The Changing face of CBD
CBD at Vape Cloud UK
The buzz around CBD in undeniable, consumers have a huge appetite for what many are calling a wonder-drug. Earlier this year we witnessed Kim Kardashians CBD baby shower (she has a mere 144 million followers). With a huge host of other famous faces all endorsing the benefits of CBD, with everyone from reality TV starts to Jennifer Aniston raving about the health and wellness benefits of CBD it’s fair to say the hype about hemp is at fever pitch. Amongst the noise, being a responsible CBD retailer feels like being on a roller coaster or shooting for ever moving goalposts. Let Vape Cloud UK guide you through the maze.
Last Summer saw the Home Secretary Sajid Javid call for an urgent review to legalise medicinal cannabis resulting in it being legal on prescription from 1st November 2018. Many of us in the industry saw this as a positive move to recognise in law & by the Government & GMC the far-reaching health benefits of CBD. Fast forward a year and instead of clear legislation, an industry standard purity test and an independent regulator what do we have? A few months back we had a murky, ill thought out contradictory piece of legislation from the MHRA which quite frankly is in direct opposition to the guidelines published by the FSA but both are UK Government bodies. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the only cannabinoid from 113 different cannabinoids isolated from the plant that is psychoactive and therefore gives the feeling of being ‘high’. Last year the MRHA guidance specified that 1mg of THC was acceptable in a finished product. So - when diluted in a 30ml sublingual drop, a user would be consuming only 0.016mg of THC per dose of their product. This is often translated by brands and manufacturers in a percentage, or with a statement regarding a ‘trace’ of THC.
In July 2019 the MHRA quietly updated its guidance to state that all CBD products must now contain 0% THC, they clarified not even a trace of THC would pass the test. Which left those of us in the industry asking what test will determine this because as mentioned above there is no regulator, no industry standard. What this also means is unscrupulous brands will continue to produce often sub-standard products with low or no CBD and higher than stated THC and claim ignorance. Whilst reputable companies like ourselves scrabbled for clarity, deadlines for this change and actually even communication of it to the entire industry. So, what would this mean to you as a consumer? In short, IF this was to happen - your favourite CBD product could be pulled from the shelves at any time. In some cases this is absolutely the right thing to do as many products simply are not what they claim to be and represent poor value for the consumer. On the other hand, legitimate brands, with full spectrum products containing THC expertly refined to even lower levels than what was defined acceptable by the MHRA last year considered ceasing production on certain products to stay within the confines of the law.
Pharmacists, retail chains and customers alike have been mis-led over;
- The concentration of CBD vs the label
- Low dose CBD products
- No CBD at all
- The level of THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol
Fortunately, we are a proactive and responsible brand, focussed on research and development with the consumer at the heart of what we do. This means we didn’t remove any products from the shelves – in fact we went with Regulation 2 of the The Misuse of Drugs Regulations (2001) and put even more amazing products on our shelves! This legislation sets a limit of 1mg of a controlled substance is allowed within a product container without that product being rendered illegal. We already know that EU law states that if a Cannabis plant contains less than 0.2% THC then it is therefore industrial hemp. The plant has to contain more than 0.2% THC to be classed as cannabis.
Full Spectrum CBD and 0.2% THC
Any of our products that contain THC at levels less than 0.2% are not illegal prodtcs, they are full spectrum products, so users also benefit from the entourage effect. Studies have shown the using all of the plants compounds at the same time are much more beneficial, so smoking or vaping the flowers means you get the full effects of multiple cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes which work together to help each others actions within your body. Ultimately when cannabis is used as a treatment - the plant is ideal as it grows in the ground.
Confused? We aren’t surprised but, in another twist, if the MHRA had changed their guidelines it would mean that manufacturers could not be compliant with the FSA guidelines and vice versa. Anyone else thinking right hand left hand? These are after all two government bodies. This meant that reputable industry members were sharing this communication far and wide whilst banging on the door of the MHRA, trying to gain clarification.
An Ethical Approach to CBD
There are actually lots of positives in any move by a government body, because our industry needs change, it needs a move towards sensible legislation, and this is why.
