New to CBD? We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the health benefits and effects of CBD products. We also list the Best CBD oils at the end of this article.
CBD Effects – 10 Health Benefits of 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”.
Preclinical and clinical studies show CBD possesses a wide range of therapeutic properties, including:
- Analgesic: CBD relieves pain
- Antiarthritic: CBD relieves and prevents arthritic symptoms
- Antiemetic: CBD prevents nausea and vomiting (e.g. during migraine attacks or cancer treatment)
- Anti-Inflammatory: CBD reduces inflammation (redness, swelling, and pain) in the body
- Headache Disorders: CBD reduces the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines
- Antidepressant: CBD reduces anxiety and depression
- Sleep: CBD helps fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night
- Muscle Recovery: CBD helps with muscle recovery
- Anticonvulsant & Neuroprotective: CBD prevents and reduces the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions and protects nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or impairment of function.
- Heart Health: CBD protects the heart by reducing inflammation
Choosing CBD, is a natural way to reduce pain, keep anxiety under control, improve sleep or fight the side effects of cancer medication. Best of all, CBD does not have any of the major side effects of traditional drugs.
In this article we discuss the 10 effects and health benefits of CBD based on research papers and peer-reviewed studies. We explain how CBD oil works and provide links to purchase high quality CBD oils we’ve tried and tested.
Take our CBD Quiz
If after reading this guide you are still unsure about what products 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.
CBD has been proven to have multiple health benefits – from relieving pain and reducing inflammation, to helping people suffering from anxiety disorders or insomnia.
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”.
Hemp vs Cannabis: 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 such as cookies or chocolates. 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.
CBD is viewed as a safe alternative to cannabis. This safety is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), who stated in the CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report (June 2018) that:
“CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential … To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
How Does CBD Work?
CBD products seem to possess a number of therapeutic properties, which have been relatively well-researched and are backed by various scientific research papers and double-blind studies. Whilst the health benefits will be varied, for example a CBD infused topical cream will interact with your body in a different to a CBD oil, it is good to understand that a lot of the health benefits of CBD come from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The human body contains a specialized system called the ECS (the endocannabinoid system), which aims is to regulate a variety of functions such as sleep, appetite, inflammation, memory, mood, reproduction, pain and immune system response. The body also produces endocannabinoids, which are simply neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
As the largest biological system of receptors in the body, the main role of the ECS is to maintain balance, or homeostasis, within the body.
For example, when you get a fever because of the flu. The ECS jumps into action to help you return to your normal healthy self. It does this by sending and reading signals with endocannabinoids, enzymes and receptors.
Endocannabinoids are produced naturally within the body as and when they are needed. Their purpose to keep natural function within the body running smoothly. So far, specialists have discovered 2 types of endocannabinoids:
- anandamide (AEA)
- 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
When the endocannabinoids realise something has changed within your body, and it is no longer in a state of homeostasis, it travels to a receptor to inform it.
Endocannabinoid receptors have been discovered all over the body on cell surfaces and CBD is believed to interact with specific receptors, specifically the CB1R and CB2R.
CB1, 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, 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 as well as inflammation in the body, along with other health benefits.
Below are 9 of the main effects of CBD on the human body.
10 Health Benefits of CBD
The benefits of CBD are vast and ever-growing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that there is “preliminary evidence” to show that CBD could benefit up to 14 various illnesses including:
- Alzheimer’s disease, there are approximately 1,000,000 dementia sufferers, in the UK.
- Parkinson’s disease, which affects 1 in 350 adults, in the UK.
- Diabetes, there are expected to be more than five million sufferers, in the UK, by 2025.
The above illnesses have multiple symptoms of which many could benefit highly from the consumption of CBD. But the health benefits of CBD do not stop there. Below are 9 effects of CBD that have been backed by science.
CBD for Pain Relief
If you are in pain, you can take CBD for pain relief as CBD has been proven to have strong analgesic properties, meaning that it helps relieve pain. But how?
