Over the last couple of years, CBD has exploded in popularity in the UK and around the world to the point CBD has evolved into a buzzword ingredient, but it is worth the buzz, friends. CBD products are sold widely online and in pharmacies as the benefits are becoming more widely understood and acknowledged.
If you are new to CBD or are interested in learning more, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Quanna’s in-depth exploration of CBD, its associated uses and what to look forward to in the hopes of this strain’s discoveries for bettering your wellness.
A brief overview & history of CBD, hemp and cannabis
CBD (or Cannabidiol) is a chemical element found in hemp plants. It has recently grown in popularity due to its potential therapeutic effects. But before getting into too much detail, it might be useful to clarify some basic definitions, so here is a quick overview:
Cannabis - generally refers to one of two types of plants, whose botanical names are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. There is a third species, Cannabis ruderalis, which is more ‘feral’ and as such is not widely used medicinally or recreationally. Cannabis plants contain a variety of chemical elements called cannabinoids. Different strains of cannabis produce different ratios of plant cannabinoids (see below).
Hemp - refers in general to the Cannabis sativa plant. The word ‘hemp’ is often used with reference to the plant’s industrial use in textiles and manufacturing, but the word is essentially interchangeable with the word ‘cannabis’. Hemp has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC (see below). There is evidence of hemp cultivation dating back 10,000 years. By 1630, half of all Americans’ winter clothing and nearly all of their summer clothing was made from hemp fibre; hemp was so useful that Henry VIII mandated English farmers to cultivate it. It has been used frequently for rope, textiles, construction and printing, with the Gutenberg bible being the best-known example.
Marijuana - another synonymous term for cannabis, marijuana often refers to the Cannabis indica plant.
Cannabinoid - cannabinoids are chemical elements that occur naturally in hemp plants. Over 100 such chemicals have been identified in hemp plants, with THC and CBD (see below) being the most studied. Due to the relative lack of research at this stage, the full potential of cannabinoids in healthcare is still largely unknown. Research, however, is promising and offers hope of further possibilities due to the indication that CBD possesses antioxidant, anti-tumoral, antipsychotic, anti-convulsive and neuroprotective properties.
Aside from cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, endogenous cannabinoids produced by the body (see Endocannabinoid system) and synthetic cannabinoids also exist.
THC - an abbreviation of Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is one of over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is THC that produces the psychoactive effect generally associated with cannabis use.
CBD - short for Cannabidiol, CBD is another phytocannabinoid like THC found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, however, CBD is non-intoxicating and acts upon receptors located throughout your body to produce various possible positive outcomes. CBD, unlike THC, does not bind directly to these receptors, rather impacts them indirectly. CBD directly activates serotonin receptors, giving rise to a decrease in anxiety.
CBN - is a cannabinoid that’s created when THC begins to degrade. THC turns into CBN over time, especially when exposed to light and heat. CBN does not produce the head high associated with THC; instead, a user experiences more of a sedative effect coupled with a mild psychoactive effect.
Endocannabinoid system - beyond the cannabinoids present in hemp plants, endocannabinoids are chemicals such as anandamide and 2AG which are produced by the body. Along with cannabinoids in hemp plants, they also activate cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, which are linked to various physiological processes such as pleasure, pain, sleep, appetite, mood, memory, fertility, pregnancy and pre/post-natal development. The endocannabinoid system balances your biology by using human cannabinoids to pass on messages to receptors, which adjust accordingly in order to harmonise your body.
So what does CBD actually do?
Aside from being an acronym for “could be down” according to Urban Dictionary, as mentioned above, CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system. It is used as a supplement to bring your body’s endocannabinoid system into balance. According to the WHO, CBD has shown promise in the treatment of epilepsy and preliminary evidence shows that CBD could be used for the treatment of other medical conditions.
It is very important to bear in mind, however, that any CBD products reporting to be miracle workers that cure diseases or even make general claims to this effect are at best ill-informed and at worst fraudulent. The fact is that research into the effects and medical benefits of CBD is still fairly limited, so be wary of companies or websites telling you otherwise.
The best way to use CBD is in conjunction with a healthy, active lifestyle. It can be used as often or as little as you feel appropriate, whenever you feel your body’s endocannabinoid system needs to be brought back into balance. This might be if you are feeling some negative effects on your endocannabinoid system, related to the processes above, such as stress or pain.
Who should take CBD?
Due to the relative lack of research into the effects of CBD, which is a bummer, it is difficult to say with total certainty who will most benefit the most from using it. It is likely to be effective for sufferers of epilepsy and, in the US, one pure CBD product (Epidiolex®) has received FDA approval as it has been shown to reduce seizures. Studies are ongoing with regard to effectiveness in treating many other conditions, such as MS, diabetes, schizophrenia, insomnia and Parkinson’s disease, though evidence showing its effectiveness is so far insufficient or inconclusive.
In general, however, CBD can be recommended to those with high-stress jobs, elder people and those looking to lead a balanced lifestyle and seek improvements in the functions of an already healthy body.
Are there any side effects from CBD?
No worries, there won’t be a runoff list of commercial-worthy side effects for CBD is tolerated well by the human body and has a good safety profile. National governments are starting to adjust their policies to adapt to CBD’s changing medicinal profile. According to the WHO, there is no evidence of public health-related problems of recreational use associated with the use of pure CBD. There may, however, exist the possibility of negative interactions with other drugs, so if in doubt, it is always best to speak to your doctor.
It is unknown whether CBD has any negative side effects if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, so we would recommend erring on the side of caution and avoid use in these cases. It is also important to ensure that the products you are buying are from a reputable (and legal) source. Make sure they are a member of a recognised trade body, have the appropriate accreditation and that products are lab-tested.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
CBD products are currently legal in the UK. THC on the other hand is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. As a result, there is some confusion over the legal status of CBD. Although CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal in the UK, it is still illegal to grow hemp or produce CBD without a government licence.
All of our products contain 0mg THC and 0mg CBN, so you can rest assured that you are in total compliance with UK legislation. We also recommend signing up for our newsletter to stay up to date with any changes.
How do you take CBD?
CBD is extracted from hemp plants in various ways and, as such, can be taken via a number of different methods:
CBD oils are among the most popular CBD products. As a natural product, it can be taken orally, applied under the tongue for around a minute before swallowing.
CBD is also available as gummy or jelly tablets. Ingredients vary depending on the brand, but generally, they are made with gelatin & flavourings and can be ingested orally. As jelly tablets dissolve faster on the tongue, they tend to absorb into the bloodstream faster, producing desired effects faster.
CBD extracts are a pure form of CBD for more experienced users. They are taken by dispensing the extract with a syringe onto a clean finger. You can then use your finger to massage the extract firmly into the cheek/gum or directly to the skin for 8-10 seconds.
Another way to use CBD is with so-called topicals or cosmetics which have become very popular in recent years. These include creams and other products that you can apply directly to the skin to release the powerful CBD benefits. A new category that is on the rise is CBD topicals for intimate health such as lubricants and massage oils.