You may have heard the buzz, seen the products and wondered about the hype; CBD (or cannabidiol) is an ingredient that’s definitely here to stay. What may have started as an oil based supplement targeted at those seeking wellness or medicinal support has now extended into every area imaginable, with beauty high on the agenda of companies looking to make CBD the mainstream. The Body Shop and Superdrug have even developed their own range of CBD products to capitalise on the growing interest, but how do you know if it will benefit you and how do you even begin to cut through the noise and find products that will actually make a difference? It’s more than a little confusing.
I’ve been keeping a firm eye on CBD over the last year or so, but have only recently started to dabble more wholeheartedly and try out some key products myself. Once you find yourself dipping a toe into this new world, it’s hard not to fall completely for the multitude of benefits that CBD apparently has to offer – but there are so many things to take into consideration if you’re wanting to get the best results possible for your personal needs.
If you’re interested in finding out more about CBD and how it could fit into your life, then read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know before you take the plunge…
WHAT IS CBD?
Cannabis and hemp plants contain more than 100 different chemical compounds (or cannabinoids); the two most well known are CBD and THC, which are collected from the raw plant using an extraction process. Unlike THC (which is still an illegal and controlled substance,) CBD will not invoke a ‘high’ but instead is believed to provide a number of benefits to the body.
It’s important to note that the World Health Organization states: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
Cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the body in each individual cell, are part of the endocannabinoid system – which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory. CBD can act upon these receptors in a positive way, ‘plugging in’ to their open ends and therefore altering neurotransmitter release in the brain towards a more balanced state.
CBD is now widely recognised to provide benefits for those suffering with anxiety, insomnia, pain, inflammation and general wellbeing issues. In the simplest terms, CBD helps our cannabinoid receptors to working effectively; it’s the ineffectiveness that can cause problems.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP & CBD?
Hemp is the pure plant and CBD is the extract that comes from it. If you don’t distill and extract the CBD effectively then you’re just left with the hemp plant, and won’t benefit from the re-balancing properties. Hemp is still a great ingredient, known for its moisturising and conditioning properties, but it’s not the same thing as CBD.
HOW CAN YOU TAKE & USE CBD?
Increasingly in whichever way works for you: as a tincture, spray, vape, gummy supplement, drink, topical treatment or any other format that manufacturers have thought of. I’ve personally tried everything from CBD nut butter and cookies, to an oral supplement and body oil, but the tinctures seem to provide the most consistency and ease of use for me.
Following the recommenation of Paul from CBD Leafline, I’ve been taking two sets of drops every day: one in the morning and three in the evening, placed under the tongue and held for a few minutes to maximise absorption. I’ve also been using it within my beauty and wellness regime for added benefits.
HOW DOES CBD BENEFIT YOUR BEAUTY REGIME?
Increasing amounts of research are starting to illustrate that CBD can provide a number of benefits to the skin – including minimising inflammation, reducing sebum production, providing soothing properties and working as an anti-oxident. This means that it could potentially be great for everything from redness and sensitivity to acne and fine lines, all of which are caused due to the body’s inbalance or breakdown of natural processes. Due to its ability to ‘normalise’ skin functions, it makes sense that the results would involve a clearer, fresher, calmer complexion over time.
But there’s a big ‘but’. Many companies have jumped on the CBD trend in the same way they jump on every other trend, sprinkling in just enough CBD to be able to claim its contents and therefore benefits; however, like anything, if there’s not a sufficient quantity within the formula you won’t be benefiting from the skin boosting qualities CBD offers.
The beauty industry have fully embraced CBD over the last year or two, launching everything from facial oils and moisturisers, to cleansers and treatment masks. Because this area of the industry is as yet unregulated (unlike food supplements and CBD oil used for medicinal purposes) it’s really tricky to navigate and ensure you’re getting a good quality product with a good concentration of ingredient. There’s no standard to force brands into declaring the quantity of CBD in their product, but it’s safe to assume if it’s £9.99 in Superdrug that you won’t be getting enough to really make a difference; CBD is expensive!