The human body contains a specialized system called the ECS (the endocannabinoid system), which aims 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.
Additionally, CBD increases the level of serotonin, or 5-HT, a neurotransmitter that carries signals from one neuron to the other. By doing so, it helps reduce pain and inflammation in the body.
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.
Furthermore, a 2018 review of the relevant research also reports that cannabis seems promising as a method of relieving pain, including pain from headache.
CBD for Arthritis
CBD is known to have great antiarthritic properties, meaning that it does not only reduces pain, but that you can also use CBD for Arthritis, whether you suffer from RA or OA in order to prevent arthritic symptoms.
- 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
CBD for Cancer (Treatment Side Effects)
One of the main side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy is nausea and vomiting. This feeling can last from a few hours after the treatments to a few days and can be quite difficult for cancer patients to manage, especially as they often feel incredibly fatigued immediately after a session.
The good news is that CBD may be able to help as it has been proven to have antiemetic properties, meaning it helps prevent nausea and vomiting.
This discovery has been particularly useful for cancer patients. A study 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.
However, 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.
CBD for Inflammation
If you suffer from inflammation, be it acute inflammation which is short-lived and usually goes away within hours or days, or chronic inflammation which is long-lasting and goes on for months or even years, then you may be happy to hear that CBD has been proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Whilst inflammation is necessary to protect the body, inflammation and oxidative stress are involved in many diseases such as cancer, diabetes or asthma.
According to several studies between 2009 and 2021, CBD is able to reduce inflammation via its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, especially the CB2 receptors.
A 2020 review published on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website, shows that CBD has been shown to affect redox balance by modifying the level and activity of both oxidants and antioxidants, interrupting free radical (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging) chain reactions, and transforming them into less active forms.
Based on the current research results, the possibility of using CBD for the treatment of chronic inflammation diseases such as diabetes, diabetes-related cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular diseases (including stroke, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, and hypertension), cancer, arthritis, anxiety, psychosis, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease (i.e. Alzheimer’s) and skin disease is being considered.
CBD for Migraines & Headaches
If you are suffering from headaches and migraines, you can use CBD as a pain relief, but there is now evidence that you can also use CBD for migraines, in order to reduce the frequency or severity of your migraine attacks.
The results of a 2016 study indicate that medical cannabis may reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines significantly.
The study found that the frequency of headaches decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month with the use of medical cannabis (of which CBD is a component). These positive effects were reported by 40% of patients with the most common effects reported being the prevention of headaches and the decreased frequency of headaches.
CBD for Anxiety & Depression
Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. The good news however is that instead of relying on traditional antidepressant which have known side-effects, you can take CBD for Anxiety or CBD for Depression, as it has antidepressant-like properties, but no dependence or side-effects.
Anxiety will manifest itself differently for different people, but symptoms of anxiety tend to include changes in thoughts, behaviour and can also often involve physical feelings such as restlessness, feeling of dread or being on-edge, churning feeling in your stomach, feeling light-headed or dizzy, having pins and needles, experiencing headaches, backache or other aches and pains as well as faster breathing, nausea or hot flushes.
Not only are the symptoms of anxiety varied, but so are the ways in which anxiety can be experienced. 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. So when it comes to depression and anxiety-related disorders, it is important to understand the crucial role brain chemistry plays, especially in relation to the hippocampus and the amygdala.
- Hippocampus: The hippocampus is a complex part of the brain that plays a major role in cognitive and emotional functions. There is increasing evidence showing that adult hippocampal neurogenesis – the process by which the hippocampus regenerates thanks to neural stem cells producing new neurons – helps reduce stress and anxiety by boosting the endocrine response. Put it simply, people with attenuated (reduced) hippocampal neurogenesis are more likely to develop anxiety-related behaviours.
