Looking for the best CBD capsules in the UK? We’ve tried and tested over 150 CBD brands on the market and have listed our 10 favourite CBD capsules of the moment.
CBD Capsules UK: The 10 Best CBD Capsules in 2021
CBD products have been growing in popularity over the last few years, due to its range of health applications – including pain relief, alleviating insomnia, lowering stress levels, reducing anxiety and depression, fighting the side effects of cancer medications, improving acne outbreaks, counteracting heart disease, or reducing seizures in patients with epilepsy.
Sales of CBD capsules in particular have skyrocketed as capsules are a convenient, discreet and easy way to consume CBD.
Yet with over 150 CBD brands on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right CBD capsules to match your personal needs. This is why the CBD Unboxed team has tried and tested most CBD products and brands available in the UK market and assessed them across 6 key areas:
- Value for Money
- Third Party Certification
- Shipping & Delivery
Based on our findings, we have hand-picked 10 of the best CBD capsules available in the UK.
Take our CBD Quiz
If after reading this guide you are still unsure about what CBD capsules to choose, simply take our CBD Quiz which has been designed specifically to identify the product and strength that is best suited to your personal needs.
By testing over 150 different CBD brands and assessing their efficacy, taste, value for money and more, we’ve been able to hand-pick the 10 best CBD capsules of 2021.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol — also known as CBD — is one of the multiple chemical compounds found in hemp (cannabis sativa) or marijuana plants. It is also known as medical cannabis, which is a broad term used to encompass any product, treatment, or medicine that includes cannabis-derived ingredients.
It is not however, the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana and contains none of the psychoactive properties associated with it, which means CBD won’t get you “high”.
So What’s the Difference?
Different parts of the cannabis plant are either defined as hemp or as cannabis and marijuana.
- Hemp: hemp is the stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa (“Cannabis Sativa” is the scientific Latin term that defines hemp, cannabis or marijuana plant species).
- Cannabis and Marijuana: the leaves, flowers and viable seeds of cannabis sativa.
The varieties of cannabis that are regulated, legal and available in the UK are those that produce less than 0.2 percent THC. And given the fact that most THC is in the flowers, CBD products are primarily made from hemp (stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa) which contain very little THC and are safe to consume.
This is why CBD products are legal in the UK if they contain less than 0.2% THC.
Therapeutic Properties of CBD
There has been a lot of interest in CBD from both the research and medical community over the last few years, due to its range of health applications – including but not limited to pain relief, fighting the side effects of cancer medications, alleviating insomnia, lowering stress levels, improving acne outbreaks, counteracting heart disease, or reducing seizures in patients with epilepsy
Products containing CBD come in many different forms, with the most common including CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD capsules, CBD Drinks, CBD vapes and a range of CBD edibles. Some forms are more fast-acting than others, some have different flavours, some contain differing proportions of CBD extract, and so on, so the type you choose depends entirely upon your personal preferences and the condition you wish to treat.
What are CBD Capsules?
Whilst one of the most common ways of taking CBD is by using CBD oil, a growing number of people have turned to CBD capsules as they are often more convenient than CBD oil and won’t leave a strong aftertaste in your mouth and throat.
Unlike CBD edibles and gummies, CBD capsules are usually made from two ingredients including CBD extracts and oil carrier such as MCT oil (coconut oil) or olive oil. The capsule itself is made of either vegetable cellulose (suitable for vegans) or bovine gelatine (not suitable for vegans).
A few products will include additional ingredients such as caffeine, vitamins, polysorbate emulsifiers, beta-caryophyllene, sorbitol, L-theanine, Rhodiola or water.
CBD capsules are one of the most convenient and discreet ways of taking CBD as they are portable, tasteless and contain a fixed amount of CBD per capsule, meaning you won’t need to worry about counting drops, as you would need to do with CBD oil.
CBD capsules are made using a similar process to CBD oil in that it is derived from the hemp plant and use CBD extract. Although some CBD capsules use extracts from marijuana plants (leaves, flowers and viable seeds of cannabis sativa), most brands use hemp extracts to keep the THC level below 0.2 percent and make their products legal for the UK market.
