A Comprehensive Beginners Guide to Buying CBD Products.

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As CBD becomes more popular, the range of options available grows. In the UK we have a thriving CBD market but not all products are equal, and sadly not all suppliers are what they seem. So how do you decide what CBD products to try and how do you avoid being ripped off? How do you choose a safe, legal and effective CBD product for your needs?

The following is designed as an aid to guide beginners in choosing effective and safe CBD products. The amount of information may seem overwhelming to begin with but taking the time to educate yourself now could save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run.

What is CBD?

Firstly, let’s establish what CBD is. In simple terms, Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds (cannabinoids) in the cannabis plant. Unlike the more famous molecule, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non psychoactive so therefore will not get you high. It’s legal and safe, and has been shown to have many potential therapeutic benefits.

How does CBD work within our bodies?

Without getting too technical, CBD and other cannabinoids in CBD products, interact with the body’s native endocannabinoid system. This system, found in all mammals, is tasked with regulating a wide array of the body’s functions like mood, appetite, sleep, hormone production, and even pain and immune system responses. The endocannabinoid system is regularly adjusting these functions in an effort to keep them in balance.

A properly functioning endocannabinoid system is crucial for our health and well-being. It serves the vital purpose of ensuring our cells maintain optimum performance. CBD helps our endocannabinoid system make adjustments to bring our bodies back into balance, or homeostasis.

CBD delivery methods.

CBD comes in many forms including oil and paste (oral use), vape liquids, capsules, edibles, tea and topical balms or creams. Which method of consumption you choose is largely down to personal preference but the bioavailability (absorption rate) varies with each method. I will discuss this further in a later post.

What are you looking to treat?

Your reason for taking CBD will affect the product you buy. Different cannabinoids and terpenes have different potential therapeutic benefits. By looking at the lab reports for each CBD product you can match a CBD product to your individual needs.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a large class of chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant. CBD is not the only Cannabinoid found in Cannabis. In fact, scientists have identified over 113 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, each interacts with the endocannabinoid system in different ways. For example, a CBD product with high levels of CBDa may be effective for pain conditions because CBDa is a good anti inflammatory. While a CBD product with added CBG may be good for anxiety and insomnia, due to it’s relaxing properties.

Some of the main cannabinoids and their characteristics:

CBD – Antibacterial. Promotes bone growth, Reduces seizures. Reduces blood sugar. Reduces inflammation. Reduces vomiting and nausea. Relieves pain. Neuro- protective. Inhibits cancer cell growth. Relieves anxiety.

CBDa – Reduces inflammation. Inhibits cancer cell growth

CBG – Aids sleep. Relieves anxiety. Muscle relaxant. Slows bacterial growth. Promotes bone growth. Relieves pain.

CBC – Inhibits cancer cell growth. Promotes bone growth. Reduces inflammation. Relieves pain.  

THC and CBN are controlled substances in the UK. Therefore, for a CBD product to be legal, it must only contain trace amounts (below 0.2%) of these compounds.

What are terpenes?

Cannabinoids are not the only compounds found in Cannabis. Terpenes are fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. Terpenes, like cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. They also have their own individual beneficial properties, and when taken alongside cannabinoids, produce what’s called the Entourage Effect. So when looking for the right CBD product for you, the terpene profile is also an important consideration.

Some if the main terpenes and their characteristics:

Pinene – Anti inflammatory. Anti bacterial. Aids memory. Promotes alertness.

Myrcene – Sedative. Sleep aid. Muscle relaxant.

Limonene – Treats acid reflux. Anti anxiety. Antidepressant. Relaxing.

Terpinolene – Analgesic. Pain reduction. Digestive aid.

Linalool – Anti convulsive. Analgesic. Anti anxiety. Promotes relaxation.

Terpineol– Calming aid. Antibacterial. Antiviral.

Caryophyllene– Anti inflammatory. Analgesic.

Humulene – Anti inflammatory.

Extraction method.

The most popular extraction method is CO2 extraction – this allows for plant extraction without using harmful chemicals.  Alcohol extraction is another method used but if, like myself, you are sensitive to alcohol, this should be avoided. Alcohol extraction in the hands of amateurs or scammers can lead to an unsafe CBD product but in the hands of experienced professionals it is an effective and safe extraction process.

