21 facts about CBD

by Laura Howarth May 30, 2023

21 facts about CBD

CBD is often misunderstood thanks to poor marketing tactics and a general lack of awareness about what it is and what it can do. The close association with cannabis leads many to make assumptions about one based on the other. But CBD is very different to THC.

While CBD is legal and widely available, THC is a controlled substance. And while THC is known for producing a euphoric “high”, CBD does not alter behaviour or perceptions in this way.

To help clear up any misconceptions, we’re going to share some of the most interesting facts about CBD. We’ll look at what it does, how it is produced, and some of the more interesting uses for CBD so you can learn a little bit more about this fascinating compound.

21 surprising facts about CBD

1. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids

First things first, CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. Another slightly more famous cannabinoid is THC, which is responsible for the euphoric high experienced when consuming cannabis. CBD and THC are the two most-researched cannabinoids, but scientists are keen to explore how other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and THCV might benefit humans.

2. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system

Everyone has an endocannabinoid system. It has even been found in animals and birds. It is a messaging system responsible for maintaining homeostasis, which is another word for balance. It helps to regulate things like temperature, sleep patterns, appetite, inflammation response and hormone release throughout your body.

3. The body produces natural cannabinoids 

We produce our own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids (‘endo’ meaning ‘internal’, or ‘within’). The most well-known of these is anandamide, which is nicknamed the bliss molecule. The body releases anandamide to help regulate moods.

4. The CBD market was worth £690 million in 2021

CBD is growing in popularity, and UK consumers spent £690 million on CBD products in 2021 alone. Spending on CBD supplements is outpacing consumer spending on products like vitamin C and vitamin D supplements. 

5. The UK is the second-largest consumer of cannabinoid products

Since 2018 when the wider public became more aware of the benefits of supplementing with CBD, popularity has soared. The UK is currently the second largest consumer of CBD in the world. The USA is currently at the top of the list.

6. CBD is classed as a novel food in the UK

For CBD to be sold legally in the UK, it cannot make any medical claims to treat or cure any condition. Instead, it is classified as a novel food. All UK CBD sellers need to submit a novel food authorisation application. For a product to pass this legislative step, it cannot be incorrectly labelled, unsafe, or contain more than 1mg of any controlled substances.

7. CBD comes in many different forms

When we talk about CBD, we often talk about CBD oil. This is a mixture of cannabinoids in a carrier oil, usually hemp seed oil, MCT oil or olive oil. However, there are lots of different CBD products to explore. This includes topical creams, gummies, capsules, vape juice, and even CBD patches.

8. There are many ways to produce CBD

Extracting the valuable cannabinoids from the hemp plant needs to be done carefully to ensure the heat-sensitive compounds are not destroyed. The most effective production method is supercritical CO2 extraction, which uses CO2 as a solvent to separate the cannabinoids from the plant material. Hemp plants can also be cold pressed or use alcohol solvent extraction. There are pros and cons to each method.

9. CBD oil and hemp oil are not the same

Hemp leaf

A common misconception about CBD oil is that it is interchangeable with hemp seed oil or hemp oil. This can lead some people to overpay for products that don’t contain any beneficial cannabinoids.

CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not the same thing. Hemp seeds are the only part of the plant not to contain any cannabinoids. While hemp seed oil might be useful for other things, it won’t support your endocannabinoid system.

10. CBD cannot get you high

If a CBD product is legal and compliant, it cannot get you high. The THC levels in CBD products in the UK must be below 1mg per product. This isn’t enough to get you high, even if you take all of it at once. CBD does not impact the body in the same way as THC, so it doesn’t produce a euphoric high or negatively impact your mental state.

11. CBD is non-addictive

Another benefit of using CBD is that it is non-habit forming. This means that you won’t become addicted to the effects, and if you stop using it, you won’t suffer from any withdrawal symptoms

12. CBD is completely legal in the UK

CBD is legal to buy in the UK and you don’t need a prescription. For the products to be legal, they must contain less than 1mg of THC or any other controlled cannabinoid per container. To reassure consumers that their CBD products are safe and legal, they should always be provided with a certificate of analysis. This will show that the THC content is sufficiently low and that the cannabinoid content is as advertised.

13. CBD can lead to a positive drug test

While CBD might not be able to get you high, continued use of large serving sizes could lead to a build-up of THC in the body, and this could lead to a positive drug test. Drug testing will not pick up on the CBD content, as the tests aren’t designed to look for this compound. But it might detect the THC content if you are a regular consumer of full-spectrum CBD products.

14. You can’t overdose on CBD

There is no known fatal dose for CBD, which means that even if you do take too much, it may simply produce unpleasant side effects, but it won’t kill you. At present, not a lot is known about very high servings, and we don’t know about the impact on children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those with other conditions.

15. Side effects of taking too much CBD are very mild

If you do take too much CBD, the side effects are known to be very mild and short-lived. You might have some gastrointestinal discomfort, feel more sleepy than usual, or experience a dry mouth. The side effects a person experiences, will vary largely based on their height and weight, their experience with CBD, and their age.

16. CBD can interact with other medications

While CBD might be generally safe for healthy adults to enjoy, we don’t yet have a full picture of how it might interact with other prescription medications. Doctors and pharmacists advise against taking CBD alongside certain medications, particularly those that contain a “grapefruit warning”. This is because CBD could alter the way your body metabolises medications, and your medications could alter the way your body metabolises CBD.  

17. You can use CBD without a prescription

While there are CBD-based prescription medications available to treat rare conditions, you do not need a prescription to use most CBD products. Medications containing CBD offer very high doses that are not seen in consumer products. 

18. Elephants in a Polish zoo take CBD for anxiety


There are many interesting uses for CBD, but one zoo in Poland has taken to giving its elephants CBD oil to see if it can help with their anxiety and aggression. The experiment started when zookeepers noticed that one elephant was struggling with stress after the death of another elephant. They decided to run an experiment to see if CBD oil would have an impact on the levels of stress hormones in the herd. It's remarkable that CBD seems to have similar effects across all mammals, from petite house pets to enormous elephants, all enjoying a spot of calm in their lives.

19. CBD needs to be stored properly

Moving your CBD to another container is not recommended, as the dark amber or blue glass helps to protect it. CBD is sensitive to light and UV can break down the cannabinoid compounds. CBD oil can also go rancid, so it needs to be kept in cooler temperatures and out of direct sunlight. Those living in very hot countries are advised to keep CBD products in the fridge.

20. Not all CBD is created equal

CBD quality can vary based on a wide range of factors. This includes the quality of the hemp plant, the extraction method, the choice of carrier oil and how the product is handled. Organic products are typically best, but they need to be certified organic to ensure that this applies to every stage in the manufacturing process. The consumer should also have access to a certificate of analysis which will confirm the cannabinoid content and that the product has been tested for contaminants. 

21. The book of CBD is still being written

CBD a fascinating discovery and consumer product ripe for further research and development. While we have learned much, there's still plenty more to uncover about this remarkable cannabinoid. As we continue to delve deeper into the science of CBD, we anticipate unveiling more surprising facts and applications.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth


Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.

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