CBD in the UK and abroad in our guide to the legal status of CBD

What Does CBD Oil Actually Do?

CBD oil only recently became legal and is undergoing a massive, sudden increase in public awareness. Because of this, many people are familiar with what CBD oil is but aren’t yet fully aware of what it does.

Because CBD is a relatively new substance — at least from a legal perspective — studies into the health benefits it may offer are still ongoing. This means that there isn’t a huge amount of authoritative, conclusive research into CBD’s potential benefits.

However, research does indicate that CBD oil and other CBD products can help with a wide range of ailments, including the following:

  • Anxiety. CBD is linked to improvements in some symptoms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder (SAD). Studies show that many people with SAD report lower levels of anxiety after using CBD oil.

    CBD is also linked to improvements in symptoms of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general stress.
  • Chronic pain. CBD is widely used to treat chronic pain, including pain from injuries and diseases such as arthritis. Many people with chronic pain report lower levels of pain after consuming CBD, including improvements comparable to prescription pain medications.

    Unlike many other pain medications, CBD isn’t physically addictive or linked to long-term dependence, making it a helpful alternative for people concerned about dependency.
  • Insomnia. CBD is one of several natural treatments for insomnia, with a large variety of people using it regularly in order to improve sleep. Studies of CBD show that it may have benefits as a potential treatment for certain sleep conditions.

    Similar to its potential effects for treating chronic pain, CBD is a non-addictive alternative to common sleep medications, many of which are linked to long-term dependence and a range of other side effects.
  • Acne. CBD is linked to improvements in acne in a variety of studies, making it a helpful natural alternative to topical acne treatments and drugs like isotretinoin. Several studies of CBD indicate that it may reduce sebum production, helping to prevent acne.
  • Depression. Although CBD doesn’t directly treat depression, there’s some evidence that it may help to manage certain depression symptoms. Researchers are currently studying this, along with the link between the endocannabinoid system and depression in general.
  • Certain cancer symptoms. While there’s no evidence that CBD can cure cancer, it may be helpful in treating symptoms of certain cancer treatments, including nausea that could occur as a result of chemotherapy.

    There’s also ongoing research indicating that CBD may have the potential to slow down the growth of certain cancer cells, although these studies are still in their early stages.

How Can You Use CBD?

CBD comes in a variety of forms, the most common of which is CBD oil. This is a type of natural oil that’s made by extracting CBD and other plant matter from the hemp plant, then processing it in combination with a suitable carrier oil.

Most CBD oil is sold as a tincture, meaning it’s designed for use under the tongue. This method of ingesting CBD offers fast absorption and a good level of convenience — after all, all you need to do is gently drop some of the solution into your mouth.

Other forms of CBD include e-liquid, which is designed for use with a vaporiser. This works the same way as a nicotine-based vape, allowing you to inhale CBD as flavoured vapour the same way you would with any other type of e-liquid.

CBD is also available in capsule form. CBD capsules are designed for convenience and make it easy to use CBD if you don’t like the taste of an oil tincture and prefer not to use a vaporiser. It’s also possible to ingest CBD in a variety of edible forms, including honey sticks and gummies.

Other forms of edible CBD include CBD tea, which is often flavoured, CBD-infused chocolates, CBD-infused multi-vitamins and more. 

Finally, CBD can be applied to the body topically as a lotion, moisturiser or balm. You can even purchase CBD bath bombs and body salves that are absorbed transdermally (through the skin) while you relax and unwind at the end of the day.

There’s no best way to consume CBD for everyone. While tinctures and e-liquid offer the fastest absorption, other forms of CBD, such as capsules and edibles, could be a better option if you’re not fond of the taste of an oil tincture and don’t like using a vaporiser. 

What’s the Best CBD Dose for a Beginner? 

There’s no optimal dose of CBD for everyone. Depending on your bodyweight, the form of CBD you’re using and the specific condition you’re trying to treat, you may benefit from a mild dose of CBD or a more moderate dose. 

In general, it’s best to start with a fairly low dose of CBD if you’re an absolute beginner. This will let you adjust your dose gradually until you reach a point at which you experience a noticeable improvement in your symptoms after using CBD. 

If you’re using a CBD tincture or e-liquid, try starting with the lowest recommended dose that’s provided with your CBD product. Many CBD products come in a range of strengths, making it important for you to choose the lowest strength for your first time. 

If you weigh 70kg or less, try using a maximum starting dose of 12mg of sublingual or vapour CBD. If you weigh more than 70kg, you can increase this dose to 18-24mg, or simply try out a variety of doses until you reach one that provides the desired effects.

For severe pain, you may benefit from a larger dose of CBD. In any case, it’s best to work your way up to your typical dose over time by starting with a mild dose of CBD, then adjusting based on your results and comfort level.

If you accidentally use too much CBD, don’t panic. CBD has a half-life of approximately 18 to 32 hours meaning the effects of CBD will gradually become less intense over the course of the day until they’re no longer noticeable. 

Unlike many prescription pain medications, there have been no recorded overdoses from CBD, meaning you do not need to seek emergency medical care if you accidentally take a larger dose than normal. 

Is CBD Safe?

Although research is ongoing into CBD’s potential health benefits, it’s a safe substance that has not been linked to any severe side effects or reactions. Most side effects of CBD oil are mild and only affect a small percentage of users. Potential side effects of CBD include:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Like other substances, CBD typically passes through the liver as it exits your body. Some forms of CBD may also pass through the liver during administration, such as certain oral forms of CBD that the body absorbs similarly to oral medications.

Because of this, some studies have found that CBD products may lead to higher levels of liver enzymes. Like a lot of other research into CBD, analysis of CBD’s effects on the liver are still in the early stages — the study mentioned above was an animal study that did not involve humans. 

While these effects are unlikely to affect you if you’re in good health, it’s recommended to talk to  your doctor about your use of CBD products if you have a history of liver problems such as fatty liver disease, hepatitis or previous damage to the liver due to substance or alcohol abuse.

You should also talk to your doctor before using CBD if you use any other medications to treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, stress or insomnia. While CBD is not dangerous on its own, it’s possible for CBD to interact with some medications and lead to potential health issues. 

Our guide to the potential side effects of CBD lists these interactions and side effects, with more information on how you can use CBD as safely as possible. 

Where to Buy CBD Products

CBD is legal in the UK and as such, is now widely available. You can buy CBD online or from a variety of local shops that sell CBD products.

Our online shop is the best place to buy CBD products. We stock CBD oil tinctures, CBD vape e-liquids, CBD capsules and edibles and more. We also provide free, fast delivery for all orders of £25 or more, making it cheap and easy to get started with CBD.

Generally, CBD products purchased offline from a local shop will be more expensive than those purchased online. If you live outside a major city, there might be a limited range of places from which you can buy CBD oil and other CBD products offline.

Finally, it’s best not to order CBD products from outside the UK or EU. While CBD is also legal in the United States, different countries place different restrictions on THC content, meaning it’s possible that some CBD products sold abroad might not be legal in the UK. 

If you’d like to learn more about CBD before buying, feel free to contact us. Our staff are here to help you choose the best CBD tinctures, e-liquids and other products for your needs, tastes and budget. 

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