Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient extracted from the hemp plant, and is widely known as a popular addition to your health, wellness, and self-care routine.
In addition to that, the other potential benefits of consuming CBD are said to include the potential to be soothing, balancing, and relieving, as well as being a great natural addition to your daily life.
With many potential benefits to explore, CBD is becoming an increasingly popular supplement in the world of personal wellbeing. Today, we shall answer some of your frequently asked questions!
Let’s be clear – there’s so much more to the hemp plant than 4/20!
Surpassing the recreational hype of euphoric highs enjoyed by pot smokers all over the world (legally or otherwise), the hemp plant has now been utilised in ways that revolutionise the way we look at our health and well-being.
Cannabidiol, more popularly known as CBD, is now making a name for itself for its treasure chest of potential uses. Skyrocketing to popularity in recent years, CBD has become a guiding light in the mainstream world of self-care, even taking over the health and beauty aisles.
Despite its exponential growth, the world of CBD oil often remains an area filled with misconceptions and confusion. Today, we shall make that a thing of the past. Separating the fact from the fiction, this article will tell you everything you need to know about CBD, answering your most-asked questions!
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is a compound derived from the hemp plant that is marketed to contain an array of potential benefits. As it continues to gain momentum in recent years, this organic, natural supplement can now be used in a wide range of applications in everyday life with the aim of improving users’ overall well-being.
The hemp plant contains over a hundred compounds that can be isolated and extracted from the plant to produce hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, which is classified as a food supplement. CBD product requirements also include the absence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or its presence in extremely low levels, allowing CBD to remain non-intoxicating and is deemed non-addictive with no danger to lead to dependency in users. In fact, there is even a limit of 1mg of THC per product in CBD supplements!
The law surrounding CBD oil has now opened the doors for greater fields of study to explore its potential uses and effects. This has led to the anticipation of emerging evidence to support the purported benefits of CBD.
The absence of intoxicating properties has progressed the use of CBD oil to being an accepted and valued part in many well-being enthusiasts’ daily routine, allowing users to potentially receive the many possible therapeutics CBD oil has to offer.
How is CBD oil made?
The hemp plant possesses over a hundred compounds, which can be extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the plant to produce CBD oil.
In essence, there are three categories of CBD oils which differentiate themselves depending on the compounds chosen for extraction from the hemp plant, these are;
- Full-Spectrum CBD
This contains all the compounds found in the hemp plant to produce CBD oil in its most authentic, natural form. Compounds present include CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, and low levels of THC.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD
Like full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD oil also extracts many of the hemp plant’s compounds including CBD and terpenes. However, broad-spectrum CBD is THC-free.
- CBD Isolate
Free of THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. CBD isolate extracts purely CBD from the hemp plant for 99.9% purity.
There is no agreed superior form of CBD; instead, it must depend on the user’s individual needs and preferences.
CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil – What’s the Difference?
The term “hemp oil” is often used interchangeably to refer to CBD oil and hemp seed oil. The common use of this blanket term for oils derived from the hemp plant often confuses new users. However, despite the increasing number of brands looking to heavily market the inclusion of hemp-derived ingredients in their products under the term “hemp oil”, the two forms possess very different uses and potential benefits.
The differences between CBD oil and hemp seed oil originate from the parts of the hemp plant that they are extracted from. While CBD oil is produced by extracting compounds from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant; hemp seed oil is created purely from the small seeds of the hemp plant which are cold-pressed to create a highly-concentrated, nutrient-rich oil.
The core difference between these hemp-derived products is that hemp seed oil contains no cannabinoids, unlike CBD oil. While hemp seed oil is highly regarded for its inclusion of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, its absence of cannabinoids result in the belief that hemp seed oil possesses no possible non-nutritional benefits.
CBD For Calm
Internal problems are a rising issue, and can too often have a devastating impact on the sufferer’s health and well-being. In fact, every year, it is estimated that one in four people in England alone will suffer from some form of mindset issue. Thankfully, those who are feeling out of balance have provided positive anecdotal evidence for the use of CBD oil.
As sleep issues are a common side effect of the need to take a break and take it easy, taking the time to unwind is believed to show an improvement in users’ sleep quality.
Studies and anecdotal evidence provide knowledge that CBD shows great potential to potentially impact users’ well-being and may make an excellent addition to your time as you compose yourself and take a break.
CBD For Relief
CBD is quickly rising in popularity amongst those who suffer from the need for relief and support.
Anecdotal evidence purports the use of CBD oil, finding a combination of CBD and THC found in legal full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD may be effective in supplementing your journey towards relief.
Research into the use of CBD for support and relief is ongoing. However, there is promise to imply its potential use.
CBD Oil for Head-Area Support
CBD has also been closely linked to certain head-area support. When this area is in need of relief or support, daily life can feel debilitating.