Carrier oil.

CBD oil contains a hemp extract which is mixed with a carrier oil. Hemp oil, olive oil and MCT oil are popular choices. For some people, like myself, the type of carrier oil is important. Whether down to personal taste (some carrier oils are more palatable) or allergies or intolerances, the type carrier oil may need to be considered when choosing your CBD oil. I personally avoid olive oil as it aggravates my IBS and acid reflux, but we all react differently.

How to stay safe and avoid scammers.

As CBD becomes more popular, more amateurs and scammers are jumping on the bandwagon. Please stay safe by following some simple rules. By carrying out the following checks you can minimise your likelihood of being ripped off:

Get recommendations. This could be from friends or from an unaffiliated CBD support group.

Do they provide third party verifiable lab reports on request? All reputable companies will be happy to provide lab reports that prove the purity and potency of their CBD products.

Does the price match the potency advertised? Price is often an indicator that a CBD product may not be as it seems. Whether misleading labelling or down right lying about the CBD content – if it seems to good to be true, it often is.

Are the company happy to answer your questions or do they seem guarded and suspicious? A reputable company will be happy to provide you with any information they have about their CBD products.

Are they members of the CTA UK? Although not a legal requirement, to become a CTA member certain checks have to take place.

Is the company making medical claims? CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK. To sell CBD legally companies are not allowed to make medical claims. If a company is doing so, it may be an indication that they are not reputable.

The Cannabis Trade Association UK (CTA UK).

If you don’t feel confident carrying out your own checks on potential suppliers, then buying from a CTA member or registered company could be a good choice. The CTA UK works with all sectors of the hemp and cannabis industry to promote good practice, provide practical advice and ensure consumers of legal cannabis and hemp products have access to top quality information. They also carry out checks on all members. Please note it’s not a legal requirement for CBD companies to register with the CTA, so just because a company is not a member, does not mean they are not reputable.

For more information please visit their website http://cannabistrades.uk/

Labelling.

CBD products are labelled with either milligrams (mg) of CBD or the percentage of CBD, and sometimes both are present. For example; 500mg of CBD within a 10ml bottle of CBD oil is 5% strength. The 500mg refers to the total CBD contained within the 10ml bottle, while the 5% refers to the concentration of CBD.

Unfortunately labelling is not standard across all CBD products. Some companies take advantage of potential customers lack of understanding. Educate yourself so you do not become a target. The labelling should state total amount of CBD per product but unfortunately some companies deliberately confuse customers by stating the amount of hemp extract in the product, or the percentage of CBD in the extract, rather than the total CBD.  For example; if the hemp extract used contains 15% CBD and they use 1000mg of extract to make a 10ml bottle of CBD oil – some companies would label this CBD oil as 15% or 1000mg (10%), when in reality it’s only 150mg (1.5%).

If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for the lab report, be direct and ask if the percentage or mg refers to the total CBD in the product or just the extract. If you are still insure, join a CBD support group and ask lots of questions or even better, choose a supplier with clear and transparent labelling.

Lab reports.

Reputable companies will provide lab reports for their CBD products. These are important as they confirm the safety and potency of the product, but they also allow you to match your needs to the individual CBD product. Some, or all of the following information should be on the report:

  • Potency testing
  • Pesticide testing
  • Microbiological testing
  • Terpene profile
  • Cannabinoid profile
  • Residual solvents testing

Unfortunately some unscrupulous suppliers may attempt to forge or edit lab reports, so it’s important you carry out a few simple checks. You need to be able to verify the report is genuine, and for the company and product stated. To do this you need to check the report has the following information:

  • Name and contact information of the lab company.
  • Is the name of the client the same as the name on the product you purchased (final product)?
  • Is the name of the product tested the same as label on the product you purchased (final product)?
  • Does the report look like it has been edited?

Strength of the CBD product.

A common misconception is that you need a high strength CBD product for it to be effective. In most cases, starting with a high strength can actually be detrimental, and a low and slow method of introducing CBD is preferable.