We have an influx of American and Canadian brands with huge SEO budgets and seemingly limitless advertising revenues all flooding social and digital with underwear clad models and reckless claims about improving everything from your sex life to your Pet’s health. What does this result in? A huge risk to consumers, driven by poor advice around the amount of CBD required, being told 10mg a day with cure them of anxiety or joint pain, lower concentration of CBD than it states on the label, resulting in poor or no results for the consumer and in the worst cases no CBD in the product at all. Increased levels of THC than claimed resulting in nausea have also been commonly reported. The answer is to consult with brands and retailers and gain expert advice for the Government so we can have one coherent integrated strategy and one set of guidelines, industry wide, removing the legal limbo and ingrained disjointed approach we have now.
This emerging market is flooded with, unregulated, unethical start up’s and wealthy entrepreneurs, many of who know little about the industry and are focussed on sexy advertising campaigns, big SEO budgets and frankly little else. You only need to look at the low or non-existent CBD concentration or the transparent bottles of CBD water many millennials have taken to drinking. Any self respecting supplier knows that CBD destabilizes when exposed to light or indeed oxygen which is why we are all used to seeing the distintive dark glass bottles reminiscent of apothecary jars.
So what does the future hold for CBD, big pharmaceutical companies have already got their lobbyists working hard to form and push regulations to suit their agenda such as, expensive licenses costing hundreds of thousands which some fear could virtually wipe out many genuine businesses who have been at the forefront of the change overnight. However, with consumers becoming better educated around the benefits of CBD, the big Pharmaceuticals are finding it harder to frighten those consumers about using CBD further reducing their control on a market that they were quite frankly too late to the party. But why, because CBD threatens their billion dollar profits, they stand to make significant losses, patients taking several prescriptions for anxiety, joint pain & skin conditions for example could in theory take one CBD product with little or no side affects for a fraction of the cost and buy this over the counter from a reputable supplier.
Whilst this may seem challenging for everyone involved, it is down to the retailers who sell these products to ensure they are compliant and to ensure the products they are selling contain not only the correct amounts of CBD, but this is also detailed very transparently on the packaging. CBD concentrations vary per product, per ml, and quality CBD at the right concentration is expensive at the source. In terms of CBD – you do get what you pay for and if it seems too good to be true – it is! It is more expensive to source the best CBD and there is more cost attached to refining CBD down to a level that contains only a trace of THC. The British government do not deny the medicinal value of CBD and even THC, but there is much need for regulation and compliance to ensure the dose is delivered in the required levels and people can talk openly about its benefits – including retailers. Right now – we have to say ‘it might make you feel better’. The best thing to do is read more about the Endocannabinoid System and the Dosage.
CBD Oil and the Endocannabinoid System
CBD oil is natural remedy that feeds the receptors in our endocannabinoid system. We are all very aware of our Central Nervous System, but not as aware about our endocannabinoid system and what a part this plays in the function of our brains, immune and endocrine tissues. As a result they play an integral role in our functioning and correct regulation of sleep, digestion, pain, skin, hair and cell functionality. CBD Oil mimics the natural processes that take place in our bodies, has very few side effects, does not get you high and is not addictive. We actually have it OK in the UK. Our government are pretty open minded - you one have to look at the lies and damage in the USA over vaping in the last 60 days to see how we take a much more sensible and informed approach to issues and overall what is best for the health of our citizens and the safety of our country does seem to shine through. It is just incredibly important that we continue to seek better understanding, we continue to share, we continue to educate and we do not allow big corporate giants to release synthetic versions of the truth and take control of our supply.
As a retailer of CBD - we are not allowed to say it is good for you. We are not allowed to make medical claims of any kind. We are not allowed promise any specific benefits of CBD. Due to the growth in awareness - we don't have to. The structure of our own bodies and the way millions of people are sharing their experiences seems to be stopping any chance the suits have of slowing down the growth of CBD and restricting your supply.
If you didn't see BBC Countryfile on 17th November 2019 - it might also be worth a watch!