CBD products are suddenly everywhere – on the high street, in health food shops and online through specialised retailers like Dayzed – and if you’ve not been following the news and research you might be wondering why. CBD is derived, after all, from cannabis, and isn’t that illegal?
Today we’re taking a look at why these products are suddenly both available and so popular, what they do, and most importantly, if they’re safe for you to try.
Is CBD Legal?
The short answer is yes, but to set your mind totally at rest, let’s look at why.
It’s easy to wonder why these products are legal as CBD is ultimately derived from cannabis or hemp plants, which have long been subject to legal control and bans for ordinary members of the public. Fortunately research has begun into how exactly they operate, where they get their intoxicating effects and the extent to which they are addictive.
Cannabis gets all of its effects from compounds in the plant called cannabinoids – these are also found naturally in your brain, to the extent that your nervous system has a whole network of receptors for them called the endocannabinoid system. The main cannabinoid that gives cannabis it’s intoxicant effect, the one that produces the ‘high’ that people look for is THC: tetrahydrocannabinol. Other compounds have been isolated in the plant, however and CBD is one of these: cannabidiol.
Scientists have been studying the effects of CBD, but the one that’s really opened it up to the public, and the basis for its legal sale is a study by the World Health Organisation. It found, crucially, that CBD is not addictive – specifically, that there no evidence that CBD could form addictive pathways in the brain.
Studies are ongoing, so verified clinical claims about CBD are rare. What we can talk about is how people use the products – whether they are edibles, oil, tablets or vape e-liquid.
Some use CBD to manage pain. Those with a chronic pain condition find it convenient to take a regular dose of CBD, with teas and gummies making it convenient to build it into their routine. Early signs are that CBD is effective for pain management – a survey has found 42% of respondents have stopped taking their traditional pain medication after finding the right CBD product for them.
CBD is also popular for managing mental health issues like anxiety, depression and generalised low mood. Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid in a similar way to antidepressants working with your nervous system, but it lacks many of the side effects, making it an attractive option for some. Experimenting with CBD shouldn’t take the place of your doctor’s advice but you may find it a helpful supplement to traditional medication.