CBD has exploded onto the mainstream market recently and, despite bringing with it ardent advocates and cynical sceptics, you can now find it almost everywhere you look. One of the most talked about health trends of the moment, it’s made its way into our coffees, lunches and moisturisers – and despite some confusion about what it is and what it can be used for – CBD has officially captured the nation’s attention. But amidst this booming market there’s a lot of confusion about what CBD is, exactly, whether it’s legal, and if it actually works the way it’s supposed to.
What is CBD?
CBD – short for cannabidiol – was discovered in 1940 and is a chemical compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It’s thought to affect our cell-signalling system (the endocannabinoid system), which helps to regulate functions. This explains CBD’s potentially wide-ranging application.
Once a controversial substance, due to its association with cannabis, products like CBD oil (also known as cannabis oil or cannabidiol) have soared in popularity. According to the Cannabis Trades Association UK, the number of cannabidiol consumers shot from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2019.
Will CBD oil get you high?
No. Both THC and CBD naturally occur in cannabis plants. CBD can be isolated from the cannabis plant and the THC compound. People infuse CBD into tinctures, oils, edibles, and other products without the high-inducing THC.
Still, many individuals might assume CBD causes the same effects as marijuana, because both can be found in the same plant. However, CBD alone is nonintoxicating. It won’t cause a high.
What’s more, CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant. Hemp has no psychoactive effects, either.
In fact, in many states only hemp-derived CBD is available legally. These products, by law, can have no more than 0.3 percent THC. This isn’t enough to create any psychoactive symptoms.
So, CBD oil is missing a crucial component; THC, which gives cannabis its psychotic effects.
“Unless it contains significant amounts of THC, CBD won’t get you high.”
Professor Philip McGuire, Head of Department of Psychosis Studies at King’s College London
It is, however, very important to only buy from a reputable company that specialises in CBD products.
Are hemp oil and CBD oil the same thing?
Although both are made from the same plant, CBD oil is made from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the plant and not from its seeds like hemp oil.
CBD oil is oil that contains either pure CBD or a CBD-rich cannabis extract.
What is CBD used for?
Medical research is still in its infancy, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that evidence currently suggests CBD is well tolerated and not addictive. Cannabis-derived products are gaining increased recognition for their medical usages.
The future of CBD
In the last few years, there have been many advances in cannabis processing and consumption methods. Concentrated products such as oil and rosin (a sap-like product extracted via heat and pressure) have allowed for cleaner ingestion methods, such as vaporization, to become more widespread.
If CBD does what its crusaders suggest – or even a fraction of it – this all-natural, side-effect-free, widely available chemical could genuinely be the wonder drug of our age
These new technologies have brought more consistent, identifiable dosages to patients and enthusiasts alike, while potentially enabling safer methods of consumption.
At last, accurate and detailed studies of cannabis effects and usage are underway, as existing and frustrating restrictions and prohibitions continue to be challenged.
Current clinical trials mostly apply to higher-dose medical-grade CBD; so less is known about whether the lower concentrations of commercial products are effective. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of people now convinced by its potential.