There are a few reason to start low and slow:

  • You need to give your endocannabinoid receptors time to become more active.
  • CBD works in a bell curve so once you reach optimal symptom relief, more CBD does not mean more relief.
  • Cannabinoids like CBD has biphasic properties, which means that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects, so CBD can have different effects at different doses. For some that can mean high doses of CBD are sedating but for others, high doses cause heightened anxiety or paranoia.
  • Also, we all react differently, some people are naturally sensitive to CBD, while others may find they are allergic or intolerant to the ingredients in CBD products. Taking a low dose to begin with gives you the chance to test how your body reacts without overloading it.

Therefore, taking a CBD product that is too strong, too soon is not only a waste of money, but it can also have a negative effect on your health.

It needs to be noted that certain conditions, like epilepsy may need higher doses of CBD from the outset, so what condition you are looking to treat is also an important consideration.

Dosing.

While we all react differently to CBD, a low and slow approach to introducing CBD is often recommended. But what does this mean? In terms of CBD oils, a strength of between 2.5- 5% is ideal, starting with approximately 1 drop, 3 times a day. This equates to a starting dose of 2-3mg, 2-3 times a day. It’s best to stick to this dose for about a week and then slowly increase until you get the desired results. As I mentioned previously, the low and slow approach may not be suitable for conditions involving seizures, like epilepsy.

Full spectrum vs CBD isolate.

There are CBD products on the market that contain CBD alone (made from CBD isolate), and others that contain an array of cannabinoids and terpenes. But what is the difference? As I have discussed, each cannabis compound has its own potential therapeutic benefits. Therefore a product containing a full array of cannabinoids and terpenes should have a more beneficial effect on the body than one made from CBD alone. The combined benefits of all the compounds found in Cannabis in known as the Entourage Effect – the combined effect is greater than the individual components. Therefore a full spectrum CBD product is seen as being superior to a CBD only product.

It is also worth noting that, CBD oils and edibles made from CBD isolate, are now banned under the Novel Foods Act.

Price.

I know price is a big consideration for a lot of people but please don’t base your choice of CBD product solely on price. No matter how cheap a product is, it is still a waste of money if it doesn’t contain the cannabinoids and terpenes needed to be effective for your personal health challenges. Also, price does not always reflect quality. Just because a CBD product is expensive does not mean it’s superior or the right product for you.

Indica vs Sativa.

Please don’t be mislead by the Indica/Sativa debate – it’s really just a marketing term. Apart from the legality of Indica strains (which I’m not going to delve into here), the truth is, once the THC has been removed from the equation, the strain is irrelevant. CBD is CBD no matter what strain it comes from. Whether a CBD product produces a relaxing or stimulating effect is due to the array of cannabinoids and terpenes present, not the strain.

For example a CBD product containing higher levels of CBG and Myrcene (terpene) will have a more relaxing effect, while one containing more Pinene (terpene) may cause you to be more alert. Also we all react differently to CBD. Some people naturally find CBD stimulating while for others it can have a sedating effect.

Join a CBD support group.

I know there is a lot of information to take in, but by doing a bit of research before starting your CBD journey, you can save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.

If you would like to find out more about CBD, I help run a CBD support group here on Facebook. All advice and information given is impartial and unbiased. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CBDusersUK/

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to ask any questions about CBD, I will do my best to answer them. Good luck on your CBD Journey.

I have lots more CBD related articles on my website. Please click here to read them.

I’m also on Facebook if you would like to follow me.

Have you tried CBD? How has CBD helped you?

Please note: I am not a medical professional. Although CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK, it can interact with certain medication. I would always recommend you speak to your pharmacist or GP about any possible interactions.

https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-p-450-enzyme/

For more personal stories, reviews, news, inspirational quotes and in-depth discussion, please head over to my Facebook page.

37 Replies to “A Comprehensive Beginners Guide to Buying CBD Products.”

  1. Thankyou for helping me through this journey through fog Joe Moss.

    You have been a beacon of light. Extremely helpful article.

