What is CBD? Everything you need to know

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14 Commonly asked questions, answered

If you are new to the world of CBD then you probably have a multitude of questions. There are many myths surrounding CBD, and misinformation is rife.

So, in this article, I’m going to tackle the 14 most frequently asked questions about CBD. If you have any additional questions you would like me to cover, please comment below.

EDIT; following an appalling programme by the BBC about ‘cannabis oil’ (Health: truth or scare), full of incorrect information, I wanted to add the following:

There is a clear difference between CBD oil which is sold legally as a food supplement in the UK, and medical cannabis oil which is only available legally on prescription.

Legal CBD products only contain trace amounts, if any, of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. While medical cannabis products contain varying amounts of THC, higher levels in some cases.

Each cannabinoid found in cannabis has its own distinct properties, and trigger different effects within the body. The BBC did not make a distinction between the two types, which led to inaccurate and misleading information.

1. What is CBD?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in cannabis and hemp. While beneficial for wellbeing, CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive properties of it’s more famous cousin THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Even at high doses CBD will not get you high, and it’s safe for all the family to use on a regular basis.

CBD has been growing in popularity over the past few years due to its many therapeutic properties. It appears to be an effective and safe treatment option for many conditions including; chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, ADHD, diabetes and many more.

CBD provides many health benefits through its interaction with the body’s native endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates many vital functions within the body including; mood, appetite, sleep, hormone production, and even pain, stress and immune system responses.

If you would like to take a more detailed look into CBD and how it works within the body please read my article; How CBD Works: The Endocannabinoid System Explained.

2. Is CBD oil legal?

CBD is sold as a food supplement in the UK, just like vitamins are. The laws surrounding substances derived from cannabis and hemp are confusing, and many contradict each other.

But CBD oil is generally considered legal in the UK, as long as the THC and CBN levels are below 0.2%.

If you don’t live in the UK and would like to know the legal status of CBD in your country, or you are looking to travel safely with CBD, please read my article; Is CBD legal in my country?

As CBD is sold as a food supplement, not a medine, companies are not legally allowed to make medical claims or give medical advice. If you see a company blatantly making medical claims about CBD, then they are breaking the law and it’s very likely that they are not reputable.

It also needs to be noted that in the whole of the EU, CBD oils and edibles made from isolate (a highly concentrated form of CBD, also sometimes call CBD crystals) are now banned under the Novel foods act. This restriction does not apply to non “foods” like vape liquids and topical creams.

3. Is CBD safe?

Hemp is a plant that is safe, natural, and non-toxic. Therefore, CBD is safe for all the family to take on a daily basis. According to a report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) “naturally occurring CBD is safe and well tolerated in humans (and animals), and is not associated with any negative public health effects”

CBD is non-toxic, meaning no fatal overdose levels have ever been reported. Several studies have evaluated the safety of CBD in adults and concluded that it’s well tolerated across a wide range of doses – up to 1,500 mg/day – that’s a lot, way more than the average person would need.

There are however, a few minor potential side effects associated with CBD that you may need to be aware of. Please read my post; 7 Potential side effects of CBD and tips on how to minimise them, to find out more.

To make sure that the CBD oil you consume is safe and not contaminated, please only buy from reputable sources. If you would like to find out more about how to buy safe and effective CBD products for your needs, please read my post; A comprehensive beginners guide to buying CBD products.

4. How can I consume CBD?

CBD comes in many forms including CBD oil and paste (oral use), CBD vape liquids, capsules, CBD 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.

If you would like to take a detailed look at the many ways you can incorporate CBD into your diet, and the pros and cons of each method, please read my article; 6 effective ways to take CBD.

5. Is CBD oil addictive?

CBD oil is not addictive as it contains none or very little THC. THC is the ingredient that causes cannabis to be addictive in some people.

In November 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a comprehensive report which examined cannabidiol (CBD) and the likelihood that the substance would create drug dependence.

They found no evidence that CBD is addictive, and the report states that: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” and that “CBD is well-tolerated and safe for human consumption.

The report’s summary also makes it clear that: “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

6. What are the health benefits of taking CBD?

Cannabinoids like CBD offer many therapeutic benefits, and they achieve this through their positive interaction with the body’s native endocannabinoid system (ECS). If you would like to find out more about how CBD works within the body please read my article: How CBD Works: The Endocannabinoid System Explained.

Cannabinoids found in plants like cannabis and hemp, including cannabidiol (CBD), are similar to the endocannabinoids naturally produced by the body. Research shows that they interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system in a similar way our bodies own natural endocannabinoids do.

Researchers have found evidence that supplementing with phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, could help the endocannabinoid system to function properly and lead to improved health. CBD may also prevent certain diseases from developing.

