As the world goes crazy for CBD and the health and beauty benefits of Cannabidiol in all its various guises, many of us are still confused and not sure what we should be buying and why. We asked Colleen Quinn, Cannabis Researcher and Formulator and Dr Dani Gordon, UK Cannabis Medicine Specialist, to help us understand this wonder-ingredient taking the health and beauty world by storm.
Colleen Quinn, Cannabis Researcher and Formulator, explains what CBD is, what it’s good for, how to take it, and if we really do know how much is in our skincare.
CDB, officially known as cannabidiol is a cannabinoid or phytocannabinoid (plant based cannabinoid) found in the cannabis plant. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, however they are different varieties of the cannabis species. Typically, hemp has low levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound that can give you a ‘high’. Marijuana has high levels of THC. CBD extracted from hemp is found in dietary supplements and skincare products.
CBD reacts with the ‘endocannabionoid’ system, which is a collection of receptors found throughout the body. These receptors react with CBD and other cannabinoids. This has effect on the entire body including pain modulation, memory and appetite. CBD acts as a therapeutic agent in your endocannabionoid system, constantly working to get your body into a place of homeostatis (stable equilibrium). CBD is non-intoxicating unlike THC, which is the part that will get you high.
Yes, in the EU CBD is legal as long as no medical claims are made on the product it is within (unless it is in a medicine with clinical trial associated) and as long as there are no detectable levels of THC within the product or raw ingredient.
You can currently find it in skincare, supplements and tinctures as well as wellness products like joint pain rubs. (You can also vape it if that is your method of choice although I am not endorsing smoking ever!)
Colleen Quinn, Cannabis Researcher and Formulator
You don’t really know how much CBD is in your skincare products. Unless your brand is providing a finished lab test listing their CBD concentration, you have no way of knowing and no brands, I am aware of in the UK are providing this data to their customers currently. Generally, concentrations of CBD in our skincare are lower than you might think. CBD is an expensive ingredient so your task as a customer is to find the brand you trust who you feel is adding CBD to their skincare with authentic intention and which contain the highest affordable concentrations of CBD.
Be aware of the risk of buying CBD focused skincare from brands who have joined the ‘CBD train’ where they previously their focus was not plant based ingredients.
It is absolutely effective in skincare especially for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant purposes. Especially if formulated with other materials high in terpenes as these naturally occurring chemical components are not only therapeutic in their own right, but they support and may even stimulate cannanboids like CBD. However, we are still without the research data to say how much we need to effectively treat certain skincare scenarios i.e. eczema but I am confident it is only a matter of time before we have this data.
Dr Dani Gordon, UK Cannabis Medicine Specialist, explains the use of CBD for headache and migraine relief. And whether there are any prescription drugs that should be avoided or any health conditions that would stop you using CBD.
In the USA, full spectrum cannabis of which CBD is a cannanboid (naturally occurring component) is sold over the counter in dispensaries for everyday conditions for example anxiety, headaches and pain. Epidiolex is an approved pharmaceuticals that contains CBD already on the market so I believe it will be a matter of time before both cannabis as a whole plant is available in the UK.
As with any health supplement, always consult with your own doctor before taking any supplement. But in general, many drugs share the same breakdown pathway as CBD so in theory they can interact. In practice, the most important/highest risk ones to watch out for are any heart or cardiac meditations, anticoagulant medications (anti-blood clotting medications) and anti-seizure medications like clobazam. That doesn’t mean you can’t use CBD if you take these, but if you do it should be under medical guidance.
Generally speaking, CBD is quite a safe substance in the amounts normally used as a wellness supplement. But as with any supplement or medication, if you think you are having side effects, stop it and consult your doctor. Generally, CBD can be used even when THC is not recommended, such as in certain mental health disorders. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid all cannabinoid products including CBD due to lack of research on the possible effects of CBD. Although no negative studies have emerged for CBD use, there have been some concerns about THC use in pregnancy and child brain and cognitive development. If you have low blood pressure, CBD may make you more prone to syncope or fainting so if you have any condition that causes low blood pressure, this is an area of caution although not an absolute contraindication.
In the next five years CBD will be a standard beauty ingredient however innovate formulations intelligently combining other plant terpenes with the cannabinoids within hemp will be the science that will greatly impact our skins anti-inflammatory and antioxidant function. Moreover, utilising hemp as a daily health supplement will ultimately be the driver to stimulate our endocannabinoid system and consequently support our immune system. Cannabis will become a whole-body supporter not just a novel skincare ingredient.
*Full Spectrum Cannabis is a concentrate containing the full cannabinoid and terpene contents of the raw Cannabis plant.
Cannabis plant image photo credit – Rick Proctor at Unsplash