Even in the UK, where access to medical cannabis remains an outstanding issue, the market for one of the principal chemical constituents of cannabis, CBD, is booming. This is in step with a global movement that is seeing CBD appear almost ubiquitously.
From health supplement stores to major global brands we find ourselves in a landscape in which a previously proscribed substance is now a rather common food ingredient. With indications that this market may experience something of a regulatory backlash, it’s important to understand a few basics with regards to CBD.
What is CBD and what does it do?
CBD is cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids, and comprises up to 40% of cannabis plant extract. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive, although the side effects of long-term use of CBD can include somnolence, decreased appetite, diarrhoea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, and sleeping problems.
On the overwhelmingly positive side, however, CBD has been widely research for a range of therapeutic possibilities, largely relating to anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and chronic pain management.
Patented pharmaceutical drugs like Sativex and Epidiolex contain CBD, the latter being an example of a pure CBD medication. Both have been demonstrated to be effective therapeutic options for the treatment of, notably, childhood drug-resistant seizure management.
Why might you use CBD?
It’s a blessing for most folk considering the use of CBD that they don’t have a severe and difficult to treat condition. And yet with a suspected 6 million users in the UK alone, there’s clearly a case to be made.
Examples like these paint a reasonably clear picture. Individuals have reported a wide range of positive outcomes with CBD use ranging from improved appetite, to arthritic pain alleviation, reducing anxiety and improved sleep quality.
One of the more interesting emerging trends in the use of CBD is among high performance athletes. Dominic Day of Saracens Rugby, co-owner of FourFive CBD along with fellow teammate George Kruis, reported, “I was probably taking prescription anti-inflammatories and painkillers four or five times a week just to get to the weekend to play,” says Day. “It wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. I just don’t take that stuff now, I stick with the CBD oil.”
In essence, CBD is helping athletes improve recovery times and avoid the use of more potent traditional first-line remedies.
What do you need to know about the CBD supplements market?
This is where things get a little more complicated. The health supplements market is, in general terms, not well regulated. This is made apparent when lab analysis of so many products indicates broad mislabelling of products and a lack of rigorous quality testing.
The rules are simple. Know your product. Good quality manufacturers will include comprehensive ingredients listings and ideally will even provide their testing data to make it clear that the product is actually constituted as it is claimed to be.
This is important. We’re not just talking about that pomegranate supplement containing precisely zero actual pomegranate. Investigations have revealed poorly manufactured supplements to contain heavy metal toxins and worse.
So do the legwork and make sure the product you’re buying is on the level. This market can also err towards making unscrupulous claims as to the benefits of certain products, so also be sure to understand where CBD is genuinely thought to be beneficial.
Further investigation and research into cannabis use (both recreational and medical) is thoroughly encouraged by The Academy, particularly through the use of our own online courses, evidence base and whitepapers.