Endocannabinoid System for Better Health

Unlocking the Potentials of the Endocannabinoid System for Better Health

This article was updated on the 23rd December 2023.

Imagine a system within your body, like a hidden conductor, playing a crucial role in maintaining harmony and balance across various physiological functions. This system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), is a complex cell-signalling system that maintains homeostasis within our bodies, influencing everything from our mood to our appetite, sleep, and immune system.

Key Takeaways

  • This article explores the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) components and processes, including cannabinoid receptors, endogenous cannabinoids and metabolic enzymes.
  • The ECS has the potential to provide relief from migraines, PTSD, neuropathic pain and various disorders through its ability to modulate pain perception & inflammation.
  • Harnessing the power of ECS involves understanding the therapeutic benefits of exogenous cannabinoids & adopting lifestyle factors that support its function.

Exploring the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Illustration of the endocannabinoid system

Comprehending the endocannabinoid system entails assembling a multifaceted puzzle. The ECS comprises endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that work in harmony to maintain homeostasis in the body.

Deciphering the complexities of this system leads us to examine:

  1. The functions of cannabinoid receptors (Section 1.1)
  2. Endogenous cannabinoids (Section 1.2)
  3. The metabolic enzymes responsible for the degradation of these endogenous cannabinoids (Section 1.3)

The Role of Cannabinoid Receptors

Imagine cannabinoid receptors as the locks on the cell surface and cannabinoids, both endogenous and exogenous, as the keys that fit these locks. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout the body, with CB1 receptors predominantly located in the brain and CB2 receptors in the immune system. The location of these cannabinoid receptor types is critical, governing their function, from regulating neurological activities to modulating immune response.

This intricate network of receptors lends the ECS its ability to influence various physiological and immune functions, from effective pharmacological migraine interventions to the management of putative endocannabinoid deficiency disorders.

Endogenous Cannabinoids and Their Functions

Endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, are the body’s natural ‘keys’ that fit the cannabinoid ‘locks’ of the endogenous cannabinoid system. The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids are synthesized in response to various internal stimuli, such as increased intracellular calcium levels, and play a critical role in managing intractable peripheral neuropathic pain.

Once these endocannabinoids have served their purpose, they are transported across the plasma membrane and broken down or deactivated by glial cells. This process can have significant implications, potentially influencing the management of prevalent headache syndromes.

The Breakdown: Enzymes in the ECS

If endogenous cannabinoids are the keys and cannabinoid receptors the locks, enzymes are the custodians that ensure these keys are discarded once they have served their purpose. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) are the primary enzymes degrading endocannabinoids. They commence this process by transporting endocannabinoids across the plasma membrane, after which enzymatic degradation occurs. Interestingly, the ECS also involves other enzymes, such as diacylglycerol lipase and N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-phospholipase D, primarily for synthesising endocannabinoid 2-AG.

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Revisited

Illustration of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency

Entering the sphere of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED), we come across a theory positing that a lack of endocannabinoid function could be the foundation for the onset of specific disorders, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Imagine the ECS as a well-tuned orchestra playing a harmonious symphony to maintain the body’s homeostasis. But what happens when one instrument, in this case, the endocannabinoid tone, is out of tune? This imbalance could potentially give rise to conditions associated with CED.

For a clearer understanding, we will examine potential indicators of endocannabinoid deficiency (Section 2.1) and its effects on neuropathic pain (Section 2.2). The journey through these subsections will shed light on how an imbalance in the ECS could potentially impact our health and how the ECS could be a promising target for managing such conditions.

Potential Signs of Endocannabinoid Deficiency

How do we know if our endocannabinoid system is deficient? Like a car flashing warning lights on its dashboard, our bodies may exhibit signs of endocannabinoid deficiency. These indicators may include sleep disturbances, poor diet, and increased stress.

A suboptimal diet, which incorporates pro-inflammatory foods, can impact the ECS. At the same time, sleep disturbances may indicate an endocannabinoid deficiency due to the role of the ECS in regulating sleep.

Impact on Neuropathic Pain

Now, let’s examine the possible effects of endocannabinoid deficiency on neuropathic pain. An endocannabinoid deficiency has been linked to neuropathic pain and central sensitization, making the ECS a potential target for pain management. Imagine having a powerful pain management system within your body, which the ECS could offer. It has the potential to modulate pain perception and inflammation, providing a possible alternative to traditional pain management techniques.

The ECS influences neuropathic pain through specific mechanisms, including:

  • Activation of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors
  • Suppression of nociceptive processing
  • Modulation of neurotransmitter and neuropeptide release
  • Regulation of enzymes involved in the endocannabinoid system

These mechanisms influence inflammation levels, pain signal transmission, and brain function related to pain perception, offering hope for those with neuropathic pain, central sensitization, and spinal cord issues.

The ECS and Neurological Health

Photo of a person experiencing migraine

Now, let’s shift our focus to the function of the ECS in neurological health, especially its role in managing migraines (Section 3.1) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Section 3.2). The ECS’s potential role in neurogenesis and regulating stress-related psychiatric symptoms suggests its relevance to neurological well-being and potential therapeutic approaches for neurological disorders.

Imagine having not one but two natural systems within your body – the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system – that could potentially offer relief from extremely prevalent headache syndrome and debilitating migraines or aid in the management of PTSD. This is the potential power of the ECS, a system that could offer a new frontier in managing neurological disorders.

So, let’s examine in more detail how the ECS could potentially lessen the impact of migraines and PTSD.

Migraine and the ECS

For those who have experienced the throbbing pain of acute and chronic migraine, the prospect of a natural remedy within the body sounds like a ray of hope. Dysregulation in the ECS and decreased activity of endocannabinoids are observed in migraine patients, indicating that imbalances in the ECS may play a role in the onset of migraines. Cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2, are implicated in the management of migraines by regulating neurological activities, including:

  • pain perception
  • inflammation
  • blood flow
  • serotonin levels

The correction of an imbalance in endocannabinoid levels could play a role in acute migraine treatment, with endogenous cannabinoids providing anti-nociceptive effects and potentially controlling migraine-related pain. Imagine a world where migraines could be effectively managed by harnessing the power of our endocannabinoid system.

PTSD and Trauma Patients

Now, let’s shift our focus to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating stress-related psychiatric symptoms and emotional memory processing in patients with PTSD and trauma. In the context of trauma patients versus controls, the ECS impacts:

  • Memory extinction
  • Neural growth in PTSD patients
  • Influencing the extinction process
  • Contrasting the effects of stress on fear memory

While it’s clear that the ECS plays a role in managing PTSD, there’s a need for further research to establish conclusive evidence. Nevertheless, the prospect of a naturally occurring system within our bodies that could potentially aid in the management of PTSD offers hope to those living with this condition.

The ECS Across the Body Systems

Illustration of the ECS modulating gastrointestinal functions

The ECS’s influence extends beyond the nervous system, impacting various body systems, including the gastrointestinal and immune systems. Imagine a system that helps regulate your mood, sleep, and appetite and plays a vital role in your digestive and immune systems.

