- What Is CBD Used For?
What Is CBD Used For?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a naturally occurring compound present in the cannabis sativa plant. As a non-psychoactive compound, CBD does not produce the "high" associated with marijuana use but instead is used to deliver a range of potential therapeutic effects.
CBD is commonly used as a supplement to aid the body's endocannabinoid system, which manages several bodily functions such as appetite, sleep, pain relief, and mood.
Medically prescribed CBD has also shown promise in treating various medical conditions, from epilepsy and anxiety disorders to chronic pain and inflammation.
In this article, we will explore the various ways you can use CBD as a supplement, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and the current state of research on its efficacy.
The Benefits of CBD When Used as a Supplement
CBD has gained significant attention recently for its potential health benefits. As a natural compound found in the cannabis plant, it is often used as a supplement to support overall well-being and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key benefits of using CBD as a dietary supplement:
Maintaining Health - Health-conscious people often use CBD supplements to support general health and well-being, much like other dietary supplements. CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which may help maintain balance and promote overall wellness.
Addressing Deficiencies - Similar to how vitamin C supplements can be taken when the body is deficient in vitamin C, CBD can be used to supplement the endocannabinoid system when there is a lack of naturally occurring cannabinoids like AEA and 2-AG. This helps raise the endocannabinoid tone and supports many of the body's crucial regulatory processes.
Supporting the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) - The ECS regulates a wide range of processes in the body, including pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and immune function. By supplementing with CBD, individuals can support the proper functioning of this vital system and promote overall health.
It is important to note that CBD supplements should not be marketed as drugs, and medical claims regarding improvements in pain, sleep, inflammation, or other conditions are not allowed. CBD supplement products must clearly state that they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
In the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) limits the amount of CBD in supplements to 70mg per day to ensure safe consumption.
CBD supplements offer a natural and effective way to support the ECS and promote overall health. By understanding the benefits and limitations of CBD as a supplement, individuals can make informed decisions about incorporating this powerful compound into their daily wellness routine.
CBD When Used as a Medicine
Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. When used as a medicine, CBD can help treat medical conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia.
However, not all CBD products are created equal, and only specific licensed medications containing CBD are approved for use by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
CBD on the NHS
On the NHS, CBD can be used to treat specific conditions through licensed medications. One such medication is Epidyolex, which has market authorisation to treat Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
Epidyolex is produced by GW Pharma and is available on the NHS. Each millilitre of Epidyolex solution contains 79 mg anhydrous ethanol, 736 mg refined sesame oil, 0.0003 mg benzyl alcohol, Sucralose (E955), and strawberry flavour. Epidiolex oral liquid (100 mg/mL) costs around $1,001 (£838) for a supply of 60 millilitres, providing 6000mg of CBD for £838.
Another NHS-approved medication containing CBD is Sativex, a THC and CBD spray utilised to manage moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Sativex is a mix of CBD and THC; each 100-microlitre spray contains 2.7 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD. SATIVEX is a registered trademark of GW Pharma Limited, United Kingdom.
It is crucial to note that over-the-counter CBD supplements are not in the same format as NHS-approved drugs containing CBD. There are variations in overall compounds between supplements and medications, which means that the effectiveness and safety of over-the-counter CBD products may differ from those approved for medical use.
Always consult a healthcare professional before using any CBD product to ensure it is appropriate for your specific needs and does not interact with other medications or underlying conditions.
CBD in a CBMP
Cannabis-Based Medicinal Products (CBMP) or Cannabis-Based Products for Medicinal use (CBPM) are unlicensed medications that contain cannabis and cannabis-based derivatives.
These products are used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including but not limited to chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome, migraines, cluster headaches, neuropathic pain, palliative care, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn's disease, cancer pain and HIV.
CBD can also be a part of a private medical cannabis prescription in the form of a CBPM. Most CBPMs usually have THC and CBD, unlike CBD supplements, which cannot contain controlled cannabinoids like THC. It is important to note that CBPMs can only be prescribed as a last resort after trying other drugs and can be accessed through a private clinic.
