CBD oil has boomed in popularity this year after being made available in many high street stores.
Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is one of the 80 plus active cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis or hemp plant which is legal, unlike THC which gives people a “high”.
But after cases were brought to light where cannabis medicine (CBD and THC) was found to significantly improve severe health conditions – Billy Caldwell’s case for example – the government announced that from November 1 medical cannabis will be legal.
But does this really mean cannabis medicine will be available for everyone if they make an appointment with their doctor? This Morning doctor, Dr Zoe Williams explained what the new law really means on the ITV show.
She began by saying: “It sounds good on paper, but we just need to be realistic about what this really means in real terms.”
Dr Zoe explained that while this is a great news story and it’s been incredibly quick that this change in the law has been past, people need to note that cannabis medicine prescriptions can only be made by specialist doctors and to patients who have exceptional clinical needs.
She said: “This is the first step on a long journey. There’s more work to be done.”
Dr Zoe further explained that whether it was today or Thursday 1 November, she wouldn’t be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis as she hasn’t had the training.
She added: “My local pharmacy wouldn’t be able to dispense it, I haven’t got the expertise or knowledge to weight u if that is in my patient’s best interest.”
But the This Morning medical expert did think the law change has sparked conversation about medical cannabis and that a year from now it will be very different.
She finished: “This [law] had to happen quickly to help patients who need it the most.”
CBD is legal and available from many shops and pharmacies. But there are six things you need to know, according to Dr Sarah Brewer, which she lists below.
Is it all legal?
CBD is legal as it is extracted from non-drug strains of cannabis. These have naturally high levels of cannabidiol but only trace amounts of the legally-regulated, psychoactive ingredient known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is found in medical marijuana. Because CBD does not stimulate the psychoactive receptors (CB1 and CB2) which are targeted by marijuana, it does not cause a high, is not addictive, and is therefore legal to take. The Cannabis Trades Association UK recommends that CBD should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.
Does it get you high?
CBD is not psychoactive and does not produce a ‘high’ and is not addictive.
How do you know if it has THC or not?
By buying a quality product that supplies a CBD/THC batch testing certificate, such as those sold by Healthspan, for whom I act as Medical Director.
What evidence is there to support it?
CBD has been extensively researched to confirm its benefits and safe use as a food supplement and, at higher doses, for medical use in some rare forms of epilepsy. There are over 2100 published studies relating to CBD on PubMed alone, of which 970 relate to human studies.
How do you take it? What does it taste like?
CBD food supplements include capsules, gummies, drops and sprays. Naturally flavoured drops are often dark and murky and have an earthy taste which some find unpleasant. Filter clear drops are available which are flavoured such as Healthspan CBD Oil Dropper in peppermint. Capsules are now also available and preferred by many as they have no flavour.
What dose should you take?
For general well-being, a typical dose is 10mg to 30mg per day. Higher doses are used for particular conditions, but as a food supplement, doses should not exceed 200mg per day. NB Packagings will include the total amount of CBD present in the whole product (eg 192mg, 384mgm 450mg, 900mg) – this is not the dose per drop or capsule.
Does it affect any other medications?
Check with your GP if you are on other medication as CBD can interfere with certain drugs including benzodiazepines and anti-depressants
CBD interacts with liver enzymes involved in breaking down many prescribed medicines. This can slow the way some drugs are metabolised, so their blood levels rise, which may lead to side effects. If you are taking any prescribed medicines, it’s important to check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking CBD.
If your doctor is unable to help, Drugs.com have a useful Drug Interactions checker which, while it does not specifically include cannabidiol (CBD) does include cannabis. https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html If your medicine is known to interact with grapefruit juice then you should also avoid taking CBD.