Research surrounding the cannabis plant is gaining momentum and from this, we are starting to be able to put together a picture of the full extent of the potential health benefits of CBD. But there is still so much to learn. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with taking CBD.

Potential benefits of CBD include:

✔️Anti-inflammatory properties

✔️Neuron protection against injury and degeneration

✔️Mood improvement

✔️Pain relief

✔️Antipsychotic characteristics

✔️Migraine relief

✔️Antibacterial properties

✔️Promotes bone growth

✔️Reduces seizures

✔️Reduces blood sugar

✔️Reduces vomiting and nausea

✔️Relieves anxiety

✔️Inhibits cancer cell growth

✔️Improves sleep

✔️Antioxidant properties

If you would like to take a more detailed look at the beneficial properties of cannabis compounds, please read; The Main Cannabinoids and Their Therapeutic Properties.

So, CBD and other cannabinoids found in cannabis can play an important role in maintaining our health. CBD oil can be seen in a similar way to other popular supplements like multivitamins. By adding CBD to your diet you can boost your body’s natural defenses and possibly prevent illness.

7. Can I take CBD oil with medication?

With regards to possible interactions with other medication, please consult your GP or Pharmacist. CBD oil may affect the way your body metabolises certain medication, meaning it can delay or even inhibit the effects of the medication you take. This does not apply to all medication and may only apply when consuming high doses of CBD.

Let me explain further;

The way that CBD is metabolised by your body can interfere with how your body normally metabolises other drugs you take. This is because CBD inhibits the activity of specific liver enzymes, cytochrome P450, which are responsible for metabolising nutrients.

If other drugs aren’t metabolised properly, they can hang around and stay in your system longer than you want. This can cause negative side effects and complications.

If you are taking other supplements or medication, before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions.

Typically a 2hr gap is required between CBD and your prescription meds but certain drugs like: beta blockers, blood pressure tablets, anticoagulants and any other medication that carry a grapefruit warning, generally require a 4hr gap.

For more information about CBD and drug interactions, please read my article; CBD and medications.

8. Will I get high if I take CBD?

Definitely not. This is a common misconception which can deter many people from trying CBD. Although CBD comes from hemp or cannabis, legal CBD oils only contain safe trace amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. THC is the substance in cannabis that causes users to feel a high, an effect which a lot of people want to avoid.

CBD is simply a non-intoxicating component of hemp which has enormous potential.

To make sure the product you take is legal, safe and will not get you high, please only buy from a reputable company. To find out more about how to stay safe when buying CBD products, please read my article; A comprehensive beginners guide to buying CBD products.

9. Will I fail a drugs test?

Will I fail a drugs test? Is a frequently asked question. The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no, but more “it’s unlikely”.

If you buy your CBD oil from a reputable company which sells legal CBD products, then you are unlikely to fail a drugs test. But, it is possible. Just the same as it’s possible to test positive while taking some prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are stored in the body’s fat. They can show up on drug tests for several days or weeks after you use them. But the majority of drugs tests do not test for CBD.

Drug tests are designed to detect the use of illegal substances. In the case of cannabis the main culprit is THC. Legal CBD oils contain less than 0.2% THC and therefore will not get you high. However, you could test positive for THC if you consume large quantities of CBD oil. Even if the plant that the CBD oil was derived from contains less than 0.2% THC, that percentage can rise exponentially if you ingest high doses of CBD.

My advice is; If you regularly have to undergo drug tests for work, speak to your employer before starting CBD. CBD is legal and safe, if you buy from a reputable supplier. Print off a copy of the lab report for the CBD product you are taking. The same advice applies to roadside drug tests.

It is also worth noting that The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently removed CBD from it’s list of banned substances for professional athletes.

10. Does CBD oil have any side effects?

While CBD oil is 100% safe to use you may experience some mild side effects, especially at high doses. It is important that you are aware of these potential side effects so you can be prepared, and take steps to minimise the discomfort you experience.

These side effects include: dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, reduced blood pressure, delay of certain medications’ effects.

Side effects are not experienced by everyone and most can be easily overcome by drinking plenty of water and leaving at least a 2-4 hour gap between CBD and your current medication.

To find out more about the potential side effects of taking CBD please read; 7 Potential side effects of CBD and tips on how to minimise them.

11. How much CBD should I take?

There is no set recommended dose for CBD as everyone reacts differently to this natural product. An effective CBD dose may depend on certain factors including; your weight, tolerance to CBD, age, general health and the bioavailability (absorption rate) and cannabinoid profile of the CBD product you are taking.

