Cannabidoil / CBD

 

It seems like everyone is talking about Cannabidoil (CBD) these days and now that it is available on the high street and in cafes, sales have soared and the product has mostly shed its stigma.  So we jumped at the opportunity to test some CBD from the lovely people at CBD Virtue but not without first doing our research.

 

CBD / Cannabidiol

 

We’ll come back to you with our experience of taking their CBD but first we wanted to share the findings of our research, which we hope will answer some (perhaps all) of the questions you might have about cannabidiol but were too afraid to ask…

 

Reading some of the more effusive reports online, you might think CBD was a miracle medicine. People are buying it for all kinds of reasons, from chronic pain to cancer.  Some use it to manage their anxiety, while others swear by CBD for nausea, epilepsy or insomnia and it is being included in a range of massage creams and beauty products too.

 

This said, you won’t find any suggestion that CBD will cure any specific ailments on the label because despite the hype around its health benefits and suggestions that it can aid extraordinary cures, CBD is currently sold as a food supplement, rather than a medicine.

 

What does that mean, well we will let an expert explain, "While there is certainly a growing body of evidence in support of CBD's medical uses, no one is as yet going down the 'medicine' route of regulation," says Michael Stewart, Patient's medicines information pharmacist.  "So currently all commercially available CBD products will be marketed with no medical claims.  There is no requirement for clinical trials into their safety and efficacy."

 

So now that we know what we are dealing with, let’s answer some questions.

 

What is CBD oil?

Also known as cannabidiol, pure CBD was discovered in 1940 and is one of the active cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis or hemp plant, but without THC, the element which gives people a ‘high’. 

 

CBD is different to marijuana.  A cannabis plant has 113 different chemicals, the most famous of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD.  It's the THC that is responsible for getting people 'high' and for this reason, recreational cannabis remains illegal.  Pure CBD on the other hand does not contain THC and is legal.

 

CBD Virtue tell us “Our CBD tincture oil is made by gently heating pure Californian CBD isolate in high proof grain alcohol to produce a clean, concentrated liquid.  Every drop is made from certified pure CBD from our farm in the CBD heartland of California.  All our CBD has all the full spectrum phytocannabinoids needed for the entourage effect and is naturally rich in CBG, CBN, CBC, 100+ synergistic terpenes, flavonoids, and essential amino acids.”

 

Also known as cannabidiol, pure CBD was discovered in 1940 and is one of the active cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis or hemp plant, but without THC, the element which gives people a ‘high’

 

Is CBD legal?

Yes, CBD oil is currently legal in the UK and can be purchased from a number of high street stores, although the Cannabis Trades Association UK recommends that CBD should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

 

Public awareness was boosted on 1 November 2018 when it became possible for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, including medicines with THC.  At the time, Dr Zoe Williams, interviewed on This Morning, commented on the speed with which the law had been changed.  She saw this as an indication that cannabis based medicines will most likely become more widely available in the future.

 

Do you feel high and is it addictive?

This one is quick and simple to answer – no, CBD is not psychoactive.  The top quality products do not contain THC, the element which makes you feel high, so CBD does not produce a ‘high’ and it is not addictive either.

 

The science behind this, in case you are interested, is that CBD does not stimulate the psychoactive receptors (CB1 and CB2) which are targeted by marijuana. 

 

CBD is available in many forms including oil, gummies, honey sticks, muscle rub

 

Is it allowed by UK Anti-Doping?

We are going to refer to and quote direct from the UKADA site to answer this one because it is a subject that is too important to risk any misunderstanding on.

 

What is the status of cannabidiol in sport?
CBD is not currently listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.  As a result, it is permitted to use in sport.  All other cannabinoids (including but not limited to cannabis, hashish, marijuana, and THC) are prohibited in-competition.  The intention of the regulations is to prohibit cannabinoids that activate the same receptors in the brain as activated by THC.

 

THC has a reporting threshold in urine of 150 nanograms per millilitre.  Other cannabinoids on the Prohibited List do not have a reporting threshold, meaning that the detection of even the smallest amount in urine will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF).

