CBD Supply Chain: How Does It Actually Work?

To understand more about where your CBD comes from, it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the CBD supply chain.

While it will differ depending on your provider, as some will do more in-house than others, there are several key steps that every CBD product should go through.

CBD products have been growing in popularity over the last few years. A report from Global Market Insights forecasts that the European CBD market could be worth $15.4bn by 2028.

Behind the scenes, a well-performing CBD supply chain is at the heart of this success story. This is how a supply chain for CBD works – it all starts with hemp from the Cannabis sativa plant.

1. Harvesting high-quality hemp

To grow industrial hemp in the UK, the provider must have an industrial hemp licence from the Home Office. 

Fibre and seeds with a THC content of 0.2% or lower can be cultivated. Meanwhile, the buds or flowers are illegal to possess or sell and must be destroyed – they contain too much THC.

We’ve previously written about how CBD flower is not legal in the UK if you want a more in-depth look at the rules and regulations.

THC is the cannabinoid present in the drug cannabis that is responsible for psychoactive effects. It’s a controlled substance in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Harvesting high-quality hemp is dependent on a wide range of factors including soil quality, time of year and use of fertilisers or pesticides.

2. Expert extraction

Extracting CBD from industrial hemp involves either carbon dioxide (CO2) or ethanol. 

This is usually done by a company which specialises in extraction.

If using pressurised CO2, it is called a supercritical extraction process because it first needs to be converted from a gas into a different state, acting as both a liquid and a gas.

Typically, this is the process used rather than one involving ethanol as there are many benefits. For example, it’s arguably a more efficient process. Also, for our Muslim readers, we’ve written about whether or not CBD oil is halal or haram when the extraction process involves ethanol.

3. Manufacturing

Time to get creative! The CBD manufacturer may specialise in one type of CBD product, or a wide range.

They could produce CBD oils – the most popular CBD product type in the UK – or gummies, teas, vapes, isolates, and cosmetics. There’s a wide range of possibilities since CBD is so versatile.

Manufacturers must take great care during production though – there’s a lot of hard work involved to make truly high-quality CBD products.

Man wrapping a box forming part of the CBD supply chain

4. Packaging, shipping and warehousing

We’re at the halfway point in our CBD supply chain, so now is a good time to talk about some other important parts of the overall process.

Depending on how many links there are in the chain, there will be plenty of need for careful packaging, shipping and warehousing between each step. Recently, we wrote about the best practices for how to store CBD oil – the importance of keeping it away from light, away from moisture and at low temperatures. That’s all true of packaging, shipping and warehousing too.

5. Trustworthy testing

It’s crucial that CBD products go through a comprehensive testing process. 

The most important criteria to test for is the presence of THC – only trace amounts should be present by this stage and Isolate products should have none at all.

ISO-accredited labs should have a detection limit of 0.01% for maximum accuracy, ensuring that any CBD product that goes to market has no more than 1 mg of THC per pack.

We’ve recently written about everything that can be detected by a reliable testing lab before a certificate of analysis is issued.

6. Novel food application

In the UK, CBD products require a validated novel food application from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) before they can go on sale.

This involves preparing a dossier of manufacturing and product information. Want to know more? We regularly update our comprehensive guide to CBD novel food applications.

7. Wholesale distribution

At this stage, a wholesale manufacturer can share their fully-tested products with brands. This is a key business-to-business (B2B) part of the supply chain for CBD.

Some of the things brands need to think about include how to communicate the potential benefits of their CBD products and develop strong relationships with their customers.Did you know that we offer a best-in-class white label service?

8. Selling CBD

This is the final part of the CBD supply chain, the business-to-consumer (B2C) element.

Whether it’s online or offline, through a brand’s own store or via another retailer, CBD products need to be straightforward to access. 

Quality is paramount, so detailed information should be provided to let consumers understand what’s in the product before purchasing. Retail stores will look for certain assurances when they stock other brands’ CBD products. So, read our blog to find out what retail stores want from your CBD product.

Crucial characteristics to look for in a CBD supply chain

These are some of the key traits you want to see in a CBD supply chain:

  • Transparency: Whether it’s about how low the THC content is in industrial hemp, or specific details in the novel food application and certificate of analysis. Accurate, up-to-date information without any gaps should be provided for everyone to see.  
  • Quality: Many CBD customers are interested in healthy living and wellness. They’ll only want to see the highest-quality ingredients in the products, with no unnecessary additions. Only source organic CBD from well-trusted sources.
  • Consistent supply: The wholesaler should have a proven track record of strong manufacturing capability and access to the required raw materials. Otherwise, their supply capabilities could suffer, they could take shortcuts or miss deadlines.

When too much control over the CBD supply chain is relinquished, that’s when things can go wrong for some providers – the reliability of their output is compromised.

Final thoughts – the CBD supply chain: how does it actually work?

We hope this article has provided a clear picture of how the CBD supply chain works. 

Whether you’re a consumer, or thinking about starting a CBD business in the UK, it’s worth thinking about and scrutinising. We’ve also prepared an in-depth article on what customers want from your CBD product. 

In terms of our CBD supply chain, we offer a well-controlled, global approach to procuring and developing raw materials. That means we can provide the very best quality products – please get in touch to find out more.

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What Is A CBD Certificate Of Analysis And How To Read One

If you’re wondering what a certificate of analysis is and how it relates to CBD, here’s an in-depth guide about why it matters and how to read one.

A CBD certificate of analysis is a document produced by a third-party laboratory to analyse the contents of a cannabidiol product.

The most important purpose of the document is to detect how much THC – if any – the product contains. We’ll explain why shortly.

For the certificate of analysis to be authentic, it should be from an ISO-accredited lab, ideally with a 0.01% detection limit.

From top to bottom, this is how to read a certificate of analysis for a CBD product.

The header

At the top of the certificate of analysis, you should find information about the third-party testing lab used to examine the product.

At first glance, that may not seem like something worth reading, but it’s very important. 

It should provide the proof you need that the testing certification was not completed in-house, but by an independent lab without any conflicts of interest.

The header should include the lab’s name and address, plus their licence and accreditation details. In short, it provides enough information so that you can research or contact them.

Some will have a QR code – if you scan this with your smartphone, you may find further information that will help you verify the CBD certificate of analysis’ authenticity.

If you can’t see everything you’re looking for, then try the footer on the certificate.

Cannabinoid types

This is a list of the different cannabinoids present in the CBD product. 

If you were only expecting to see CBD itself here, that may be the case when testing CBD isolate as it’s at least 99% pure CBD. Otherwise, there will be other cannabinoids present.

There are many active cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is one of them and THC is another – this is the one responsible for psychotropic effects. 

When CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, other cannabinoids come with it. By refining it carefully, the CBD can be separated from everything else to varying degrees.

