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Looking to buy CBD oil in the UK?
In the last few years, CBD oil has become the go-to product for people seeking natural, organic ways to improve their wellbeing. However, as it’s risen in popularity, it’s also caused considerable controversy thanks to its connection to cannabis.
Let’s take a look at exactly what CBD oil is, how it works, and how to use it safely, legally and effectively.
What is CBD oil?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound known as a cannabinoid. It’s one of around 133 cannabinoids found in the flower of the hemp plant, along with hundreds of other natural substances like: Fatty acids, Terpenes, Flavonoids, Vitamins & Minerals.
CBD oil is made by extracting cannabidiol from the hemp plant and blending it with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or MCT oil. CBD may be extracted on its own, or with some or all of the other natural compounds, to make different types of CBD oil products.
What types of CBD oil are there?
There are three main types of CBD oil products: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds naturally found in the hemp plant, not just cannabidiol. These fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes and other substances are all believed to have therapeutic benefits of their own, so people often choose full-spectrum CBD oil to maximise the effects of CBD oil.
When you consume all of the natural compounds of the hemp plant together, something pretty amazing happens! The compounds complement each other and work together to create an amplified effect, known as the “entourage effect”, boosting the benefits of the oil. Essentially, the full-spectrum oil is more powerful than the sum of its parts.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil
Like full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the natural compounds of the hemp plant, but with one key exception: THC.
Although the amount of THC found in UK CBD oil is very limited and tightly controlled, some people prefer not to consume any at all. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is the perfect compromise, offering all the benefits of full-spectrum oil with none of the THC.
CBD isolate is an ultra-pure CBD powder made only from cannabidiol. To make CBD isolate, all of the other plant compounds are removed during the extraction process, including THC. That means you won’t get the amplified benefits of the entourage effect from CBD isolate.
However, the removal of fatty acids means that it can be used to vape, and the removal of terpenes means that you won’t get the distinctive herbal taste of a full- or broad-spectrum CBD oil.
What strength CBD oil should you take?
Strength refers to the amount of cannabidiol in your CBD oil. It’s usually shown in milligrams (mg) per bottle, not per dose. To work out the strength per dose, use this formula:
CBD per dose (mg per 1ml) = CBD per bottle (mg) / bottle size (ml)
For example, if a 20ml bottle has a strength of 1000mg, that means there’s 1000mg in the entire bottle. To work out the strength per 1ml dose, you’d need to divide 1000mg by 20ml. That would give you 50mg of pure CBD per 1ml dose.
The FSA recommends a maximum daily intake of 70mg CBD per day. While we’re not aware of any risks from exceeding this limit, we do recommend that new CBD users build up to higher doses slowly. It’s hard to predict how CBD will make you feel, so it’s best to start with a low dose and increase the strength over time.
Do you want the entourage effect?
To recap, the entourage effect is when a CBD oil features all of the natural compounds of the hemp plant with nothing removed, magnifying their positive effects. If you want the entourage effect, choose a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil, rather than a CBD isolate.
Are you particular about flavour?
Aromatic terpene compounds give CBD oil a strong, herbal flavour that not everybody enjoys. If you’re not keen on the taste, choose a flavoured oil, or go for a CBD isolate that has had the terpenes removed completely.
Important factors to consider for safety & quality
Unfortunately, the regulation around CBD in the UK is not well-enforced. There are still lots of rogue brands that take advantage of this, so what you see on the packaging is not always what you get in the bottle.
At CBD Shopy, we go above and beyond to give you access to safe, legal, quality CBD oil. In consultation with medical cannabis expert Prof. Michael Barnes we formulated quality assessment criteria for selecting CBD oils for our online store. Here’s what we look for in a top CBD oil.
📊 Lab reports
First things first – the all-important lab report! A reputable CBD brand will have their CBD oil tested and verified by an independent, third-party lab. This will verify:
- How much CBD and THC the oil contains.