To extract the CBD from cannabis sativa, a complex process involving CO2 extraction or solvent distillation (natural solvents like ethanol and olive oils or hydrocarbon solvents like butane or propane) is used, resulting in clean CBD extracts.
CBD capsules are made by taking the CBD extracts and mixing it with an oil carrier such as MCT oil or olive oil. The mixture is then encased into an edible capsule which can be made of either vegetable cellulose or bovine gelatine.
The quantity of CBD in each CBD capsule can vary greatly depending on the strength of the bottle, from 10mg to 50mg+ of CBD per single capsule.
Many products use full-spectrum extracts which contain a range of other helpful cannabinoids and terpenes as well as CBD. If using full-spectrum CBD capsules, be sure to check that it contains less than 0.2% THC to comply with the UK legislation.
Others CBD capsules use CBD isolate which separates the CBD from every other component for maximum purity. More on this below.
Top 10 CBD Capsules of 2021
Different Types of CBD
Before buying one of our top 10 CBD capsules, it is important to understand the different types of CBD available in the market. These fall under three main categories:
- Full-Spectrum CBD: CBD products labelled as “full-spectrum” contain all the phytochemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and oils. It also contains some trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the “high” effect. However, the total amount of THC for the UK market is limited to 0.2% so full-spectrum CBD gummies will provide all the benefits of CBD without the “high”.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD: CBD products labelled as “broad-spectrum” contain all the phytochemicals that are in the cannabis plant but does not contain any THC.
- CBD Isolate: CBD products labelled as “isolate” is the pure form of CBD and contain no other cannabis plant compounds such as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and oils. CBD isolate is a good option for those who want to take CBD gummies, but who do not want to benefit from the “entourage effect” of other plant compounds or ingest any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are present in full and broad spectrum products.
What Type of CBD is Best?
There’s not really a best type of CBD. It all depends on your personal circumstances. Below are some of the pros and cons of using isolate vs full-spectrum CBD capsules.
Full-spectrum CBD gummies are ideal for those who want to:
- Benefit from all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp
- Benefit from the entourage effect
- Ingest THC – albeit in small doses
CBD isolate gummies are ideal for those who need to:
- Take larger doses of CBD as they will not increase their THC consumption
- Take regular drug tests and who may worry about THC showing up on their results. This is especially the case for people working in the armed forces, athletes or people working in banking / trading.
What is the ‘Entourage Effect’?
Now that you know how CBD works and what our top 10 CBD capsules of 2021 are, it is important to understand the concept of ‘entourage effect’ to ensure that you select the CBD product that is best suited to your personal circumstances.
The entourage effect is the theory that while each botanical compound has a unique role or benefit, its behaviour may change when the presence of another compound is present.
For example, it would be more effective and quicker to produce a play with a team of actors rather than one actor playing all the parts. When each actor has a specific role to focus on, they can learn their lines and direction and support their fellow actors. But one actor alone will take a lot longer to learn all the lines for the various parts they have to play.
This is similar to the entourage effect. Essentially, everyone knows their role, but their performance can be enhanced by comradery.
But how is this applied to CBD?
We know that CBD products stimulate the endocannabinoid system and make it work more efficiently. But different CBD products affect the ECS differently, depending on their formulation. As previously, discussed there are 3 types of CBD formulation:
- Full-spectrum: No additional extraction, contains all the natural ingredients of the hemp plant, including CBD, THC, terpenes and flavonoids.
- Broad-spectrum: All traces of THC are removed from the oil. Every other ingredient remains.
- CBD Isolate: The oil only contains CBD, everything else is removed.
One of the above formulations has been proven to give better results in reducing pain, inflammation and many other symptoms. Which one of these formulations do you think stimulates the ECS best?
Would it be the most natural substance (full-spectrum), the one with any psychoactive ingredients (broad-spectrum) or the purest form of CBD (isolate)?
According to the entourage effect, it is the full-spectrum CBD because it keeps all the natural components of the hemp plant, which include:
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
The theory of the entourage effect was first introduced by Dr Ethan B. Russo. He thinks that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC work with terpenes (aromatic component) to produce a “synergy.”