The UK law on CBD oil makes it clear that a CBD product can only contain up to 1 mg of THC per pack. Whereas CBD isolate won’t contain any, other legal CBD products may have very slight trace amounts of THC – but not enough to produce a ‘high’.

Many CBD products will also contain small amounts of other cannabinoids – such as CBDA, CBG or CBC – for example, if it’s a broad-spectrum distillate. We’ve recently written about CBD distillate and how it differs from CBD isolate

Many CBD consumers are happy to see other cannabinoids present in their products. It has been claimed that there could be a ‘full entourage effect’ – with different cannabinoids working together to potentially produce stronger overall effects. 

So, throughout this section on a certificate of analysis, expect to see several cannabinoids mentioned.

Example of a certificate of analysis

Weight percentage

To the right of each cannabinoid, you’ll usually see a percentage. 

These figures reveal the percentage by weight of each cannabinoid from the lab tests, out of the overall weight of the product.

If you don’t see a percentage, you may see the letters ND instead. It means ‘not detected’ – there may be some of this cannabinoid in the product, but so little that there isn’t enough to analyse.

Concentration

This is measured in milligrams per gram or mg/g – it is the concentration of each cannabinoid as part of the entire product.

Again, the letters ND next to a cannabinoid means that it wasn’t detected. If it says ND in the weight percentage column, there should be one in the concentration column too.

Heavy metal analysis

This is the first part of the safety testing results section – just note that not every CBD certificate of analysis has this.

It should reveal the concentration, and there is also an ‘ingestion’ statistic. The latter is the maximum amount of heavy metals – such as mercury – that is safe to consume, presented in micrograms (0.000001 gram, or one-millionth of a gram). 

If there are any traces of heavy metals, then the tested concentration should be far below the number in the ingestion column.

Pesticide analysis

Again, not every certificate of analysis will have this part of the safety testing section. 

An upper limit of potential acceptable consumption is shown by parts per billion (ppb) – but of course what you really want to see next to each pesticide tested for, are the letters ND.

Limit of detection or quantification

These may appear on the certificate of analysis as abbreviations – LOD or LOQ.

It’s a statistic used to confirm the accuracy limit or reliability of the weight and concentration measurements.

As mentioned, we recommend that CBD manufacturers use third-party labs with a detection limit of 0.01% so that there’s no margin for error.

Footer

On some versions of a certificate of analysis, a few of the details we mentioned from the header may be down here – for example, contact information or a QR code.

There should be a signature – this will be from one of the most senior members of staff at the lab.

There may also be a key, explaining any abbreviations used in full.

Final thoughts: What Is A CBD Certificate Of Analysis And How Do You Read One?

We hope this run-through has answered all your questions. Now you know how to read a CBD certificate of analysis.

Remember, if you want to see a certificate of analysis from a CBD provider, any reputable company should make it accessible to consumers. If you can’t find one, just ask for it.

It’s worth taking care and researching any new CBD product you buy in advance. In the Centre of Medicinal Cannabis report CBD in the UK, several products available in shops were tested – some had too much THC and some had high amounts of heavy metals.

One product had no CBD at all – some providers are, wittingly or unwittingly, mislabelling their products. It just shows the importance of only buying high-quality CBD products from reputable providers. For any further information about reading a certificate of analysis, or to ask about specific products, then please contact us.

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What Is CBD Distillate And Is It Better Than CBD Isolate?

If you’re already familiar with CBD isolate then you may be thinking, what is CBD distillate? Or, what is the difference between CBD isolate and distillate exactly?

These are good questions – there are many similarities between the two, but also some crucial differences to be aware of.

Both these forms of CBD come from the Cannabis sativa plant – read our blog to learn more about what CBD is and how it works – and they go through a very complex extraction and refining process to purify them.

As with other types of high-quality CBD that have less than 1 mg of THC per pack, both the distillate and isolate varieties are considered legal CBD oil under UK law.

So, what is CBD distillate exactly? And what is the difference between CBD isolate and distillate? Read on for answers to these questions and many more.

What is CBD distillate?

CBD distillate is very pure cannabidiol, with many impurities removed via a distillation process. 

With any kind of distillation, you’re aiming to extract the most important elements from a mixture.

In short, distilling involves heating liquids – boiling and condensing them to separate a specific substance or component. 

One of the most popular examples of distilling is to extract drinking water from the sea – humans have been doing that for thousands of years.

Another example is alcoholic spirits – these are extracted from raw materials such as fruits or grains.

How do you make distillate?

The starting point for distillate is raw hemp. Anyone growing this in the UK needs an industrial hemp licence from the Home Office

The seed types must be approved by the Home Office and have a THC content not exceeding 0.2% in order to be cultivated. The CBD flower is not legal in the UK to possess or sell and must be destroyed.

There are four key parts to a CBD distillation process:

1. Extraction

This involves either carbon dioxide (CO2) or ethanol. If using CO2, then it is called a supercritical extraction process.

Ethanol is already a liquid, while CO2 first needs to be converted from a gas into a different state, acting as both a liquid and a gas at the same time.

The purpose of the extraction phase is to remove unneeded compounds from the hemp, such as plant waxes.

2. Winterisation

Extraction leaves behind crude CBD. To further remove impurities, you can ‘winterise’ it – this is an alcohol wash followed by a period of freezing, often for 24-48 hours.

This serves the purpose of solidifying remaining impurities, for ease of separation from the pure CBD.

3. Decarboxylation

Moving now from freezing to heating, at this stage you have CBDA or cannabidiolic acid. For CBDA to become CBD, a carboxyl group will be removed.

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction which helps achieve this by removing the carboxyl group and releasing CO2

By heating the extract to high temperatures for an extended period of time, decarboxylation will occur.

4. Distillation

Using different flasks to remove the final impurities, the distillate is heated in a vacuum.

The vapour is condensed and collected – the result is CBD distillate!

How to use distillate

What is it used for? In this purer form, there are four main use cases that CBD distillate is well suited to:

  • Oils: Not every CBD oil is a distillate, but distillates are purer alternatives to standard oils – you may find that they have a very natural, faint flavour
  • Edibles: Similarly, CBD distillate often has little discernible taste – so by using it in CBD edibles, you can receive CBD without altering the flavour of the food you consume
  • Vapes: A vape cartridge using CBD distillate will be as additive-free as possible 
  • Cosmetics: CBD distillate in topically-applied creams is less likely to have an earthy colour or smell

What is CBD distillate broad-spectrum?

There are two types of CBD distillate worth knowing the difference between – full-spectrum and broad-spectrum: 

  1. Full-spectrum CBD distillate includes more compounds beyond pure CBD – notably, there will usually be very slight trace elements of THC present
  2. Broad-spectrum CBD distillate should have no detectable THC, while it can still include other great cannabinoids and natural terpenes from the hemp plant

For example, our CBD broad-spectrum distillate includes some other cannabinoids – CBG, CBC and CBDA – which may work together to potentially provide the ‘full entourage effect’.

