CBD oil or Cannabidiol is one of the most well-known naturally-occurring cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating, unlike the most well-known Cannabinoid, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Taken with care, CBD oil is a safe food supplement that can be used as part of a healthy diet.
This guide will focus on the UK but is also useful to anyone in the EU. Find out why the best CBD brands are THC free, Co2 extracted, organic, and full-spectrum. Learn how to select and dose all types of CBD products, from organic CBD drops to e-liquids and topical balms. You can buy CBD oil in the UK and Europe legally as a food supplement to support and promote complete wellbeing.
In this CBD Guide:
1. How to Find & Buy the Best CBD Oil
2. Cannabis, Hemp and CBD Oil - the UK, the EU and Beyond
3. CBD Oil Benefits - The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
4. How to Use CBD Oil
5. Types of CBD Oil Products
6. Top 7 CBD Brands available in the UK
When you buy CBD oil in the UK there are 5 things you should always consider first. This is with the aim of ensuring the quality of any product you may purchase.
1. Clear CBD content
Does the product specify the total amount of CBD content in mg? We are all different and there isn't a standard dose, knowing the exact amount per milligram ensures you can measure and manage your dose and 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, harvested and bottled the oil following a certified organic process. Claiming to be organic can be very different from being a 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? CO2 supercritical extraction is considered 'the gold standard' for cannabidiol extraction. Ensure lab certificates are available to prove this.
4. Full Spectrum CBD goes beyond cannabidiol
Is the oil rich in terpenes and other cannabinoids? Bonus: Is it whole-plant (raw)? The better the source and extraction method, the purer and more nutrient-dense the oil. Ideally, you'd want to consume a CBD oil that also provides you with the many beneficial and synergetic 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.
Every strain, variety and crop contains a different profile of these (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. If they are not willing to show the source and what is in the product do not buy it.
How to Find the Best Products
Following the above criteria, we've cherry-picked the best CBD products available in the UK and Europe from fully-certified, vetted brands you can buy in the UK and Europe. These companies have been around for quite a few years and have improved the quality of their products considerably since they started out. We've interviewed them all them and learned a great deal about what they each have to offer. These pioneering brands are: Love Hemp, Biopurus, BioBloom, Love CBD, Hemptouch, PharmaHemp, and CannabiGold.
For over 10,000 years, humans used cannabis 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 and nutritional properties. Every bit of this magnificent plant possesses properties that can be used to the benefit of humankind.
In the early 20th Century, its prohibition started in Europe before going to America and spreading around the world, when it was classified as a drug. Today, a good number of historians and medical professionals claim that the prohibition of cannabis was racially and economically motivated.
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 the EU, most of the USA and many countries around the world as a food supplement used to support and maintain a healthy wellbeing.
The last 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 cannabinoids, terpenes and valuable nutrients (such as its flavonoids) present in the plant.
CBD oil (containing less than 0.2% of THC) is considered “THC free” and can be sold and consumed legally in the UK, Europe and many countries around the world as a food supplement.
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.
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.
CBD oil is an extract from the full Cannabis Sativa L. plant (including leaves, flowers, stalks and seeds), whereas hemp oil is extracted from industrial hemp seeds only and provides no cannabinoids.
Full-spectrum oils are rich in cannabinoids and sold as a food supplement 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 with 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, short form of Cannabidiol, 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 the digestive tract, genitals and skin.
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 a vast body of research on the endocannabinoid system and the effects and benefits of CBD oil.
CBD oil benefits are particularly appealing because cannabidiol is:
• non-psychoactive (unlike THC)
• non-addictive (unlike THC) and
• with no negative side effects (when taken responsibly)
What about pets? Humans and all mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS); therefore, both humans and pets like dogs, cats, rabbits and horses can enjoy the myriad of benefits of CBD Oil. (CBD for pets is not legal as a food supplement in the UK, but it is in most of Europe and the USA.)
This varies depending on the person and quantity ingested or vaporised. Our customers report a feeling of relaxation and general grounding. Most importantly, you can experience the benefits of supporting and maintaining your wellbeing as you would with other effective food supplements. In short, CBD does not make you feel high because it is non-intoxicating due to the absence of THC, which gives the feeling of being high.
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 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 starting with a very low dose during the first week, as explained in the next section.
Because Cannabidiol is safe (non-toxic, non-addictive and non-psychoactive) learning how to use CBD products is simple. There are three basic steps to ensure you do it correctly: choose the best, find the product that is suitable for your needs, and figure out what the ideal dose is for you.
To find out more on using CBD oil check out our in-depth piece called How to Take CBD Oil.
The best way to use CBD products is by taking advantage of the full spectrum properties of hemp oil extracted from Cannabis Sativa L, this is known as the entourage effect. One of the most effective methods of extraction which protects the full spectrum of Cannabinoids is supercritical CO2 extraction. To get the best quality CBD oil, pressings should come from organic crops of Cannabis Sativa L.
This cold-pressed, organic hemp oil contains Cannabidiol and over 400 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids (including CBDA, CBG and CBC), terpenes, phenols and flavonoids with a myriad of beneficial properties which come together to achieve the entourage effect.
In its purest, full-spectrum form, CBD comes in an organic hemp oil carrier base. Check the list of ingredients before purchasing. For instance, all of the BioBloom and Biopurus CBD oils come in this form and are both full spectrum and certified organic.
You know you’re having the purest, full-spectrum CBD when the oil is 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. The dropper itself holds around 5-6 drops at most so it's easy to obtain the correct dose.
You 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 glass of water or any other drink. 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.
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.)
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 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 healthcare practitioner.
If you’re starting with CBD, begin by taking 10mg twice per day, after a week, doubling 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.
Depending on the concentrate and the type of product you choose, this is approximately how much CBD 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 and should be considered before making a purchase. Each method will differ in strength but also in how quickly your body absorbs the active ingredients.
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 and to achieve the entourage effect.
We have selected what we consider to be top of the range CBD oil drops available in the UK: CannabiGold, BioBloom, Biopurus, Pharmahemp, Love Hemp, and Hemptouch. You can boost these oils with even more aroma and micronutrients by adding different terpenes & bioflavonoids to them.
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.
CBD sprays are also ideal for those new to CBD because they are a milder, less concentrated form (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 flavour of the plant.
Recently, also higher-strength CBD sprays have been developed.
A very enjoyable way of taking cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and the phytonutrients present in the plant is by brewing hand-dried Cannabis Sativa L. 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.
Mammal pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, etc.) all possess an endocannabinoid system (ECS) as we humans do, so they can benefit from CBD as much as we do. There are no differences between human and pet products, only that pet CBD tends to be mild concentrates, such as a 5% CBD oil. According to the manufacturer Biopurus, a 5% solution would be dosed at 2 drops per 10lb (4,5kg) of pet weight, once per day. The CBD for Pets products are available in the EU only and not available or for sale in the UK. If you live in the UK, CBD for pets is considered a medicine. Consult with your vet.
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 like 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.
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 dose. 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. 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.
CBD gummy bears! The naughtiest product on the list, but why not enjoy CBD as a sweet treat. They’re made with organic ingredients and their colours and flavours are natural. 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 count your bears and don't overdo it, because these gummies can be tempting.