What to watch out for when buying CBD Oil in the UK

CBD is one of the most popular wellness substances in recent years, with acres of news coverage tracking every development of the benefits, uses, and legal status of this useful compound. Indeed, according to the Cannabis Trades Association UK, the number of people purchasing CBD leapt up from from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018. Due to the increased media attention we can be certain that in 2019 this number is much higher. 

When something becomes a success, you can guarantee rogue elements will move in to take advantage of the lack of reliable information. More than most, CBD is susceptible to this, for a wide variety of reasons, but largely because the sale of CBD oil is such a new industry so public understanding is often hazy, and the regulation of it is still in a state of flux. Calls for more restrictions often come from those who are looking to monetise it (here’s looking at you, major pharmaceutical companies) but sadly, the industry in the UK and beyond has been flooded with inferior products that play on the current hype around CBD but offer few of the benefits. 

This is clearly hazardous for the CBD industry at large, and more importantly, risky for the consumer. If someone buys a CBD oil but it contains none of the active ingredient then they might consider it just another over-hyped scam and tick it off their list, never to try again – when in reality, they could benefit from a legitimate CBD oil.

Disregarding the obvious fakes, you’ll find a number of products that are using the term CBD but offer none of the benefits. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re buying legitimate CBD oil that work as intended. 

One of the most important issues is if the CBD oil is actually legal. Most cannabinoids are listed as controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but CBD is listed as an exception so is legal in the UK, provided it comes from an EU-approved industrial hemp strain. UK law states that so long as the product does not contain more than 0.2% THC it is legal, providing the THC cannot be easily separated. This means the CBD oil you buy has to be analysed by a laboratory to ensure it does not go above this 0.2% limit. If you’re buying your CBD oils from a bloke down the pub or at a car boot sale, it’s highly unlikely the items have undergone this stringent testing, meaning they have either little to no active CBD, or even worse, contains an illegal amount of THC. Being in possession of this can put you at risk of arrest, and using it can cause unpleasant psychoactive problems. 

Consumer conscious UK CBD retailers like CBD Shopy make sure all products listed on their website have gone through strict third party laboratory testing to ensure they’re exactly what we say they are. For example, if you look at their page for Hempura full-spectrum CBD oil you’ll see a certificate of analysis. This is a hugely important piece of information that shows the precise amount of CBD in each capsule, as well details about all the other cannabinoids – including THC. It proves scientifically that the amount of CBD is exactly as stated and that the amount of THC is within the same legal limits. Never buy any CBD product that doesn’t include this certificate. If the vendor doesn’t have this information on clear view, it’s a strong indicator that what they’re sellng is either illegal or completely ineffective – or sometimes both. Don’t be tempted to cut corners for the sake of saving a few pounds. 

Something we’ve noticed lately is the rise of clearly ineffectual goods that have attached the term CBD to take advantage of the media hype. If something sounds like a gimmick, it more than likely is. CBD water is one of the latest crazes you should avoid. It’s invariably more expensive than most other CBD items while containing only minimal amounts of CBD. Not only this, CBD reduces in efficacy when exposed to air or light, and as these are often sold in clear bottles the active CBD is likely to have degraded entirely. Be cautious when it comes to products like CBD chewing gum, skin patches and lube – there’s a good reason the most popular CBD products are tinctures, capsules and balms, and it’s because they’re the most effective methods of getting CBD into your system. 

Also be aware of how some companies list the CBD content on their products. Some major brands list this solely as a percentage, which is unhelpful as it doesn’t explain precisely how much CBD is in each item. It’s better to choose products that list the CBD content in mg so you can calculate easily how much CBD works for your needs.

Finally, be aware of the difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Full spectrum CBD oils contain many different cannabinoids and terpenes, which supposedly work together producing a more beneficial effect, this is commonly known as the entourage effect. On the other hand, CBD isolate is near-pure CBD, extracted down to 99.9% purity. CBD isolate comes as a white powder, which can be mixed with a carrier oil such as MCT oil for improved absorption, or for use in e-liquids for vaping. Most users find full-spectrum CBD to be the most effective. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to buy from a reputable source. Unfortunately, the CBD industry has plenty of charlatans looking to take advantage of curious consumers. 

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