CBD oils, lotions, lip balms, chocolates, soft drinks, beauty products and even beer – with so many products on offer it can be difficult to know how to shop for CBD, especially if you’re a beginner.
Whilst CBD is a wellness supplement, it’s important to know that the products in retail stores or online are not medicinal products. So when you’re looking for products to buy, beware if you see any being sold that claim to be for medical use because firstly, they won’t be and secondly, it’s illegal in the UK to promote CBD as a medical product.
We also recommend that before you buy, you do some research and don’t automatically assume that big companies will sell better quality products, as there are a lot of smaller brands out there who are selling products that are just as good as the ones you’ll find from bigger retailers.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a handy guide with the things you should consider when buying CBD.
Check how the product is made
One important consideration to take into account when you’re shopping around for a CBD product, especially oil, is to look into how it’s produced.
Organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol (grain alcohol) removes toxins and residues from the hemp plant and is generally considered to be the extraction method that produces the highest amount of CBD or cannabinoids.
You may also see CBD oil that is made using what’s called a ‘supercritical CO2 extraction’ which uses carbon dioxide compressed under high pressure to produce a high-quality pure oil.
Some brands also include lab reports so it’s always worth looking out for these too. If you’re not sure, either call or email the company or if in-store, ask a shop assistant.
If it isn’t Hemp-derived CBD, don’t buy it
For you to buy a legal CBD product in the UK it needs to be made from Hemp CBD. If it doesn’t say that on the label or there’s no information at all, then don’t buy it.
What part of the plant does your CBD come from
The more beneficial CBD products will be made from the whole plant or what’s known as ‘full spectrum’. This is important especially if you’re buying oil to ingest as the whole plant contains not only CBD but other healthy components such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.
They all work in synergy to produce what’s known as the ‘Entourage Effect’ which helps to increase the overall benefits. In addition to ‘full-spectrum, you may also see products made from CBD isolate or broad-spectrum so we’ve broken those down for you below:
CBD Isolate is the least expensive way to produce a CBD product. Isolate is a purified form of CBD oil which, as the name suggests, has been isolated, usually through a supercritical CO2 extraction, from other cannabinoids, oils, plants and compounds so that only the CBD remains.
It usually comes in crystal or powder form and whilst it does have some therapeutic benefits, they are not as great as those from Full Spectrum CBD.
Full-Spectrum CBD – Full Spectrum or ‘whole plant’ is CBD that contains all of the naturally occurring therapeutic compounds found in the plant (flowers, leaves and roots.)
It also contains naturally occurring other cannabinoids such as CBN (Cannabinol) CBG (Cannabigerol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin). Full-Spectrum CBD also contains THC (see below for UK legal limits)
Broad-Spectrum CBD – contains some additional compounds in addition to the CBD. Some components, such as other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids are added to the CBD in varying amounts. Broad-Spectrum CBD should not contain THC.
The compounds in both Broad and Full Spectrum CBD complement one another to create the ‘entourage effect’ enhancing the therapeutic effect of CBD.
Check the THC level
Remember that under UK law, CBD products should not have a THC content of more than 0.2%. This is important as THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high and is illegal in the UK.
If you can’t see any information or just aren’t sure, it never hurts to ask the question or if it’s an online store email the company to check. If they can’t tell you, don’t buy the product.
What’s the carrier oil
CBD oil products may come with a hemp seed carrier oil or oil like coconut. Both are equally good for you they just have different tastes – so if you don’t like one, maybe try the other one next time.
Hemp Seed Oil is not the same as Hemp CBD Oil
Hemp seed oil is healthy in its own right as it’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as containing high levels of Vitamin E, which is why it appears in so many beauty products. That said, it’s not the same as CBD Hemp oil as it does not contain any CBD. You can find more information on this point here
Are you on medication?
If the answer is yes, we recommend you check with your doctor before introducing CBD to your daily routine. Whilst research suggests that CBD is generally safe to take and has few, side effects, it has been known to interact with some medications so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You really do get what you pay for
If you want to buy a good organic, full-spectrum CBD oil expect to pay from £40 upwards for strengths of between 3 and 5%. Oils with 10% CBD and other ingredients like Turmeric usually start from around £70.
ALWAYS read the label
Treat CBD products in the same way you would before taking any health supplement. Use only as directed on the label and be sure not to exceed the recommended daily dosage.
If you have a serious medical condition, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any kind of prescription medication always check with your doctor before taking a CBD supplement.
Start with a low dosage
No two bodies will react the same way when taking CBD or a supplement of any kind, so if you’re trying an oral CBD product like oils or capsules it’s always good to start with a lower dosage to see how you get on, and then work your way up to the dose that works best for you.
Do your homework
Whether you’re buying from a store or online remember to do your research before you buy. Look for reputable brands – big or small – who provide a lot of information on their products and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Give it time
No supplement works overnight so be patient, don’t expect miracles and give it time.