There is no CBD consumption limit when a doctor prescribes a CBPM. The doctor will work closely with the patient to assess the required dose, considering the patient's specific condition, symptoms, and response to treatment. This personalised approach ensures that the patient receives the most effective and safe treatment possible.
CBD in a CBPM offers a potential alternative treatment option for patients who have exhausted other conventional medications without success. With the guidance of a qualified medical professional, patients can explore the benefits of CBD as part of a CBPM to manage their symptoms, relieve pain, and improve their overall quality of life.
How to Legally Access CBD Products in the UK
In the United Kingdom, accessing CBD products legally depends on meeting specific criteria and regulations. The following information will summarise how to legally access CBD products in the UK, focusing on CBD supplements and NHS CBD medicines.
Are CBD Supplements Legal in the UK?
Yes, CBD products sold as supplements are legal in the UK as long as they fulfil the requirements for exemption from the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. (MDR2001). These criteria include:
1. The product must not be sold as a medicine.
2. Products designed for consumption by human beings or animals must not contain any controlled cannabinoids, such as THC, THCV, and CBN.
Legal CBD supplements can be purchased online or found in pharmacies and health food shops. These products are available in various forms, including oils, capsules, gummies, and pastes. However, because of the varying quality of cannabidiol extracts sold online, it is crucial to make sure that the CBD product you select meets the legal criteria mentioned above to avoid any legal complications.
Are NHS CBD Medicines Legal in the UK?
NHS CBD medicines are legal in the UK if prescribed by a specialist hospital doctor. However, they are only legal to treat specific conditions. Epidyolex is an example of a medication that is authorised for use as an additional therapy for seizures related to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome (two uncommon types of epilepsy) in combination with clobazam for patients who are aged two years and above.
Epidyolex is included in Schedule 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 ('the 2001 Regulations'), which indicates that it is exempted from the prohibition on possession, exportation, and importation under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ('the 1971 Act').
Another CBD medicine available on prescription is Sativex, which contains both CBD and THC. This medication is also legal if prescribed by a specialist hospital doctor and is primarily used to treat muscle stiffness and spasms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
CBD products are permissible in the United Kingdom, provided that they comply with specific requirements and regulations. CBD supplements can be purchased online or in stores, while NHS CBD medicines are only legal when prescribed for specific medical conditions.
Always ensure that your CBD product meets the legal requirements to avoid any potential health issues afterwards.
Are CBD CBMPs Legal in the UK?
Yes, CBMPs containing CBD and other controlled cannabinoids are legal in the UK with a doctor's prescription. CBMPs were categorised under Schedule 2 to the 2001 Regulations in 2018 and removed from Part 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015.
As a result of this modification in the law, CBMPs could be prescribed for medicinal purposes in the UK if they are clinically suitable. To obtain a prescription for a CBMP, a patient must have a qualifying condition, such as certain pain conditions, neurological disorders, gastroenterological issues, side effects from cancer treatment, and more.
Additionally, the patient must have sought treatment through other means before being considered for a CBMP prescription.
Notably, CBMPs can only be prescribed by specialist hospital doctors, not general practitioners (GPs). Furthermore, many CBMPs in the UK are unlicensed, meaning they have not yet met strict safety and quality standards.
As with all unlicensed medications, the decision to prescribe CBMPs should be based on an assessment of the individual patient and may be necessary when no suitable licensed medicine is available to meet the patient's needs.
CBD products without controlled cannabinoids, such as oils, gummies, capsules, and other edibles, must meet specific criteria to be considered legal in the UK. These products must not be sold as medicines, must not contain any controlled cannabinoids such as THC, THCV. Additionally, these products require Novel Foods authorisation from the Food Standards Agency.
In summary, CBMPs containing CBD and other controlled cannabinoids are legal in the UK with a doctor's prescription. In contrast, CBD products without controlled cannabinoids are legal as long as they meet specific criteria and have Novel Foods authorisation.
