CBD Oil: The Complete UK Guide to Cannabidiol (2019)

CBD oil UK Guide

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the most well-known cannabinoids naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating, unlike its more notorious cousin, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Taken with care, CBD is a safe food supplement that can be used as part of a healthy diet.

This guide focuses on the UK because, even within Europe, legislation differs considerably from country to country. In the UK you can buy CBD products legally as food supplements to support and promote complete wellbeing. Learn how to select and use different types of CBD products, from CBD drops to e-liquids. Find out why the higher quality CBD brands are third-party lab tested, THC free, CO2 extracted, organic, and full-spectrum. 

In this CBD Guide:
1. How to Find the Best CBD Oil
2. Cannabis, Hemp and CBD Oil - Distinctions & UK Law
3. CBD Oil Benefits - The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
4. How to Use CBD Oil
5. Which Type of CBD Product Should I Choose?

How to Find the Best CBD Oil infographic

1. How to Find the Best CBD Oil

If you're looking for the best quality CBD oil, there are 4 key criteria to consider:

1. Clear CBD content

Does the product specify the total amount of CBD content in mg? People are all different and there isn't a standard dose for CBD. Knowing the exact amount per milligram ensures you can measure and monitor how much you take to be able to figure out what is right for you.

2. Certified Organic and Free from Toxins

How to Select & Dose CBDDoes the product claim to be organic or is it in fact certified organic? How pure is the CBD oil? Cannabis Sativa L. is considered a bio-accumulator so, in order to avoid taking a harmful cocktail of chemicals - which could include fertilisers, pesticides and heavy metals - you must find out if it is lab tested before buying. It is essential to find a trust-worthy manufacturer that planted organic seeds, and harvested, extracted and bottled the extract following a certified organic process. Simply claiming to be organic can be very different from being in fact a properly documented, certified organic producer. Look out for brands that can prove their organic claims (e.g. via an organic certification). Similarly, any good brand will provide full testing to show what exactly is in their product. This will include showing the absence of any pesticides and heavy metals.

3. CO2 extraction - Gold Standard for CBD extraction

Has the CBD oil been CO2 extracted and are certificates of analysis made available to prove this? CO2 supercritical extraction is considered 'the gold standard' for Cannabidiol extraction, because it preserves the full spectrum of cannabinoids.

Supercritical Co2 extraction CBDCannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids (including CBDA, CBG and CBC), and over 300 types of chemical compounds (terpenes, phenols, flavonoids...). When extracting CBD along with these compounds, you're able to benefit from the so-called entourage effect. Other methods of extraction such as butane do not preserve the integrity of the plant's active compounds and can leave dangerous chemical residues behind.

4. Full Spectrum CBD goes beyond Cannabidiol

Is the oil rich in terpenes and other cannabinoids? Bonus: Is it whole-plant? The better the source and extraction method, the purer the oil. Ideally, you'd want to consume a CBD oil that also provides you with the many beneficial active ingredients present in the whole Cannabis Sativa L. plant: cannabinoids like CBDa (Cannabidiol Acid), CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), CBGa (Cannabigerol Acid), the plant's lipids, waxes, chlorophyll, flavonoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients. The synergy or combined effect they create working together is being widely studied.

Every strain, variety and crop contains a different profile of these biomolecules (compare lab certificates from different products, which here on for the Ageless are available on each product page). Ensure there is clear access to certificates of quality (source and extraction method).

Do not let yourself be deceived by empty marketing claims or inferior products like CBD drops made from crystal isolates or from undisclosed sources. (CBD isolates or crystal isolates are a concentrated, lab-produced form of CBD, with no other cannabinoids present.) In short, if a brand or supplier is not willing to show the source and what exactly is in their products via third-party lab tests, move on to the next brand.

How to Find the Best Products

CBD brands

Following the above criteria, we tried and tested the best CBD brands available in the UK. These companies have been around for quite a few years and have improved the quality of their products considerably since they started out. We initially interviewed and visited them and now keep in touch regularly. Over the years, we've learned a great deal about their processes and ethics and can prove these are trustworthy, fully certified suppliers. The top brands we have cherry-picked are: Love Hemp, Biopurus, BioBloom, Love CBD, Hemptouch, PharmaHemp, and CannabiGold.

2. Cannabis, Hemp and CBD Oil - Distinctions & UK Law

Cannabis, Hemp and CBD Oil UKFor over 10,000 years, humans used cannabis and hemp as part of their diet, for its fibre to produce textile and rope. It was also used for its medicinal properties. Its highly-nutritious seeds can be ground into flour, eaten whole or turned into omega-rich hemp oil when cold-pressed. Its leaves and flowers have been esteemed for their medicinal properties. Every bit of the plant possesses properties that have be used for centuries to the benefit of humankind.