Explore how the ECS helps maintain gastrointestinal harmony (Section 4.1) and influences immunity (Section 4.2). These subsections will shed light on the far-reaching effects of the ECS across various body systems and its potential role in maintaining overall wellness.

Gastrointestinal Harmony and ECS

The ECS’s influence on the gastrointestinal system is quite notable. It aids in regulating:

  • Hepatic hemodynamics
  • Cellular regeneration
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Controlling inflammation in the gut

This regulation is crucial for maintaining gastrointestinal harmony, particularly in managing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

Just imagine – a well-functioning ECS could potentially keep your gut happy!

Immunity and Endocannabinoid Regulation

Beyond the gut, the ECS also plays a crucial role in the immune system. It impacts immune system cells, including macrophages and B cells, and may have a role in immune regulation. The ECS’s influence extends to various immune cells, indicating its role in maintaining immune homeostasis and regulating the immune system’s response to pathogens and inflammation.

It’s remarkable to think that our bodies possess a system to help us fight diseases!

Harnessing the Power of the ECS

Photo of CBD products

Now that we’ve gained more insight into the ECS and its potential role in managing diverse health conditions, how can we utilize the capabilities of this system? The key lies in understanding the therapeutic potential of exogenous cannabinoids, such as CBD, and adopting lifestyle factors that support ECS function.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore how exogenous cannabinoids can bolster the ECS (Section 5.1) and discuss lifestyle factors that can impact the ECS (Section 5.2). These sections will illuminate how we can tap into the benefits of the ECS to enhance our health and well-being.

Exogenous Cannabinoids and Therapeutic Potential

Cannabinoids that originate from external sources, like cannabis plants or synthetic compounds, are known as exogenous cannabinoids. These cannabinoids engage with the ECS by binding to cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2 receptors, leading to diverse biological effects. These effects can potentially aid in managing a range of health conditions, such as:

  • arthritis-related pain
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • inflammation reduction

However, it’s important to note that while these exogenous cannabinoids can provide therapeutic benefits, their use also comes with associated risks, including anxiety, impaired memory, and potential cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms. Therefore, it’s crucial to use these cannabinoids responsibly and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Lifestyle Factors Influencing the ECS

Lifestyle choices can significantly influence the ECS. A healthy omega-3 fatty acids and ascorbic acid diet can effectively regulate the ECS. Engaging in physical activities, incredibly low-impact aerobics, can enhance the ECS, promoting overall wellness.

Good sleep quality can lead to an increase in endocannabinoid levels, consequently improving the functioning of the ECS, which also plays a regulatory role in sleep. By making conscious lifestyle choices, we can potentially improve the functioning of our endocannabinoid system and reap its benefits.

Navigating ECS Research and Future Prospects

Though we’ve made substantial progress in understanding the ECS, there’s still much to uncover. The ECS’s complexity, the psychoactive effects of specific cannabinoids, off-target effects, and the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids all pose challenges to ECS research. Despite these difficulties, the growing body of evidence supporting the ECS’s role in health and disease makes it an exciting study area.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll discuss the necessity for more in-depth research into the ECS (Section 6.1) and spotlight emerging trends in ECS studies (Section 6.2). This exploration will glimpse the exciting future of ECS research and its potential applications in health and medicine.

The Need for Further Investigation

Despite considerable progress in our understanding of the ECS, there is a need for further investigation. Conflicting findings, a limited understanding of the full pharmacotherapeutic potential, and the need for more research in brain homeostasis and development are among the current limitations in ECS research.

Standardized research is essential to guarantee study results’ consistency, reproducibility, validity, and reliability, foster collaboration, and advance scientific knowledge.

Emerging Trends in ECS Studies

As we delve deeper into ECS research, several exciting trends are emerging. Here are a few areas of interest:

  • Recent discoveries in plant-derived cannabinoids research
  • The identification of cannabinoid-like compounds in cyanobacteria
  • The potential role of the ECS in plant-pollinator interactions

These emerging trends pave the way for new understanding and potential applications of the ECS in health and medicine.

Summary

The journey through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been enlightening and intriguing. As we’ve seen, the ECS is a complex cell-signalling system that plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within our bodies. From regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, and immune system to potentially managing conditions like migraines, PTSD, and irritable bowel syndrome, the ECS has far-reaching effects on our health and well-being.

The potential therapeutic benefits of the ECS can be harnessed by using exogenous cannabinoids, such as CBD, and by adopting lifestyle factors that support ECS function. However, while these cannabinoids can provide therapeutic benefits, their use comes with associated risks, emphasizing the importance of using them responsibly and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

As we look to the future, further investigation into the ECS is needed to understand its potential applications in health and medicine fully. Despite the challenges, the growing body of evidence supporting the ECS’s role in health and disease makes it an exciting study area. We look forward to the new discoveries and insights that future research will bring.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can activate your endocannabinoid system by increasing omega-3 fatty acids, exercising regularly, managing stress better, lowering alcohol consumption, and using phytocannabinoids.

CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid receptors by attaching itself or preventing breakdowns, making them more effective. It also inhibits endocannabinoid signalling dose-dependently by binding to the allosteric site of CB1Rs and altering the potency of other primary ligands.

Cannabinoids interact with specific receptors in the central nervous system to regulate how cells communicate, resulting in euphoria, enhanced sensory perception, tachycardia, antinociception, difficulty concentrating, and memory impairment. They can also help reduce pain from various causes, such as arthritis and muscle spasms.

Endocannabinoid deficiency can cause a lowered pain threshold and an inability to regulate digestion, mood, and sleep, potentially due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The endocannabinoid system is an essential regulatory network that helps maintain body balance and support overall health.


CBD-Dosage

What is the Best CBD Dosage?

If you’re brand new to CBD, or even if you’ve been taking it for years, you probably have some questions about the best dosage to get the health and wellness benefits that you’ve read about.

In the last year, 11% of the adult population in the UK tried CBD, and there’s no question that it’s the most-talked-about health supplement to come around in the past couple of years. CBD is a natural compound extracted from the flowers and leaves of industrial hemp, and there’s no THC, so it’s not psychoactive.

CBD may offer a number of promising health benefits from improving sleep and reducing anxiety to lowering inflammation and joint pain. But how do you tap into those health benefits? What’s the best dosage if you’re using edibles such as gummies, applying a CBD lotion to your skin or taking CBD oil sublingually?

We’re here to simplify CBD dosing, and share a couple of things to look out for:

1. Start Slow and Track Your Experience

The industry standard for dosing for new CBD users is to start with a lower dose and increase incrementally because more is not always better.

As you increase your dose, monitor how you feel. If you feel better, you can increase your dose until you get to the maximum dose. If you feel the same or worse after increasing your dose, you’ve gone over your maximum dose and should then return to the previous level.

Keep in mind it takes people different amounts of time to experience the effects of CBD. While there are many reported benefits, there’s no set timeline for experiencing them. Many feel the effects of CBD within an hour, but for some, it may take a few days or weeks of consistent dosing. If you don’t notice any effects after a week, increase your dose. Conversely, if you are more sensitive to supplements, you could increase the dose every few days until you notice the benefits.