In his study “Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” (2010) Dr Ethan B Russo suggests:
- The terpene pinene, which gives the scent of pine, may help counteract compromised memory caused by THC.
- CBD and terpene limonene, which gives a citrus scent, might work together to alleviate anxiety.
- A combination of CBD and terpene caryophyllene, offering a pepper smell, may be beneficial in the treatment of addiction.
The possibility of “synergy” of endless but have not yet been categorically proven. For more information read his other study “The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain, No Gain” published in 2019.
Omega-3, Antioxidants and Nutrients
In addition to CBD, THC and terpenes, full-spectrum CBD oil also contains Omega-3, which is vital to the ECS. Omega-3 is used to maintain the receptor CB1, which regulate pain and memory.
It also aids the absorption of external cannabinoids, as well as making endocannabinoids internally.
Other nutrients and antioxidants have also been discovered in full-spectrum CBD oil, for example, Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound that can prevent cataract formation, postpone the appearance of wrinkles and grey hair, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.
As you can see CBD, when first extracted from the hemp plant has a huge list of ingredients. All of them seem to play a part in helping our bodies. We may not know exactly what they all do. But as time passes and research continues, we can learn more.
Advantages of CBD Capsules
Easy to Use and Discreet – CBD capsules are incredibly easy to use as it is essentially the same as taking vitamin pills. It is one of the most inconspicuous way to get your daily dose of CBD as all you have to do is swallow a capsule with a glass of water.
Precise Dosage – Dosage couldn’t be easier and more precise than with CBD capsules, as each pill contain an exact amount of CBD (e.g. 10mg per capsule). Unlike CBD oil, you do not need to count how many drops you need to take.
No Nasty Aftertaste – Whilst CBD oils tend to have a very earthy or grassy taste, CBD capsules are simply swallowed and do not have any taste at all. For that reason, they are an excellent alternative to CBD oils who often have a strong aftertaste.
A Great Alternative – For people who do not like to put CBD oil under their tongue or for those who do not want to consume additives such as sugar present in CBD gummies, CBD capsules are a great alternative as you simply need to swallow them and do not have to chew or leave the oil under your tongue as you would with gummies or CBD oil.
No Addictive or Withdrawal Issues – Finally, CBD capsules are a natural remedy that can be taken by almost anyone and possesses none of the addictive or withdrawal issues that other pain management or anxiety medications may present.
Disadvantages of CBD Capsules
Whilst there are quite a few advantages to getting your daily dose of CBD using CBD capsules, there are unfortunately several drawbacks which are worth considering.
Less Bioavailable – the term bioavailability stands for the proportion of a drug or substance which reaches the systemic circulation. By definition, when a substance is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%. However, when the same substance is administered via other routes (e.g. mouth), its bioavailability is generally lower than that of intravenous due to the fact that it needs to go through the intestines and digestion process. For that reason, CBD oil is more bioavailable than CBD capsules as it comes into contact with the sublingual gland (under the tongue) which speeds up the process of absorption and quickly enters the bloodstream.
Not Fast Acting – another problem with CBD capsules is that they are not as fast acting as CBD oil seeing as it will take some time to be processed and broken down by your digestive system. So seeing as the faster the CBD is absorbed, the sooner it can get to work, CBD capsules will usually take between 30-60 minutes to act when CBD oil takes less than 20 minutes.
Interaction with Other Medications – It’s also worth noting that CBD may make it harder for your body to process certain medications, so if you are taking any other medications, be sure to check with your GP before taking CBD products.
Minor Side Effects – Finally, CBD can cause side effects in some people including drowsiness, changes in mood, nausea, and changes in appetite. Every individual will be affected differently, and in most cases, there are no side effects to worry about.
Therapeutic Properties of CBD Capsules
CBD capsules – along with other CBD products – possess a number of therapeutic properties that are backed by various scientific research papers and double-blind studies. Some of the most discussed health benefits amongst the public and the medical community include:
Pain Relief (Analgesic Properties)
CBD has Analgesic properties, meaning that it helps relieve pain. But how?