How Many People in the UK Use CBD?
The popularity of CBD in the United Kingdom has grown significantly in recent years, with the country becoming the second-largest consumer cannabinoid market in the world, behind the United States. With an increasing number of individuals recognising the potential advantages of CBD, the number of users is on the rise.
In this section, we will explore the extent of CBD usage in the UK, focusing on its use as a supplement and the number of licensed C. sativa L. prescriptions from the NHS.
How Many People Use CBD as a Supplement?
It is estimated that up to eight million adults in the UK use CBD, with around 70% of consumers using CBD tinctures or capsules. This suggests that most consumers use CBD regularly for its overall wellness benefits.
In the UK, CBD users spend about £25 every month on CBD products, demonstrating a significant demand for these supplements.
How Many People Use Licensed Cannabis Prescriptions from the NHS?
According to figures released by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA), there have been 11,976 NHS prescriptions for licensed cannabis medicines and 140 private prescriptions for these products. It is noteworthy that not all of these prescriptions will feature CBD, as they could consist of other cannabis-based medicines.
These licensed cannabis medicines include Sativex, Epidyolex, and Nabilone, which are prescribed for specific conditions such as certain forms of epilepsy and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
How Many People Use Unlicensed CBMPs in the UK?
Unlicensed cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMP) have also seen significant usage in the UK. Between November 2018 and July 2022, 89,239 prescriptions for unlicensed cannabis medications were dispensed, as stated by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA).
However, all of these were obtained through the private sector, with fewer than five NHS prescriptions for unlicensed products. It is worth noting that not all of these unlicensed CBMPs may comprise CBD, as they could contain other cannabis-derived substances.
The use of CBD and cannabis-based medicinal products in the UK has grown substantially in recent years. With millions of adults using CBD as a supplement and thousands of licensed and unlicensed cannabis prescriptions being issued, it is clear that the demand for these cannabis products is strong.
As the industry continues to mature and regulations evolve, it is likely that the number of people using CBD and other cannabis-based medicines in the UK will continue to rise.
Is CBD Safe to Consume?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential therapeutic benefits. However, the question of its safety remains a concern for many people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD." This statement suggests that CBD is generally considered safe for consumption.
Numerous human studies and clinical trials also have been carried out to assess the safety of CBD. An example of this is a 2017 research review, which indicated that humans can tolerate up to 1,500 mg of CBD per day without adverse effects.
In another study, the safety and effectiveness of 1,000 mg/day CBD were assessed in patients with schizophrenia. After six weeks of treatment, the CBD group had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms, and CBD was well-tolerated, with adverse effects similar between the CBD and placebo groups.
Another study on mice found that a single acute administration of a low 3 mg/kg CBD dose had an anxiolytic effect, while repeated administration of a 3 or 10 mg/kg dose exerted antidepressant effects by cell proliferation and neurogenesis. This study's authors suggested an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve for CBD's effects on anxiety, indicating that CBD may be safe at certain dosages.
While CBD is generally recognised as safe, it is essential to note that it can cause side effects in some individuals, such as dry mouth, diarrhoea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. Additionally, CBD can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners.
As a result, it is vital to seek advice from a healthcare provider before commencing any CBD regimen, particularly if you are currently taking other medications or have pre-existing health conditions.
CBD is considered safe for consumption, according to the World Health Organization and various studies. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge the possible side effects of CBD and safety concerns regarding interactions with other medicines. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before integrating CBD into your regular routine.
Can I Take CBD Alongside Other Medication?
Understanding the possible interactions between CBD and other medications is essential before using it as a supplement or treatment.
CBD Used as a Supplement
When considering using CBD as a supplement, it is crucial to note that it should not be taken with other medications, especially if the P450 enzyme is involved in processing your medication.
CBD can interfere with the P450 enzyme system, which is responsible for metabolising many drugs. This interference could lead to increased side effects or altered absorption rates of certain medications.