If you are taking CBD to improve the quality of your sleep, you should be tracking how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up in the night, how many hours you were asleep and how you felt when you woke up. You can simplify this process with a sleep app.

It will take some time and experimentation to find the right dose as it varies from person to person, but it’s an important process because it will impact the benefits you experience and your journey with CBD going forward. It’s not as simple as weight-based dosing and, for most people, the optimal dose will be somewhere between 10mg and 40mg per day if you are using full-spectrum CBD oil. Keep in mind the UK government recommendation of a maximum daily dose of 70 mg per day.

2. Develop a Routine

Consistency is one of the factors that will impact your CBD experience. Depending on your reasons for taking CBD, you will want to tailor your daily routine to meet those needs.

If you are using CBD to help with insomnia or sleeplessness, or if you have noticed that CBD makes you feel drowsy, you should take CBD an hour or two before you go to bed. This way, the dose will not impact your productivity, and you can enjoy the benefit of a good night’s sleep.

You may also choose to split your dose. Instead of taking it all at night before bed, you could divide it in two and take a smaller dose twice a day to see if your experience changes. CBD stays in your system for 4 – 6 hours, so more regular doses may be helpful.

When you’re starting out, it is useful to set calendar reminders that will allow you to monitor and maintain consistency in timing and frequency. This will ensure that you take the right amount of CBD at the right time of day to get your body into a good rhythm.

3. Determine the CBD Type and Concentration

The optimal dosage for your needs will depend on the type of CBD that you take. You will need less if you are using a CBD oil tincture ingested sublingually (under the tongue) as it offers greater bioavailability. If you are taking CBD orally, some of the active ingredients will be lost by ‘first-pass metabolism’ in the GI tract as the compounds are broken down in the digestion process.

Known as bioavailability, the amount of CBD that can be used by the body depends on the concentration of the CBD and the type of CBD you use because dosage is not the same as intake. So, along with understanding different CBD product types, you also need to look at CBD concentration, as the less concentrated the CBD is, the more you will need to take.

CBD Oils

The product will have a suggested dosage on the label as well as the total milligrams contained in the product which allow you to calculate the amount of CBD you want to ingest. The effects are usually felt faster than other methods (usually under 20 minutes) as the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

To work out the dose you are taking, remember that each drop of CBD oil is 0.05ml, so a 30ml bottle of CBD oil will contain 600 drops. If the concentration is 1,500mg per ml, one drop will contain 2.5mg.

CBD oil has a bioavailability of between 13 and 19% (although it may be as high as 35%) which is significantly higher than other methods.

CBD Edibles

Edibles include capsules, gummies, drinkers and more. The package labelling will tell you how many milligrams of CBD are contained in each gummy, making it easy to measure and monitor your dosage. Because edibles pass through the digestive system, it takes longer to feel the effects (usually between 30 minutes and an hour), although they generally last longer too.

CBD edibles are broken down in the body’s metabolic and digestive processes, reducing the bioavailability, which is somewhere between 4 and 20%.

CBD Topicals

Topicals such as lotions, balms and gels are applied directly to the affected area, bypassing the digestive process. They offer long-lasting results, often upwards of 5 hours, but are slow to take effect.

Topical CBD engages with endocannabinoid receptors in your peripheral nervous system, interacting only with local receptors in the skin, and it doesn’t enter the bloodstream. While the exact bioavailability of topical CBD products hasn’t been quantified, it is likely to be low. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not effective, as multiple studies have shown.

4. Check CBD Product Quality

Trying to find the best CBD product and take the right dosage can feel like a minefield when even buying the CBD is a confusing, overwhelming process. With thousands of brands to choose from, all offering the benefits of CBD, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. CBD sellers may use different source materials, include other natural compounds, use different extraction techniques, and offer different concentrations. They may also recommend very high doses, while others recommend doses so low that they’re likely to be ineffective.

Then, added to this, multiple studies that show many CBD products contain little to no CBD extract, and others have levels of harmful ingredients. You won’t get the benefits of CBD if the extract isn’t high quality and there are a number of companies that sell low-quality products (often at a high price point).

All this means that determining the ideal dose is very difficult, especially if the actual CBD content of a product varies wildly from what is printed on the label. So, before buying CBD oil, check the independent lab reports and quality certificates, read reviews about the brand, and spend some time exploring their website to check that the company is reputable and that they supply high-quality CBD.

5. Consider Personal Factors

There are many different factors related to you personal circumstances that also need to be taken into account such as weight, diet, genetics, metabolism, stress and the environment. Together, these factors make it very difficult to prescribe a dosage that will work for everyone.

Genetics

The effect that CBD has will depend on your body’s chemistry, rate of metabolism, how sensitive you are to CBD, your body mass and any underlying medication conditions. Some people have a CNR1 gene mutation which means that CB1 receptors throughout the body are impacted, resulting in an endocannabinoid system that functions sub-optimally.

Lifestyle

The food you eat, your alcohol and smoking habits, weight, stress and activity levels all impact how CBD is absorbed and processed in your body. Substances such as alcohol and nicotine may increase the effects of CBD, while chronic stress would necessitate an increased dose of CBD. Exercise naturally activates CB1 receptors by increases anandamide levels (a cannabinoid that is produced naturally in the body), so a healthy level of exercise would translate to a lower effective CBD dosage.

6. Take the Pressure Off

CBD is not physically addictive, it can be safely consumed long-term, and it is very difficult to overdose, which means that you can afford to experiment a bit with your dosage levels without worrying about adverse health impacts.

CBD is Not Addictive

We often get asked if it is possible to become addicted to CBD oil, and the answer is no. Unlike substances such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol, the compound is not physically addictive based on its chemistry. If you stop taking CBD, you will not experience any withdrawal symptoms, and it may even help minimise withdrawal symptoms from other narcotics.

While it’s true that when you stop taking CBD for your symptoms, those symptoms will return, this is no different to managing a condition with medication. When the medication wears off, the symptoms will also reappear.

CBD Offers Reverse Tolerance

CBD doesn’t bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system in the way that THC does (thereby diminishing the effectiveness of your ECS), but rather supports their function, making it safe for use in the long-term, and it also offers the potential for reduced dosages. Called ‘reverse tolerance’, if you use CBD over a longer period, you can decrease the amount of CBD you consume and still get the same level of relief for your symptoms.

You Cannot Overdose on CBD

There is no comprehensively established lethal CBD dose, and doses as high as 1500 mg per day (30 times higher than the recommended daily amount) are well tolerated by humans. However, CBD may alter the levels of essential liver enzymes, so it’s important to consult with your physician to work out the ideal dosage and type of CBD to manage your condition.

For people who take CBD to manage psychotic disorders and epilepsy, the side effects are less than other drugs used in the treatment of those conditions, which improves compliance and adherence to treatment.

There are some minor risks associated with high doses or long term use of CBD, including:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced fertility
  • Light-headedness
  • Dry mouth

If you are taking medication to manage your health conditions, it is important to read up about drug interactions and consult with your doctor.

It’s impossible to take a one-size-fits-all approach to CBD dosage, and the amount of CBD that works for you might not be the same as for the next person. In general, if you are using full-spectrum CBD oil, the optimal dose will be somewhere between 10mg and 40mg per day, and you shouldn’t exceed 70mg per day.