When beginning CBD, it’s best to start with the lowest possible dose to gauge how your body responds. Everyone reacts differently to various supplements, and CBD is no exception. Take one drop of CBD oil and listen to your body. Do you feel drowsy? Do you feel energised? Are you experiencing any symptoms that are not usual for you? Once you have assessed how you personally react to CBD you can begin to find your optimal dose.

How to find your optimal CBD dose

The most common method of dosing CBD, and the one I personally believe is the best, is the “low and slow” approach.

With this method you start with a low CBD dose and slowly increase your intake each week, until you reach the desired effect.

A good starting point is: 2-3mg of CBD, 3 times a day, for the first week. This is likely to equate to 1-2 drops (or sprays) of CBD oil, but this will depend on the strength of the oil you are taking.

Spread the drops throughout the day. For example, take one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Maintain this dose for a week.

The next step is to gauge how your body reacted to that amount of CBD, then increase gradually each week, while continuing to monitor your body’s reactions till you find the perfect dosage that works for your health situation.

You will know when you have reached your optimal dose, because a further increase in CBD does not bring with it addition benefits.

Introducing CBD this way will minimise the potential unwanted side effects you experience and it could also save you money – why take more CBD than you need? If you would like to find out more about the potential side effects of CBD please read my article; 7 Potential side effects of CBD and tips on how to minimise them.

Please note: The “low and slow” approach may not be suitable for all health situations. There may be some circumstances, including treatment of conditions involving seizures like epilepsy, where higher doses of CBD are beneficial from the outset. If you have any queries please consult your doctor.

12. Can healthy people benefit from taking CBD oil?

We hear a lot about the medical benefits of taking CBD oil, and the many illnesses CBD can help treat, but what if you are not sick?

Cannabinoids have been in our diet for thousands of years through cannabis. It’s only been the past few decades that cannabis has been illegal.

Our bodies are designed to take and utilise cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids (‘Endo’ meaning; within the body) are even present in breast milk.

We have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which plays a vital role within the body and with our health. The main function of the ECS is homeostasis or balance. It is responsible for regulating a wide number of functions;  like mood, appetite, sleep, hormone production, and even pain, stress and immune system responses. If you would like to find out more about the endocannabinoid system, please read; How CBD works. The endocannabinoid system explained.

For healthy people, supplementing this large self-regulatory system with plant-derived cannabinoids is a potential way to encourage and maintain health.

Healthy people should be able to get all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet, but as cannabis is no longer a staple of our diet, cannabinoids like CBD are often lacking.

So, it is possible to become deficient in endocannabinoids, just like being deficient in vitamins and minerals. Taking cannabinoids like CBD, can combat or even prevent a deficiency.


Therefore, yes healthy people can benefit from taking CBD, in fact many fitness professionals take CBD daily. Taking CBD, theoretically, can prevent ill-health. Think of it like a multivitamin.

13. How do I take CBD oil?  

Although CBD comes in many forms, CBD oil remains the most popular way to take CBD. CBD oil is taken sublingually, which means ‘under the tongue’.

CBD oil is simple to take. Just place the desired amount under your tongue and hold there for 2-3 minutes before swallowing. Absorption under the tongue (sublingually) is more effective than some other methods, as it allows the CBD to get directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries in the mucous membranes, which are under the tongue, and bypasses the digestive system.

CBD oil is best taken regularly throughout the day as its effects only last 4-6 hours. Try starting with 1-2 drops, 2-3 times a day.

For more information about CBD dosing please read my article: How much CBD oil should I take?

14. Where can I buy CBD oils UK?

While there are many options available when it comes to purchasing CBD oil, it is very important that you only buy from a reputable supplier. But how can you tell if a company is reputable?

You can keep yourself safe by following a few simple rules and by carrying out some checks on CBD companies before purchasing.

  • Get recommendations. This could be from friends or from an unaffiliated CBD support group.
  • Does the company provide third party verifiable lab reports on request? All reputable companies will be happy to provide lab reports that prove the Purity, potency and safety 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.
  • Is 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 about their CBD products.
  • 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.
  • Is the company a member of the CTA UK?  Although not a legal requirement, to become a CTA member certain checks have to take place.
  • Join an unbiased CBD support group and ask questions about the company. There are many CBD support groups on Facebook, I recommend CBD Users UK. Join, and ask for recommendations.

I have compiled a comprehensive beginners guide to buying CBD products which will arm you with all the knowledge you need to buy effective and safe CBD products.

If you have any specific questions please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me on my CBD Resource Centre Facebook page. I also post a weekly roundup of CBD discount codes, promotions and competitions. I carry out checks on all companies before including their deals, so you can buy with confidence while saving yourself some money.

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