The full entourage effect is seen as a good way to maximise any possible benefits from CBD – different cannabinoids may complement each other to produce stronger effects.

What is the difference between isolate and distillate?

We’ve previously written an in-depth guide about CBD isolate. It is the purest form possible of natural CBD, usually more than 99% pure, taking the form of a powder or crystalline solid.

Like CBD distillate, in isolate form it’s very versatile – you can take it in oil form, add it to food and drink, use it in cosmetics, and so on.

CBD isolate is made in a similar way to CBD distillate, via a complex extraction process to remove other compounds and impurities. 

The difference is that the extraction process goes even further until essentially only pure CBD molecules remain.

Is distillate better than isolate?

In short, whereas CBD isolate is over 99% pure, broad-spectrum CBD distillate is around 80-90% pure.

If that’s the case, then why would you choose CBD distillate over an isolate alternative? Well, it comes back to the full entourage effect again.

Some people prefer to have the purest CBD possible, with absolutely nothing else included – they are more likely to buy it in isolate form. 

Others prefer to enjoy the potential full entourage effect of multiple cannabinoids combining to produce stronger effects, in addition to CBD – in this scenario, distillate is the best choice.

Is CBD distillate better than CBD isolate? The answer is subjective – it completely depends on your preferences.

Summary: What is CBD distillate?

CBD distillate is very pure cannabidiol, with many impurities removed via a long distillation procedure.

It goes through a complex process of extraction, winterisation, decarbonisation and distillation to reach this state.

In contrast to CBD isolate, which is the purest form available, CBD distillate also includes some other minor cannabinoids. 

Many believe these work together in combination with CBD to produce the full euphoric experience, with perhaps stronger benefits. For more information about CBD distillate, or any of our other products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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How To Go About Starting A CBD Business In The UK: An In-Depth Guide

We think there’s no opportunity more exciting right now than starting a CBD business in the UK.

It provides access to a retail market which was worth an estimated $1bn (approx. £800M) in the UK in 2021, according to The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).

Of course, there’s plenty to think about when starting a CBD business in the UK. You may be wondering, realistically, can I start a CBD business? Where do I begin? What’s the first step?

Don’t worry, we’ve put together an in-depth guide, based on our extensive experience.

If you’re interested, ask yourself a few important questions first and then read on to find out how to legally launch a CBD business and build a presence quickly.

1. Research the market

Do your research thoroughly and make sure you’re aware of potential threats, for example, the competition you will face – and risks, including a few common misconceptions about the UK law on CBD.

CBD is legal in the UK as long as it does not contain any more than 1mg of THC per pack – a trace amount.

THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Industrial hemp can only be legally cultivated if its THC content is below 0.2%. There are also parts of the plants that are outright illegal to possess, sell or buy in the UK – such as flowers or buds.

Make sure you understand all the relevant legislation before starting a CBD business in the UK.

2. Evaluate the competition

In terms of competitors, it goes without saying that with the wide range of very lucrative CBD business opportunities out there, the battle for market share is well underway already.

There’s plenty you can do though to put your CBD business ahead of the competition – such as collecting relevant, robust data to look for white space or untapped potential.

Before starting a CBD business in the UK, evaluate the competition and check out our nine steps that will help you differentiate from other companies.

3. Identify your CBD opportunity

The most popular CBD products in the UK are oils, according to YouGov research, but while that means the demand will be high, the competition will be fierce too.

There are many potential opportunities to consider when starting a CBD business in the UK – how about cosmetics, edibles or drinks?

We’ve put together a list of 10 CBD business opportunities you could capitalise on.

4. Write a business plan

Once you’ve identified your opportunity, whether it’s CBD oil distribution or something else, write a business plan.

Any entrepreneur asking themselves ‘Can I start a CBD business?’ will need to get this right.

Outline your objectives, strategy and financial forecasts – with a view to securing funding.

If you’re not sure where to start, the government provides templates and example business plans you can download for free.

5. Create customer-centric CBD products

Start by identifying what your customers will want, then work backwards. Try to pinpoint their unmet needs through ideation sessions.

Ideally, include a few carefully chosen consumers – they’re the ones who use the products, so they’ll likely have some interesting views on what works well and doesn’t.

According to one consumer research report, 28% of people asked said that the quality of the CBD was the most important factor when deciding which CBD product to buy. Other reasons included: trust in the brand, trust in the retailer, level of CBD and the cost.

However, your own research may reveal other differentiating factors too.

6. Get feedback on your products

Long before launching, we recommend collecting consumer feedback – on your marketing, prototype concepts and so on. It’s a key part of starting a CBD business in the UK.

You could run focus groups or host online communities to check that your initial ideas are on the right track.

Feedback should be an ongoing process – continue asking for it throughout development and after launch too. Here’s how to do it and how to use it.

7. Secure any required licences or approvals

Familiarise yourself with the CBD product approval process in the UK – we’ve written a very detailed guide about the Food Standards Agency’s novel food application process.

However, bear in mind that depending on your CBD product type, there are other licensing requirements to prepare for.

We’ve also written a comprehensive overview about the different approvals you may need – for example, if you’re planning to sell CBD cosmetics or cultivate industrial hemp. 

8. Choose a name for your CBD business

Your CBD business name will be a key part of your branding, so it should be a good fit with the qualities you’re trying to communicate to your customers.

It should also be SEO and word-of-mouth friendly, so make it catchy and don’t make it hard to spell.

Don’t forget the other crucial steps – searching for trademarks, trying to get the domain name, etc.

9. Decide on your business structure and register

When you’re thinking about how to legally launch a CBD business in the UK, this is a key step.

You’ll need to register your business with the government – either as a:

  • Limited company
  • Partnership
  • Sole trader

There’ll be different rules to follow depending on your type of business, where you work and who you hire.

Starting a CBD oil business in the UK

10. Open a business bank account

This is essential for a limited company in order to track:

  • Cash balance
  • Money owed to your business
  • Money your business owes to creditors
  • Employee payroll

You’ll need to provide ID for all company directors, proof of address and your business registration information.

11.  Get insurance

Insurance will protect you against a wide range of unexpected business costs and risks.

For example, it can cover mistakes, damage to your premises, legal costs, supply chain breakdown and much more.

A key requirement, when you’re ready to think about how to legally launch a CBD business, is employers’ liability insurance for your staff.

12. Choose your suppliers

It’s rare for companies to manage the entire new product development process themselves – figure out which parts will be more cost-effective to outsource.

For example, can you bulk buy packaging? Or work with a digital marketing agency?

