CBD is gaining rock star status in the health and wellbeing world as it provides relief for a wide variety of health issues, including pain relief, inflammation, anxiety, stress and even Type 1 diabetes. With sales in the UK already larger than the entire vitamin C and D industry combined, we take a look at what’s making CBD the toast of the health and wellbeing industry.
During the lockdown, CBD brands across the UK reported huge spikes in sales as many sought a coping mechanism for anxiety and stress.
Today, it’s estimated that over 8 million Brits use CBD in one form or another. CBD oils, gummies, sprays and even CBD infused bath bombs can now be found in their thousands online and in some large retail stores.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of over 100 cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. Not to be confused with medical cannabis, CBD is made from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that is low in the high-inducing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
It works by activating each individual’s endocannabinoid system, a unique biological system that helps our bodies to regulate appetite, sleep, pain, mood, memory and the immune system.
Studies have shown that CBD can help to reduce anxiety, as well as aid those with disorders like PTSD, OCD and SAD. It can also aid sleep and, in one high profile case, helped to reduce the debilitating effects of epilepsy.
“CBD works on many levels,” says Karla Newbury-Jones, co-founder of Hempelicious. “It interacts with – and balances out – the endocannabinoid system, as well as the serotonin system, which are involved in anxiety and depression.”
One of the main benefits of CBD is that there are minimal side effects and research suggests CBD could be much safer than many other ‘big pharma’ supplements used for symptoms such as stress relief and depression.
In 2018 the CBD industry received a major boost when the World Health Organisation concluded that: “to date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”.
But, despite the lack of side-effects and much lauded claims to improve health and mental wellbeing, CBD tends to provoke mixed opinions. For some it’s the holy grail of anxiety solutions. Others question whether it does anything at all; and some mistakenly think it might get them high.
“One of the biggest challenges buyers face when purchasing CBD products is education and finding suppliers they can trust,” says Karla.
“Because the industry is currently unregulated and some high profile retailers have been caught selling CBD products with little or no CBD content, people are understandably wary,” she adds.
Despite these concerns, CBD is undoubtedly the supplement of the moment. Jennifer Aniston takes CBD oil for joint pain; Alessandra Ambrosio uses it to induce sleep and calm her nerves and two-time Academy Award winning actress and fitness guru, Jane Fonda, says CBD is now her ‘go-to for aches and pains’.
With sales projected to hit £1bn by 2025, the equivalent of the entire UK herbal supplement market in 2016, CBD is fast becoming one of the wellness industry’s most talked about wonder ingredients.