It's not surprising that many people can feel a little confused about CBD and medical cannabis products. With so much research taking place into the potential uses of both, not every news story makes the difference clear. So, do you need a prescription for CBD?
The short answer is that you don't need a prescription to buy and use legally-sold consumer CBD products in the UK. You're free to consume CBD as a food supplement in whatever format you prefer (e.g. oil or capsules), and there's no evidence that CBD causes harm (as stated by the WHO), or you can become addicted to it.
Confusion comes from the fact that CBD is being used in various research studies and trials. These might use a far higher dose with animals or human subjects than you would find from a retailer.
It's possible to be prescribed medical cannabis products by UK doctors, but it's rare and only for a few specific conditions when other treatments either hadn't helped or weren't suitable.
What's the difference between CBD products and medical cannabis?
The three main medical cannabis products are only likely to be prescribed for those with rare, severe forms of epilepsy, muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple schlerosis, or with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy. And they are all slightly different.
Epidyolex contains CBD but not the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is psycho-active and gives you a high. It's prescribed for patients with rare forms of eplilepsy.
Nabilone is a medicine designed to act in a similar way to THC and can be prescribed to help with sickness or vomiting from chemotherapy if other treatments haven't worked, or aren't suitable.
And finally Nabiximols is licensed in the UK for use to treat multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasticity.
Typically medical products will contain high doses of CBD and potentially THC, to help with specific conditions. And they're not available for sale.
General consumer CBD products are not sold as medical solutions. These are food supplements which contain cannabidiol, and may contain trace elements of THC and other compounds if you opt for broad or full spectrum oils. Reputable UK CBD retailers ensure that the products they sell are regularly tested for any impurities and to ensure they don't breach the legal limits for THC, which means they won't get you high, or cause issues with working, driving, or taking part in sport.
How does CBD work?
Your body contains an endocannibinoid system, which is a series of transmitters and receptors throughout your brain and nervous system. As a relatively new discovery, we know that it contributes to the way self-regulation and homeostasis is maintained. Potential functions include memory, appetite, energy, your response to stress and anxiety, the immune system, sleep, exercise and pain.
Cannabidiol (CBD) was discovered in 1940 as one of 113 cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants. Research shows that it interacts with the endocannibinoid system, and studies have looked at how it may affect conditions including anxiety, stress, movement disorders and pain.
It takes some time to have an effect, and we recommend starting slowly and being patient until you reach the right amount for you as an individual.
How to buy CBD safely?
It's important to buy products you can trust from a reputable retailer. You should be able to research the individual items and see both the ingredients and results from laboratory tests to confirm exactly what is included (you can see both for our 4% CBD oil as an example). This is particularly important if you're purchasing 0% THC Isolate CBD oil as a precaution against drug tests as part of your employment or sporting activities.