If you need raw materials, white-labelled products or consultancy services, we can help.

13.  Think about distribution

Of course, retail outlets – online and offline – are a key part of the supply chain. Will you sell your products via your own stores, or go through independent retailers?

If the latter, then think about what they’ll want from you. What types of products do they want to stock?

Retailers also want to see proven results, a good reputation and clear customer guidance – find out more in our helpful guide here.

14. Ensure compliance with other rules and regulations

To wrap up our steps covering how to legally launch a CBD business, take note of the UK’s rules on storing and using personal data.

Also, if you’re planning to run a CBD e-commerce store, be aware of the guidelines for selling products online.

There are also rules to follow if you want to export or import anything abroad.

15. Join trade organisations

For a helping hand, sign up to one or more trade associations – they can provide valuable support when you’re starting a CBD business in the UK.

They’ve been set up to form best practice frameworks and campaign for a well-regulated, safe industry in the UK.

Two of the most prominent UK organisations are the Cannabis Trades Association and the aforementioned ACI.

16. Establish and grow your brand

Stand out from the crowd with a strong brand, one that communicates the benefits of your products in a considered, informative and responsible way.

Always remember that you must not make any medical claims about your CBD products.

One way to spread the word on social media is through celebrity endorsements – read our guide on how using celebrity endorsements to sell your CBD products works.

17. Develop strong relationships with your customers

It’s still a nascent industry, so your customers will likely look to you for guidance and a better understanding of everything the CBD market has to offer.

Prioritise excellent customer service. Loyal customers will help you to increase your profits, but dissatisfied ones won’t hesitate to switch brands.

Here’s how to help your customers shop for CBD.

18. Ensure transparency and trustworthiness

Finally, throughout the process of starting a CBD business in the UK, every decision you take should have transparency and trustworthiness at its heart.

Reputation is vital in this growing industry, which risks being negatively impacted by low-quality products on the market – some are badly mislabelled.

Find out more about building the reputation of your CBD products here.

Summary: Starting a CBD business in the UK

We hope our comprehensive guide to the early years of starting a CBD business in the UK has helped you.

The order you tackle the above steps may vary – and you’ll find that several of these stages are ongoing responsibilities – but however you approach it, enjoy the journey.

So, can I start a CBD business? Yes, you really can!

For any further queries about starting a CBD business in the UK, CBD products or our services, please contact us.

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How To Store CBD Oil: Best Practices

If you’re not sure how to store CBD oil, so it lasts a long time and maintains its original quality, find out everything you need to know in this article.

Thankfully, it’s not complicated – but there are a few do’s and don’ts. At a glance, we’ll cover:

If you’re looking to learn more about CBD oil, check out some of the other articles in our blog section. It leaves no stone unturned in its detailed coverage of the fascinating world of CBD.

Without further ado, this is how to look after your CBD oil:

How to store CBD oil – top tips

CBD oil is straightforward to store. Wherever you keep it, just make sure that your products are:

  • Away from light

Keep CBD products away from direct sunlight in particular – sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays. These are high-intensity hot waves that can contribute significantly to the deterioration of CBD oil.

If that seems surprising, bear in mind that UV rays are the reason why we put on suncream when the weather’s hot. They consist of UVA rays, which play a part in the premature ageing of skin, as well as UVB rays, which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

To keep your CBD away from light exposure, store it in a cool and dark place – for example, a cupboard. Also, keep the product in its container, assuming it’s opaque – a good provider will always put the product in high-quality packaging, designed to keep out bright light.

  • Not exposed to air or moisture

Oxygen is another factor which can lead to the breakdown of CBD oil, according to a well-established research study by J W Fairbairn, J A Liebmann and M G Rowan.

It explains that “air oxidation did lead to significant losses”, so it’s important to keep CBD in a dry place away from moisture – again, a cupboard is fine for this.

Air also contains nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which can contribute to the damage caused to your CBD products.

All you need to do is keep your CBD oil in its original packaging, as long as it’s airtight. Again, a reputable supplier will always ensure this. When you buy it, check that the seal isn’t broken and after using it, close the cap tightly.

  • Stored at 20℃ or below

High temperatures can spoil CBD, but keeping it at 20℃ or under won’t harm it.

Usually, this won’t need much planning – in the UK for example, room temperature is usually 20℃ or lower.

Bear in mind though that some rooms in your home will be hotter than others, especially during summer. Also, if you live in a warm climate, the room temperature will rise above 20℃, so in order to store CBD oil when your home is hot – keep it in the fridge.

Can you keep CBD oil in the fridge long-term?

If in general, you prefer to store your CBD oil in the fridge rather than in a cupboard, that’s fine. Fridges are airtight, cool and dark – when the door is closed.

There isn’t any evidence that keeping it in the fridge will increase the shelf life, but it won’t do any harm either.

Two things to know though, before you put CBD oil in the fridge, are:

  • The oil may separate slightly, but that’s no problem – it won’t affect the potency, just shake it before you use it
  • The oil may thicken – again, don’t worry, it will return to its original liquid state if you leave it at room temperature for a while

That’s how to store CBD oil overall – but if you’re leaning towards refrigeration, you may be wondering if the freezer is an option too.

Can you keep CBD oil in the freezer?

Yes, you can store CBD oil in the freezer. As you would expect though, if it thickens in the fridge, of course it will in the freezer too. It may go cloudy as well.

In this hardened state, when you eventually take it out, you won’t be able to dispense the oil until you’ve left it at room temperature for a long time.

Freezing CBD oil is an option if you don’t mind waiting for it to defrost. If you’ve bought CBD oil in bulk, this is certainly one way to keep all your products within their shelf life, but just be aware that even at room temperature, it takes a long time for CBD oil to expire.

How long does CBD oil last?

For the most accurate answer, check the ‘best before’ or expiration date on your product, but in general:

  • Unopened CBD should last for up to two years if stored correctly, according to the aforementioned research
  • Opened CBD should keep its current appearance and taste for up to six months, if stored correctly – it’s still usable for longer than that though

The above depends on the quality of the product, the manufacturing process used, the carrier oil used and so on. For more information about how to tell if CBD is expired, take a look at our recent article.

How to store CBD oil when flying

When thinking about how to store CBD oil, don’t leave it to the last minute if you want to take it with you on holiday.

If you’re travelling with hand luggage only, all your liquids will need to be in bottles no larger than 100ml and fit in a single, see-through, sealable bag too. Most CBD oil on sale won’t be in big bottles, but just remember it’s tricky to free up some space in those small plastic bags.

If you’re putting CBD oil in the hold, wrap it up well to avoid any risk of damage or spillage. Consider adding a layer of aluminium foil wrapping too, for extra protection from heat, in case the temperature fluctuates on the plane.