In the early 20th Century, cannabis was prohibited and classified as a narcotic drug. The past few decades have seen a reverse in public policy regarding cannabis due to ongoing medical research and advocacy in favour of the benefits of CBD and the many other cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytonutrients present in the plant. Today, its legalisation in some parts of the world and the classification of CBD oil as a food supplement in most of Europe and North America have changed Western society's perception of the plant in just a few years. The short history of CBD is fascinating because it is a result of the much longer history of cannabis.

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

Is CBD oil legalCBD oil is legal as a food supplement in the UK as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. It is also legal in most of the EU and some other countries around the world under different conditions that keep changing as the laws around CBD evolve in each country.

CBD oil (containing less than 0.2% of THC) is considered “THC free” and can be sold and consumed legally in the UK as a food supplement as long as you don't a dose of 200mg/day.

Is Cannabis Oil Legal in the UK?

Is Cannabis Oil Legal in the UKThe sale of cannabis oil (rich in THC) as a supplement continues to be illegal in most countries, including the UK. Cannabis oil contains more than 0.2% THC and it is not legal as a food supplement in the UK. However it is now available as a medicine under prescription by a specialist hospital doctor.

The distinction between Cannabis and Hemp

Cannabis vs. HempCannabis contains THC and other cannabinoids in varying levels. The legal term for cannabis that contains less than 0.2% of THC is hemp. This is why CBD oil products and hemp oil normally feature the term “hemp” on their labels, even though they’re extracted from Cannabis Sativa L. Weed and marijuana are terms normally used to refer to cannabis (THC rich).

What is the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil?

CBD oil is an extract made from the full Cannabis plant (including leaves, flowers, stalks and seeds), whereas hemp oil is pressed from industrial hemp seeds only and provides no cannabinoids.

Full-spectrum oils are rich in cannabinoids and sold as food supplements in the form of concentrates (CBD drops), e-liquids, edibles and topicals. Hemp oil, on the other hand, is an Omega-rich cooking oil, normally eaten raw (unheated) with e.g. a salad and carries negligible amounts of cannabinoids. Hemp oil is very versatile and is also used as a natural moisturiser in skincare products and for the creation of bio-plastics, paints and fuels.

3. CBD Oil Benefits - The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

CBD Oil BenefitsCBD is one of the most prominent chemical compounds found in hemp and one of the 80+ cannabinoids found in full-spectrum hemp. Cannabinoids possess a myriad of benefits to maintain your health because they bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our cells, which are found mainly in the central nervous system, but also in many organs including the digestive tract, genitals and skin. However, more research needs to be conducted before the effectiveness of full spectrum CBD can be widely approved.

What is the endocannabinoid system? Cannabinoid receptors form part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a large matrix of receptor proteins with many functions. So many, that is has been described as “the greatest neurotransmitter system in the body”, because it relates to important bodily functions such as immunity, appetite, mood, memory, inflammation and pain. There is growing research on the endocannabinoid system and the effects and benefits of CBD, but the scope of this research is still very limited and this is why the medical community is reluctant to support its use.

In any case, CBD oil benefits are particularly appealing because Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and non-addictive (unlike THC).

How does CBD make you feel? Does it get you high?

CBD Oil - UK Guide does CBD get you high

CBD does not make you feel high because it is non-intoxicating, unlike THC. Depending on the person and the quantity of CBD consumed, our customers report a feeling of relaxation and general grounding. Most importantly, the majority report experiencing its health benefits, as they would with other food supplements. 

How effective is CBD oil?

CBD Endocannabinoid System (ECS)Like any other food supplement or herb, the different forms of CBD will work for some more than for others and at different quantities. Many factors come into play, namely, the person’s own physiological makeup, circumstances, and the type and quality of the CBD oil you’ll be taking.

First, you need to take into account your physiological makeup and circumstances:

  • Weight and height
  • Metabolism
  • Whether or not you’re taking other supplements or medication
  • Environmental factors (stress, pollution, climate, etc)
  • Lifestyle factors (diet, amount of exercise, quality of sleep)

Second, you need to take into account these factors:

  • Type of product you’ll be taking (drops, paste, vape, tea, edibles)
  • Quality of the CBD product (organic, full spectrum, natural vs. synthetic)
  • Bioavailability of Cannabidiol based on the type and quality of the product

CBD oil is not a painkiller and does not have an immediate effect (even though some people who are very sensitive to supplementation, do report an immediate effect). It depends on many factors and the only way to find out is to try. We suggest to start low and go slow, as explained in the next section.

4. How to Use CBD Oil

Because Cannabidiol is generally safe (non-intoxicating and non-addictive) learning how to use CBD products is simple because there is room for experimentation. However, there are three basic steps to ensure you do it correctly: choose the best quality (covered above), find the product that is suitable for your needs, and figure out what the best quantity to take for you.

