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What is CBD?

Illustration of a pipette filled with green oil
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Available as oils, sprays and gummies, CBD can be found in many pharmacies and stores across the UK. But what is it and what does it do? We’re here with everything you need to know about CBD.

What is cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol also known as CBD is the non-psychoactive component found in the cannabis and hemp plants. There are over 100 cannabidiols that naturally occur within the plant family, and CBD is  one of the most prevalent active ingredients within the hemp plant.

You may have heard people say that CBD helps with numerous health conditions. However, the evidence is limited and often ambiguous. The MHRA have stated that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are classed as medicines when used for medical purposes. This means CBD products intended for medicinal use must meet very high safety, quality and efficacy standards. It’s also recommended that you should speak to your GP if you are using CBD or want to begin using CBD, they can offer more advice 

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is created from the hemp plant by extraction processes. The CBD present in the cannabis plant is extracted and then combined with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. The carrier oil used will differ from brand to brand, but they tend to be an oil you’d find in your kitchen cupboard. It’s thought that combining CBD with these oils makes them easier to take, allows you to safely get your daily dose and allows for absorption by your body.

 

How to take CBD oil

How you use or decide to take CBD oil is up to you and your personal preferences. In the UK there are many different types, strengths and flavours available. CBD oil is available in drops, sprays, capsules, gummies and other varieties – there’s plenty for you to choose from, so you can find the CBD oil that’s best for you.

Whatever formulation of CBD oil you choose we suggest reading the instructions and packaging carefully before you use it.

How to take CBD oil drops - Oral drops are taken under the tongue, simply drop the recommended dose under your tongue and hold in your mouth before swallowing.

CBD sprays - Are also easy to take, as with drops the spray needs to be directed underneath your tongue and held there until absorbed.

CBD has a unique almost earthy taste that people either quite like or dislike, so you may want to choose a flavoured variety if you’ve never tried CBD product before. You may want to try a brand like Vitality CBD who have CBD oil in lemon and berry flavours, and other brands offer mint and other varieties that you may like too.

How long does CBD take to work?

The length of time CBD takes to work depends on what you would like it to help with or do. The NHS explain that there’s no guarantee that CBD can provide any health benefits, also that many brands bought on the UK high street may not be good quality.

If you want to start taking CBD oil for a certain medical condition or ailment you should speak to your GP or healthcare practitioner, they’ll be able to answer any questions you may have.

Does CBD oil get you high?

No, CBD oil and hemp oils won’t get you high. CBD is the non-psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant which means it won’t get you high. CBD oils don’t contain THC which is the chemical in cannabis which gets you high and it’s the main psychoactive component. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may be present at very low levels in some CBD oils so it’s best to read the label and speak to one of our pharmacists if you’re unsure.

CBD oil side effects

As with every food supplement there is a risk that side effects can occur. If you’re worried about possible reactions and side effects, we recommend speaking to your doctor or a pharmacist before taking CBD oil.

CBD oil dosages

The amount of CBD you take will vary from person to person. The dosage will also depend on the strength and brand of the CBD oil you’re taking. It’s always best to read the product descriptions online as well as packaging for dosage information. These will explain to you what dose to start with and how you can increase this over time, if you want to and it’s safe to do so.

You’ll also find that CBD products have information about the amount of CBD in a single serving, for example 5mg per capsule. Many CBD products allow for easy dosage with the design of the product as well including measurements on the pipette dropper.

Your doctor may have recommended a dosage for you. We recommended that you follow this and if you need to increase or decrease the dose speak to your GP.

What's the best time of day to take CBD?

CBD oil, sprays and drops can be taken at any time of day. We suggest following the advice on the pack and check dosages too. There are CBD oils and drops that are intended for night time use which may include other ingredients like chamomile or honey.

Ideally you’ll want to choose a type of CBD oil which fits into your life and daily routines whether that’s an oil dropper, CBD infused gummies, capsules or a CBD spray.

What drugs should not be taken with CBD?

At LloydsPharmacy we don’t recommend that you use CBD oil with other medicines. The NHS state that CBD and THC can affect how other medicines work. If you are already using CBD products with prescription medication or other medicines, we recommend speaking to your doctor for advice. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have, and make sure that CBD won’t interfere with any medication you may be taking.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding taking CBD oil is also not recommended.

References

CBD oil is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any ailments.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

www.nhs.uk/conditions/medical-cannabis/
www.gosh.nhs.uk/file/37126/download
www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/cannabidiol-cbd
www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
www.vitalitycbd.co.uk/blogs/cbd-knowledge-hub/which-cbd-carrier-oil-is-the-best
www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-statement-on-products-containing-cannabidiol-cbd
www.sps.nhs.uk/articles/cannabidiol-oil-potential-adverse-effects-and-drug-interactions/