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What exactly is CBD Oil & Is it legal in the UK?

CBD oil is one of the trendiest topics in the UK at the moment. You hear about celebrities bringing out their own ranges, CBD oil being given out in the Oscars gift bags and CBD restaurants popping up here there and everywhere. But what actually is CBD oil? And what is all the fuss about?

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What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol or CBD as it is better known is one of potentially over 100 compounds that are found naturally in the cannabis plant. It was only really discovered in the 1990s when scientists were looking into why cannabis makes us high.

What they found was that there was a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC) in the plant which, when taken by humans, makes us high. They discovered that this happened as a result of its interaction with a system called the endocannabinoid system – an important system in the body which is responsible for regulating a number of bodily functions helps to help keep the body in a state of homeostasis.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is based around a set of cannabinoid receptors which are concentrated in many different areas around the body, and endocannabinoids – which are made naturally in the body. The endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors and then are broken down by certain enzymes. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2 receptors and are located in different parts of the body.

Scientists found that CBD and THC were similar in that they interact with the endocannabinoid system in a similar way to the endocannabinoids. Which is why they called them phyto cannabinoids (meaning cannabinoids derived from a plant). However, the difference between the two is that they interact in different ways.

THC binds mainly to the CB1 receptor, stimulating the part of the endocannabinoid system that is controlled by the CB1 receptor and also making you high.

CBD mainly affects the output of the CB2 receptor, stimulating other parts of the endocannabinoid system and not making you high.

So, whilst THC may be useful, it is illegal because it makes you high. CBD, on the other hand, won’t make you high at all and is therefore completely legal in the UK.

Is CBD Legal?

In a word, yes.

Since technology and research has allowed us to split down the different compounds in cannabis, we have been able to determine parts of it that are legal and illegal. In short, THC is illegal, and CBD is legal.

For this reason, farmers have cultivated varieties of cannabis which naturally have very low THC levels (less than 0.2% in the UK) which firstly won’t get you high, and secondly means that the plant and anything made from it is completely legal. This is called industrial hemp.

Tips for Buying CBD Oil

Lab Reports – When you buy a CBD product, it is recommended that you buy from a manufacturer who can provide a third-party lab testing report – or certificate of analysis. This will give you an accurate breakdown of the levels of CBD, THC & various other cannabinoids that are present in the bottle.

Leading CBD retailers like CBDShopy have researched the UK CBD-market to bring you only the best CBD oils, capsules, creams and various other products backed by third-party lab reports which are made available on their website.

Medical Claims – In the UK, CBD Oil is currently sold as a “food supplement” and no medical claims can be made by producers or retailers alike, so if you see any companies making outrageous claims – ask yourself why they’re not playing by the rules, are they to be trusted?

Hemp Associations – Check to see if the CBD-brand you’re interested in purchasing is part of the Cannabis Trades Association of the UK which was created to promote good practice, provide practical advice and ensure consumers of legal cannabis and hemp products have access to top quality information.

Plymouth’s first store selling legal CBD oil is on a high

It’s not a joint, it’s a shop and it’s Plymouth first specialising in selling products derived from cannabis plants. Oh, and it’s called Holy Smoke because it’s rented from a church.

Plymouth couple Matthew Wachtel and Georgina Pitt say business is booming after they transformed their waning fashion outlet into a store selling primarily CBD products at the turn of 2019.

Since then they have been making as much money in a day as they were in a week when they were marketing only baseball caps, tee-shirts and tracksuits.

It’s because the world has gone mad for CBD, or Cannabidiol, a substance derived from the flowers of the cannabis sativa plant.

CBD is legal in the UK because it is non-psychoactive, in other words it doesn’t get you as high

But it is claimed to be effective in treating afflictions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and even, in its strongest concentrates, side effects of cancer.

“We’re making a living from cannabis, I never thought I’d say that,” said Georgina.

“Retail was going down hill, so we started this. There’s been a massive difference in our takings, we can’t believe it.

“People wouldn’t spend £30 on a tee-shirt but they will spend £30 on our of our other products. We can’t give medical advice, but we can sell it. We can’t tell people it will do anything for them, they have to do their own research. But people have said it’s changed their life.”

That includes oils, teas, cookies, vape juice, drinks, and more. The best seller, however, is the raw cannabis flower, with the psychoactive ingredients removed, which people can grind themselves and put in tea, cakes or whatever.

They are displayed in the attractively laid out store, with is adorned on the outside with a fetching mural of reggae great Bob Marley, alongside products

You can even give it to your stressed out dog or cat

Holy Smoke – thus dubbed because its The Pepperpot home near Drake Circus mall is rented from the nearby Methodist Central Hall – sells the grinders too.

And none of this is cheap. The products, mainly imported from the USA or Switzerland, cost a lot by usual retail standards: 10 sweets for £20, a cola drink for £3.99.

The raw flowers cost from £13.50 for a gramme to as much as £315 for 28 grammes, and come with names such as Blue Dream, White Russian, Bubblegum, Amnesia and Caramelo.

Now the couple are looking ahead with confidence and are about to launch a website providing online sales and are scouting out premises in Newquay, Cornwall, for a shop and cafe.

So far, Holy Smoke pretty much has the CBD market sewn up in Plymouth, but with the growing popularity of the products Georgina expects that to change.

“There’s a shop in Saltash,” she said. “But they will probably start popping up everywhere now.”

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of 113 identified in cannabis plants, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. As of 2018, preliminary research on cannabidiol included studies about its effect on anxiety, movement disorders and pain.

Cannabidiol can be inhaled, smoked, vaped or as an aerosol spray, or swallowed. 

It may be supplied as CBD oil  containing only CBD as the active ingredient, with no added tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the part of cannabis that makes people high.

CBD can also be sold as hemp extract oil, capsules, dried cannabis, or as a prescription liquid.

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