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The Most Important Questions Answered About CBD

Many people interested in CBD struggle to have their questions answered around this powerful natural health and wellness supplement. Misinformation and sensationalist reporting across the web and in print can make it hard to learn and understand CBD and how it can help you.

We’ve compiled a list of the questions that we get asked most frequently. Our answers are based on the latest scientific findings and published research, giving you a comprehensive, reputable source of CBD information.

The lowdon on CBD – Quick Links

What is the difference between CBD and THC?
How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?
Can you get high taking CBD?
What is the recommended dosage for CBD, depending on age, weight etc?
Can you build a tolerance to CBD?
Could CBD be addictive?
Can you overdose on CBD?
Can I take CBD Oil with Alcohol?
Can CBD help with the side effects of alcohol?

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis (both hemp and marijuana), while THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a different cannabinoid that is only found in very low concentrations in hemp. CBD doesn’t cause the same effects as THC as it interacts differently with the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Psychoactive Effects

The main difference between CBD and THC is that CBD is not associated with any psychoactive effects, while THC causes the characteristic marijuana high. Both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Treatment

CBD is typically used to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, migraines and inflammation, while THC is more often used for glaucoma and insomnia (as well as for pain and anxiety).

Legality

Worldwide, with a few exceptions, marijuana with its high levels of THC is restricted, while CBD is legal in most countries, as long as the level of THC stays below 0.2%.

Side Effects

CBD is safe, even in large quantities, and the only known side effects are as a result of interactions with other medications. THC has few temporary side effects, including dry mouth, red eyes, slower response times, a ‘high’ feeling, decreased coordination and memory loss. There is a risk of developing schizophrenia if the person has a predisposition to the condition, but the likelihood of addiction is low.

How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?

If you’ve done any reading on CBD, you’ve likely heard of its health benefits, including relief for stress and anxiety, reduced inflammation and pain, and improved mood and immunity.

But how does it work?

Through CBD’s interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Only recently discovered, researchers began understanding the endocannabinoid system in the 1960s and 1970s while researching the effects of cannabis on the human body. The body’s endocannabinoid system is sensitive and can easily be thrown out of balance by diet, exercise and stress levels.

Scientists studied the interaction of phytochemicals on the body and discovered a system of receptors, enzymes and pathways that manufacture and use endocannabinoids (natural cannabinoids produced within the body.)

The system is made up of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and break down of cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids

In the same way that neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine send messages throughout the nervous system, endocannabinoids are the ECS’s messengers.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Receptors receive the messengers, binding with specific neurotransmitters that then impact mood, sensation, and immunity. Different cell types have different receptors, the most common of which are CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are found in the highest concentrations in the central nervous system but are also found throughout the rest of the body. In the brain, they moderate mood, motor function, memory, and pain perception. Elsewhere in the body, they have a role to play in pregnancy, cardiovascular health, digestion and hormone production.

CB2 receptors are found most commonly in the immune system, helping to moderate inflammation and the body’s immune response to pathogens.

CBD, rather than binding to the receptor, modifies its abilities to bind to other cannabinoids (either those found within the body or phytocannabinoids.)

Enzymes

Enzymes control the production and breakdown of endocannabinoids. The two enzymes that have the most amount of research are FAAH and MAGL. FAAH degrades anandamide which regulates food intake, motivation and pleasure. MAGL which breaks down 2-AG the endocannabinoid that regulates appetite, immune system functions and pain management. Both enzymes are inhibited by CBD, increasing the levels of feel-good anandamide and 2-AG in the body.

Can you get high taking CBD?

The quick, simple answer is no, you can’t. Unlike THC, CBD does not give users a ‘high’. Because of its association with marijuana, there is often the mistaken perception that CBD is psychoactive. While both THC and CBD occur naturally in cannabis plants, hemp-derived CBD contains extremely low levels of THC and has no psychoactive effects.

Both CBD and THC have an impact on CB1 receptors in the brain, but while THC activates the receptors (causing a euphoric high), CBD is actually a CB1 antagonist and blocks any intoxicating impacts. In addition, CBD interacts more with the parts of the brain that reduces inflammation because it has a stronger affinity to CB2 receptors.

What is the recommended dosage for CBD, depending on age, weight etc?

The best place to start is by following the recommended dosage on the packaging of the CBD oil that you have purchased. But the right dosage varies from person to person. One option is to speak with a naturopathic doctor who will give you a specific dosage recommendation taking into account your age, weight, and desired results. Other factors that may affect your dosage include your sex, your metabolic rate and the quality of the CBD.

Another option is to work with the serving standard of 25mg of CBD, taken twice a day. If you don’t experience the desired effects, you can slowly increase your dose by 25mg every three or four weeks.

It can be difficult to get the dosage right initially, especially as CBD products are available in a wide range of sizes and concentrations, and you’ll need to have a look at the bottle to determine how many milligrams are in each serving. In general, capsules and gummies will have an exact amount of CBD per serving. But it becomes a bit more difficult if you’re taking CBD in tincture or spray form. This might need a quick calculation… Each drop is 0.05ml, so if you have a 10ml bottle, it will contain 200 drops. If you have a bottle that contains 500ml of CBD, you then need to divide the size of the bottle by the number of drops.

In this example, each drop would contain 2.5mg of CBD (500mg/200 drops), so to take a dosage of 25mg of CBD, you would need to take ten drops.

It’s always important to speak to your doctor about what dose to start with, especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are taking other medication as CBD might interact with your medication.

Can you build a tolerance to CBD?

Research indicates long-term use of CBD doesn’t increase your tolerance. In fact, it’s likely to have the opposite effect. Called ‘reverse tolerance’ it is possible that with repeated CBD use over a long period of time, you can decrease the amount of CBD you take and you will find relief for your symptoms with lower and lower doses.

While THC works to diminish the effectiveness of your ECS receptors with repeated use over a long period of time, CBD promotes an increase in the activity of the receptors. There is no breakdown of the interaction within the ECS, so it stays continually active, and effectiveness is not reduced.

To get a good understanding of the effects that CBD is having on your body, it can be helpful to keep a daily log. Take note of the amount you’re taking, when you take it, and effects that you feel both physically and mentally. Reflecting on the notes, you will be able to see a pattern and decide whether you need to increase or decrease your dosage.

Could CBD be addictive?

There is no research to support the hypothesis that CBD is addictive. It is even being studied as a natural treatment in the rehabilitation of patients with drug addictions and is linked to reducing heroin cravings. Long-term use is not to be confused with addiction. Many people use CBD on a regular basis for years at a time for its physical and mental benefits, but do not develop a physical or psychological addition.

Can you overdose on CBD?

CBD is non-toxic and has no known poisonous effects when ingested by humans, and no deaths have been reported from a CBD overdose. It is, however, possible to consume too much CBD too quickly, and this can cause a range of potential side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea, as well as drowsiness, poor concentration and balance issues.

When taken in excess (more than 20mg per kg per day), CBD may cause liver damage. But such high doses are almost unheard of as a 100kg person would need to take 2000 mg of CBD every day, that’s 800% more than the standard recommended daily dose..

