Under new laws brought in in the UK in November 2018, specialist doctors (not GPs) are now able to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes if they choose to do so, the Evening Standard reports. Home Secretary Sajid Javid commented on the decision, saying, "I have been clear that my intention was always to ensure that patients have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment." But while only certain patients would be eligible for prescribed cannabis, another form — CBD oil — can be accessed more easily. So, what is CBD oil, and how does CBD oil work?
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is legal in the UK, along with 32 other European countries and other countries around the world like Canada and Japan. According to DragonflyCBD, Europe's leading producer of high quality CBD, the market for CBD is worth $20.2 billion globally, and is expected to rise a further $2 billion by 2025 as CBD becomes legalised in more territories. There's a huge market for it, but how exactly does it work and how can it benefit us?
Let's start with the basics: what exactly is CBD? Quite simply, it is an oil derived from a cannabis plant. You may have heard of THC (tetrohydrocannabinol), which is part of the plant that creates the high we associate the cannabis drug with, the New Scientist reports. For CBD oil to be sold in the UK, its THC level must be below 0.2 percent, a level at which David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologistat Imperial College London, explained “THC is not psychoactive.”
So how does it actually work? The experts at Dragonfly explained in a release sent to Bustle that we are all born with an ECS, an internal Endocannabinoid System, which can affect things like our mood, memory and appetite (the Huffington Post has a great explainer on the Endocannabinoid System if you want to know more.) Supplements such as CBD (which contains phytocannabinoids, that are also present in things like cocoa) can support that system.
As Dr. Richard Kaufman, Chief Science Officer of NanoSphere Health Sciences and Evolve Formulas, previously told Bustle, CBD “binds and activates receptors in the brain called ‘cannabinoid receptors 2’ (CB2) and selectively blocks other receptors in the brain – the CB1 receptors. The underlying function of these CB2 receptors is protecting your body against inflammation and tissue injury, which is why it is so beneficial for CBD to activate them.”
CBD oil can basically be taken as a supplement to support the workings of that system, thus promoting a healthy body and mind, in a similar way to vitamins and minerals. Recent studies cited by Medical News Today have suggested CBD oil could help with symptoms ranging from anxiety through to inflammation and arthritis.
So how can you incorporate CBD oil into your life? Well, there are a bunch of ways, from topically applying creams onto your body to orally taking tablets or oils. You can pick up an array of CBD products at places like Dragonfly CBD and Holland & Barrett, such as supplement capsules and oils. Most 'clean-living' style cafes (such as those in Planet Organic and London's Glow Bar) now offer drinks or smoothies with CBD, too.
Readers should note that the regulations and data surrounding CBD are still developing. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.