- Amygdala: The amygdala is a collection of cells near the base of the brain (there is one in each side of the brain) that is part of the brain’s limbic system. It is the area of the brain where emotions are given meaning and remembered. Research has shown that people who suffer from depression will experience a hyper-active amygdala.
CBD helps to ease the symptoms of depression by regulating the functions of the hippocampus and the amygdala, and therefore their effects on how our brain processes potentially anxiety ridden information or situations.
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.
CBD for Sleep & Insomnia
Whether it’s stress related or the buy-product of our daily habits such as extensive exposure to mobile phones or screens, a growing number of the UK population suffers from poor sleep or insomnia. Whilst traditional sleeping pills can help, they often leave us groggy and can also become quite addictive. using CBD for Sleep is a great way to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. But how does CBD help with 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.
If you suffer from nightmares and active behaviour such as sleepwalking you may be interested in the 2014 study, which studied the sleep cycle of patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The study found that CBD was able “to control the symptoms of REM sleep behaviour disorder“.
CBD for Muscle Recovery
When you exercise, especially when it is a strenuous workout or an exercise involving an eccentric component, it causes damage to what is known as the skeletal muscle myofibrils, the long filaments that run parallel to each other to form muscle (myo) fibers.
This exercise-induced muscle damage – known as EIMD – reduces muscle function and initiates an inflammatory response. Whilst this inflammation is a natural process required for muscle damage to repair, excessive inflammation can contribute to prolonged muscle soreness and delay your recovery.
According to a 2020 study looking at the link between CBD and Sports Performance, CBD regulates inflammatory processes, meaning that it has been reported to:
- Stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines
- Reduce immune cell accumulation (less immune cells means lower inflammatory response)
- Impede the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive molecules and free radicals derived from molecular oxygen which can cause irreversible damage to DNA as they oxidize and modify cellular components and prevent them from performing their original functions.
According to the same study, a high dose of CBD also lead to improvements in muscle strength and coordination, as well as reductions in tissue degeneration.
Whilst more studies need to be carried out to determine the exact benefits of CBD when it comes to muscle recovery and sports performance, it is not surprising to see lots of sportsmen and women who use CBD around the world.
Boxer Mike Tyson, British Rugby players, Dom Day and George Kruis and World Strongest Man 2017, Eddie Hall are a few of the known sportsmen who supplement CBD into their recovery programmes.
However, it is worth noting that whilst CBD is a natural substance it is not banned by the UK Anti Doping Agency, THC is on the banned list. So professional athletes looking to use CBD should always take broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate and avoid full-spectrum CBD.
CBD for Epilepsy & Seizures
CBD appears to have neuroprotective and anticonvulsant properties, meaning that it helps protect nerve cells against damage and helps prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions.
Using CBD for Epilepsy is particularly interesting for patients suffering from neurological disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), 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 Epilepsy and according to the Epilepsy Society, medical cannabis 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.
CBD for 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 defense 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.
Other Benefits of CBD
Other ailments CBD is believed to be able to reduce the effects of are nausea linked to motion-sickness and as a side effect of chemotherapy, allergies, acne and menstrual cramps. Below is a list of relevant articles touching on some of the other health benefits of CBD.
8 Celebrities Using CBD
A large number of celebrities have been using CBD products for personal health reasons and have talked extensively about the benefits they’ve experienced. These include.
Whoopi Goldberg – Glaucoma
The Sister Act actress is a well-known cannabinoid advocate and has used CBD for years in order to treat the pain caused by glaucoma, a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. If not diagnosed early or left untreated, Glaucoma can ultimately lead to loss of vision.
She even went a step further when she and Maya Elisabeth started a CBD company called Maya & Whoopi in 2016 – to sell CBD oil, edibles, creams and more. Unfortunately the company stopped its operations a few years later, but Whoopi remains a huge advocate of CBD and medical cannabis.
Joe Rogan – Anxiety & Muscle Recovery
The comedian, UFC commentator and podcaster has spoken openly and extensively about the health benefits of CBD on his podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’.
