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Five ways you can consume CBD in the UK today

February 28, 2019

As CBD has grown in popularity over the last few years in the UK, many people have become aware of the huge benefits this cannabinoid can provide. CBD has become so popular, that even high street chain stores such as Holland and Barratt now stock products containing cannabidiol.

This boom in popularity has seen many people look to CBD to help with a number of issues, from pain to insomnia, anxiety to acne. Yet many people are still unsure which CBD products they should use to help relieve their own specific problems. Below we look at a 5 different ways CBD can be consumed, and the most suitable route of administration for many common issues.


By far the most popular route of administration, CBD oils or tinctures can be found everywhere from online stores to high street chains. A bottle of CBD oil isn’t just pure cannabidiol, it’s some CBD oil mixed with a carrier oil. The ratio of CBD to carrier oil will vary, and the amount of CBD in the bottle will be reflected in the price. Choosing which strength oil is an entirely different subject dependant on your needs, but fortunately, we have covered that here.

Carrier oils can vary, but commonly include hemp oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. While there are some subtle differences and benefits between different oils, for most people this isn’t an issue.

Thanks to a huge boom in interest, you can find a wide range of products varying in price, strength and quality. While some products can be found for as cheap as £10, they tend to have a low concentration of CBD. The plants the CBD is extracted from are likely grown in unsavoury conditions and will be mixed with a cheaper carrier oil. It pays to be careful when choosing a CBD oil as cheaper products tend to be made with extracts from plants grown intensively in China, and testing has found traces of heavy metals and other unwanted compounds. Ensure the CBD oil you buy can prove its provenance and where possible, chose a product made from organically grown hemp.

CBD oil can be used as a food supplement, added to coffee or smoothies or held under the tongue to be absorbed sublingually. Again, the method of consumption of CBD oil is a wide and varied subject, but generally speaking, CBD oil will help with most issues, which explains why it is the most popular way to consume cannabidiol. All CBD oils will come with instructions for use on the packaging which for most people will be the best route of administration.

CBD Gel Caps

CBD gel caps are essentially an ‘easier’ way of consuming CDB oil. If you were ever forced to take cod liver oil tablets as a child you’ll already recognise CBD gel caps, which are small tablet sized capsules containing a pre-measured dose of CBD oil. They have a number of advantages over taking oil, but there is some payoff.

CDB oil can have a strong taste which some find unpleasant, and spaying or dropping oil directly into the mouth can be messy or difficult for some people. Pre made gel caps make consumption easier, the dose is controlled and there is no unpleasant after taste, but by swallowing the capsule, the effects can be diminished or take longer to have an effect.

In some circumstances, a slower release may be preferential, gel caps work great for people suffering from anxiety or ongoing pain issues who want a more sustained response from CBD.

Much of the difference in consumption of gel caps vs oil comes down to bioavailability, studies have shown that some of the impact is lost when swallowing oil vs administering sublingually under the tongue. Again this is a complex subject which we cover in more detail here.

cbd lotion being applied to skin

CBD Balms & Lotions

Not strictly a product you’d want to consume by eating, CBD balms and lotions are applied directly to the skin and have a wide range of applications. Widespread studies have shown that CBD can reduce or relieve pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, and skin disorders, so it’s no wonder that cannabidiol has made its way into a number of topical products.

As more people turn to CBD products that can be applied to the skin, so producers have created products that answer specific needs. A wide range of topical creams aimed at sports people will contain complimentary ingredients aimed to reduce muscle fatigue and inflammation; perfect for runners, cyclists and indeed any other athlete that puts their body under stress. CBD has been proven to help with acne, is being touted to keep skin looking young. CBD is even popping up in lubricants and massage oils designed to enhance sexual pleasure.

CBD balms, lotions and other topical products are best used to treat physical ailments and conditions but can be used alongside other methods of consumption.

CBD e-liquids

it is no surprise that CBD has made its way into vaping, as both trends have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years. CBD e-liquids differentiate from CBD oil, however, as they usually contain only CBD isolate.

CBD isolate is chemically extracted from CBD oil, removing any other cannabinoids, terpenes and other substances and leaving a white, crystalline powder. While this might sound medically superior, many believe that CBD can’t work without these other substances, in something known as the entourage effect.

While some CBD e-liquids are available claiming to be ‘full spectrum’ – it is still likely they have been through a chemical extraction process to be made suitable for vaping. However if you already enjoy vaping, and wish to try the benefits of CBD e-liquids might be the way to go.

cbd edibles and cups of coffee

CBD Edibles

Edible CBD products come in many different forms, from cakes to sweets and drinks. Cafes across the UK have begun to pop up serving CBD smoothies and cookies and 2018 even saw the UK’s first Cannabis Restaurant open it’s doors in Brighton, offering organic cannabinoid infused cuisine.

While making treats out of cannabidiol might seem gimmicky, hemp has long been known to be a nutritionally rich food source, and eating or drinking CBD rich products can provide all of the benefits need to help with anxiety, pain or relaxation. Being less clinical than administering oil drops or taking gel gaps, CDB edibles can be consumed in a less formal setting such as a dinner party or used to help treat symptoms in people with degenerative conditions such as dementia.

Recently we have seen a huge rise in popularity in CBD flowers in the UK. CBD flowers look much like traditional cannabis buds or flowers, yet contain low concentrations of THC, the compound in cannabis that gets people high.

At this stage, CBD flowers are still illegal in the UK, despite containing less than the legal limit of THC as specified in similar products such as CBD oil. This is due to UK regulation which states that the flower is considered controlled under the Misuse Of Drugs Act. This appears to be a grey area at the time of writing, with many websites and indeed shops selling CBD flowers in the UK, and customs apparently turning a blind eye to imports from countries such as Switzerland, which has a booming industry in the growing of CBD rich cannabis flower.

While this kind of product remains illegal, we can’t in good conscience recommend it, however many traditional cannabis smokers are adding CBD rich strains to joints to balance out the effects of high THC street cannabis, or smoking high CBD low THC flowers to enjoy the benefits of CBD in social settings without the effects of THC.

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