- That the oil is free of mould, pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants.
The brand should also make the lab reports readily available. If they don’t have lab reports, or they won’t share them, it’s important to ask yourself why.
Some CBD oils have been found to contain only a small fraction of the advertised CBD, and others contain enough ethanol to be legally considered an alcoholic drink! The lab report is the only way to know that you’re getting what you pay for, so don’t buy without seeing it first.
🌱 Organic hemp
The choice of hemp makes a difference to the quality of the CBD oil. We make sure that the company knows where their hemp comes from. Specifically, hemp that is organically grown in regulated jurisdictions, using natural farming methods. This ensures that you’re not consuming unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals like pesticides.
🔬 Extraction method
The quality of CBD oil is heavily influenced by the method used to extract it from the hemp plant. The best extraction methods, like CO2 extraction, use low temperature and low pressure to preserve the delicate plant compounds and deliver a superior CBD oil.
🏭 Manufacturing standards
We look for brands that have the seal of approval from international bodies like ISO and GMP. This means your CBD oil has been manufactured in world-class facilities that meet strict industry standards.
⭐ Customer satisfaction
If you want to know if a brand truly walks the walk and delivers a great CBD oil, there’s nobody better to ask than the customer. That’s why we sort through reviews on independent sites like TrustPilot to find brands that are getting incredible customer feedback.
🥇 Industry association
In an industry where products are ingested for wellness benefits, yet regulations are very lax, brands who proactively consult with authorities in the cannabis industry including but not limited to associations, doctors, professors & researchers show a sign of good faith towards their customer's wellness.
The price of CBD oil varies quite significantly between brands, but you can generally expect to pay higher prices for better-quality products. CBD Shopy checks to ensure the price of oils on this list are within the market range, so customers are not paying extortionate amounts.
The best method of comparing prices between brands is to divide the retail price by the MG strength of CBD, for instance: £36.99 / 500mg = £0.073 per MG of CBD. The average market range in the UK averages between £0.06 - £0.11 per MG of CBD.
How do I take CBD oil?
CBD oil should be taken sublingually, or absorbed under the tongue. The bottle will usually have a dropper or spray top, and the packaging will tell you roughly how many drops/sprays make up the recommended dose. Simply place the required number of drops/sprays under your tongue and wait 30-60 seconds.
Some CBD oils have a strong herbal taste, so you may be tempted to swallow the oil straight away instead of letting it sit in your mouth. However, keep in mind that when you swallow CBD, it has to pass through your digestive system and liver before it gets to your bloodstream. By this time, much of the CBD will have been metabolised and there will be a lot less for your body to use. This is referred to as low “bioavailability”.
On the other hand, CBD taken sublingually goes straight to the bloodstream via the large blood vessels under your tongue. There’s much more CBD for your body to use, so it’s said that this method has high bioavailability. It also means you’ll feel the effects quicker.
Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
Yes, CBD oil is 100% legal in the UK, provided that that the finished product contains less than 1 mg of THC. THC is the psychoactive substance responsible for the “high” feeling you get when you smoke cannabis. It’s present in larger amounts in cannabis, but the tiny amount you’d find in CBD oil is not enough to get you high.
If you’re shopping for CBD oil, we’re sure you’ll find your perfect match here in our top 8. However, before you buy, there are a few things to keep in mind.
CBD is generally well-tolerated and there is currently no evidence to suggest that it’s not safe to use. That said, it’s always wise to speak to your doctor first if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Have any underlying medical conditions.
- Take medication, whether it’s prescription or over-the-counter.
CBD is often equated with medical cannabis, but be aware that they are two different substances. Medical cannabis is a pharmaceutical product that can only be prescribed by licenced doctors to treat specific health conditions.
In the UK CBD oil is sold as a food supplement and it is against regulations to advertise it's supposed 'medicinal benefits', so steer clear of any brands that promise otherwise, and always seek advice from your doctor if you have a medical concern.