In one of his 2019 episode with Maynard James Keenan Joe said: “I think CBD is one of the best things I have tried for anxiety, because CBD does something to alleviate anxiety. CBD oil just puts you in a great place. Topical CBD is probably the best thing I have ever found to alleviate muscle stiffness and soreness.”
He went a step further and launched a CBD-infused energy drink in collaboration with beverage company, Kill Cliff. Joe Rogan’s energy drink is called “Flaming Joe” and contains up to 25gm of pure CBD derived from broad-spectrum hemp, meaning that it doe snot have any THC at all.
Olivia Newton-John – Cancer
The singer and actress Olivia Newton-John announced in 2017 that she had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which was a return of the breast cancer she battled in the 1990s.
In an interview, Olivia Newton-John said about CBD: “I’m going through my third bout cancer treatment, and medicinal cannabis has been so important for me. I absolutely believe all patients should have the right to try. It is a matter of common-sense, and it is a compassionate thing to do for people.”
Her husband, John Easterling, even went a step further and formulated its own medicinal cannabis to help his wife through her cancer journey. The unique formula, was recently acquired by CBD company Cann Global, which signed an agreement for the exclusive rights to the IP of the medical cannabis blends, called “Olivia’s Choice.”
Morgan Freeman – Fibromyalgia
The actor, director and narrator, who is known for his roles in movies such as The ShawShank Redemption, Se7ven, Invictus Nelson Mandela, Driving Miss Daisy or Million Dollar Baby revealed in an interview on a US talk show, how a near-fatal car crash in 2008 left him with extensive nerve damage in his hand and that he had been suffering from fibromyalgia for years, a painful condition whose symptoms include widespread pain, muscle stiffness and soreness, digestive issues, fatigue as well as sleeping difficulties and anxiety.
Freeman is an outspoken advocate for fibromyalgia awareness and revealed in an interview with Esquire Magazine, that he was not able to do certain activities anymore, such as sailing, due to his fibromyalgia.
The actor has been using CBD to reduce inflammation and soothe his chronic pain and even said in an interview when asked about his CBD use: “Without this stuff, I’d be in trouble.”
Michael J. Fox – Parkinson’s Disease
The Back to the Future and Teen Wolf star was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991, at only 29 years old. This progressive neurodegenerative disease, which occurs when brain cells that produce dopamine— the chemical in charge of coordinating movement— stops working, can cause muscle tremors, stiffness as well as slowness and balance problems.
Parkinson’s disease can have a devastating impact on one’s ability to get on with their daily life and lead to mental health problems such as depression.
Michael J Fox has been a long time advocate of medical marijuana and CBD oil to manage the symptoms linked to Parkinson’s disease. By raising the levels of dopamine in the body naturally, CBD reduces the involuntary shaking and muscle seizures linked to Parkinson’s disease, whilst at the same time lessening the pain experienced around sore joints.
The antidepressant properties of CBD have also helped Michael J Fox managed his anxiety and increase his mood levels.
He believes in medicinal cannabis so much his foundation – the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) – is doing its best to ensure that more people can get access to CBD by supporting three specific reform bills in the U.S., to make it easier for companies to pursue cannabis research, help veterans get access to cannabis and change the classification of cannabis to facilitate research efforts into potential benefits.
Sir Patrick Stewart – Arthritis
The English actor, director, and producer is known worldwide for his roles in movies such as X-Men, Logan, Mcbeth or Star Trek. What is not well-known is the fact that Sir Patrick Stewart suffers from ortho-arthritis in both his hands. This genetically-based can cause badly badly distorted and painful hands.
To treat his symptoms and ease the pain, Sir Patrick Stewart was prescribed cannabis-based sprays and ointments by his doctor, which he uses to spray on his fingers and joints several times a day.
He is such an advocate of medicinal cannabis that he expressed concerns that access to medical cannabis is still difficult in the UK and urged the UK Government to relax prescription guidelines for medical marijuana so that people suffering from similar conditions could too enjoy the health benefits of CBD.