The human body contains a specialized system called the ECS (the endocannabinoid system), which aim is to regulate a variety of functions such as sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. The body also produces endocannabinoids, which are simply neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
CBD is believed to interact with specific receptors, specifically the CB1R and CB2R.
- CB1 receptors, which are located in various regions of the body, with a large concentration in the central nervous system and brain, co-ordinate mood, emotion, appetite, and other functions.
- CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and are responsible for controlling inflammation and pain. CBD stimulates these receptors and induces the body to release serotonin.
Serotonin, or 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter that carries signals from one neuron to the other. CBD increases the level of serotonin, which, in return, helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation in the body and possibly reduces the cramping experienced during period pain.
According to Researchgate, a study published in November 2019 shows improvement of physical discomforts such as headaches and various signs of physical pain. According to Teitelbaum J, there have been multiple studies showing patients found relief of menstrual pain, back pain, spinal pain, joint pain (e.g. arthritis) or fibromyalgia pain.
Reduce Anxiety & Depression
CBD has been proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some of the more commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders that CBD can help with include:
- Generalised anxiety disorder – also known as GAD
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder – also known as OCD
- Social anxiety disorder – also known as social phobia or SAD
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder – Also known as PTSD
- Health anxiety – people experiencing obsessions and compulsions relating to illness
- Body dysmorphic disorder – Also known as BDD
- Perinatal anxiety – Also known as perinatal OCD
Most people who suffer from anxiety will experience a hyper-active amygdala, a collection of cells near the base of the brain.
CBD helps to ease the symptoms of anxiety by regulating the functions of the amygdala and the hippocampus and therefore their effects on how our brain processes potentially anxiety ridden situations. But how?
CBD has been proven to increase cerebral blood flow to areas of the brain associated with memory processing, specifically the hippocampus. The findings identify a potential mechanism for the use of CBD to treat disorders associated with altered memory processing, including Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, and schizophrenia.
Put it simply, a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) helped increase blood flow to the hippocampus, an important area of the brain associated with memory and emotion, which means that CBD has been proven by several scientists and medical professionals to help smooth the cognitive processes of this part of the brain.
According to Dr Michael Bloomfield from UCL: “Cannabidiol is one of the main constituents of cannabis and is gaining interest for its therapeutic potential. There is evidence that CBD may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety as well as improve memory function. Additionally, CBD changes how the brain processes emotional memories, which could help to explain its reputed therapeutic effects in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.”
These finding have been backed by double blind studies where on different occasions, separated by at least a week, each participant was given a 600mg of oral CBD or a placebo. The doses came in identical capsules, so participants did not know which one they were taking on which occasion (https://neurosciencenews.com/cbd-hippocampus-16806/)
Researchers measured blood flow to the hippocampus using ‘arterial spin labelling’ – an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scanning technique which measures changes in the blood oxygen levels.
In another double-blind study in Brazil, 57 participants received either CBD oil or a placebo 90 minutes before they underwent a simulated public speaking event. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at significantly reducing anxiety during the event.
Reduce Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
CBD has been proven to have antiemetic properties, meaning it helps prevent vomiting.
This discovery has been particularly useful for cancer patients for whom CBD has been proven to not only help them reduce the symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer medication, such as pain, nausea and vomiting.
In one study focusing on CBD extract and THC extract given to patients with intractable cancer-related pain, it was found that of the 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience the adequate relief from traditional pain medication, those treated with an extract containing both the CBD and THC compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract. This would therefore suggest that CBD had a net positive effect when it comes to reducing pain in cancer patients.
A separate study also showed that cancer patients who suffered from the various side effects of chemotherapy – including nausea and vomiting – experienced little relief from traditional anti-emetic treatments. Patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) were administered a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC via mouth spray. The results showed that chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting symptoms were reduced in comparison to standard treatment alone.
Help with Arthritis
CBD has been proven to have antiarthritic properties, meaning that it helps relieve or prevent arthritic symptoms.
The two most common types of arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition wherein a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing inflammation. It commonly affects the hands and feet and leads to painful, swollen, and stiff joints.
