It has become the trendy new supplement discussed quietly over dinner parties.
So what’s the big deal with CBD – otherwise known as cannabis oil?
There’s no denying the cannabis oil market has expanded massively in the last 12 months. Where once it was for the select few, it’s now reaching more people than ever.
Last week it was revealed how 1,000 new Brits a month are trying out products containing CBD.
But despite a booming market there’s still a massive stigma surrounding its use – including among health professionals.
It’s for this reason I firmly believe we need to start a meaningful discussion to try and remove decades of misinformation.
First thing’s first, cannabidiol products are legal in the UK and can’t get you ‘high’. The psychoactive component THC has been removed, meaning you won’t get the same mind-altering side effects of cannabis use.
In the UK, CBD needs to be sold as a food supplement. This means sellers can’t make any medical claims about its use, despite a growing number of media reports detailing CBD being used in the treatment of everything from sciatica to anxiety.
This also means that medical professionals are given very little information about CBD, what it is and how it could be used.
As a pharmacist, I have seen first-hand a growing number of patients saying they are interested in CBD but don’t know where to buy it and are worried about buying the wrong product.
CBD products are most commonly found in oil form, which can be popped under the tongue three times a day, or rubbed onto the skin to help irritated areas.
They are also available in crystals, creams, vape liquids, tea bags and even chocolate.
The advice is clear – if you want to use cannabidiol products to manage symptoms of medical conditions you need to talk to a medical professional in the same way as you would with introducing any other supplement to your diet.
To this end, it’s vital more medical professionals become educated about CBD products as more and more people seek to try them out.
It’s also about education of the general public. Too many people still think cannabis oil is illegal or in some way gets you ‘high’.
I took the decision to begin stocking CBD products earlier this year and since then we’ve seen its popularity rise dramatically.
It has been estimated by the Cannabis Trades Association that the UK now has around 250,000 active CBD users, and of the 1,000 new users signing up every month, about 50 per cent will stick with it.
Our hope is that by selling the product through a registered pharmacy we can add to the legitimacy surrounding its use, removing some of the stigma and encouraging people to buy from regulated sources.
A study released in America last week showed how more than 70% of cannabidiol extracts sold online were mislabelled.
The UK industry has come a long way in making sure we’re getting things right. So as the industry expands at such a rapid rate it’s really important we carry on trying to strengthen its reputation.