Jennifer Aniston – Stress & Anxiety
After years in the spotlight playing Rachel in U.S. sitcom Friends, Jennifer Aniston revealed that she had been suffering from anxiety and stress her whole life.
To help keep her anxiety under control, Jennifer Aniston turned to the calming effects of CBD oil and revealed in an interview with US Weekly that ‘CBD helps with pain, stress and anxiety. It has all the benefits of Marijuana without the high’.
Montel Williams – Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
A little over 20 years ago, Montel Williams, the American television host, actor and motivational speaker learned that he was suffering from relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, in which worsening symptoms are followed by periods of remission.
Williams experiences “sharp and on-going neuropathic pain” in his feet and legs as well as random bouts of vision loss and muscle pain. Whilst the news left him depressed for months, Williams vowed to make fighting the neurodegenerative disease his life’s mission and that he would not allow MS to get the best of him.
Now in his 60’s, Williams is one of CBD’s most high-profile advocates and has spoken about the health benefits of CBD on numerous occasions.
He even launched is Montel Williams official CBD oil, a full spectrum CBD oil made directly from the cannabis plant to provide users with the full entourage effect of the plant.
When asked about his CBD consumption habits, Williams said, “I try to get at least 500 milligrams of CBD in my body per day, and I’ve noticed that my THC consumption has gone down. I haven’t needed it as much to deal with some of my ongoing struggle with MS, though I continue to use it on a day-to-day basis.”
How to Take CBD?
CBD can be consumed in may different ways and concentration will often vary from one product to another, so be sure to read the following.
CBD oil can be used for a number of different reasons, including but not limited to pain relief, to improve sleep and insomnia, or for anxiety and depression.
CBD oil is simply an oil that is derived from the hemp plant. CBD extract from the hemp plant is mixed with a carrier oil (MCT oil, hemp seed oil and olive oil are the most common carrier oils for CBD products), in various concentrations to create the finished product.
The oil carrier is intended to have no effect on the effectiveness of the product but can alter its taste. CBD oil is sold in bottled form and known as a “tincture”, literally meaning something that is imbued with an amount of something else – for example, hemp seed oil that contains CBD extract. Most CBD oils come in 10ml bottles, but be aware that some brands sell CBD oil in 20ml and 30ml bottles which will affect the concentration.
CBD oil can be flavoured (mint, orange or lemon) or natural (just CBD and the oil carrier). Whilst flavoured options can be beneficial if you don’t like the taste of the pure extract, we would always recommend going for the natural option if the grassy or earthy taste of CBD oil doesn’t bother, as the less ingredients, the better.
If you want to buy CBD oil, check out the below recommendations from the CBD Unboxed team, as we’ve tried and tested over 150 different CBD brands.
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.
Capsules can be bought in bottles containing of 7, 28, 30, 60 and array of concentrations, 5mg – 50mg per capsule.
If you want to buy CBD capsules, check out our article featuring the Best CBD capsules.
CBD gummies are exactly what they sound like – edible gummy bear sweets that contain Cannabidiol (CBD) and that can be used for a number of different reasons, including but not limited to pain relief, to improve sleep and insomnia, or for anxiety and depression.
They are one of the most convenient and discreet way of taking CBD as they are portable, tasty and contain a fixed amount of CBD per gummy bear, meaning you won’t need to worry about counting drops, as you would need to do with CBD oil.
CBD gummies are made in the same way as regular gummies, only with CBD extracts infused into the gelatine as part of the manufacturing process, the quantity of CBD varying depending on the strength of the bottle (from 10mg to 50mg+ per gummy).
A packet or jar of gummies usually has 30 or 60 gummies in it and the CBD strength ranges from 5mg-30mg per gummy. Gummies are not usually safe for vegans as they can contain bovine gelatine, so be sure to check what gelatine they are using.