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH CBD BRAND TO CHOOSE?
There’s undoubtedly been an absolute explosion in CBD products over the last twelve months, with many new names popping up alongside trusted household names. From my understanding and research, if you want to reap the benefits of CBD it’s better to avoid mass or high street brands who are more likely to be sprinkling in only a little amount to claim it’s a CBD product; they very well may be a great product still that offers a multitude of skin loving ingredients, but they’re unlikely to be providing you with enough CBD for £12.99 to make a real difference.
Brands including The Body Shop, Revolution, Superdrug, Sanctuary Spa, UTan, Champneys and even This Works all have CBD products currently available. Although they may well be lovely to use and provide some kind of body or skin benefit, at their price points and therefore concentrations they’re highly unlikely to make a noticable positive impact.
Although it’s counterintuitive, in this instance (and in my opinion) it’s well worth stepping out of your usual brand reportoire and trying something completely new. There are so many smaller, British and independant brands creating and launching all number of innovative products – and most will be screaming about their processes, concentrations and track record because that’s the only way they can carve out a point of difference. They’re most likely to be more expensive, but what you’re getting is by association going to be way more beneficial. Here are three I’ve been personally using and enjoying…
CBD Leafline: I’ve been lucky enough to speak with the founders Paul and Sonia in depth, to fully understand the passion and knowledge that led to the development of their brand. Having embraced CBD for decades, way before it was on-trend, they really know what they’re talking about and develop everything themselves; this is a truly small British business in the best sense. I’ve been taking their CBD oil daily for the past month and it’s definitely helped settle my overactive mind and had a positive impact on my sleep patterns; although I my sleep isn’t always unbroken or deep, when I forget to take the oil I feel unsettled and restless. They have a spectrum of skincare products that I’m currently working my way through, but my favourite product so far is the Skincare Oil which also doubles up beautifully as a bath oil. A capful in a steaming tub is guaranteed to help switch off my mind, and I always sleep far sounder than I would otherwise; it’s almost magical in its properties, so it’s definitely one I’ll be re-buying when I run out.
In The Wild: What’s different about ITW is that they’re 100% focusing on skincare and have created a beautiful brand that fits into that category with ease. Many CBD brands come across as quite clinical, masculine or cold, but In The Wild will definitely appeal to a beauty consumer in a whole new way. Inspired by the Mexican jaguar who apparently adapts and thrives, the range consists of three moisturisers, a facial elixir and a beauty serum – all with an optimum about of CBD content. The facial oil is non-greasy and nourishing, while the moisturisers are beautifully rich and smell amazing.
NatureCan: This is an all-encompassing brand that really wants you to adopt CBD as a way of life. They not only offer CBD oil in the traditional form, but a whole host of beauty products and even food supplements – including a delicious cookie and nut better that I’ve been enjoying on my morning Soreen. Their products are vegan, stripped back ‘to be as close to nature as possible’ and full of complementary goodness to ensure skin is left feeling cared for and protected. Surprisingly its their lip balm that I’ve been reaching for more than anything, providing a much-needed hit of nourishment and a sweet orange scent alongside subtle CBD benefits.
Honestly, CBD is a minefield. It’s hard to get to grips with what it actually does, it takes at least four weeks to start to notice any real impact, and there are so many brands out there trying to sell product that’s not really fit for purpose (from a CBD point of view at least.)
My general advice to anyone wanting to try CBD themselves would be this: do your research, shop small and invest as much as you can afford.
I’m going to keep getting to grips with it, particularly within skincare, and will continue to update you with recommendations and suggestions. It’s probably the most complex and confusing topic I’ve ever covered on this blog in over a decade, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed know you’re not alone.
CBD is here to stay. So we’ve got a long time to get our heads around it!