Also, keep in mind that some countries have made it illegal to enter with CBD oil. Read our comprehensive guide which answers can you take CBD oil in the UK – also, Alternative Airlines has put together a list of countries where CBD is legal.

How do you store other CBD products?

That’s all you need to know about how to store CBD oil, but what about other product types? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Capsules: The above still applies, but CBD capsules also have an extra layer of protection against the elements, helping to preserve them long-term
  • Creams: Again, store in a cool, dark and dry place – but while the natural ingredients found in skincare products shorten the shelf life, avoid the freezer because extreme temperature changes make them split
  • Edibles: These have the shortest shelf life, so consume soon – edibles will typically deteriorate faster once opened and you’ll need to keep some in the fridge, or freezer

Always check the product label for storage instructions and also be aware of the expiry date given by the manufacturer.

Summary: how to store CBD oil

Keep CBD oil in a dark, dry and cool environment to maximise the shelf life and avoid any risk of your product deteriorating.

Most people keep it in a cupboard – it’s out of the light, shouldn’t be damp and should stay at room temperature, unless you live in a hot country, in which case you’ll need to keep your CBD oil in the fridge. You could also consider using the freezer.

CBD oil is perishable, but it should last a long time if it’s stored correctly. It will stay in good condition if you follow the above – and familiarise yourself with the manufacturer’s storage instructions.

For any further queries about how to store CBD oil, or to enquire about CBD products and services, please contact us.

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How To Tell If CBD Oil Is Expired And What Happens If You Take It?

For your peace of mind, it’s a good idea to know what happens if you take expired CBD oil – are there any risks to watch out for?

It’s also useful to know how to tell if CBD oil is expired. It’s not always straightforward, since for example, some people think that if the product looks cloudy, it’s gone off, but that’s not necessarily true.

In this article we’ll cover:

Elsewhere on our blog, you can find answers to other common questions, such as – what is CBD? Is CBD legal in the UK? How do you use CBD? And can CBD oil help with anxiety?

What’s in CBD oil?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a natural substance present in hemp plants – Cannabis sativa. As a natural substance, it is perishable – but thankfully, it takes a long time to break down, as we’ll cover shortly.

It comes from CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, which is raw CBD that has been extracted from CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). This is a parent compound and one of the most important of the 113 or more cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

So, your CBD is extracted from industrial hemp – a strain with next to no THC, which is the cannabinoid that would make you feel a ‘high’.

To create CBD oil, cannabidiol is diffused into a carrier oil – like hemp seed or olive oil – just to make it suitable for human consumption.

What’s in your CBD oil then? It may just be the hemp extract and carrier oil. Higher-quality products usually have fewer ingredients. A CBD tincture may have an added flavouring.

One way to get a sense of how long your CBD oil will take to expire is to check the list of ingredients – be wary of products with lots of additives.

A higher number of substances in a CBD oil means that there are more individual ingredient shelf lives to factor into the equation. That’s something to bear in mind when thinking about what happens if you take expired CBD oil.

How to tell if CBD oil is expired

There are several signs to watch out for – here’s how to tell if CBD oil is expired:

  • It smells rotten

Good CBD oil shouldn’t have a strong smell. It might smell herbal or earthy – that’s fine.

If it’s been flavoured or sweetened in some way, it’s probably a CBD tincture and of course, it may smell of whatever ingredient has been added.

But after a long time, it might start smelling rancid, like rotten vegetation – after all, CBD oil is produced from industrial hemp. If that has happened, then it’s probably expired.

  • The oil looks murky

A darker colour, perhaps dark brown, suggests that your CBD oil has degraded and broken down. If you use it, you may feel less of an effect at this point.

However, cloudy CBD oil isn’t a sign of expiration. Instead, it usually means the product has been kept in cold conditions – for example, a fridge – and it should return to its normal colour and viscosity if you leave it alone at room temperature for a while.

  • It tastes bad

Representative of its natural smell, good CBD oil should taste earthy or nutty. Some people don’t like the taste, in which case a flavoured CBD tincture is a good alternative.

Whatever you think of the taste though, it shouldn’t be unpalatable. A rotten-tasting CBD oil is a clear sign that it’s gone bad.

Is it ok to taste it, if it’s gone bad though? What happens if you take expired CBD oil exactly? Here’s our verdict.

What happens if you take expired CBD oil?

The good news is, taking expired CBD oil shouldn’t make you feel unwell – there aren’t any known side effects from using it, after it’s gone bad. However if you’re worried about using expired CBD oil, throw it away if you’re in any doubt.

In other words then, what happens if you take expired CBD oil? Nothing bad is likely to happen, so don’t worry if you think you’ve done this.

If that’s the case though, does it even matter if your CBD oil has technically expired and looks, smells or tastes bad?

Well, your product may still be usable – but it will likely be less of an enjoyable or pleasurable experience to take it. For many, that defeats the purpose of buying CBD oil in the first place.

Therefore, it’s worth keeping in mind how long CBD oil tends to last for – and how you can extend its shelf life.

How long does CBD oil last?

Always check the ‘best before’ or expiration date on your CBD oil – there should be a label or imprint on the bottle.

As a general rule though, unopened CBD oil should last for up to two years, as long as you store it as instructed by the manufacturer.

Opened CBD oil shouldn’t go bad for at least six months and as mentioned, it’s still usable for longer than that.

Product quality is the main variable affecting how long CBD oil lasts.

How to maximise the shelf life of CBD oil

Here are our three top tips for preserving your product, so there’ll be no need to find out the hard way what happens if you take expired CBD oil without expecting it:

  • Keep it in a dark place: CBD oil should be kept away from direct sunlight in particular
  • Keep it in an airtight container: Moisture or air oxidation exposure can cause CBD oil to break down, so always close the cap tightly after using it
  • Keep it at 20℃ or lower: For many, that’s room temperature but if you live in a hot climate or it’s a warm summer, keep your CBD oil in the fridge

Again, it’s a good idea to read any storage instructions provided by your CBD provider.

For more information on this subject, we’ve recently written a whole blog explaining how to store CBD oil. We also discuss how to store other CBD products safely apart from your oils or tinctures.

Summary: How to tell if CBD oil is expired and what happens if you take expired CBD oil?

You’ll know whether CBD oil has expired from its rotten smell, murky dark brown colouring or a taste that has worsened over time.

And what happens if you take expired CBD oil? Rest assured, there are no known side effects from taking cannabidiol products that have gone off. However, you’ll likely wish you had used them earlier!

For a long-lasting CBD oil, we recommend sticking to supplements that are high quality and from reputable companies. That means they’ve been verified by a third-party ISO-accredited testing lab and secured approval from the Food Standards Agency, amongst other criteria.

Read up on any new supplier, because some untrustworthy CBD providers are mislabelling their products.

