A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO
CBD

THIS GUIDE AIMS TO PROVIDE YOU WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CBD, WHICH IS FAST BECOMING THE BIGGEST WELLNESS TREND OF THE YEAR ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol.

Let’s get one thing straight. CBD is non-psychoactive. It will not get you high. It will, however, interact with something called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is a chain of receptors in the body. Studies show that when stimulated by CBD, the ECS in turn supports bodily functions such as mood, the brain and nervous system.
The ECS is involved in the regulation of a large range of physiological functions in the body, including mood, memory, fertility, pain sensation and appetite. This happens when a cannabinoid like CBD binds to an ECS receptor in the body. It acts as an agonist, which means that it activates the receptor to produce a biological tissue response.

ASK THE SCIENTIST

What is the endocannabinoid system?

A cannabinoid is a class of chemical compounds that bind to the cannabinoid receptors found within the human body. Generally, they are hydrophobic/lipid soluble molecules. This means they don’t mix well with water.

A receptor is a protein molecule that receives chemical messages from outside of a cell and there are two main cannabinoid receptors found within the body. These are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system and also in organs like the liver, lungs and kidneys, while CB2 receptors are more associated with tissues of the immune system.

When a cannabinoid binds to a cannabinoid receptor, it acts as an agonist, which means it activates the receptor to produce a biological tissue response. Whereas cannabinoid antagonists block a cannabinoid receptor from being activated by an endocannabinoid. Naturally occurring cannabinoids within the body are known as endocannabinoids, from plants phytocannabinoids such as that from the cannabis plant, and lastly synthetic cannabinoids which are manufactured artificially.

The grouping of the cannabinoid receptors, receptor proteins and endocannabinoids make up what is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is involved in the regulation of a large range of physiological functions in the body including mood, memory, fertility, pain-sensation and appetite.

As such administration of phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids, which are not naturally found in the body, can influence physiological functions mentioned earlier, such as mood, pain-sensation and appetite. And this happens through interactions with the cannabinoid receptors of the body. Different cannabinoids will have different physiological responses through how and which receptors they bind to, such as the appetite stimulating effect of THC, and the pain-relieving effects of CBD.

The facts about CBD

It’s the substance that captured the attention of many a manufacturer this year. How much do you know about CBD? Dr Cunningham explains why vaping is the ideal method for CBD consumption.
While the majority of cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, CBD is not, therefore making it legal. In order to qualify for sale and consumption in the EU, CBD oil must be produced from one of the EU-approved industrial hemp strains. These contain a very low percentage of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the main psychoactive cannabinoid of cannabis.
As the approved hemp strains contain a maximum THC content of 0.2% by law, any hemp oil with THC content above 0.2% is considered medical marijuana and is currently illegal in the UK and Ireland.
Numerous scientific studies from around the world have indicated that CBD could
help in many health conditions and ailments. Some claim CBD can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce chronic pain and pain relief, beat insomnia and even have anti-inflammatory effects.
Further research and analysis is needed to look into these possibilities.
Vaping is the ideal method for users to take CBD at home or on the go and we see this has been reflected by the vast amounts of interest e-liquid manufacturers and vape shops have taken in CBD this year alone.
Against other methods of taking CBD, vaping has been stated as being much faster than that of oral administration and much more efficient by entering the blood stream directly when vaped, therefore, giving the user rapid absorption when needed compared to waiting for a pill to work.

Ways to take CBD

Vaping

Vaping has been shown to be a highly effective method of absorbing CBD. There are many different types of CBD e-liquids out there. These do not contain any nicotine. They are usually made up of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG) and CBD. Most vape devices will work well for vaping CBD liquids that consist of these ingredients, however some manufacturers are making their liquids using MCT Oil. This is fractionated coconut oil, and may not work as well in vape devices. Many pod manufacturers are currently developing CBD pod devices.

Sports Supplements

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted its ban on CBD in January 2018, however all other cannabinoids are not permitted for use in competitive sports. This has given rise to the popularity of zero-THC supplements among athletes. Many professional sports people are now openly talking about the rest and recovery benefits the supplement gives them.

Edibles

CBD-infused drinks and edibles is a trend that began in the US and quickly made tracks across the Atlantic. London’s café and cocktail scene has opened up to serving CBD-infused alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, plus teas, coffees and baked goods. CBD companies in the UK are also teaming up with chocolatiers and breweries to make CBD-infused chocolates and beers, while CBD gummy sweets have proven immensely popular due to their likeness to ‘real’ gummy bear chews.

Topicals

CBD is also known to be an effective topical ointment due to its anti-inflammatory and naturally occurring properties. CBD reached new heights in the beauty industry this year, with CBD creams and gels featuring in the ultimate goody bags at the 2019 Academy Awards (The Oscars) in Hollywood. From bath bombs to muscle rub to massage oils and beauty balms, the cosmetics industry is opening its doors to CBD.

Capsules

If vaping or drops under the tongue aren’t your style, you may prefer to take a soft-gel capsule. This is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and this provides a slow release of CBD into the bloodstream as the capsule is broken down by enzymes for absorption and digestion.

Tinctures

Tinctures, also known as oil drops, usually come in a 30ml or 50ml glass bottle with a spray top or pipette. These are consumed sublingually, which means they are absorbed well by a gland positioned under the tongue. Simply hold a few drops under your tongue for 30 seconds to allow this gland to absorb. Some people also use a few drops in their tea and coffee!