As evolving human beings, we are becoming more interested in what goes into our food and other products we buy, sparking a movement to a more ethical thought process of purchasing goods. Hemp is a product that can dissuade people because of its relation to cannabis as a drug rather than an industrial product. Presented with a chemical that is not widely known, particularly one that is present in the cannabis plant can also tarnish the reputation of an otherwise legitimate crop in the eyes of the public.

One thing that is imperative when discussing CBD is this: it is completely legal in the UK. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most prominent of chemicals present in the hemp plant, accounting to approximately 40% of its biological and chemical structure. But what exactly is it? What does it do? And how do our brains react to it?

What is CBD?

In short, CBD belongs to the family of more than 100 cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that respond to cannabinoid receptors present in the body; they alter neurotransmitter release. CBD is a naturally occurring product that can be extracted with relative ease. The most famous of cannabinoids is THC, the psychoactive chemical present in marijuana. CBD has a negative effect on THC because it counteracts the psychoactive effects stimulated by THC, and because there is a higher percentage of CBD in hemp than there is in marijuana, the plants cannot be grown together; it presents the issue of cross pollution that leads to infertility.

How Do our Brains React to it?

Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties and is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. The cannabinoid receptors in the body, most notably the CB1 receptor, is where interaction between cannabinoid molecules and receptors occur. Because these receptors are connected to the brain and the central nervous system, interaction can stimulate psychoactive effects. Despite this being the case with THC, CBD is different. THC molecules can easily interact with CB1 receptors because of their shape and their agonistic properties, whereas CBD molecules fail to bind with CB1 receptors for the same reason: molecule shape. CBD antagonises CB1 receptors, meaning it does not react or stimulate them, instead it suppresses any kind of stimulation. If CBD is taken at the same time as THC, the psychoactive effects are countered by antagonising the stimulation at receptor source, reducing the high.

What is CBD used for?

CBD is often added to food supplements and cosmetics; It is fat soluble.  The most popular forms of CBD come in oils, vaping liquid, butter and beauty products. As well as being added to shampoos and soap, CBD is a popular supplement that is used extensively throughout the UK.

CBD Laws in the UK

Hemp plants grown in the EU are completely legal for sale in those member countries. CBD products are made from plants with <0.20% THC. Outside of the EU and the UK, the product comes under various jurisdictions and laws. But for the UK, the production and sale of CBD products is completely legal.

European countries such as Spain, Germany, Greece and Belgium permit the sale of CBD however, legal advice should be taken before committing to buying or producing the product. Legality surrounding the subject is sensitive so speaking to specialist legal advisors is always a must.

Countries like the Netherlands and others that permit the sale of cannabis will therefore permit the sale and production of CBD as completely legal.

Future of CBD

Whilst there is a certain amount of information surrounding CBD, research is continually being undertaken to gather more information about how the substance operates and the potential effects it may have. Lab testing is at the tip of the iceberg in finding out more about these fascinating cannabinoid chemicals.