If you have any further queries about what happens if you take expired CBD oil, or want to know more about CBD products and our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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CBD Oil And Sleep: When To Take CBD Oil For Sleeping Purposes

If you want to know more about when to take CBD oil for potential sleeping purposes, we’ve got the information you need to consider here.

CBD oil is the most popular cannabidiol product type in the UK, according to a recent survey from market research company YouGov.

CBD oil consumers take it to enjoy a wide range of reported benefits. Potential effects may include helping them to relax, relieving pain and inflammation, or reducing anxiety.

So then, does CBD oil help you sleep? Read on to learn about when to take CBD oil for sleep and when not to – but just bear in mind that the answer will vary for everyone, as each person reacts to CBD oil differently. If your sleeping troubles are significant or long-term, contact your GP. 

Sleep problems

Trouble sleeping is very common and according to the NHS, you’ll often find that the situation improves within about a month. Nevertheless, that can still seem like a very long time to wait if you’re feeling fatigued – whether you’re busy with work, responsible for looking after children, or any other reason.

Longer runs of bad sleep can feel particularly debilitating and have a strong effect on your daily life, making everything feel more difficult. Regular difficulty sleeping could be insomnia, which can last for months or even years.

There’s a wide range of simple steps you can try to have a more restful night, before thinking about when to take CBD oil for sleep or giving something else a go. These include: 

  • Creating a darker, quieter, cooler environment
  • Working out or being more active
  • Drinking less alcohol and caffeine
  • Writing down anything you’re worried about, or making a to-do-list
  • Sticking to regular sleeping hours

Trouble sleeping can make you feel down, worsen your mood and affect your concentration. Therefore, it follows that anyone struggling to sleep on a regular basis would want to find a solution and improve things as soon as possible.

Some people just naturally find it more difficult to fall asleep than others, but sometimes life circumstances and stressful events can cause disrupted sleep patterns. 

Can CBD oil help treat anxiety?

Bad anxiety is a common cause of both one-off sleep deprivation and also more long-term insomnia. 

Some people decide to take CBD oil for sleep because of its potential for improving anxiety problems.

Overall, more scientific research is required before it can be proven categorically if CBD oil can help. 

However, the information service Healthline has cited several useful studies on the topic

The preliminary research supports the use of CBD in treating generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety-induced insomnia.

Does CBD oil help you sleep?

Here are some of the main reasons why CBD oil may be able to help you sleep better – just note that again, more research is needed before we’ll know for sure.

Firstly, some people may have an endocannabinoid deficiency affecting their ability to sleep. The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which produces these endogenous cannabinoids to help regulate our sleeping patterns, as well as a range of bodily functions.

A research article in 2016 cited some partial evidence for “improved sleep, and other benefits to cannabinoid treatment and adjunctive lifestyle approaches affecting the ECS”.

CBD, a cannabinoid, could help prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down.

Secondly, a 2014 case series concluded that CBD could plausibly control the symptoms of a sleep disorder.

When we fall asleep, we go through several stages of non-rapid eye movement (REM), then REM itself, which is when dreams can occur.

The case series found that CBD could potentially be able to alleviate the symptoms associated with REM sleep behaviour disorder. This was the case for four patients, with no side effects reported.

Thirdly, a review of clinical trials found that there may be some potential for CBD to improve sleep for those struggling with insomnia.

It appeared that a moderate to high dose could have a sedative effect and also decrease the frequency of awakenings throughout the night.

In one trial amongst 15 insomniac volunteers, those receiving 160mg of CBD claimed they slept significantly more than those given a placebo.

When to take CBD oil for sleep and when not to

What does the preliminary evidence above mean for those trying to decide when to take CBD oil for sleep? It suggests that CBD may have the potential to help you sleep better. 

As mentioned, anyone experiencing significant trouble with sleeping should consult their GP. 

One important factor to keep in mind is that for any CBD products you buy, if the product is not a licensed medicine, no company should make any medicinal claims about their goods.

Another key consideration is the quality of any CBD products you purchase. Watch out, because some suppliers’ CBD oil could be mislabelled and may include banned or harmful ingredients, such as THC.

CBD is legal in the UK as long as it does not contain more than 1mg of THC per pack. When trying out a new CBD provider, check that they have ISO-accredited lab certification and also read their customer reviews for reassurance.

Once you’re confident about the quality of the CBD oil you’ll be consuming, the first step is to try differing amounts during the day, to see how your body reacts. 

A smaller amount of CBD oil (around 40mg) may result in a calming sensation, whilst a larger amount (around 160mg) could create a sedative-like feeling. 

Try to find a level where you feel the results are best, and adjust if necessary when using it before you go to sleep. 

Remember, the effects of taking CBD oil are not instantaneous, so either try to consume it an hour before you go to bed, or if you’d like a quicker impact, use CBD oil in tincture form. Read our blog for more information about how long the effects of CBD take to feel

Summary: When to take CBD oil for sleep

Initial research has raised hopes that CBD oil could potentially improve sleep by preventing endocannabinoids from breaking down, alleviating sleep disorder symptoms and producing a sedative effect.

These encouraging early signs mean that there is a possibility that cannabidiol could prove beneficial.

In terms of when to take CBD oil for sleep, make sure you’re using an accredited provider, and once you’ve tested the CBD during the day first, you should be ready to try your CBD oil before bed.

Just be cautious of any company citing improved sleep as a proven advantage of their CBD products. Any CBD-based medicine in the UK would first need approval from the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

For further queries about when to take CBD oil for sleep, or about cannabidiol products in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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CBD Oil Side Effects On Kidneys: Everything You Need To Know

In this article we’ll discuss the topic of CBD oil side effects on kidneys – are there any?

There is still so much to explore when it comes to researching the potential effects and benefits of cannabidiol. For example, we recently wrote about an article exploring whether CBD could potentially help prevent COVID-19 infections.

Whenever you try a new supplement, it’s wise to read up about it first to make sure it’s right for you – are there any reported side effects, for example? 

And we’re sometimes asked about whether there are any potential CBD oil side effects on kidneys, so let us clear that one up for you in this article.

Kidney function

First, a little context – before analysing if there are any CBD oil side effects on kidneys, it helps to understand the important roles these organs play in the body.

Kidneys remove waste and extra fluid, as well as acid produced by cells. In the bloodstream, they regulate a healthy balance of minerals, salts and water. The minerals include calcium, magnesium and phosphate

Maintaining this balance is important because otherwise the muscles, nerves and tissues in the body may not function properly. Kidneys also make hormones which help control blood pressure.

In the UK, approximately 10% of the population have chronic kidney disease. This rises to 20% of people over 80 years old, according to Kidney Care UK.

