If CBD were part of the fashion industry it would have transcended from trend to staple item. Now as commonly acknowledged in the wellness space as any other vitamin or mineral that promotes health and wellbeing, new research shows that eight million Brits are investing in CBD products and that the UK market alone is worth £300 million – which is more than the value of vitamin C and D combined. Stats also show that 71 per cent of UK consumers’ favourite product form of CBD is ingestibles and that no longer just includes tinctures and oils – everything from gummies, chocolate, tea, coffee, olive oil and caramel spread comes laced with CBD.
“Gummies are huge in the US as a way to enjoy your daily vitamin or supplement which was adopted early on in the CBD market as it offers a tastier option to CBD oils that don’t tend to be great flavour-wise and can be off-putting,” explains Michelle Goldsmith, founder of Pollen, the chic CBD brand that alongside gummies produces drink drops (like squash, but better) and sparkling CBD-infused beverages.
Taste has been a big driver for the brands entering the ingestibles arena. It’s something that drove Alex Pejacsevich, co-founder of Paso to create both gummies and chocolate in its line-up. “We wanted to develop a range that came in more recognisable, friendly formats such as chocolate rather than the unfamiliar way of dropping oil under your tongue which is often the most typical method of ingesting CBD,” he says. “It also opens up the product category to a new larger audience and makes it easier for people to integrate into their everyday lives.” Guaranteed, it’s a lot subtler to pop a sweet into your mouth when you’re having a moment at your desk than reaching for a pipette and tilting your head back while you distribute your required dose.
Talking of dose, these ingestibles also provide an easy way to monitor your intake. Clearly labelled, there’s no ‘squeeze it and see’ guesswork which you might experience from tinctures. The Food Standards Authority states that you should take no more than 70mg of CBD a day and most gummies vary from 10mg to 25mg per sweet, so you can start with one and then work out whether you feel like you need any more. “We’re huge fans of micro-dosing – a low-dose technique that allows you to build up your dosage daily until you reach the optimum routine for you personally. We also provide a 30-day journal with each purchase, so you can monitor how you feel each day to help you understand how CBD is benefiting you,” continues Goldsmith. Divided into three collections – Powerbank for when you need focus, No Pressure to restore and rebalance and Soothe You to keep the calm, each gummy contains 10mg of CBD and their Pollen Starter Kit suggests you take one of each dotted throughout your day.
For an even lower, beginner level dose, new brand fourfivecbd has launched the first multivitamin and CBD tablet. Blending 5mg of CBD with other essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids such as vitamin C, B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and L-Glutamine, it’s like the Berocca of the CBD world.
How do CBD ingestibles work?
One of the main reasons CBD is much-loved is because it works with the naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabionoid system (the part of our body that creates signals to regulate functions such as sleep, mood, memory) so the quicker it can get to those receptors, the better. This comes down to absorption. “Products which spend a longer time in the mouth – like gummies which are sucked – are likely to be more effective than products that are instantly swallowed, like coffee, as CBD absorption into the blood stream is much easier in the mouth than in the stomach,” explains Pejacsevich. Which is why you always administer CBD drops under the tongue as there lies small capillary beds that allow for it to filter through to your blood stream, fast. It’s also worth noting that if you opt for any of the CBD chocolate try and let it melt in your mouth for optimum results, although that’s easier said than done!
There are also other ingredients that boost absorption, in particular fats which is why you’ll find that most tinctures and oils are made with coconut derived MCT oil and is also why chocolate can be a good way to go as the cocoa butter acts in the same way. Dominic Day, co-founder of fourfivecbd also highlights that some premium CBD capsules may contain prebiotics like inulin to support the body’s digestive process and healthy gut bacteria therefore aiding the absorption through the gut.
What type of CBD is it?
Whereas oils and beauty products vary in their use of CBD isoltaes, full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD, the edibles tend to plump for the latter. “It’s the perfect middle ground and means our CBD contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes with undetectable levels of THC, giving it optimum health benefits but keeping it compliant with current UK regulations,” says Goldsmith. For clarification, THC is the compound that gets you high and is currently illegal here in amounts greater than 1mg per packet.
Will I have to wait long to feel the benefits?
When London-based CBD retailer The Drug Store conducted a recent survey it found that people’s main reasons for using CBD were to help with anxiety, lower stress levels, improve general wellbeing and aid sleep. Obviously the extremities of these are different for everyone which is why it’s impossible to put a set time frame on how long it will take to see an improvement from taking these CBD ingestibles, but the general consensus is be consistent rather than dipping in and out for a quick fix. “The majority of people we see using CBD as part of a lifestyle medicine programme report positive effects and benefits within a couple of days depending on what it’s taken for, although we suggest taking your chosen product consistently for two-four weeks and then working out how much and when you need to take it,” says Day.
Timing-wise that’s your call too. “I’ve taken them at all hours of the day – before I sleep, in the day, during work – they don’t impair me and that’s the beautiful premise of CBD,” says Joseph Oliver, CEO of LDN CBD who have Gummy Bears in their product line-up. “It’s not a sudden reaction, it’s subtle and it also depends thoroughly on what people are experiencing at that time and on each individual’s endocannibanoids system.”
As for anyone that shouldn’t take it, the FSA advise anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, taking any other medicines or have any pre-existing medical conditions to avoid it.
Are there any other rules and regulations?
Currently it’s down to the brands to self-regulate, so seek out those that use the highest standards and are fully transparent when it comes to where they source their CBD and how they formulate their products. “We have a track-and-trace policy which means we know everything down to the acreage the plant was grown in. If you’re producing something which someone is literally going to put in a food supplement, cook with or eat, I think it’s a given that you should be reliant on the very highest protocols,” explains Oliver. As a rule of thumb, Goldsmith suggests a checklist before you buy…
- Make sure CBD content is clearly shown in mg or percentage – it’s expensive because the process of extraction is complex. Brands that use decent quantities should want to make this clear.
- Ensure what you buy has been independently tested – getting your levels right takes time and consistency which is why you need to know the strength of CBD used so you can control how much you’re consuming.
- Make sure the CBD is water-soluble if it’s in a drink – this basically means that it will be fully absorbed into the drink and your body will be able to absorb it better.
The FSA is also making it mandatory for CBD businesses with ingestible products to register for ‘novel food authorisation’ by next March. This will mean product safety comes as a given, although it is a costly and involved process to apply. That said, those companies that are the real deal support it whole heartedly. Yes, it might mean less choice in the short term but safer, more effective and premium products in the long run. “This market is in need of regulation to rid it of some of the brands that are putting out sub-par products, making unauthorised health claims and potentially misleading consumers,” says Day.
What’s next in CBD?
While the guidelines may be stricter, the possibilities for CBD are flourishing and talk has moved to innovations around improved bioavailability and methods of ingestion. “The development of nano technology which makes CBD easier to absorb is an interesting area, although it’s currently restricted by the European Food Standards Authority, despite it being seen in the USA,” flags Pejacsevich.
The increase in ways to educate consumers on how and what CBD can do for them is another exciting prospect for brands and CBD-dedicated shopping spaces. Molecule, a standalone store in London’s Westbourne Grove is even launching its online ‘Molecule Navigator’ programme this summer so everyone can experience the CBD experience, regardless of their postcode. Using an algorithmic guide rather than face-to-face recommendations from the in-store Molecule pharmacists’ the digital technologies create a personalised range of products based on the answers you give. With tea, chocolate, spreads and the more traditional capsules and tinctures on offer, for those who have no idea where to start, this is the perfect hand-holding to help you take your first steps into the tasty and delectable delights of CBD.
A case of the munchies
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