BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 31 May '19

What you need to know about CBD oil and why it’s taking the food and health sectors by storm

This article first appeared in our spring ’19 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Organic Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 31 May 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Humans have been using hemp for over 10,000 years; it’s found in everything from buildings and clothes to food and medicine. The popularity of CBD, which occurs naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant, has recently sky-rocketed: its fan club is now dominated by A-listers and a rising wave of individuals who seek natural solutions to old problems.

A recent study revealed that 44% of medical cannabis users stopped taking their pharmaceutical prescription medications – or used less of their conventional medication – in favour of cannabis and cannabis oil. However the way CBD oil is classified means it’s currently sold as a food supplement; no medical powers can legally be claimed.

CBD: food or medicine?

The huge CBD industry that exists today has grown in just 10 years; in 2009 a handful of CBD-dominant strains were discovered in a laboratory in California, fostering a cottage industry of CBD-rich products.

CBD oil is a relatively new phenomenon in the UK. The government recently reclassified CBD oil as a medicine, but it can’t be sold as such until a full set of medical trials is carried out. This is a lengthy and very costly process, usually reserved for pharmaceutical giants seeking to patent a new drug.

‘Politicians have classified CBD oil as a medicine because they recognise its efficacy’, says Patrick Folkes, founder of má CBD. ‘They accept that it has an effect, but the clinical tests have not been carried out. This is connected to CBD being a natural product that’s available to any small producer, rather that a medicine created in a large pharmaceutical company’s laboratory. Therefore it is still sold as a food supplement.’

How CBD works

CBD is non toxic and, unlike THC, not psychoactive. This means the unique cannabinoid is legal in most countries and can be tested on humans – yet the clinical trials to back up CBD’s benefits to health and wellbeing are only just beginning.

The cannabinoids present in hemp are similar to those present in the human body; our endocannabinoid systems are partly responsible for maintaining our immune system and many other important processes, including cognitive processes, emotions, healing, inflammation, mood and pain.

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It’s no surprise to hear Patrick say ‘everyone should try má CBD oil’, but this isn’t just a marketing line – he’s got a point. ‘How CBD works and what people use it for can vary wildly from person to person’, he explains.

Ingesting CBD

CBD drops allow customers to ingest the oil; the drops can be added to drinks or food, or even mixed into moisturising creams or massage oils.

Just like wine or olive oil, CBD oils vary greatly. In addition to variations in size, potency and suggested serving sizes, different producers use different growers, different plant strains and different extraction methods, which will all affect the finished product.

‘We seek out the best growers, using the purest and most natural extraction techniques’, Patrick tells us. ‘We only use premium oil suppliers that extract the CBD oil using a natural CO2 process, rather than any nasty chemicals. Our hemp plants are also 100% organic. We have developed our vaping liquids to deliver the most relaxing effects that they can.’

Most people report feeling the relaxing effects of má CBD instantly, but it’s also thought that building up the number of oil drops steadily over a few weeks increases potential benefits to your health and wellbeing.

‘We’re not doctors, and there aren’t enough clinical studies on CBD to give any definitive information’, Patrick tells us. ‘We can only use anecdotal evidence. The most common advice is to start with one or two oil drops or a few vape inhalations to discover for yourself the best levels for optimum tolerance and efficacy. If you are taking any prescription medication it is always worth checking with your GP before you start taking CDB oil on a regular basis.’