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects joint cartilage and bones, causing pain and stiffness. It often affects the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
According to a poll conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, 29% of 2,600 patients with either osteoarthritis (52%) or rheumatoid arthritis (45%) for 10 or more years, stated using CBD in liquid or topical form to manage their arthritis symptoms, especially pain.
Of those using CBD, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being:
- 67% reported improvement in their physical function
- Over 30% said it provided relief from morning stiffness and helped them to get moving
- 71% reported improvements in their ability to sleep
- Over 30% said it helped relieve symptoms of fatigue
But CBD also helped those suffering from arthritis improve their overall well-being, with people who used CBD reporting emotional and mental health benefits, in addition to relief of physical pain.
- 41% reported a better overall sense of well-being
- 77% reported a lower level of anxiety
- 67% reported effectiveness in improving depressed mood
From a research standpoint, while there are various studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not yet exist.
Help With Neurological Disorders & Epilepsy
CBD appears to have neuroprotective properties, meaning that it helps protect nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or impairment of function.
This is particularly interesting for patients suffering from neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or children with Dravet syndrome.
Researchers believe that CBD can act on the ECS (the endocannabinoid system) as well as other brain signalling systems to provide benefits to those patients and early studies show promising results.
When it comes to MS (multiple sclerosis), an oral spray called Sativex and consisting of CBD and THC has been proven to be an effective way to reduce muscle spasticity (muscle spasms) in patients. The study found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of patients with MS who were experiencing muscle spasticity and for which traditional medications were not working.
As for Epilepsy, CBD appears to have anticonvulsant properties, meaning that it helps prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions. What is the research behind this?
According to the Epilepsy Society, medical cannabis – a medicine that contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative and that is produced for medicinal use in humans – has been proven to reduce the number of seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy.
Three separate double-blind randomised controlled trials of pure CBD (CBD isolate) in children and young people with epilepsy have shown a reduction in the number of monthly seizures experienced by patients compared to those that received placebos. Additional studies have shown that it may also have an anti-epileptic effect in the epilepsies in general, not just in children and young adults.
Improve Heart Health
CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it helps reduce inflammation (redness, swelling, and pain) in the body.
But what is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural process occurring in your body whereby your white blood cells and what they produce, protect you from infection from bacteria and viruses.
However, in some people, their own body’s defence system (i.e. their immune system) is deregulated and triggers inflammation when there are no infection from bacteria or viruses to fight off. Called autoimmune diseases, they attack healthy tissues as if they were infected, causing damage to these tissues in the process.
Inflammation can either be acute (i.e. short-lived) and go away within a few hours or days, or chronic (i.e. long-lasting) and last for months or years.
Inflammation is known to lead to many heart related diseases, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) may cause shortness of breath or fluid buildup, inflammation of the small tubes that take air to your lungs may cause shortness of breath and inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure.
There is some evidence that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and that it may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system, with CBD having direct actions on isolated arteries, causing both acute and time-dependent vasorelaxation (reduction of vascular tension).
According to existing studies, CBD protects against the vascular damage caused by a high glucose consumption (sugar), inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes in animals. It has also been proven to reduce the vascular hyperpermeability associated with such environments. Vascular hyperpermeability is the excessive leakage of fluid and proteins from blood vessels to the interstitial space which often leads to multiple organ failure resulting in patient death.
A common theme throughout these studies is the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect of CBD. In the heart, in vivo CBD treatment protects against cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes.
Other studies have shown that CBD can have a protective effect on the heart. This was the case with one study showing the benefits of CBD in rats after a heart attack and in mice with heart damage associated with diabetes.
Studies also indicate that CBD may be beneficial for patients with high blood pressure.
One study of nine healthy men, who were given one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil, found that it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to patients who had received a placebo. The same study got the patients to go through a stress test to assess the impact of the test on their blood pressure. It found that patients who had received a single dose of 600 mg of CBD experienced a smaller blood pressure increase in comparison to those who had received the placebo.
This would suggest that CBD reduces the stress and anxiety of patients, ultimately leading to a lower blood pressure, even when put under a stressful situation.