Taking CBD Oil Under the Tongue

Full-spectrum CBD oil from whole-plant extract is normally thick and viscous and has an undiluted hemp flavour. When taking it sublingually*, you need to have the dropper quite close to your mouth to avoid any drops spilling off. Most regular droppers hold around 5-6 drops at most so it's easy to take the right amount, especially if you do this in front of a mirror. Most of our customers take it right before meals with the advantage that this increases its absorption and lets you avoid any aftertaste.

Sublingual application CBD oil under tongueYou can also mix the oil with food or inside a smoothie if you prefer. Store it in an upright position, in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration prolongs its shelf life, but it is not necessary.

*Sublingual application means taking your dose under the tongue and holding it for 60 seconds or more before swallowing with a drink and following it with your meal. It ensures the fastest bioavailability (your body’s absorption of its active ingredients) because much of it will be absorbed through your mucous membranes directly into your bloodstream.

 

CBD Oil Percentages and Total Content

Seeing percentages of CBD oil from different brands can be confusing (5%, 15%, 20%, etc.) because the % does not indicate the quantity of CBD oil on its own; you’d also need to take into account the product volume (10ml, 30ml, etc.) This section will explain how choose the right product and dose for you.

How to Select the Ideal Extract for You

What really matters is the amount of CBD oil you purchase, how much you consume, and how often you dose it. To simplify the selection process, we’ve decided to organise our full collection of products according to their total CBD content. This allows you to quickly figure out which product matches your desired dose best and which offers the best value for money.

CBD Oil Concentrations How to Select the Best

Of course, other factors such as whether its carrier oil is hemp based and if you’d like to vape it or ingest it come into consideration when selecting the right product for you.

Quick Guide to CBD Dosage - How Much Should I Use?

CBD Oil - UK Guide dosageAs a food supplement, the maximum adult daily dose is recommended to be no more than 200mg. CBD can be used at higher doses but only under the supervision of a doctor.

If you’re starting with CBD, begin by taking 10mg twice per day. After a week, you can double that dose to 20mg twice per day. Listen to your body and increase the dose accordingly without exceeding the 200mg daily amount. You may take the oil 3-4 times per day if needed. Once you feel the benefits, it’ll be easy for you to judge which is the best dose for you. If in doubt, consult with a healthcare practitioner first.
To find out more about this, check out our in-depth article on how to take CBD.

How much CBD in each drop of CBD Oil?

How much CBD in each drop of CBD OilDepending on the % of CBD in the extract and the type of product you choose, this is approximately how much CBD is present in each product (per drop, per spray or per pump), regardless of whether it’s a 10ml, 20ml, 30ml or 100ml bottle.

Biopurus, BioBloom, Love Hemp, Pharmahemp and Hemptouch extracts (CBD oil drops):
4% = 2mg per drop
5% = 2.5mg per drop
6% = 3mg per drop
8% = 4mg per drop
10% = 5mg per drop
15% = 7.5mg per drop
20% = 10mg per drop
30% = 15mg per drop
40% = 20mg per drop

CannabiGold extracts:
5% 12ml bottle with 100 pumps = 5mg per pump
10% 12ml bottle with 100 pumps = 10mg per pump (5mg of CBD + 5mg of CBDa)
15% 12ml bottle with 100 pumps = 15mg per pump
30% 12ml bottle with 100 pumps = 30mg per pump

Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil extracts:
Charlotte’s Web Full Strength (100ml) = 6.65mg per full dropper
Charlotte’s Web Extra Strength (100ml) = 16.65mg per full dropper
Charlotte’s Web Maximum Strength (30ml) = 30mg per full dropper
The dropper will be half full which is considered a "full dropper" (the oil does not fill the entire dropper).

Love Hemp sprays (approx. 220 sprays per 30ml bottle):
200mg spray = 0.9mg per spray
400mg spray = 1.8mg per spray

Love CBD sprays (approx. 125 sprays per 20ml bottle):
1400mg spray = 11.2mg per spray
2000mg spray = 16mg per spray

E-liquids
Pharmahemp’s e liquid 300mg in 10ml = 1.5mg per drop
Pharmahemp’s e liquid 500mg in 10ml = 2.5mg per drop
Love Hemp’s e liquid 100mg in 15ml = 0.33mg per drop
Love Hemp’s e liquid 250mg in 15ml = 0.83mg per drop
Love Hemp’s vape additive 750mg in 15ml = 2mg per drop

How many drops in each bottle?
According to Biopurus, BioBloom, Love Hemp, Pharmahemp and Hemptouch:
a 10ml bottle contains approximately 250 drops
a 30ml bottle contains approximately 750 drops
a 100ml bottle contains approximately 2,500 drops
CannabiGold extracts contain approximately 100 pumps per bottle.
Love Hemp sprays contain approximately 220 sprays per 30ml bottle.

