CBD is still fairly new to the wellness world, but its benefits have not gone unnoticed. Most evidence is anecdotal but numerous studies are also currently underway to prove CBD’s power. From pain relief to reducing anxiety, it’s been hailed as a natural alternative to many medications that cause some unwanted side effects. But if you have never tried CBD, knowing how to take it and in what dose can be an obstacle to trying it at all. So we sought out CBD expert and member of revered CBD brand, Cannaray’s scientific advisory board, Dr Balu to give us the low down on all things CBD for beginners.


What actually is CBD?
Dr Balu explains that “Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant. CBD is not psychoactive like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis which causes the sensation of getting high”. CBD is a completely natural compound and can be used in a variety of different products from gummies to skincare, tinctures to drinks. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. 


How does CBD work? And what are the main benefits?
Most of us would have heard about the amazing benefits that CBD can have on both our bodies and minds but I asked Dr Balu how it actually works? “CBD influences the endocannabinoid system and receptors such as CB1 and CB2” Dr Balu explains. “CB1 receptors are primarily in the central nervous system and are responsible for governing coordination, movement, pain, appetite, memory, mood, and other functions. The CB2 receptors are in the peripheral nervous system, influencing pain, and inflammation.” CBD has been known to reduce pain, give some relief from anxiety and even reduce acne.


How do you work out what dose you should start on if you’re taking the drops?
When it comes to CBD, there really doesn’t seem to be a one size fits all approach and it is important to work out what is right for you. “Different people respond to different doses of CBD, start low and go slow” says Dr Balu. “The dose of CBD for an individual depends on a range of factors, including body weight, the condition for which it is used, individual body chemistry and the concentration of CBD in each pill, capsule or drop.” It is best to seek professional advice with regards to dosage, the best place to start is the brand that you are buying from.


What should I be looking for on the label to ensure that the CBD is good quality?
“Just like with any product that you ingest, it is important to look at the information on the label, the manufacturer and source of the product.” And Dr Balu explains that not all CD products are created equal: “The effectiveness of the CBD and how much you need to take will vary based on the concentration. Check the label carefully to see how much CBD is in each dose.” Dr Balu continues to encourage us to also check the label for quality certifications, saying that because certifications can be very time consuming and expensive to go through the process of obtaining “they indicate that the company has invested in their future and that they plan to be in the CBD oil industry for the long-term. They have high standards for the quality of their product.”

As one of our favourite CBD brands, Cannaray is leading the charge in quality assurance here in the UK by going above and beyond the usual CBD industry standards. All products have been triple lab tested and contain no sulphates, GMOs, dairy, artificial colours or dyes. Cannaray’s launches are backed by science and developed by world-leading scientists, offering a previously unseen level of confidence in CBD products and their effectiveness. 


How important is third party testing?
Ultimately, third party testing is a good indication of how good the brand is, a company which hasn’t made its third-party test results available may not be able to prove the quality of their product and is best avoided. “High-quality CBD products that have undergone lab testing will come with a COA (certificate of analysis). This analysis discloses what is in the product and what concentration. Because these tests are not always required by law not every manufacturer chooses to invest in them” says Dr Balu.


Is CBD effective in skin products?
There are numerous anecdotal reports of CBD having wonderful effects on skin such as minimising wrinkles, reducing acne and improving skin tone. Dr Balu goes on to explain why people are having great results with their CBD skincare: “By counteracting free-radical damage and reducing inflammation, CBD anti-ageing creams visibly diminish issues like wrinkles and skin dullness and improve skin tone. CBD may also be effective in fighting acne as it helps reduce the production of sebum in the skin. Additionally, studies indicate that cannabidiol may be effective in treating eczema and psoriasis as well.” 


In your opinion, why has CBD become so popular recently?
As a welcome addition to many peoples’ wellness routine, CBD is being hailed as the wonder ingredient helping to keep everyone calm and carrying on! Dr Balu says that in his view “CBD has grown in popularity largely due to anecdotal accounts of its possible comforting effects.” I, for one, have loved trying all the different CBD products on the market and find that it really helps soothe me.


How effective is CBD in the treatment of anxiety?
Although there are not a huge amount of completed scientific studies on cannabidiol, Dr Balu thinks the research that has been done is “promising”. With a study that was conducted in 2010 finding that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of social anxiety, with demonstrated changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked with feelings of anxiety. He goes on to say that researchers have also found that CBD can reduce anxiety associated with public speaking; “CBD is known to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in an animal model and a promising treatment option for various forms of anxiety including generalised anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD etc. However, the data on long-term use is limited.” *It is important to consult your medical practitioner if you are considering treatment of anxiety disorder with CBD and take it under guidance.*

words by Sadie Reid

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