If you want to buy CBD gummies, check out our article featuring the Best CBD gummies.
CBD Topicals & Creams
If your aim is to improve muscle recovery post workout, treat an inflamed muscle or tendon or simply to look after your skin, then CBD topicals may be a great option for you. Whilst these tend to vary, the most common topicals include:
- CBD body ad massage oils
- CBD infused creams
- CBD balms
- CBD salves
CBD topicals are quickly absorbed to help calm and soothe stressed out skin and tend to be rich in additional compounds such as antioxidants; cannabidiol, fatty acids, vitamin A or vitamin E, which protect the skin from mild irritation, redness and the signs of aging
However, whilst CBD balms are great, they are only for topical use and are often used in conjunction with other CBD products such as CBD oils or capsules.
As the UK population has become more and more health conscious, they have ditched sugary drinks such as sodas in favour of healthier options. And whilst CBD tinctures remain the most common way to consume CBD, CBD drinks have become the perfect alternative to sodas, especially since CBD is known to have several health and anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s important however, to make the difference between homemade CBD drinks and beverages that have been specifically developed by CBD manufacturers.
If you are adding your own CBD to a drink like water or even to your food, the vast majority of the CBD is going to get metabolised in your gut resulting in your intestines and your liver enzymes breaking down most of the CBD you ingested. In other words, your body is only going to absorb a tiny fraction of the CBD you originally added to your drink or food. This makes homemade CBD drinks a poor way of getting your CBD intake as there is a lot of wastage through the digestive system resulting in less than 5% of the CBD being absorbed by the body.
To bypass this problem, companies making CBD infused drinks have had to put another agent with CBD to help it dissolve with the main drink, be it water, wine or coffee.
CBD-infused drinks developed by manufacturers on the other hands, have benefited from years of research to figure out the best way to infuse the drinks with CBD to maximise its absorption. To do so, they have copied emulsion techniques that have been used in the culinary and pharmaceutical industries and use drug-delivery systems such as nano-lipid spheres or emulsifiers to increase the bioavailability of CBD drinks.
These binding agents hold onto tiny droplets of water and CBD oil molecules, which then disperse throughout the liquid in a way that appears completely dissolved. Without this process of ‘nanoemulsion’ the water and CBD oil molecules would separate.
CBD drinks contain on average 15-30mg of CBD per serving size, but new products have recently come onto the market offering 10mg of CBD per serving size whilst other have targeted the upper end of that scale with 40+ mg of CBD per drink.
CBD E-Liquids & Vapes
Whilst CBD vape or vape pens are commonly referred as using CBD oil, it is important to note that the CBD oil used for vaping is different from traditional CBD oil (called CBD tinctures).
This can be quite confusing for people who have never used CBD products before as CBD tinctures and CBD used for vaping or inhaling are both referred to as ‘CBD oil’. The best way to not get mixed-up is to differentiate them by calling CBD tinctures (which are ingested) “CBD oil” and by calling vaping products either “CBD vape oil”, “CBD vape juice” or “CBD distillate”.
CBD tinctures are strictly for ingestion purpose and should not be used for inhalation or vaping as these products were not designed to be exposed to high heats for vaporisation, unlike CBD vape juices and e-liquids.
CBD vape oil is made using a similar process to standard CBD oil in that it is derived from the hemp plant and use CBD extract. However, unlike CBD oil which use MCT or Olive oil as a carrier, CBD vape juices use thinning agents such as Vegetable Glycerin (known as VG), a thick, sweet liquid or Propylene Glycol (known as PG), a much thinner and tasteless liquid. It is the presence of these thinning agents that make the CBD juice ok to vape or inhale.
Products using Propylene Glycol tend to produce more of a “throat hit” than Vegetable Glycerin does, and as a result may simulate the feel of smoking better.