Improve Your Sleep
Whilst the Mayo Clinic emphasies that most adults need seven to eight hours a night, nearly 23 per cent of people living in the UK only sleep between five and six hours at night. That’s an estimated 34.5 minutes less than the rest of the world.
Various conditions prevent people from getting a good night’s rest.
- Insomnia – Studies in the UK show 31 per cent of adults have insomnia. Many consumers take CBD to reduce anxiety and high-stress levels. Anxious and racing thoughts are the leading cause of insomnia. Dr Herve Damas, an endocannabinoid expert, explains to Prevention Magazine, “CBD has been shown to have anxiety-relieving effects, and anxiety disorders can be a cause of insomnia.”
- Circadian rhythm disorders – Fewer citizens in the UK have circadian rhythm disorders. Research is available about the potential benefits of CBD for CRD. As mentioned, the ECS helps regulate sleep cycles. The few participants in studies saw improved sleep with cannabidiol.
- Restless legs syndrome – The few reports available show CBD may help consumers losing sleep to movement disorders. Medical researchers don’t know much about the cause of the condition. Many patients need narcotics to reduce the movements, which aren’t safe for long-term use.
- Idiopathic hypersomnia – The uncommon disorder is dangerous because it leaves suffers groggy and sleepy nearly all the time. One study proposes that in the right doses, CBD can act as a wake-promoting agent.
- Parasomnias – Another rare condition that causes people to complete tasks in their sleep, taking away from their rest, and putting them in potentially dangerous situations. Experts have been studying CBD and NREM sleep disorders for a few years. A 2014 report reviewed the connections between NREM sleep disorders, nocturnal seizures, and CBD. Researchers already know the value of CBD as a treatment for seizure disorders.
Most sleep disturbances occur because of stress and anxiety. Calming down the mind is the best way to help people who can’t fall asleep fast or stay asleep get the relief they need.
There is extensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil when used to treat insomnia and improve sleep.
CBD works with the human body to increase calm, decrease stress, and lower anxiety levels. These responses indirectly improve your sleep. In the 1990s, researchers confirmed the body has an endocannabinoid system or ECS. Researchers have only found a link between the cannabinoids found in hemp with the ECS, making it an unusual reaction.
The ECS is a complex cell-signalling system consisting of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. Scientists believe it plays many roles, including maintaining balance in the body. When it comes to sleep, the ECS helps regulate sleep and sleep cycles. Also, relating to sleep, a potential function is boosting anandamide to reduce depression and anxiety.
The cannabinoid receptors interact with endocannabinoids and cannabinoids. The CB1 is located in the nervous system and brain. Additionally, the CB2 is found mostly in the immune system and most organs.
A recent surge in scientific publications has found preclinical and clinical evidence documenting value for CBD in some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system.
In 2019, a large case series was published in the Permanente Journal about CBD’s calming effects on the central nervous system. The studies showed patients taking CBD saw lower anxiety levels, experienced less stress, and slept better at night. Additionally, most participants experienced no or few side effects.
How Much CBD Should I Consume?
CBD doesn’t have one-size-fits-all dosing and calculating a proper dosage of CBD can be tough as our bodies react to it differently.
The four major factors affecting your CBD dosage are:
- Your weight
- The condition being treated (i.e. depression, chronic pain etc)
- The severity of your condition
- The concentration of CBD oil
Most brands recommend customers start with the lowest dose and increase until they find the right serving size that fits their needs. The most common starting amount is between 10mg and 25mg.
As a rule of thumb, a person weighting between 10.5 and 17 stones (approximately 150 and 240 lbs) may need between 18mg and 27mg of CBD per day depending on the severity of their symptoms. If your condition is more severe, this dosage can easily be increased to 60mg or even 70mg per day. As a side note, the FSA (Food Standard Agency) recommends that healthy adults do not take more than 70mg a day, unless a doctor agrees more. This is 7 capsules of 10mg CBD or 14 drops of 10% CBD oil.
When using CBD for the first time, we would always recommend starting with one 10mg capsule at a time, ideally in the morning on an empty stomach to see how your body reacts to it. If you are not seeing any major benefits with capsule, increase your intake by a single capsule every 2 or 3 days until finding the right balance to treat your personal symptoms.