 

What are the risks of using cannabidiol products for athlete’s subject to the rules of anti-doping?
Despite the permitted status of CBD, athletes must still consider the risk of inadvertently ingesting a CBD product that either has a higher THC concentration than expected or contains another cannabinoid that is prohibited in sport. This may occur if:

  1. a product becomes contaminated with a different species of plant that has a high-THC concentration; or
  2. the wrong part of the cannabis plant is used during the manufacturing process (due to misidentification).

 

What are the side effects?

The side-effects can include mild dizziness or drowsiness are typically minor - but if you notice anything worrying, you should ask your pharmacist for advice.  We’ll be following up with our experience of this product in detail but wanted to reassure readers that in our experience, there were no side effects at all. 

 

It is however very important to watch out for potential drug interactions.  If you plan to take CBD alongside prescription medicines always check with your doctor first, because CBD oil inhibits the action of enzymes that break down drugs in the body, with the result that it could increase the effects of some medicines and potentially result in further side-effects from these. 

 

What are the benefits?

There has been a great deal of research into the benefits and safety of CBD.  In fact, there are over 2,100 published studies relating to CBD on PubMed alone, of which 970 relate to human studies.

 

Of course because CBD is currently it is being sold as a supplement, manufacturers aren't allowed to make any health claims but it is suggested that CBD could help with everything from chronic pain relief, anxiety, depression, nausea and insomnia, to diabetes, dementia, cancer, heart health, addiction, multiple sclerosis and arthritis.  Reflecting on the list of ailments and diseases that could be improved with CBD and balancing that with the reported side effects – which for most people are nonexistent – it is easy to see why the medical fraternity and beyond are so excited about it.

 

From our point of view, and having done our own research, we came to the conclusion that it was worth trying it on the basis that it would do no harm and potentially help with so many things.  For us the priorities were pain relief, sleep quality and post training inflammation – all relatively minor ailments but nevertheless, things that affect us every day.

 

We kept a diary of our symptoms and sleep stats from Fitbit before we started taking CBD and have been using that to understand the benefits and side effects of taking CBD.  We will share all of that in our follow up article. 

 

For now we want to address one final question …

 

CBD honey sticks

 

How do I know if it is pure?

Here is where it gets complicated because, it seems, you cannot always trust the label.  A study which examined the label accuracy of 84 CBD products sold online, including identification of present but unlabelled cannabinoids ”Labelling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online” published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2018 detected THC in some CBD products at levels higher than is currently permitted by the FDA.

 

Their conclusions read “With respect to CBD, 43% of products were under-labelled and 26.19% were over-labelled.  THC was detected in 21% of the samples tested - the THC content observed may be sufficient to produce intoxication or impairment, especially among children … or to trigger a positive dope test”.

 

And these findings have been backed up by other studies.  So the big question is, how do you know you are getting what you are buying and only what you are buying?  We addressed this question to CBD Virtue, who sold only third party lab tested and certified pure Californian CBD.  They gave us this advice: “First look out for the source of the CBD.  Is it Chinese, Eastern European, Western European or genuine US CBD grown in Colorado or California?  Next check the amount of CBD in the product.  It should be marked in milligrams (mg) and it should be clear how much is in the whole package as well as how much is in each “serving”.  Some suppliers confuse buyers with “mg per litre” or “% of CBD” instead of clear dosage information.  Finally look for or ask for test certificates to show the product is free of residual solvents, heavy metals and other substances, and genuinely contains the amount of CBD on the label”.

 

If in doubt you can ask The Cannabinoid Trust for advice: www.cannabinoidtrust.org.uk on reputable suppliers and how to buy CBD.

 

Thanks to CBD Virtue we have been testing CBD in the following forms:

  • CBD Honey sticks containing 10mg of CBD per stick which can be sucked straight from the stick or stirred into drinks
  • CBD tincture which can be dropped into the mouth under the tongue, or stirred into food and drinks
  • Muscle Rub which does what it says on the tin!

 

And in addition to these products they offer CBD gummies, CBD roll-on for targeted pain relief, CBD body butter for inflammation and swelling, CBD aphrodisiac oil and a CBD foot rub.

 

We’ll be back to share our experience of taking CBD soon.

 

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