There! That’s a round-up of the questions we get asked most often about CBD. Often the confusion comes in when people mistakenly associate CBD with marijuana. While the higher THC levels found in marijuana can cause a high, CBD cannot. In the UK, broad-spectrum CBD products need to be derived from hemp and are required by law to have a THC level of less than 0.2% according to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In addition, CBD has been found to be non-addictive, and the likelihood of a hemp-derived CBD overdose from is extremely low.

With the health concerns out the way, it’s helpful to have an understanding of how CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to offer a range of physical and mental health benefits. And the good news is that, unlike many other supplements, CBD is linked to ‘reverse tolerance so, over time, you can experience the same benefits at a lower and lower dose.

Can I take CBD Oil with Alcohol?

When considering whether it’s safe to consume alcohol if you are taking CBD, its important to look at the effect that alcohol has on the brain.

Alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex, disrupting rational thought and your decision-making abilities. By slowing down the central nervous system, a person experiences feelings of relaxation and reduced inhibition which is why alcohol continues to be a popular way to unwind at the end of the day. CBD has similar effects on the body, with research showing that it is effective in reducing anxiety. Therefore, taking alcohol and CBD together may amplify these effects, with one study showing that the combination of alcohol and CBD led to significant impairments in motor performance and time perception.

Therefore it may be possible to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed and experience the same effects with less of a negative impact on the body, when mixed with CBD. And there seems to be a consensus that alcohol and CBD don’t interact negatively, and that CBD may even help.

Can CBD help with the side effects of alcohol?

While more research is needed into the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, there is some research that indicates CBD’s ability to protect against some of the negative effects of alcohol. CBD interacts with receptors throughout the central nervous system, to bring the body back into homeostasis, potentially offered protection. Alcohol, when consumed in excess, can cause damage to cells increasing inflammation as well as your risk of developing chronic diseases. CBD can protect against cell damage, as shown in a study done in rats that showed a decrease in brain cell damage related to excessive alcohol consumption. This was supported by two other studies that showed CBD’s ability to protect against fatty liver disease and liver toxicity. Further trials are needed to measure whether CBD offers the same protective properties for human.

Alcohol is also a powerful depressant, affecting mood, coordination and speech, and some of these effects may last for hours or days after. Because CBD is used as a mood-booster, it may be able to counteract the mood-altering effects of alcohol. There is also research to support the role that CBD can play in helping treat alcohol use disorders as it may reduce symptoms of addiction and withdrawal. A recent study in alcohol-addicted rats found that CBD helped to reduce alcohol consumption, prevented relapses and decrease the motivation to consume alcohol.


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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil - Is the CBD Oil Being Sold On Amazon Any Good?

This article was updated on the 23rd December 2023.

As the CBD oil industry grows, with literally millions of people consuming CBD oil in 2021, more and more people are searching online to find a store to buy CBD oil, whether in the form of CBD gummies, flavoured CBD oral drops to take by mouth or add to their food or drinks, or CBD oil for topical application as part of a beauty and skincare regimen.

Many online shoppers are getting confused by the wide range of different legal hemp products and confusing terminology used by merchants and online communities devoted to cannabis. Some are mistaking hemp oil (made from hemp seeds) with CBD oil, which is extracted from the essential oils of the cannabis plant’s leaves and flowers.

Is there a difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? Yes, hemp oil doesn’t have any cannabidiol (CBD) in it, according to some. It all depends on how you’re using the word “hemp oil.” Still, the correctly accurate terminology in the cultivation and distribution industry side and the merchant commercial side is to refer to CBD concentrate oils as CBD oil. Hemp oil refers to hemp seed oil; the two oils have similarities and significant differences.

By the end of the article, you’ll learn the differences between the two products and how you can know when purchasing one in the shop. But first, let’s take a brief dive into outlining what hemp oil is, how hemp oil is obtained from the cannabis plant to create health and wellness products for consumers, and a summary of widely reported hemp oil benefits for health and wellness. Scientists are even beginning to study hemp oil benefits and their research shows great promise for people who consume hemp oil.

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

Making Sense of the Options

What is Hemp oil?

Hemp oil, typically hemp seed oil or cannabis sativa seed oil, is procured through cold pressing hemp seeds, a technique akin to that used for extracting olive oil.

Esteemed for its nutritional benefits, hemp seed oils are recognized as a valuable dietary supplement. WebMD acknowledges that hemp oil typically improves skin health, reduces blood pressure, fosters heart health, alleviates pain, diminishes inflammation, and aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

In an extensive review published in the journal Pharmacognosy Reviews, MedicalNewsToday underscores hemp oil’s efficacy in treating skin ailments such as eczema, varicose eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, lichen planus, and acne related to rosacea.

The News Today also references studies exploring the advantages of hemp seed oils in promoting heart, brain, and muscle health. Applying hemp oil, whether topical or ingested, has been widely reported for its health and wellness benefits.

While it’s legal in the UK, hemp oil, typically obtained from cold-pressing hemp seeds, is distinct from CBD oil. It lacks the central nervous system effects, like anxiety or depression relief, commonly sought in CBD oil.

What is CBD?

CBD oil, appealing to those seeking cannabis benefits without the high, contains isolated cannabidiol or a broad spectrum of cannabinoids, excluding tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This oil is produced using methods like CO2 extraction, which involves super cold, pressurized carbon dioxide, akin to a hydraulic cold press but with more intricate chemistry. Project CBD notes that CBD-rich cannabis oil can also be extracted using high-grade grain ethanol or olive oil.

CBD oil is known for its high satisfaction ratings and anecdotal evidence of relief in various disorders and pain management. Medical research increasingly supports cannabidiol’s role in promoting healthy bodies and minds.

Whether used topically, added to food or drinks, or consumed in pre-dosed edibles like gummies, CBD oil does not induce a psychoactive high and is legal in the UK. It contains the critical cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), known for its health benefits. When choosing a product, look for labels listing cannabidiol, full-spectrum hemp, hemp oil, PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich), or PCR hemp extracts to ensure you’re getting the benefits of CBD.

cannabis sativa plant

The Distinction Between Hemp Seed Oil and CBD Oils

Understanding the differences and similarities between hemp seed oil and CBD oils is essential, as both originate from the flowering plants of the Cannabaceae family, specifically cannabis indica or cannabis sativa species. However, their derivation and properties distinctly vary.

Hemp seed oil is obtained from the seeds of the hemp plant, in contrast to CBD oil, which is sourced from the plant’s flowers and leaves. The key distinction here is that hemp seed oil contains no cannabinoids such as CBD or THC, as these are not present in the seeds. CBD oils, on the other hand, are produced by extracting these cannabinoids from the plant’s flowers and leaves.

Consequently, CBD oils exhibit effects on the central nervous system, offering potential therapeutic benefits for conditions like inflammation, arthritis, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. In contrast, hemp seed oil, while nutritionally valuable and possessing anti-inflammatory, immune-supportive, and heart-supportive properties, does not directly impact the central nervous system.

