CBD has become a big seller in the UK, with products available in pharmacies and health shops. It is thought that many people take it to relieve anxiety, sleep problems and pain. It is also thought to have a range of other potential benefits, including helping to reduce inflammation and fighting the effects of depression. But how safe and effective is it, and is it legal?
CBD (cannabidiol) is an oil derived from the cannabis or hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive and has no ‘high’ effect. It is currently sold legally in the UK as long as it contains no more than 0.25% THC (the part of the cannabis plant that makes you high) and is made from industrial-grade hemp that has been approved by the European Union. The product must also be labelled correctly, and the supplier must hold a licence to prove that they are producing the right product and are doing so in full compliance with all relevant safety regulations.
Despite this, it remains a controversial compound. The evidence of its effectiveness is mixed and a lot of the research on it has been conducted on animals rather than humans. Some evidence is promising, however, and more research is needed.
It is an important ingredient in the ECS (endocannabinoid system), which is found throughout the body and controls a number of processes, from hormone production to our stress response. It influences how we use energy, regulates our mood and helps to control things like appetite, pain and sleep patterns. It also plays a role in how our immune systems respond to infection and can influence the way we age.
But although we have a good idea of how the ECS works, we don’t yet fully understand how CBD interacts with it to produce its alleged health benefits. The latest research suggests that CBD may help to ease pain and nausea, reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce seizures caused by epilepsy. It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and could be helpful in combating heart disease by affecting the way our hearts use sugar.
It’s worth noting that CBD may interact with some medications, and you should check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking it. This is because it can inhibit the enzymes that break down and metabolise certain medications, including some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. This is referred to as the ‘grapefruit effect’ and can result in higher concentrations of the medication than you should be getting.
The law regarding CBD in the UK is confusing, but broadly speaking it’s legal to buy and sell if it meets certain standards. It’s best to purchase from a trusted retailer and to read the label carefully to make sure that you are getting a genuine, safe product. This is particularly true of foods containing CBD, which are regulated as novel food and must be free from misleading content and not lead to nutritional disadvantages. CBD UK