Reports suggest CBD’s possible properties may be successful in providing support and providing general relief management.
CBD For Skin
CBD has also recently made waves in the world of beauty, with hemp-derived products taking over the skincare aisles. Known in the industry as the new must-have oil, CBD is now a highly sought-after ingredient in topical skin care products.
When combined with dead skin cells, the overproduction of sebum (oil that is produced by our skin) in the skin’s sebaceous glands creates clogged pores and is one of the leading causes of imbalance. However, CBD is believed to balance already-healthy skin.
Are There Any Side-Effects of CBD Oil?
CBD oil affects everyone differently. Not to mention, consuming CBD is often the best (or only) way for us to figure out how it would benefit you. Another side of this is the potential for side effects. Like anything we take to potentially provide relief and balance to our daily routines, CBD may be accompanied by side effects.
If side effects occur, they are usually mild and depend on the used dose of CBD oil and should disappear within two to four hours.
Can you Overdose on CBD?
Although some minor side effects may occur, the use of CBD products is safe and, even in large quantities, it is not considered to lead to serious health effects. In fact, in 2011, scientists studying the use of CBD in humans concluded that even regular use of large doses, namely up to 1,500 mg of CBD per day, were well tolerated.
No cases of CBD having a strong toxic effect or CBD overdose have been reported, and CBD remains considered safe for human consumption.
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
As CBD and THC share the common fact that they are both extracted from the hemp plant, there is often confusion surrounding the legality of CBD.
If you’re new to the world of CBD and are thrilled to learn more about what kinds of benefits you might experience, you’re probably curious to know the legality of this hemp-derived product. Whilst legal to be bought and sold in the UK and most of Europe, CBD oil and other related products must meet certain standards and requirements.
Legalisation in the UK
Whilst Bulgaria was the first country in Europe to sell CBD products; the UK has soon become the leader of mass CBD sales, with a report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) stating that the CBD product sector has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the well-being product market in the UK. By 2025, the same report estimates that the CBD market could be as big as the herbal supplement market if it continues to increase at its current rate. Furthermore, despite the fact that almost all cannabinoids are treated in accordance with the law on drug abuse (1971) in the UK, CBD is not and is instead considered a food supplement.
Strict rules and regulations stipulate that CBD is legal in the UK and most of Europe, as long as compounds are extracted from hemp plants containing no more than 0.2% THC, to produce CBD products with THC levels of less than 1 mg.
Despite common confusion, CBD remains legal in many countries worldwide, including the USA, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. However, we always recommend checking the legality of CBD in your area to avoid any disappointment or complications.
Can You Take CBD While You are Pregnant?
Despite the many potential therapeutic benefits CBD has to offer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advises against pregnant or breastfeeding women using CBD, THC, and recreational marijuana.
In addition to pregnancy, consuming hemp-derived products containing THC whilst breastfeeding also carries warranted concern, as THC can be transferred and remain in breast milk for up to six days after consumption.
Research surrounding the potentially harmful effects of the use of CBD during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding is ongoing. Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, reports and findings collected so far give us strong reasoning to denounce CBD consumption during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
CBD As A Food Supplement
According to the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), as of 2016, CBD products could only be advertised and sold as medicines for medicinal purposes with a license. Therefore, CBD products available to be legally sold and bought in the UK and most of Europe are classed as food supplements.
First things first, let’s explore how users can consume CBD oil as a food supplement.
Ways to Consume CBD
With so many forms of CBD now available, bioavailability should be a key consideration when deciding on your chosen method of delivery. Bioavailability refers to the degree and rate in which a substance enters the body’s bloodstream. This is crucial for CBD, as it dictates when and how much of the compound reaches the user’s bloodstream.
The most popular forms of delivery include; sublingual, oral, topical, and vape CBD. Let’s now explore each method to decide which form is most appropriate for your lifestyle and needs.
Sublingual administration refers to CBD tinctures and oral sprays which are administered by placing a few drops of CBD oil under the user’s tongue. Sublingual CBD is considered one of the most simple and effective ways of receiving the supplement while retaining a high bioavailability rate. Its high bioavailability rates are made possible because CBD held under the tongue can be absorbed through the sublingual gland for direct entrance into the user’s bloodstream. As the sublingual method allows CBD to bypass the liver which degrades the potency of CBD, this form of delivery is believed to have up to 35% bioavailability.
Pure isolate CBD carries nutty and earthy notes, often considered to be bitter to the taste. For those who find the taste of pure isolate CBD unappealing for use sublingually, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils are the preferred option as they contain terpenes that make for pleasant consumption.