For instance, the anti-inflammatory benefits of hemp seed oil may aid in managing conditions like arthritis, but it does not directly treat the nervous system aspects of such diseases. Similarly, while it can contribute to overall nutrition and healthy sleep, it does not address the specific brain and nervous system issues related to insomnia, as CBD oils do.

The confusion between hemp seed oil and CBD oils can be attributed to unclear labelling or hurried purchases without thorough product understanding. When selecting products, it’s important to differentiate between the nutritional attributes of hemp seed oil and the more direct CNS effects of CBD oils derived from the hemp plant.

Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil

Understanding Carrier Oils in CBD Oil Production

In the world of CBD oils, the term ‘carrier oil’ plays a crucial role. Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are used to dilute concentrated extracts like CBD to an appropriate strength and improve the delivery of the active ingredients. These oils are essential in the formulation of CBD products as they facilitate easier absorption of CBD into the body, enhance the taste, and extend the shelf life of the product.

Hemp Oil as a Carrier in CBD Oils

One popular carrier oil option in CBD oil production is hemp oil. This choice is particularly appealing because hemp oil itself is derived from the same plant as CBD, ensuring compatibility and maintaining the integrity of the plant profile. Hemp oil as a carrier brings its own set of benefits, including additional nutritional value, such as essential fatty acids and vitamins, which complement the health benefits of CBD.

When hemp oil is used as a carrier, it synergizes with the CBD extract, creating a more holistic approach to wellness. This combination leverages the benefits of both hemp seed oil and CBD, offering a well-rounded, nutrient-rich product. The choice of hemp oil as a carrier in CBD oils not only enhances the efficacy of CBD but also contributes to the overall nutritional profile of the product.

CBD Hemp Oil

Frequently Asked Questions

Full-spectrum CBD oil is generally considered more effective for sleep issues, as it can have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Hemp oil, while nutritious, typically doesn’t have the same direct impact on sleep.

No, they are not the same. CBD is a compound found in hemp and cannabis plants, while hemp oil is a nutrient and omega-rich culinary oil made from the seeds of hemp plants.

Hemp oil is good for hair growth due to its high omega-fatty acid content. CBD oil may also benefit hair health, but hemp oil typically has a more direct, nutrient-based approach to enhancing hair quality.

Hemp seed oil doesn’t directly help with anxiety. While nutritious, it lacks the cannabinoids found in CBD oil that are known for their anxiety-reducing effects.

Hemp oil doesn’t typically induce sleepiness. Its primary benefits are nutritional rather than sedative, unlike some CBD oils which may aid in promoting sleep.

Hemp oil is rich in omega fatty acids, which can support brain health. However, it doesn’t have the same direct cognitive effects as CBD, which interacts with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors.

Hemp seed oil is generally safe, but in rare cases, it may cause mild digestive issues or allergic reactions, particularly in individuals sensitive to hemp plants.

The disadvantages of hemp include potential agricultural challenges, such as its sensitivity to certain environmental conditions. Also, there can be regulatory and market confusion between hemp products and psychoactive cannabis products.

While hemp oil is nutritionally beneficial, it doesn’t produce the ‘feeling’ or psychoactive effects associated with CBD or THC. Hemp oils typically offer health benefits without altering sensation or perception.


Benefits Of CBD Edibles

As COVID-19 has swept through the UK, there has been an unprecedented surge in the demand for CBD. To date, this year alone, over eight million UK citizens have spent in excess of 150 million pounds on CBD products and interest in CBD products has doubled since March 2020.

CBD is used for its wellness-supporting benefits offering a natural alternative for health and positive lifestyle changes, and one of the biggest growth areas has been CBD edibles.

What are CBD edibles, and what are the options?

While edible cannabis conjures up images of cannabis brownies and other baked goods, the options for CBD edibles are much more extensive because CBD is legal and enjoys more mainstream and widespread popularity in the UK.

CBD gummies are the most popular and for good reason. Firstly, they look like Haribo (albeit with a much higher price point), so they don’t stand out if you want to consume CBD without drawing attention. Secondly, they taste great. Many people struggle with the potent, earthy taste of CBD, so a gummy that combines the efficacy of CBD with the taste of a sweet is the perfect combination. Thirdly, the small size of the sweets allows you to experiment with dosage and monitor your intake carefully.

CBD edibles are either a food or drink that has been infused with CBD extract and the options extend much further than just CBD gummies. Other popular options for CBD edibles include chocolate, snack bars, CBD bites, granola, smoothies, green juice, protein bars, trail mix and a range of different hardboiled and chewy sweets.

Who chooses CBD edibles?

CBD gummies are popular with a more mature market, many of whom have experienced the wellness-supporting benefits of CBD but don’t enjoy the taste of CBD drops. It’s an interesting question to consider as CBD gummies typically look like a regular chewy sweet but have a significantly higher price point. Surprisingly, CBD gummies are actually the most popular with mature clients who are interested in the benefits of CBD but want to mask the taste.

What share does the CBD edibles market have?

According to the Cannabis Trade Association, Europe’s cannabidiol market is worth around £480m with the UK contributing the largest share (around £110m). The CTA estimates that just over half of CBD products sold across Europe are dietary supplements (in the form of oils), a third are CBD vapes, and the remainder (around 20%) of the market is made up of cosmetics and edibles. Benefitting from the popularity and widespread use of CBD oils, the market share of both cosmetics and edibles is expected to grow significantly in the next few years.

How will the CBD edibles market be affected by the Novel Food Regulations?

Currently, CBD edibles are legal in the UK as long as they contain less than 0.2% THC. However, because they are sold as a food supplement, CBD brands may not make claims about the health benefits of consuming CBD. This is set to change on 31 March 2021, when only CBD companies who have a valid application submitted under the Novel Food Act will be permitted to continue selling gummies and other CBD edibles.

What should I look for when choosing a CBD gummy or other CBD edible?

  • Great taste, the reason you’ve opted for a gummy rather than a CBD oil is that they taste better. Choose a brand that offers a number of different flavours that you can try.
  • High-quality hemp, the gummies should contain high-quality organic hemp.
  • Third-party lab testing, check that the gummies have been tested by an independent tab and that the results are freely available.
  • Established brand, it’s easier, especially if you are new to CBD, to choose an established brand with a good reputation.
  • Ease of dosing, with some types of edibles it can be difficult to monitor your dosage (such as granola, trail mix or chocolate).
  • Advanced extraction, the manner in which CBD is extracted from hemp is important, opt for CO2 extraction if possible.
  • Free, fast delivery, rather order from a website that will deliver quickly (and won’t charge you for it).
  • THC-free, the gummies should contain less than 0.2% THC so that the product is legal and non-psychoactive.
  • Ingredients, you’re taking CBD for your health, so it is important that all the ingredients in the gummy are also health and wellness-supporting. They should be vegan, organic, natural ingredients with no added sugar.
  • UK-made, locally made gummies are held to a higher standard of production than those from elsewhere.
  • Online ordering, buying online is more convenient and allows you to compare different products as well as accessing their lab test results before purchasing.

What is the dosage?

