CBD can be found in anything from drops to gummies and drinks, but which one is right for you? CBD specialist Alexandra Whiteley decodes this year’s biggest wellbeing trend
The cannabidiol (CBD) trend is showing no sign of slowing down in the UK – tampons, beauty products, edibles and lubricants - you name it, there’s likely a version of it now containing CBD.
“It’s amazing to see such innovation in the CBD field, but I am also seeing, and hearing, a lot of confusion from people too, who are trying to understand more about CBD and how it can support daily wellbeing,” says Alexandra Whiteley, an international cannabis consultant and CBD specialist who hosts an industry podcast CannaPod and has consulted some of the largest CBD companies in the world, including Pollen , a next-generation CBD brand which aims to create products designed to fit easily and effortlessly into your daily routine.
“Knowing which CBD product to buy can be difficult if you’re not armed with the correct information. It means many of us end up not buying anything or picking a product that doesn’t suit our needs,” Alexandra continues.
“There are a few key things to look out for so I’ve pulled together my list of ‘CBD must-haves’ to help you feel confident and demystify this wellness trend.”
Look for non-detectable % THC
“Although CBD is the star of the wellness show, it’s important to take note of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) too - another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Unlike CBD, which is legal to buy in the UK if sold as a food supplement, THC is a Class B controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
“This compound, when consumed in significant levels, accounts for the psychotropic or ‘high-effect’ many associate with cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, will NOT get you ‘high’ – not even a little bit.
“It should be clearly labelled on any CBD products that the THC is ‘non-detectable’ preferably with a % which indicates the product have been tested by an independent laboratory.”
Check the amount of CBD in your product
“Look out for CBD content in milligrams or as a percentage, rather than just listing it as an ingredient. Look for at least a 10mg dose as a starting point. CBD is expensive because the process of extraction is complex. Brands that use decent quantities should want to make this clear to anyone buying their products as it indicates quality and justifies the price.”
“The most important thing to remember is getting your CBD levels right takes time and consistency. You need to know the strength of CBD used so you can be sure you’re able to manage the amount you're consuming.
“Everyone’s body and reason for taking CBD are different, which is why there is no one size fits all solution, but I would recommend starting with a product that has 10 mg or more per serving. Pollen gummies, for example, have 10 mg per gummy and I would take one of these two to three times per day for at least two weeks before considering upping my intake.
“It’s really important you monitor how you feel daily as this will enable you to understand how and when your body is responding. CBD should be viewed as a regular practice which forms part of your daily wellness regime.”
Look for CBD from broad-spectrum hemp oil
“CBD can come in a variety of different forms; full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or pure/isolate CBD.
“Personally, I would recommend CBD derived from broad-spectrum hemp oil as it has none of the unwanted THC that is present in full-spectrum CBD – which is, in nearly all cases, illegal in the UK anyway. It also has a better flavour and far more plant benefits than isolated CBD. It’s a good middle ground.”
Choose CBD infused gummies over CBD coated ones
“Gummies are a very popular way to take CBD because they’re easy to carry around and quick to take. I would look for brands that infuse or inject the CBD rather than coat or spray it on. The latter can mean that the CBD will come off the gummy and sit as a residue inside the pot, meaning you are getting less CBD than you paid for. Infused products taste better and are more likely to have the stated amount of CBD per sweet.”
"If it’s not clear on the packaging how the CBD is added, then check out brand’s websites, see what reviews say or check how they talk about the development of their product."
Choose water-soluble CBD for drinks and drink drops
“Another thing to look out for if you’re buying a ready-made drink or CBD drops, which are sold to go into drinks, is that the CBD used is water-soluble. Water-soluble CBD means that it is fully absorbed into the drink itself, leaving no oily residue and ensuring you get every precious drop rather than it being left on the rim of the glass, not to mention it having better absorption in your body as opposed to a CBD in oil (like MCT or hemp oil).”
Ensure your product has been independently tested
“ An article in The Times showed that there are a lot of products being sold in the UK that contain less than the stated amount of CBD and more THC so I would stress the importance of checking that your product has been third-party tested. For me, this is one of the easiest ways to ensure your CBD product has been produced in a way that’s effective and lawful and should be clearly labelled on the packaging.
“Ideally it should say that the product is ‘independently tested’, but it’s not a legal requirement. However, reputable and responsible producers will mention it.”
Be prepared to pay more for quality CBD
“Don’t base your decision on price alone because you do get what you pay for.
“It’s important to look at the price you are paying per mg of CBD and compare that to other brands; buying a cheaper product does not mean you are getting a good deal. Lower prices could indicate low levels of CBD and off the shelf solutions that haven’t been tested properly.
“If you want to try CBD without breaking the bank, start with a sparkling drink such as Pollenade, £3/can 15mg CBD - which is comparable to getting a kombucha and cheaper than a Starbucks. Drink this daily for at least a week and monitor how you feel after several days. If you are happy with the results, then move onto products with a higher concentration of CBD.
“Price will always play a part in my decision-making process, but there are so many other things discussed above which are important to consider too and that might mean I spend more to get a quality experience.”
Alexandra Whitely recommends Pollen’s CBD range , which includes a sparkling botanical drink, gummies and drink drops, with prices starting at around £25. Click here to see the full range and buy before Christmas .
Written in partnership with Pollen