CBD oil: benefits, uses and the best available in the UK

·5-min read
What is CBD oil and which one should you buy? [Photo: Green Stem/ Celtic Wind]
What is CBD oil and which ones should you buy? (Green Stem/Celtic Wind)

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CBD oil has become a huge wellness trend.

The medicinal cannabis-based product, which you can buy in a number of shops in the UK, has rapidly increased in demand over the last few years.

According to the BBC, there are now an estimated quarter of a million regular users in the UK alone.

The benefits of cannabis-based medicines also continue to be introduced by the NHS, with two cannabis drugs for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis last year being “approved” for the first time.

For many, no prescription is required.

Holland & Barrett became the first high street store to stock medical cannabis oil in the UK in February 2018. It is now a common product in both Superdrug and Boots, as well as a number of other UK retailers, too.

What is CBD oil?

There are two main compounds in cannabis: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the THC that is the psychoactive constituent and illegal in the UK.

“CBD is a chemical substance found in cannabis that has medical benefits,” explains the NHS website. “It won't get you high, because it doesn't contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis that makes you high.”

The Home Office only allows licences for oils in the UK that are cultivated from hemp plants with approved seed types and contain a THC content of 0.2% or less.

How does CBD oil help?

Research is still under way to prove the health benefits of CBD oil.

It is, however, mostly praised by users for helping insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain and period pain.

How to choose a CBD oil

CBD oil is not clearly regulated at present, but the World Health Organization says “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”.

When searching for CBD oil it’s important to check that it’s free from pesticides and solvents, includes no more than 0.2% THC and is from a trusted brand.

There are also varying strengths of CBD oil, the lowest being 300mg (3%) ranging to 800mg (8%). It’s suggested you start at a low dosage and gradually build up your tolerance.

We tried it: Shop the best CBD oils on the high street

CBD Oil Drops Seville Orange (5%) by Green Stem | £45 from Boots

After finishing around four CBD oils over the past year, I was ecstatic when I stumbled upon Green Stem, which has created flavoured CBD oils that don’t share the usual unpleasant earthy taste.

I tried the Seville orange, but there are also black cherry and peppermint flavours available.

The broad-spectrum hemp blend is THC-free and has been lab-tested for purity. I would most definitely join customers who have already given it an overall 4.9 out of 5 rating.

Crops Oil (5%) by Celtic Wind | £29.99 from Lloyds Pharmacy

Made from EU-certified hemp crops in Cooley Mountains of Ireland and produced without fungicides, pesticides or herbicides, Celtic Wind is a worthy first-time choice if you’re wanting to try a CBD oil.

It’s advised you take one pipette (0.7ml) once a day, under your tongue. Other brands often allow more drops a day, so I found one drop wasn’t enough for the effects to last the entire day. However, for a CBD newbie who doesn’t want to take it numerous times a day, it’s probably ideal.

It also wasn’t the most pleasant-tasting CBD oil (spoiler alter: CBD oil does not taste good in general, but usually the payoff is worth it).

Cannabidiol Oil (5.6%) by Dragonfly CBD | £40 from Boots

Stocked at Boots, Dragonfly CBD is on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

That’s because it’s extracted from organically grown Cannabis sativa plants using a hand-crafted extraction method. The brand is also very transparent with its production, proving organic certification, batch numbers and pesticide testing.

With 5.6% CBD, it’s higher-strength. Taste-wise, I found it a little less oily than others.

Super Strength CBD Oil Drops (5%) by Health Span | £28.95 from Health Span

I was lured in by the promise of an “easy-to-use peppermint-flavoured oral drops” – and I was not disappointed.

The hint of peppermint was refreshing, making it another great option for those who don’t like the usual CBD taste. The oil also held a clear consistency, showing the brand’s filter-clear method, which removes unwanted plant.

Raw CBD Capsules by Endoca (10mg per capsule) | from £23 from Endoca

Endoca is a brand that multiple avid CBD users have suggested to me. It contains only full-spectrum hemp oil and CBD. If you can’t stomach the not-so-pleasant tasting oils, these capsules are the solution.

The only downside is that you’re confined to a fixed dosage rather than measuring it yourself using drops.

However, not having to taste the oil made it so, so worth it.

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