The correct CBD dosage with gummies varies from person to person, depending on your needs. You also need to take into consideration that different brands of gummies offer different doses as well. This means that, for most people, the right amount of CBD will need some experimentation. It is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase over a period of a few weeks to find the right level that offers the benefits you are looking for. In general, most people find that 30mg of CBD once or twice a day is a good amount.

It is important to consult your doctor before taking CBD, as there can be interactions with prescription medications.

Are they better than CBD oil?

Gummies are enjoying a surge in popularity largely because:

  • The effect from gummies can last longer, so you can get relief throughout the day or night, although you will feel the effects of CBD oil faster.
  • Its easier to monitor your dosing, you can track exactly how many gummies you’ve eaten, whereas controlling the number of drops you ingest is a bit trickier.
  • They taste delicious, especially compared to CBD oil which can be very difficult to consume because of its off-putting taste.

How long does it take to feel the effects?

This varies widely as each person is different. Your endocannabinoid system, metabolism and what you’ve had to eat before can have an effect on the rate of absorption of CBD from gummies. Most people report feeling the effects of the gummies within 30 minutes of consumption.

With the growth of the CBD edible market set to rise rapidly in the next few years, there are some important factors to consider when choosing what type of edible to buy (and the options are close to limitless), what dosage to follow and what to look for when making your CBD edible purchase. Buying a CBD edible is a personal choice, and it may take some experimentation with different brands and doses before you find the right fit for your needs and your lifestyle.


Is it legal and can I drive while using CBD Oil in the UK?

This article was updated on the 21st November 2023.

Ever wondered if it is legal to drive when using CBD oil? It’s a common question because many don’t understand the differences between CBD itself and cannabis. While the two may originate from the same plant, they are ultimately two different products entirely.

Because of the confusion between the two, it is always good to know your facts regarding cannabis and CBD. In addition, knowing the facts can help you distinguish between what is and isn’t illegal when using CBD products frequently.

What Exactly is CBD Oil?

When you understand precisely what it is, you will quickly grasp how it can affect you when undertaking different daily activities such as driving after taking CBD. CBD, or to give it its full name – cannabidiol is a compound found in cannabis plants such as hemp and marijuana. The cannabis plant itself has over 100 different cannabinoids. Two of the most prevalent compounds are CBD and THC. THC is a cousin compound to CBD.

In the UK, as we are still currently part of the EU, CBD oil’s manufacture and regulation are strictly adhered to. It is extracted from specially grown hemp plants and contains less than 0.2% THC. CBD holds unique properties and, unlike THC, it is non-psychoactive. This means it doesn’t make you feel anxious or get you high as cannabis would, nor does it have that telltale “red-eye” look letting people know you have consumed the oil. These side effects or properties are attributed to THC.

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

Many people still wrongly believe that CBD oil is, in fact, illegal for use in the UK. CBD Oil or cannabidiol is not unlawful. You can buy it in many UK high street stores and online from reputable companies.

Cannabis and weed-derived medications are currently only legal in the UK for patients suffering from nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Use is also permitted for those with multiple sclerosis or severe epilepsy. It was initially banned in 1928 and reclassified as a class B drug in 1971 before being briefly downgraded to a Class C drug in 2004. It was returned to a Class B status in 2009. However, the medical use of cannabis was legalised in 2018.

CBD is most commonly used in the UK for medical reasons not for getting high as the compound required for this is usually of such a low level – under 0.2%, it has minimal if any effect on users.

Does CBD Oil Show Up on A Drugs Test?

It is natural to be concerned about THC levels – the compound which gets you high in your CBD oil. After all, they are both derived from the same plant. But mostly no, using CBD oil will not show up on a drug test. All CBD products and retailers are different, and if you are worried that the type you are using could result in a positive result, you want to check it before taking it or looking at switching to a different strain.

Check the Level of THC. As we mentioned, CBD has low THC levels; however, it is always wise to check the one you are using to make sure the levels are low enough. There are rare occasions when someone may test positive after using CBD. This is down to the amounts, compound, and composition of the specific oil you are using.

How Much THC Would Produce a Positive Drug Test?

When drug tests are administered, the component it is testing for is the presence of THC. Specifically, THC-COOH, which is one of the primary metabolites. As with an alcohol screening, there are limits which they determine and cut off values determining your competency to be evaluated as fit to drive.

Three different tests can be undertaken to prove the presence of drugs in your system.

  • Urine Test. This type of drug screening is most commonly performed in a work environment. A positive test is produced when the concentration in the sample is 50 nanograms per millilitre. THC metabolites can be detectable from 3 to 15 days after application, and the detection window can change depending on the dose, the concentration of the dose, and how frequent usage is.
  • Blood Test. These detect the presence of THC and are used less frequently. This is due to how quickly the body expels the presence of THC. THC is only detectable in plasma for 5 hours. However, metabolites can be detectable for up to a week after use. Despite this, blood tests to determine if you are unfit to drive due to drug use are conducted to indicate impairment at the current time.
  • Hair Tests. Unlike other methods, there is no actual cut off time for undertaking hair follicle tests to establish the presence of THC. THC metabolites are detectable for up to 90 days in hair samples. The private industry has set the limit at one picogram per milligram.

As you can see, none of them look for CBD. That’s why it can’t show up on the results. The only risk is taking CBD that is contaminated and has more than the acceptable amounts of THC, which would result in positive drug tests for the THC but not for CBD.

Should you Drive After Taking CBD Oil in the United Kingdom?

Let’s look at the facts. All legal CBD in the UK is licensed, and the presence of THC has to be below 0.2%. CBD doesn’t make you high, but knowing if it is legal to drive on CBD is something you should familiarise yourself with.
As everyone is different, people taking CBD need to be aware of how the compound affects them personally. Be it drowsiness, headaches, nausea. While it isn’t illegal and classed as safe to use for drivers, allowing yourself to drive when experiencing side effects, can be cause for concern. If you find yourself experiencing any unwanted side effects after taking CBD, it may be worth experimenting with your dosage or the timing of your dosage.

In conclusion, taking it as a driver won’t cause you to fail a drug test or be charged with driving in the UK under the influence. That being said, driving while experiencing adverse side effects can put you at a higher risk of below standard reactions and impaired driving. Use your common sense and always ensure you are 100% fit and healthy before getting behind the wheel.

What does the research say about driving after taking CBD?

Most of the research that has been done on cannabis and driving has been focused on the driving risks associated with THC use, without considering other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD). The results have been inconclusive in these studies, but the THC in marijuana is thought to produce mild driving impairment that lasts up to four hours.

A new study looking at the link between CBD and driving risk has just been released. It found that CBD that doesn’t include the psychoactive compound THC does not impair driving. It is an important study as very little is known about how consuming CBD behind the wheel affects your ability to drive.

This is good news for people who use CBD regularly to manage their health and wellness but still need to feel that they can go about their normal daily activities, such as driving in the UK.

It is worth noting that the study’s sample size was small at only 26 participants, so more research is needed. Interestingly, the CBD was derived from marijuana, not industrial hemp, so it is likely that CBD in the UK (which can only be derived from industrial hemp) will have no impact on the individual’s ability to drive.


cbd oil driving

Can You Drive on CBD Oil? Understanding UK Laws and Roadside Drug Screening

This article was updated on the 21st November 2023.