So what are the suitable types of CBD oil that can be used for vaping and inhaling. They broadly fall under five categories, with some products being disposable and others which can be refilled, a more cost-effective option in the long run:
Disposable CBD vape pens
As the name indicates, these CBD vape pens are small cigarette style pens which have been pre-filled with CBD vape oil and are disposable, meaning you will not be able to refill them. They work thanks to a built-in coil and battery. When the person smoking sucks on the mouthpiece of the vape pen, the battery sends a charge to the coil which causes the temperature to rise in the atomizer. This process heats-up the CBD vape oil in the cartridge and transforms it into vapor which can then be inhaled.
CBD vape pens are a great way to start as you do not need to worry about how they work or refilling them. Simply turn them on and start vaping. However, their longevity is usually limited to 100-150 large inhalations which is not idea if you are a heavier CBD smoker.
Refillable CBD vape pens
These work exactly in the same way as disposable CBD vape pens but are rechargeable so you can fill it up with your own CBD vape oil. It is worth noting that refillable CBD vape pens often produce more smoke, vapor and flavour than disposable ones as the built quality is better. Whilst they may require some basic maintenance such as changing the coil or cleaning the tank, they tend to be more cost-effective in the long run. However, they may not be as versatile as CBD pods since the oil inside the cartridge cannot be swapped for nicotine one without having to dispose of the CBD vape oil first.
JUUL e-cigarettes have become incredibly popular and use their own proprietary technology and vape pods. Their e-cigarettes look like small USB keys which can be recharged in an hour via USB port. They are a modern take on e-cigarettes and as such do not use traditional vape oil but small vape pods which are simply inserted into the e-cigarette.
Users can switch between standard nicotine pods (different strengths available) and compatible JULL CBD pods in an instant, making it the ideal solution for those who want to consume both nicotine and CBD without the hassle of having to carry two vape pens or having to refill them.
As with CBD oil cartridges, be sure to choose a product that is compatible with your e-cigarette. Whilst a lot of pods look the same as JUUL pods, be aware that they may not be compatible.
If you want to buy a vape pen, check out our article featuring the Best CBD vape pens.
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.
CBD Dosage Table
We would first recommend using the above CBD dosage table to determine how much CBD you should consume on a daily basis.
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. For anxiety and depression, the dose can vary from 20mg to 50mg or more.
As a rule of thumb, a person weighting between 10.5 and 17 stones (approximately 150 and 240 lbs) may need between 20mg and 40mg of CBD per day depending on the severity of their symptoms.
When using CBD for the first time, we would always recommend starting with one or two drops of the 3% or 6% CBD oil placed under the tongue (sublingual) and holding it there for at least 30 seconds so it can absorb into the bloodstream.
Taking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to see how your body reacts to it is also recommended. If you are not seeing any major benefits with a single drop, increase your intake by a single drop every 2 or 3 days until finding the right balance to treat your personal symptoms.
Finally, as CBD remains a novel food, it is worth noting that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends that healthy adults do not take more than 70mg a day, unless advised by a medical professional.
How Many CBD Oil Drops?
Whilst it may be confusing at the beginning, it’s incredibly simple 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
*Based on 10ml bottles
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
- 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.
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 as it will be processed by the digestive system – which means slower absorption. The downside of mixing it with your food is a decreased bioavailability so CBD may not work as well for you.
10 Recommended CBD Oils
With over 150 CBD brands on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right CBD product. 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 7 key areas, including efficacy, taste, value for money, customer reviews, lab certification, product range, shipping & delivery and customer reviews.
Some of the most popular CBD brands we have reviewed to date include:
- Bud & Tender CBD Review
- Blessed CBD Review
- Provacan CBD Review
- Hempura CBD Review
- Endoca CBD Review
- Naturecan CBD Review
- Medterra CBD Review
- Love CBD Review
- Four Five CBD Review
Based on our findings and whilst every person will be different, we would recommend the below CBD oils to start with.
Take the CBD Quiz
Still unsure what product is best for you? Take our CBD Quiz to find out which CBD product, brand and strength is best suited to your personal needs.