  2. Hi thank you for this very interesting article on CBD. I only joined a CBD group a week ago….unfortunately I had already spent a couple of hundred pounds on different oils. I am being treated for anxiety and high blood pressure the latter a result of anxiety. I also have lower back pain. I bought a bottle from H&B as well as other more expensive makes, mainly to help with the back pain. I only take 1-2 drops in the day but it seems to make the anxiety much worse. It doesn’t matter which CBD I use….I fear I will be unable to tolerate any CBD because of the heightened anxiety …..Any suggestions please? Many Thanks Jean

    1. Hi Jean.

      CBD has been very beneficial for my anxiety. I suffer from quite severe anxiety and panic attacks. Often it’s the fear of something new that causes the heightened anxiety, I’m the same with new meds. Anxiety seems to respond well to lower doses of CBD. My advice would be to start with just 1 drop a day. You could try continuing with the Holland and Barrett oil or you could try the oil I take. It’s the hybrid oil from #Molytor and it’s the most effective CBD oil I’ve found so far for my anxiety. You would need to start with the Hybrid Access as it’s a lower strength. Take care.

  3. Very useful and interesting reading for anyone trying to get their head round all the somewhat confusing information that’s out there

    Many thanks

  4. Thank you for this information, it has helped me understand CBD a bit more but I still have lots to learn! Reading that CBD lowers blood sugar may be the reason I find I’m quite lethargic during the day. I’m taking H&B Jacob Hooy CBD 2,75%, 1 drop morning and evening. It is helping with the arthritis in my shoulder but maybe I should be taking CBDa instead.

    1. Hi Maureen. You may benefit from a CBD oil with higher levels of cbda but CBD is a good anti inflammatory too. I would stick with the Jacob Hooy oil sold by Holland and Barrett for a while and see if it helps. Then maybe move onto an oil containing higher levels of cbda.

  5. Hi Jo
    As always you’re insight into the needs of people using CBD for different reasons is boundless and I’m always in awe of your analytic mind regards converting the content into percentages and milligrams. Keep up the good work, I’m always watching. Sending gentle hugs xx

  6. Hi I’ve been using CBD for about 8weeks 2.75mg then I noticed one for pain and stress 5.5mg I don’t know if I’m taking it properly I just put 2 drops under my tongue for a minute then take a drink of water I do this 3x daily is this correct or should I be taking it another way as I had no directions or dosage on any I’ve bought could you help please I have diabetes anxiety depression fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis a long with some other ailments could you advise on how I take it or dosage please thank you I’m advance xx

  7. Stared with Jacob hooy 5%
    I am know Jacob hooy 1 capsule a day
    I feel my fingers tips slightly numb
    Is this from the CBD
    Thanks in advance

    1. It’s not a side effect I am aware of but we all react differently to CBD. How many drops of the 5% oil were you taking? 1 drop is about 2.1mg but the capsules are 10mg each. The capsules may just be too strong for you.

  8. Very clear information, many thanks. I am using CBD Bros Blue oil to hopefully relieve my pain with Trigeminal Neuralgia, now I know a little more about Terpines and CBDa and CBC I will look for an oil to help my husband with severe arthritic knee problems.

  9. I have just found this site and am NOT amazed at the number of people using CDB oils in UK where outdated laws are still being enforced and people with deficient Endocannabinoid Systems(ECS) are not allowed to access this safe and efficient medicine from their GP on the NHS. £4-500/month for Savitax on private presciption only is inhumane. Until the ECS is taught in schools, colleges, Universities AND Medical Schools “Joe Bloggs” will not understand how a deficient ECS can be helped by these cannabinoids that return the homeastasis to normal to allow the body to heal itself.. It is the chicken and egg situation, we need the professors to teach the lecturers to get to the teachers to teach the kids!
    How many GP’s know about the ECS or use of cannabis. They will do what they always do refer to Google or their own secret sites. There are millions today doing their own trials without GP knowledge so results cannot be ratified. All because that evil word “cannabis” the plant researched by Professor Raphael Mechoulan in early in 1964 when he and his team, in Isreal, isolated THC and the origins of out Endocannabinoid System. It has taken over 50 years to reach this stage of knowing how our very complex body systems are kept in control by these amazing endogenous biochemicals and the research goes on. Medicinal cannabis is cannabis just different strains and different THC and CBD alongside hundreds of others to make a very safe compound.
    Ask your GP and CCG what their policy is. Be proactive.