All other products, like capsules or gummy bears, clearly indicate the amount of CBD in each dose. Balms also state the total amount of CBD content in the product description.


BioBloom Collection Love CBD collection Biopurus CBD oil UK Pharmahemp CBD oil UK
Love Hemp UK CBD CannabiGold Collection Hemptouch CBD Collection Charlotte's Web CBD UK

5. Which Type of CBD Product Should I Choose?

There are 7 main types of product that can be purchased in the UK. Each has its own pros and cons that should be considered before making a purchase. Each method of use will differ in strength but also in how quickly your body absorbs the active ingredients.

CBD Oil Drops

 

CBD oil drops
The purest form of CBD oil is the full-spectrum, organic hemp oil with CBD extract. This oil contains CBD and over 400 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids (including CBDA, CBG or cannabigerol, BPC, CBDV), terpenes, phenols and flavonoids with a myriad of beneficial properties. These compounds work together to achieve what is called the entourage effect.

We have selected what we consider to be top of the range CBD drops available in the UK: CannabiGold, BioBloom, Biopurus, Pharmahemp, Love CBD, Love Hemp, and Hemptouch. You can boost these oils with even more aroma and micronutrients by adding different terpenes & bioflavonoids to them.

 

CBD Spray

 

CBD spray
When diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil, the CBD solution is thin enough to become a CBD spray, which many people find more convenient when on the go than CBD oil drops, because they won't leak.

CBD sprays are also ideal for those new to CBD because there are milder concentrates (containing a total of 400mg of CBD in 30ml). Being able to choose between a natural (pure) flavour or peppermint, lemon, or orange is also attractive to those who prefer to disguise the 'green' flavour of the plant. Recently, also higher-strength CBD sprays have been developed.

 

CBD Hemp Tea

Hemp Tea

A very enjoyable way of taking cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and the phytonutrients present in the plant is by brewing dried Cannabis flowers, buds, stems, leaves and seeds. We carry a lovely selection of teas from the Czech Republic and Austria. These can also be ingested, smoked, inhaled or vaporised. Some of our customers even bake with the dry herb. Look out for our free hemp tea samples and find out more about the benefits of hemp tea

 

CBD Topicals (balm, salve, and face cream)

 

CBD balm

CBD creams, balms and body salves can be applied directly onto the skin and absorbed into the small capillary blood vessels. Applying CBD topically with a cream, balm or salve allows you to target specific areas of your body. We feature CBD topicals with other natural ingredients such as coconut oil, beeswax, argan oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, grape seed oil, and rosehip oil. Ideal for those prone to dry, itchy or irritated skin. 

 

CBD Capsules are ideal when travelling or commuting

 

CBD capsules
If you would rather take CBD oil as you would a multivitamin, capsules make an excellent choice. They are convenient because they can easily be carried and taken when you’re out and about, just like e-liquids and edibles. If you've already purchased an oil and don't like the taste, you can get some empty capsules from your pharmacy and fill them with your personal dose of oil. Capsules are also the right choice when you want to make sure you're taking a very specific dose (no drop counting necessary!). Capsules are still absorbed through the GI tract. When swallowed the effect takes longer to begin but they also last for a longer period.

 

 

CBD Vapes / e-Liquids

CBD vape oilCBD vapes or e-liquids follow the same principle as CBD sprays, but the carrier here is a solution of vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol which allows the active ingredient to be vaporised. For this type of use, you will need an electronic vaporiser, which come in many types and sizes. Vaping is a pleasurable experience for many today and allows the possibility of taking CBD through the respiratory system, which is a quicker way of absorbing it into the bloodstream in comparison to other methods. Studies show that inhaling or vaping CBD make it highly bioavailable (it is CBD's fastest method of absorption).

CBD Gummy Bears

CBD Gummies
CBD gummy bears are the naughtiest product on the list, but we stock a variety made with organic ingredients and their colours and flavours are natural. This is an ideal way of taking CBD if you're tired of counting drops or want to take a break from the original flavour of the plant. Just make sure you keep them away from the reach of children and count how many you eat, because these gummies can be very tempting.

 

Last updated: 15 August 2019. Fact checked.

References:

Cannabidiol (Cbd): Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1439/cannabidiol-cbd

Grinspoon, P. (2019, June 5). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t. Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Drug Licensing Factsheet - Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/778357/
Factsheet_Cannabis_CBD_and_Cannabinoids_2019.pdf

Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., & Hanuš, L. O. (2015, February 05). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Retrieved August 15, 2019, from http://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=53912

Power, M. (2019, July 01). Cannabis has great medical potential. But don't fall for the CBD scam | Mike Power. Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/01/cannabis-medical-cannabidiol-cbd-uk-consumers

Schraer, R. (2019, August 1). CBD oil: Have the benefits been overstated? Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-48950483

Hemp Fields CBD Oil Guide