Posted on

is cbd hemp oil safe

A small number of patients in the UK may be prescribed a cannabis-based medicine to treat epilepsy or nausea during chemotherapy. Visit the NHS website for more information on medical cannabis.

What is CBD oil, is it legal in the UK and what are the benefits and risks of using it? We asked a dietitian to take a closer look at this food supplement.

Is CBD oil legal in the UK?

CBD oil is increasingly popular, both as a food supplement and as an oil to apply topically to the skin. We asked a dietitian to explain what it is, why people use it and whether it’s safe.

Emer Delaney BSc (Hons), RD has an honours degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Ulster. She has worked as a dietitian in some of London’s top teaching hospitals and is currently based in Chelsea.

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles, California.

Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.

This cannabis extract may help treat nerve pain, anxiety, and epilepsy

However, the effect of CBD on each addiction type was often very different. With opioid addiction, for example, CBD showed little effect in minimizing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of THC. By contrast, CBD on its own appeared effective in minimizing drug-seeking behaviors in users of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other psychostimulant drugs.

Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In low doses, CBD may act as an agonist to several receptor sites, meaning it acts similarly to surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor, enhancing the signalling of those receptor sites. At higher doses, however, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to an opposite effect, negating the beneficial effects of CBD.

To use CBD oil, place one or more drops under the tongue and hold the dose there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing. Capsules and gummies are easier to dose, although they tend to be more costly. CBD sublingual sprays are available as well.

Hemp has very low levels of another cannabis compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Evidence suggests that THC — not CBD — causes the symptoms people associate with getting high on marijuana, Blessing says. Unlike marijuana, which the CDC argues is addictive, CBD also doesn’t seem to be, according to the World Health Organization.

Richards says that she prefers to use products in which she can actually identify the ingredients.

What is CBD oil?

While Blessing and Haney both say that CBD shows a lot of promise, they agree that the CBD products on the market (excluding the seizure drug Epidiolex) are suspect.

But what is CBD, exactly? Does it have real health benefits? Is it even safe?

Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound that is found in cannabis plants. CBD can be extracted from the same plant as marijuana, or from hemp — another cannabis plant that is now legal in the United States.