If the kidneys stop working as well as they should, this could well be a sign of chronic kidney disease. At an advanced stage, symptoms could include a shortness of breath, blood in the urine, feeling sick, tiredness and swollen feet or hands.

Causes of chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or infections.

Are there any CBD oil side effects on kidneys? 

Some who worry about possible CBD oil side effects on kidneys have focused on a central concern – can any negative consequences arise from cannabidiol entering the bloodstream? 

Taking it sublingually, by vaping, or by swallowing capsules allows cannabidiol to make its way through the bloodstream, in order to have a wide range of potentially positive effects.

In short, a 2020 nephrology review from a New York medical school concluded that “there is no evidence to suggest that CBD has any adverse effect on kidney function” – but more research is needed.

The review also mentioned a tentative indication that CBD could potentially support kidney function, referring to an example of preventing nephrotoxicity (kidney deterioration) in mice. 

Studies in 2009, 2015 and 2017 also found potential signs of CBD having a beneficial impact on kidneys or reducing nephrotoxicity – but in all cases, much more research is required.

It’s important to note that the reported absence of CBD oil side effects on kidneys is always based on a key assumption – that the product is a correctly-labelled, reputable one. More on this shortly.

What are the effects of taking CBD oil?

What is the purpose of CBD’s absorption into the bloodstream? Again, research is ongoing and there is still much to learn about cannabidiol’s efficacy, but early results are very interesting.

They suggest that CBD could help to alleviate symptoms from several neurological as well as physical and psychological conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Technically, cannabidiol interacts with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). A critical part of homeostasis, it’s a physiological system which helps regulate the body and maintain a healthy balance throughout. 

CBD’s impact on the ECS is to prevent endogenous – or natural – endocannabinoids from breaking down, in turn helping them to have a bigger impact.

So if there aren’t any reported CBD oil side effects on kidneys, are there any other side effects elsewhere? Most people’s bodies tolerate it very well, although some users have felt drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, a dry mouth and a reduced appetite.

For more information about how taking CBD oil makes you feel, read our recent blog.

CBD oil and quality control

For the best experience when taking CBD, it’s important to only buy quality, well-trusted products from reputable providers. This will help reduce any potential risk of harmful adverse side effects.

In the UK, CBD is legal to buy and not a controlled substance – unless it contains more than 1mg of THC per pack. THC is a controlled substance in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Sadly, there are many poor quality products available on the market, so trust is vital – some brands are, either knowingly or unknowingly, mislabelling CBD products

For peace of mind, always read customer reviews and check the list of ingredients.

If a company claims their CBD products are legal since they contain less than 0.2% THC, they have misinterpreted UK law. The 0.2% legal limit for THC is only for the growth of CBD, not consumption.

Also look for third-party lab certificates on the provider’s website. CBD products should have essentially no THC – this can be verified by ISO-accredited labs with 0.01% detection limits.

Remember that in terms of the aforementioned studies looking into possible CBD oil side effects on kidneys and reportedly not finding any, that conclusion is based on a user taking legitimate cannabidiol products. In contrast, the presence of THC could potentially negatively impact results.

Summary: CBD oil side effects on kidneys

Preliminary studies have not found signs of CBD oil side effects on kidneys. 

These organs regulate a healthy balance in the blood and while cannabidiol – when absorbed – enters the bloodstream, no evidence of adverse harm has been reported so far.

Bear in mind though that in order to be comprehensive, more research is needed and these findings assume that the CBD used is a legitimate product. For further information about whether there are any CBD oil side effects on kidneys please get in touch.

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CBD Overdose: Can You Overdose On CBD?

Here’s an unusual, but very important, question we’re sometimes asked about cannabidiol – can you overdose on CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) products have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years. A new report from Global Market Insights forecasts that the European CBD market could be worth $15.4bn (£11.8bn) by 2028.

However, this growth could be affected if there’s a risk of any harmful effects. So, can you overdose on CBD? 

Rest assured, the short answer is no – you cannot overdose on CBD as long as you only purchase cannabidiol from a trusted provider. In the UK, CBD is legal to buy and sell, as long as it doesn’t contain over 1mg of THC per pack and assuming the product has Food Standards Agency approval.

However, to answer the question ‘can you overdose on CBD?’ properly, the best place to start is by providing complete clarity on what overdoses are.

Defining overdoses

An overdose is an excessive – and as a result, dangerous – consumption of any substance. 

In other words, it is the application or ingestion of something in a quantity that exceeds  recommendations and causes negative health consequences.

The NHS cites overdoses as the most common type of poisoning in the UK. It is possible to overdose on medicine, such as paracetamol, as well as drugs such as cannabis.

Cannabis overdose symptoms can include paranoia, hallucinations and numbness in the arms or legs.

Can you overdose on CBD?

It’s probably because of cannabidiol’s connection to the Cannabis sativa plant that influences some people to ask this very question: can you overdose on CBD?

However, it’s a different cannabinoid – THC – which is responsible for creating the wide range of psychoactive effects in the drug cannabis. Taking too much THC, by smoking or eating too much cannabis, causes the symptoms associated with an overdose.

In contrast, CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t produce a ‘high’. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 does not classify cannabidiol as a controlled substance.

Therefore, you cannot overdose on CBD. The absence of THC in genuine cannabidiol products means that there is no possibility of an overdose, like there is with cannabis.

In recent years, the World Health Organization recommended that pure cannabidiol should “not be placed under international drug control as the substance was not found to have psychoactive properties, and presents no potential for abuse or dependence.”

What about CBD oil though – that’s the most popular cannabidiol product in the UK, as YouGov has reported. Can you overdose on CBD oil?

No, you cannot overdose on CBD oil, or any other legal type of cannabidiol product. 

CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp and can only be cultivated legally, with a Home Office licence, as long as it has a THC content below 0.2%. 

By the time any cannabidiol product reaches the market, it can only have 1mg of THC per container or pack – whether it’s a CBD oil, capsule or anything else.

Providers must have the means in place to consistently meet the 1mg limit – unaccredited CBD testing labs cannot reliably detect this. To avoid any risk of exceeding it, they should have this verified by an ISO-accredited lab, with a limit of detection of 0.01%.

CBD isolate products are the purest and do not even contain trace amounts of CBD.

Guidance on CBD dosage

A literature review looking at safety and potential cannabidiol side effects found that even ‘chronic use’ or high doses of 1500mg per day can be well tolerated by the human body.

While there aren’t any official guidelines on how much CBD to take, we’ve written previously about working out the ideal dosage.

We recommended: 

  • Starting by taking 5-10mg per day
  • If that’s not enough, increase it by 5mg per day the following week 
  • Repeat as necessary to find the right dose for you

Keep track of how much you’re taking – it’s also wise to consult your GP first, in particular if you’re taking any other medications.

The optimum dosage will also depend on factors such as your weight, body chemistry and the type of CBD product you’re using.

