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?
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
Does 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.
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
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.
For 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.
CBD 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.
The 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.
Cannabis 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).
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.
CBD 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).
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.
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:
Second, you need to take into account these factors:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As 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.
Depending 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
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
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.
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.
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.
CBD spray, which many people find more convenient when on the go than CBD oil drops, because they won't leak.
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 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 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.
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