What About CBD Oil?
If you have chosen CBD oil over CBD capsules, it may be a little trickier to work out how many drops of CBD oil you need to take depending on your daily requirements and the strength of the product you bought.
Most bottles of CBD oil contain 10ml of product and come in strengths ranging from 300mg to 2,400mg – also known as 3% and 24% CBD oils. This simply means that in a 1ml drop of the 300mg bottle, you will have 30mg of CBD, whilst the same 1ml of the 2,400mg bottle will give you 8 times that amount for a total of 240mg of CBD.
So assuming you need to hit 25mg of CBD per day with, you will need:
|CBD / Bottle
|CBD / Drop
Assuming you are using the 500mg CBD oil for a daily dose of 25mg, you will need to take approximately 20 drops per day (25mg divided by 1.25mg per drop). You could break this down throughout the day by taking 8 drops first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, 6 drops early afternoon and 6 drops at night before going to bed.
If however you bought the 2400mg CBD oil for a daily dose of 25mg, you would only need to take 4 drops per day (25mg divided by 6mg per drop), which you could also spread across the day – 2 in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
As with everything, start with a small amount of CBD oil daily to make sure there’s no reaction, then increase slowly by a drop every 1-2 days until finding the right balance.
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
CBD capsules, like any other natural remedy, has been used throughout the ages for its medicinal properties. It was evidenced to have been used in ancient societies with the first recorded case in 2727 B.C in China. It was used to treat anything from poor memory and malaria to gout. It has since been used throughout the world to treat various ailments from anxiety to insomnia and menstrual pains.
Throughout the 1940s, there was extensive research into isolating the CBD compound from the other 100+ compounds found within the marijuana plant, due to its lack of psychoactive effects.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the US legally recognised the medicinal worth of CBD oil, and it was decriminalised in Oregon. There was a large emphasis on the clear distinction between the CBD compound and the THC compound within the marijuana plant.
The UK followed suit in 2016, making it legal to buy CBD oil to help treat a multitude of health issues, including but not limited to:
- Depression and anxiety disorders (PTSD, OCD, panic disorder or substance/addiction disorders)
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Heart issues
- Helps to reduce blood pressure and oxidative stress
- Fight bacteria
- Insomnia and sleep related issues
- Helps with symptoms of schizophrenia,
- Skin conditions (psoriasis/eczema)
- Alzheimer’s disease
In a study conducted by the Centre for Medical Cannabis, their results showed that one in six adults in the UK had tried CBD oil, proving that it is one of the fastest-growing, contemporary, well-being products on the market.
Figures also show that the rates of people using CBD oil were higher amongst the under 55 age range. Also, figures were higher amongst females, with 62% of them using CBD to treat anxiety related issues.
What to Expect when Taking CBD Capsules?
First-time users may experience relief immediately, as CBD is brand new to your ECS. However, this does depend on the ailment you are trying to improve. For example, one dose of CBD could relieve pain, reduce anxiety and reduce nausea but it wouldn’t stop seizures, cure your depression or diabetes.
If it took you a long time to get the symptom then the same will be said for reducing, preventing or eliminating it.
Immediate Relief (After 24 hours a noticeable difference is seen):
Pain, Inflammation, Migraines, Nausea, Anxiety, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Stress, Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Rheumatism and Motion Sickness.
Short Term Relief (Noticeable between 2-14 days):
Acne, Inflammation, ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Depression, Stress, Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Rheumatism, Endocrine Disorders, Obesity, OCD, Spinal Cord Injury and Rheumatism.
Long Term Relief (Noticeable between 2+ weeks):
ALS, Addiction, Alzheimer’s Disease, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Depression, Diabetes, Endocrine Disorders, Fatty Liver Disease, Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Huntington´s Disease, Kidney Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Mood Disorders, Neurodegeneration, Obesity, Parkinson´s Disease, Prion Disease, Schizophrenia and Traumatic Brain Injury.
As you can see from the table above, symptoms which occur quickly can be improved in the same short time frame. Progressive illnesses and their more severe side effects require longer exposure to CBD before a real difference can be seen.
This is just a general guide, literally every single person is different. No one person has the same biology, external factors, ailments and lifestyle.