Are you curious about whether you can drive on CBD oil in the UK? This question often arises due to the confusion between CBD oil and cannabis. Although both come from the same plant, they are distinctly different products with different legal implications. With the increasing use of CBD products, it’s crucial to understand the legalities, especially concerning roadside drug screening and driving laws.

Here, we’ll explore the facts about CBD oil, its legality in the UK, and how it pertains to driving, ensuring you stay informed about your rights and responsibilities.

In brief

Question: Can you drive on CBD?

Answer: Yes, you are legally allowed to drive when using CBD Oil.

What Exactly is CBD Oil?

Understanding the health benefits and properties of legal CBD oils derived from the hemp plant is key to knowing how they may impact daily activities, like driving after usage. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Among these, CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known compounds, with THC being a cousin compound to CBD.

In the UK, which currently aligns with EU regulations, the production and regulation of CBD oil are strictly controlled. Legal CBD oils are extracted from specially cultivated hemp plants and contain less than 0.2% THC. CBD is celebrated for its unique properties; unlike THC, it is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t induce the anxiety or high associated with cannabis.

Nor does it cause the “red-eye” effect, a common indicator of cannabis use. These effects are linked explicitly to THC, not CBD.

Is CBD Oil Legal for CBD Users in the UK?

There’s a common misconception among many that CBD oil is illegal in the UK, but for CBD users, this is far from the truth. CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is entirely legal and readily available in numerous high street stores and through reputable online vendors.

While cannabis and certain weed-derived medications are legal in the UK only under specific medical conditions like nausea from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, or severe epilepsy, CBD stands apart. Historically, cannabis was banned in 1928, underwent various reclassifications, and finally saw medical legalisation in 2018.

CBD is predominantly utilised in the UK for its therapeutic benefits, not for intoxication. The psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, is present in legal CBD products at very low levels – under the legal limits of 0.2%. This ensures that it has little to no psychoactive effect on users.

Does Taking CBD Affect Driving Ability or Show Up on a Drug Test?

When taking CBD, a completely legal substance with less than 0.2% THC, many wonder about its impact on driving ability and drug test results. Generally, using a CBD product doesn’t show up on drug tests. However, since CBD and THC come from the same plant, it’s crucial to ensure the product you’re using has THC levels low enough to avoid a positive result on a drug test.

To be sure, always check the THC level in your CBD product. Although CBD typically contains low THC levels, there are instances where a drug test might detect THC, depending on the specific product’s composition and concentration.

If there’s any concern about the THC content in your CBD oil potentially affecting drug test results, consider verifying the THC level or exploring alternative strains.

Detecting THC in Drug Tests: Understanding Limits for Medical Cannabis and Illegal Substances

Drug tests are primarily designed to detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, rather than CBD, which is typically THC-free. These tests identify THC-COOH, a key metabolite of THC, similar to how alcohol screenings work. There are established cutoff values to determine whether one is under the influence of illegal drugs, including medical cannabis with THC.

There are three common types of drug tests:

  • Urine Test: Often used in workplaces, a positive result typically occurs at THC concentrations of 50 nanograms per millilitre. THC metabolites can be detectable in urine from 3 to 15 days post-use, varying with the dosage, concentration, and frequency of use.
  • Blood Test: These tests detect THC but are less common due to the body’s rapid elimination of THC. THC is detectable in plasma for only about 5 hours, but metabolites can remain for up to a week. Blood tests are crucial for assessing current impairment, particularly in driving scenarios.
  • Hair Tests: There’s no specific cutoff time for hair follicle tests, which can detect THC metabolites for up to 90 days. The private industry often uses a threshold of one picogram per milligram.

Importantly, CBD, especially if it’s THC-free or contains trace amounts within legal limits, is not targeted by these tests. The risk arises if the CBD product contains higher levels of THC than legal, potentially leading to positive tests for THC, not CBD.

Thus, it’s crucial to use products free from illegal substances to avoid testing positive for THC.

Can You Drive After Taking CBD Oil in the UK?

When considering whether to drive after taking CBD in the UK, it’s important to understand the legal landscape. All legal CBD products in the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC, making them perfectly legal for use. CBD doesn’t produce a high, but knowing if it’s safe to get behind the wheel after using it is crucial. Individual reactions to CBD can vary, with some experiencing drowsiness, headaches, or nausea.

While using CBD and driving isn’t illegal and is generally considered safe, it’s essential to be aware of how your body responds to the compound. If you experience any adverse effects after taking CBD, it may be wise to adjust your dosage or the timing of your intake.

In summary, using CBD won’t result in a failed drug test or a drug driving charge in the UK. However, driving while suffering from side effects might compromise your driving ability. Always use common sense and ensure you feel fully alert and healthy before driving in the UK.

FAQ on CBD Oil and Its Effects

There is no definitive evidence that CBD oil significantly alters driving abilities. However, it’s essential to understand that individual reactions to taking CBD oil can vary. While CBD itself doesn’t induce intoxication like THC, some people might experience mild side effects like drowsiness. If you’re new to taking CBD oil, it’s advisable to monitor how your body responds before deciding to drive.

Many users report that taking CBD oil can help manage anxiety, including driving-related stress. The potential benefits of CBD oil in calming nerves are attributed to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood and stress levels. While evidence that CBD helps with anxiety is growing, more research is needed to understand its effects fully.

Mixing CBD oil with alcohol is generally not recommended. While there’s limited research on the combined effects of consuming CBD and alcohol, it’s known that both substances can induce relaxation and sedation. Taking CBD oil and alcohol together might amplify these effects, potentially leading to increased drowsiness or mood changes.

Always exercise caution and consider consulting a healthcare professional before mixing any form of medication or supplements with alcohol.

For beginners taking CBD oil, starting with a low dosage is key. A common recommendation is to start with a daily dose of around 5-10 mg and gradually increase it. This approach allows you to gauge your body’s reaction to CBD oil and find the optimal dosage that provides the desired effects without unwanted side effects.

Comparing CBD oil and alcohol in terms of health isn’t straightforward, as they affect the body differently. CBD oil is known for its potential benefits, such as reducing inflammation, anxiety, and pain, without the intoxicating effects of alcohol. While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle for some, excessive use is linked to various health issues.

CBD oil, on the other hand, doesn’t carry the risks of addiction and liver damage that alcohol does.

The time it takes to feel the effects of CBD oil can vary depending on several factors, like the method of consumption, the quality of the CBD oil, and individual metabolism. When taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue), effects can typically be felt within 15 to 45 minutes. If you’re consuming CBD in edible form, it may take longer, usually around one to two hours. Remember that consistent use of CBD oil over time might be needed to experience its full potential benefits.

In summary, when taking CBD oil, it’s crucial to consider its interaction with other substances like alcohol and any potential side effects. The growing evidence that CBD oil can aid in conditions like anxiety is promising, but always approach its use with care, especially if you’re taking other medication.

Starting with a low dose is the best way to introduce CBD oil into your routine, gradually increasing it as you monitor its effects on your body.