While you cannot overdose on CBD, you should bear in mind that some users have felt side effects before, such as drowsiness or dizziness.

Is CBD addictive?

Another question we’re often asked on top of ‘can you overdose on CBD?’ has something in common – ‘is CBD addictive?

We recently covered this and, again, the absence of THC in cannabidiol means that there are no substances present that could cause an addiction.

CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a completely different way to THC, which has much stronger effects that are addictive to some.

In contrast, there is even some preliminary research hypothesising that cannabidiol may be able to help treat addiction, but much more evidence is still required before we can be sure.

Can you overdose on CBD and alcohol?

One final word of caution is that naturally, just because you can’t overdose on CBD, this doesn’t mean that if you take it at the same time as a harmful substance, you can’t overdose on that.

For example, we recently wrote about mixing cannabidiol and alcohol. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can cause drowsiness, vomiting, unconsciousness and, ultimately, death.

There’s not enough research available yet to determine this conclusively, but it is possible that CBD and alcohol taken together will increase each other’s effects on the body.

So while you cannot overdose on CBD, just be careful about other substances – enjoy in moderation, know your limits and always err on the side of caution.

Summary: can you overdose on CBD?

To summarise, you can’t overdose on cannabidiol. 

As long as you take care to only buy a high quality CBD product from a reputable provider, it’ll essentially be free of THC. 

Therefore it won’t have any psychoactive effects, won’t be addictive and won’t cause any of the symptoms associated with an overdose, even if you take a higher than average amount.

If you have any questions about CBD products or anything else, please contact us.

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Is Cannabidiol Addictive? CBD Oil And Addictiveness

Here at Leaf Sciences some questions we’re frequently asked are ‘is cannabidiol addictive?’ and ‘is CBD oil addictive?’

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of more than 100 different chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, found in the Cannabis sativa plant.

CBD-based retail products are created via a lengthy process, requiring licensed grown industrial hemp at the outset. Eventual products can include cosmetics, capsules or edibles, drinks, tinctures, oils and more.

CBD oil specifically is extracted from hemp plants, usually with supercritical CO2 extraction processes, then diffused into a carrier such as hemp seed oil or olive oil.

More than 1.6 million people in the UK say they’re regular cannabidiol consumers, according to ACI. Not only that, but Global Market Insights forecasts the European market value will reach $28.7bn (£21.7bn) by 2027.

However, is cannabidiol addictive? Or is CBD oil addictive? 

In fact, what does addictiveness really mean? That’s actually the best place to start.

Wondering whether cannabidiol is addictive? Read our blog which explains all.

Explaining addictiveness

Having an addiction is when you’re unable to stop yourself from doing, or using, something despite negative consequences. 

It’s a brain disorder, manifested by compulsive behaviour to seek a perceived reward in spite of the adverse end result.

Character traits of addicts include lacking self-control, strong desires for specific behaviours or substances, and feeling unable to stop themselves from doing what they want to do.

Addiction is the result of complex psychosocial and also neurobiological causes. It’s very difficult to treat, often only possible by undergoing long-term psychotherapy.

One notable addiction type is cannabis use disorder, caused by frequent consumption of marijuana. 

Symptoms can include a dependency on THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, which is another cannabinoid from the Cannabis sativa plant and the one with psychoactive effects, causing a ‘high’.

Other frequent symptoms are withdrawal signs including: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disturbed sleep 
  • Loss of appetite

In the case of cannabis use disorder, it’s the presence of THC which causes the addiction. THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, meaning that it is illegal to produce, possess or distribute a product containing it.  

Does cannabidiol contain THC?

CBD is legal in the UK, as long as it contains essentially no THC at all. The law is that only up to 1mg of THC per pack is permitted, under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

Cannabidiol providers can ensure their products consistently adhere to this restriction by obtaining verification from an accredited laboratory with a detection limit of 0.01%.

There are some cannabidiol products which are guaranteed not to have even trace elements of THC in them. These are CBD isolate products, containing no compounds or substances other than pure cannabidiol in the form of a crystalline solid or powder.

Since CBD products do not contain more than 1mg of THC per pack, they cannot make you feel ‘high’.

However, an important caveat is that it’s vital to only buy from reputable companies, since some cannabidiol products have been mislabelled in the past.

Watch out for any CBD products claiming to ‘only’ have 0.2% THC content – that’s actually too much, by law. The 0.2% limit just applies to what’s permitted during the cultivation of industrial hemp, not what’s allowed in commercial product form.

CBD consumers are advised to research any company they make a purchase from, check the ingredient list and read customer reviews to make sure they’re buying only quality items.

In the UK, cannabidiol products are only allowed to be sold once they have their novel food application validated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Is cannabidiol addictive?

Cannabidiol is not addictive. The absence of THC means that no addictive substances are present in CBD, so you cannot be addicted to CBD.

What about specific products though – is CBD oil addictive? No – neither CBD oil, nor any other kind of cannabidiol product is addictive. 

To explain this, it’s good to understand what effects CBD, as well as THC, have on the human body. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in different ways.

The ECS produces natural endocannabinoids to help balance functions including sleep, mood, memory, appetite, digestion, temperature and inflammation. These endocannabinoids bind with receptors, such as CB1 in the central nervous system and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system.

THC has much stronger – and ultimately for some people, addictive – effects since it binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, producing wide-ranging results. However, these can also include adverse side effects like paranoia, memory loss and anxiety.

In contrast, we know that CBD prevents some endocannabinoids from breaking down, thus helping them in their mission to balance functions in the human body. 

Research is ongoing into exactly how cannabidiol works with the ECS, but it’s completely different to the way THC interacts with it.

Wondering whether cannabidiol is addictive? Read our blog which explains all.

Could cannabidiol potentially help fight addiction?

There is also some preliminary research suggesting that CBD could potentially play a role in helping to treat certain types of addiction: 

  • A 2015 review of 14 preclinical and clinical studies found that cannabidiol might have therapeutic potential for opioid, cocaine, psychostimulant, cannabis and tobacco addictions
  • A 2019 review concluded that CBD could potentially help limit cravings, impulsivity, paranoia and withdrawal symptoms connected to cocaine addiction

It is too early to say for sure though and much more comprehensive research is needed before we’ll know whether cannabidiol could help to fight cannabis addiction or any others.

Summary: is cannabidiol addictive?

So in short, to answer the common question ‘is cannabidiol addictive?’, the answer is no. None of its associated products are either, such as CBD oil.

To be permitted for sale, cannabidiol should not contain THC – which is the cannabinoid from the Cannabis sativa plant that has addictive properties. 

For more information about licensing requirements around the sale of CBD in the UK, we’ve recently written a full guide. 

To find out more about CBD products or if you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.

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