  10. Hi
    Thanks for this article. I have severe pain in the shoulders due to arthritis. I also have a “semi” broken coccyx (got dropped of the operating table when I was 16 and that broke the tailbone) it has never really healed, thus giving me a bad left leg that sometime walks and sometime doesn’t. So there are days that it is so dificult to actually stand up with the pain and walk.
    I bought CBD Green from CBD Bros. I take 2 drops a day and have done now for a month, but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything for the pain.
    Is there anything you could recomend please?
    TIA 🙂

    1. Hi Margaret. Sorry to hear you are in pain. There may be are a couple of reasons why CBD isn’t helping with your pain. You may need to increase your dose, or you may need to switch to a CBD oil with higher levels of CBDa, which is a good anti inflammatory. The BioBloom raw oil contains the highest levels of CBDa I’m aware of. https://bionativa.co.uk/shop/bio-bloom-raw-organic-hemp-4-cbd-extract/

      You may also benefit from a CBD or hemp topical balm. I personally use Fiddlers Elbow Grease Balm but many CBD companies offer alternatives. I hope you find some relief. Take care.

      1. Thanks for that quick response 🙂 I will up the dosage on the Green first just to see if that helps. If not then I think I’ll have to bite the bullet and try the one you have suggested. 🙂

  11. Jo Moss
    Hi. My friend has ME. I recommended he try CBD. Any advice as to which product is best for fatigue.
    Also in cases of arthritis which is best?
    Thanks for this very informative article

    1. Hi Julie.

      I can only really comment on what has worked for me. I have ME and Fibromyalgia. I find the hybrid CBD oil from a company called Molytor effective.

      http://www.molytor.co.uk/product/molytor-hybrid-access-cbd-oil/

      With regards to arthritis, I know many people find a CBD oil with higher levels of CBDa effective. CBDa is a good anti inflammatory. This one would be a good option.

      https://bionativa.co.uk/shop/bio-bloom-raw-organic-hemp-4-cbd-extract/

      Hope that helps.

  12. Hi Everyone, looking for advice as I am a complete novice when it comes to CBD. I am looking for something that would help my 16yr daughter. She suffers from acne, anxiety and stress. Do you think cbd would help and if yes what strength/type of oil would you recommend. Thanks in advance.
    Zoe

  13. Hi i am new to researching cbd oils and confused regarding the reputable companies to use. I have a vert long history of generalised anxiety disorder and low mood which my curren prescribed medications are only partly effective at tar
    Eating. Could u suggest a suitable dosage to start with and how often do I increase the dose.could u alsovrecommemd some safe reputable companies to buy from even if I have to get it from the USA I don’t mind. Could you explain to me again the link when using cbd oil in mgs and converting it to percentage of cbd oil used as this sounds confusing.
    Kind regards
    Eileen Byrne

    1. Hi Eileen. I personally find the hybrid CBD oil from a (reputable) company called Molytor effective for my anxiety and depression. I would recommend you start with 1 drop, 2-3 times a day.

      http://www.molytor.co.uk/product/molytor-hybrid-access-cbd-oil/

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean about converting mgs to a percentage. But as an example, the above oil is 330mg per 10ml which is 3.3% strength. There are approximately 200 drops per 10ml, so 1.65mg per drop. Hope this helps. Take care.

  14. Jo – great article.

    I have had tinnitus for 30 years and read with interest that CBD helps some reduce the noise so I will try the regular stuff from H&B first I think. Whilst you probably don’t have tinnitus, would you recommend starting off with the 2.75% oil, then proceed on to the 5% oil and then the capsules (or Molytor product you use)?

    How long would you typically take it before moving to different doses if you think it wasn’t working, I guess like any other substance it may take a little while to get in.

    Interestingly, Vodafone have blocked the link above so will need to take a look when I get back home (CBD – legal substance in the UK that certain organisations don’t want you to look into!)

    1. Hi Mike. I do have tinnitus but unfortunately CBD hasn’t helped. But we all react differently to CBD so it may help you. The 2.75% Jacob Hooy CBD oil sold by Holland and Barrett is a good strength to start with. 1 drop, 3 times a day, then increase after a week if required.

  15. Hello, I’ve read that CBD may be beneficial for high blood pressure and also snoring! Do you have any experience or knowledge of this being the case? Thanks.

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