What are the Side Effects of CBD?
Most people do not experience any side effects when taking CBD as this is a natural product. However, as with everything, some people may experience mild side effects from the hemp extract, including:
- Changes in appetite and weight
The best way to decrease adverse reactions is to simply lower your daily intake of CBD, or if taking CBD oil under the tongue, to mix it with your food and drink to mask the taste and reduce potential side effects as the CBD will be processed by the digestive system – which means slower absorption.
How To Choose Quality CBD?
As with anything you ingest, the source and quality of your CBD products are important. We would always recommend looking at five main aspects before choosing your CBD product.
CBD Oil from Organic Hemp
Hemp can be grown in just the same way as any other plant – mass-produced and using pesticides and GMOs for the greatest profit, or grown organically with care and attention to provide a fantastic end product.
The best CBD is produced from organic hemp that has benefited from plenty of rain during the growing process. While hemp can physically be grown in many countries, it grows best when the temperature is in the low twenties Celsius. Therefore, the location of the hemp farm is important to ensure the optimum environmental factors are accommodated.
And seeing as cannabis plants can be stressed out by the weather, resulting in a higher THC content (above 0.2%), it’s important to ensure that your CBD oil comes from organic hemp which has been grown in the right part of the world.
Less Than 0.2% THC
Cannabis flowers and extracts usually contain two cannabinoids known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Yet the exact percentage of each can vary greatly, depending on the plant variety and the growing technique used.
THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation, while CBD has been associated with health benefits.
The EU common agricultural policy states that cannabis plant can be grown for industrial uses, provided their THC content does not exceed 0.2 %. That’s in the plant, not in the CBD product you buy.
So when buying CBD oil from a shop or online retailer, be sure to check that their products contain less than 0.2% THC.
Clean Extraction Method
Once the hemp is grown and harvested, the CBD needs to be extracted from the plant. There are several methods for doing this, including the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). This produces the cleanest and purest CBD extract but can be expensive to do as the machinery required is not cheap.
Alternative methods include using solvents such as ethanol or plant oils (eg olive oil) to extract the CBD.
This can lead to less-pure CBD extract, as small amounts of solvent or oil can remain, although most companies using this type of extraction method will usually test their CBD extracts to ensure they are solvent free and safe to consume.
Tested by Independent Labs
Another thing we would recommend checking is whether or not your CBD oil has contaminants. That’s because cannabis plants readily absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals that may be in the soil or water.
To ensure your CBD oil is free of those harmful chemicals, it should be tested frequently while the hemp is growing, and finished products should also be tested, using validated methods.
The extract should be tested and certified by a third-party laboratory to confirm the quality of the CBD. Organic CBD should be GMO-free, pesticide-free, and as pure as possible. In the UK and EU, CBD must register THC content of 0.2% or lower.
Most reputable companies selling CBD oil in the UK publish their lab results on their website. Below are a few examples of companies that play the transparency card with their customer and share their lab results for each batch of CBD they produce:
Strength to Match your Needs
Finally, the CBD level within any product should be of a suitable strength to match your needs. Every person is different and their body will respond in a slightly different way, so the level may partially be down to personal preference.
However, higher concentrations might be more suitable for treating different ailments to lower concentrations, and it is wise to check the level of CBD in every product you use.
As a rule of thumb, people looking to use CBD for sleep, anxiety, digestion, relaxation or stress might take between 10mg and 25mg of CBD daily and use the lowest strength (300mg to 600mg), whilst those using CBD as a pain relief for conditions such as severe arthritis, back pain or migraines may want to take 30mg to 50mg of CBD per day and use higher concentration products (1200mg to 2400mg).
So remember that CBD oil comes in different concentration and that this will impact how many drops you need to take – for example Blessed 500mg CBD oil (5%) contains 1.25mg of CBD per drop, whilst their 1800mg CBD oil (18%) contains 4.5mg of CBD per drop.
Take the CBD Quiz
If after reading this guide you are still unsure about what CBD capsules to choose, simply take our CBD Quiz which has been designed specifically to identify the product and strength that is best suited to your personal needs.