For instance, CBD can affect the way time-released drugs are absorbed, potentially causing unintended consequences. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends not taking CBD with other medications without consulting a healthcare professional.
CBD on the NHS
Under specific circumstances and with guidance from a doctor, prescribed CBD medication may be taken alongside certain other medications. For example, Epidyolex, a CBD-based medication approved for treating certain forms of epilepsy, is often prescribed alongside clobazam (a benzodiazepine).
It is essential to follow your doctor's recommendations and closely monitor any potential interactions or side effects when using CBD in conjunction with other medications.
CBD with Medical Prescription
In some cases, CBD can be prescribed alongside other medications under strict guidance from a doctor and with close monitoring. This may also include medications containing THC, another active compound found in hemp. It is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before using CBD alongside any prescription medications to ensure safety and efficacy.
While CBD has shown promise in treating various conditions, it is essential to be cautious when using it alongside other medications. It is recommended to seek advice from a healthcare provider before adding CBD to your treatment plan and carefully observe any interactions, potential risks or side effects.
How Much CBD Should I Use?
When considering the use of CBD, it's essential to understand that the appropriate dosage varies for each individual. Factors such as body weight, the condition being treated, and individual body chemistry all play a role in determining the right amount of CBD to use.
This section will cover the various methods of utilising CBD supplements, NHS CBD medications, and CBMPs.
With CBD supplements, finding the right dosage involves trial and error. Determining the appropriate dosage of CBD depends significantly on the current state of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Some people may benefit from taking CBD supplements as needed, similar to how the ECS produces endocannabinoids on demand.
Others with chronically low ECS tone may need to supplement daily – morning, day, and night – to raise their level of endocannabinoid activity. It's important to note that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends no more than 70mg of CBD per day when used as a supplement.
A doctor will guide patients using NHS-prescribed CBD medications, such as Epidyolex, on the appropriate dosage and usage. Following the doctor's recommendations is crucial to ensure the safe and effective use of CBD medications.
When using Cannabis-Based Medicinal Products (CBMP), a doctor will also guide the patient on the proper dosage and usage. In addition to determining the right amount of CBD, the doctor must also decide the appropriate ratio of THC to CBD.
This decision is based on individual factors and the specific condition being treated. The ratio of CBD to THC can vary greatly, ranging from CBD-dominant to THC-dominant combinations, depending on the desired therapeutic effects.
Determining the right amount of CBD to use depends on various factors and the type of product being used. Seeking advice from a healthcare professional is crucial to obtain guidance on the proper use of CBD, whether in the form of a supplement, NHS medication, or CBMP.
By following expert advice and adjusting dosages as needed, individuals can find the most effective and safe way to incorporate CBD into their treatment plans.
Which Type of CBD Should I Look To Get?
The choice of CBD type will depend on your needs, preferences, and personal circumstances. Various options are available, from supplements to prescription medications provided by the NHS or private clinics.
If you want to try CBD, you can simply buy CBD oil to see how you get on. You can even try a free 20% CBD oil 1ml from Bud & Tender with code: FREESAMPLE20 (p&p £3.50). This is an easy and accessible way to explore the potential benefits of CBD without committing to a long-term treatment plan.
The NHS may provide certain CBD-based medications for individuals with specific conditions.
If you have rare forms of epilepsy, such as the seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, you can speak with the NHS about Epidyolex. If you have moderate to severe muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, you can discuss the possibility of using Sativex with the NHS.
If you have found that CBD hasn't quite worked for you or have a severe medical condition requiring controlled cannabinoids like THC alongside CBD, then you need to speak with a private medical cannabis clinic.
On average, private cannabis prescriptions cost around £3,600 a year. These clinics can provide personalised treatment plans and access to a wider range of CBMP to suit your specific needs.
Overall, the type of CBD you should look to get depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Whether you choose to try a supplement, seek help from the NHS, or consult a private clinic, it's essential to do thorough research and consult with healthcare professionals to ensure you're making the best decision for your health and well-being.