CBD oil is consumed orally via swallowing the user’s choice of edible CBD products. Due to the rising popularity of CBD, there is a wide range of tasty CBD products available on the market, from CBD gummies and capsules to CBD-infused beverages. Furthermore, as CBD is fat-soluble, this food supplement is most successfully absorbed into the bloodstream when digested alongside a high-fat snack or meal.
Oral consumption of CBD oil is often the preferred method of consumption due to its convenient and discrete nature, as well as masking the natural, earthy flavour of CBD in edibles that appeal to the individual. Therefore, edibles are a great option for first-time users of CBD, with a variety of edible products available to suit every taste!
However, for CBD consumed orally to reach the bloodstream, it first must pass through the body’s digestive system. CBD’s passage through the digestive system is a long process; taking up to two hours before it reaches the user’s bloodstream. During this process, CBD contends with the digestive acids and enzymes before absorbing into the user’s bloodstream. This journey to the bloodstream means oral CBD can take longer for the user to feel any potential effects, and due to the loss in potency, it may require users to consume higher amounts to receive their correct dosage of CBD. However, users should be mindful to wait for the full amount of time for the CBD to reach their bloodstream so as not to exceed their recommended dosage. Overall, it is believed the bioavailability of oral CBD is low compared to other methods of delivery, coming in at around 4 to 20%.
Despite the length of time it takes for oral CBD to reach the body’s bloodstream, it actually remains in the body for longer than other delivery methods. A study found that the average length of time CBD molecules remain in the body was 4.2 hours when orally consumed.
Topical CBD includes infused creams, lotions, and balms which are applied to the skin. However, as our skin acts as a barrier, it hinders CBD absorption- in fact, little (if any) CBD is estimated to enter the bloodstream at all, if administered topically.
Despite its low bioavailability levels, topical CBD is ideal for targeting specific skin areas. For example, topical CBD is highly effective for potentially delivering nurturing qualities wherever you’re craving assistance by simply massaging the cream or balm into the affected areas. Furthermore, CBD is believed to potentially possess effects which, when teamed with terpenes found in full and broad-spectrum CBD, may help to nourish the skin.
Vaping allows the user to inhale their CBD dose and is considered to have some of the highest rates of bioavailability. Through a process called decarboxylation, CBD is turned into airborne droplets which are inhaled into the lungs and absorbed through a thin mucus membrane into the user’s bloodstream, where the compound may support your wellbeing.
As this delivery method allows for the fastest absorption (through the user’s lungs and into their bloodstream) CBD can retain a bioavailability level in the range of 34 to 46%.
Where Can I Get CBD Oil?
To receive the best CBD products, it is critical that you only buy CBD products from trusted websites, stores, or pharmacies.
The popularity of CBD has created what can be considered a ‘green rush’ in the marketplace. The influx of manufacturers and brands looking to capitalise on this market has unsurprisingly led to low-quality, cheaply manufactured CBD products reaching the consumer market. Such products not only are thought to carry lower bioavailability rates (requiring the user to consume more CBD to make up for the lack of effects felt, making them more costly and wasteful) but they are also thought to be very unsafe when compared to their lab-tested counterparts.
Due to holes in current CBD regulations, brands are not required by law to include how much CBD is present on their product’s labels. This lack of transparency can lead to disappointingly low CBD percentages (and sometimes overly high THC levels that run the risk of having an intoxicating effect.)
A 2017 study unearthed some of the hidden truths of low-quality CBD oils, finding some commercial brands of food-grade hemp seeds to contain THC concentrations that were up to 1,250% higher than the legal limit. Hemp seed oil naturally contains no THC, which demonstrates the risk of contamination that is possible in low-quality manufactured hemp-derived goods and highlights the need to purchase CBD from trusted sources, with each batch coming complete with a certificate of analysis.
To ensure peace of mind whilst shopping with Alphagreen, all products available are third-party tested and contain a certificate of analysis (COA), providing quantifiable evidence on the contents of compounds present. This ensures brands are transparent and forthcoming about their ingredients, reporting the cannabinoid content, terpene profile, pesticide, and heavy metal content of their products.
Your Guide to the Ideal Dosage of CBD
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to CBD dosages, therefore finding your optimal dosage will require a bit of trial and error!
Hence, your optimal dosage of CBD will depend on many variable factors, including your:
- Body mass index
- Chosen form of CBD
- Purpose for consumption
For further guidance, this table provides recommendations for calculating the amount (in mg) of CBD to consume:
We suggest starting with a small dosage and building up to finding the optimal dosage that works best for you.
The Bottom Line
CBD has carved out a solid niche for itself in the mainstream when it comes to those looking to nurture their daily self-care routine, with many health and well-being enthusiasts anecdotally purporting CBD oil’s successful potential benefits to impact their overall well-being or health. Demand has been answered with an increased consumer choice of CBD products, with the market predicted to witness continued exponential growth.
Verified by a health professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.