People have used CBD for everything from chronic pain to anxiety.
But has CBD earned its place in wellness and health circles? And how do you find the best CBD oil in the UK?
While CBD, which is usually derived from hemp, not marijuana, is still in murky legal territory, there are plenty of companies taking the risk to develop and market their CBD products.
Plus, wider acceptance and use of CBD products makes it more likely that CBD oils, and other CBD preparations, will maintain their current legal status.
That doesn’t mean that all products are the same, however. So, we’ll also go over some CBD basics, including what you can do to verify product quality before you buy.
What is CBD?
While there are a lot of people talking about CBD, not many people seem to know what it is.
CBD itself is one of many cannabinoids (such as CBDA, CBG) found naturally in hemp plants and marijuana. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana (the one that makes you high) is another. There are dozens of them, but only CBD and THC get much attention.
Fortunately, THC is mostly found in marijuana. Hemp, the plant normally used to create CBD products, contains little to no THC. CBD on its own won’t make you high and does impair your reactions or judgment.
Hemp contains high concentrations of CBD, but almost all CBD products go through several stages of processing to increase the concentration. That means you can get a lot of CBD from relatively little product.
How is CBD oil produced?
CBD oils are only one of many preparations for CBD, but they’re usually the most useful and flexible.
The oil is distilled using the leaves, stems, stalk, and flowers of a hemp plant. Basically, everything but the root can be used. Furthermore, CBD producers usually use specific varieties of hemp that are higher in CBD, so that you can get higher quality oil with less hemp.
You shouldn’t confuse CBD oil with hemp seed oil. While hemp oil may contain cannabinoids, including CBD, the concentrations aren’t similar. Hemp oil is commonly used in beauty/skincare products but won’t have the same effect as CBD oils.
Like all CBD products, CBD oil won’t get you high. For a product to be sold as CBD oil, the Home Office requires that it contain less than 0.2% THC and is only sold as a food supplement.
The 6 best CBD oil brands in the UK
Brand reputation is hugely important when it comes to CBD. People tend to be vocal when they have a bad experience with CBD, but there are still some companies that get away with selling low-quality and even counterfeit products.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying a low-quality or cheap product, and never giving CBD another try since they didn’t notice any effect.
Avoid buying a counterfeit product, always do your brand research before you buy, even if you don’t buy one of the oils on this list.
1. Blessed CBD – Voted Best CBD Oil
Voted the best CBD oil in the UK by publications such as Reader’s Digest, Observer, VentureBeat, Daily Record, HerbMighty and Discover Magazine – and with hundreds of 5 star customer reviews, Blessed CBD is one of the hottest CBD brands in the UK.
Blessed CBD offers an organic full spectrum CBD oil with a boosted terpene profile. Terpenes can increase the potency and effectiveness of CBD, as well as making the effects last longer, a good combo (and also allows you to achieve the entourage effect).
They also rate the different concentrations of their CBD oil for who their ideal customer would be, making it easier to choose the right product for you.
All of their oils are full-spectrum products. They also concentrate on producing high-quality oil, specifically to counter the trend of lower quality and concentration oils in the UK and high street stores.
Overall, their oils are effective, easy to use and dose, and the quality can’t be beat. The taste can be quite “earthy”, but this is the good stuff that has shown to get the best results. If you’re not a fan of the taste, they also have CBD creams.
Blessed CBD’s oil makes our top pick for a lot of reasons, but the high concentration and purity are high on the list. This is suitable for both beginners and people who need high doses. They make their third-party lab results public on their website, and are incredibly transparent about their process and why they make CBD.
If you’re looking to try CBD oil, Blessed CBD should be your first option.
2. CBD Pure
CBD pure is another organic CBD operation. They also rate their products as being non-GMO. They use the CO2 extraction method, but maintain a full-spectrum product with over 20 different cannabinoids working for your benefit.
They go through an extensive quality control process, while also working to make sure the terpenes and other beneficial products are there to help (which can all be verified via their lab reports).
Their CBD oils are slightly lower concentration but still more than enough to get a good dose. They offer three different concentrations in their oils, and also produce a range of other CBD products if you decide that oils aren’t for you.
The only downside? As they’re based in the USA, shipping to the UK can take 2-3 weeks. If you don’t mind the wait, CBD Pure is definitely worth a try.
3. Excite CBD
New to the market, Excite CBD has been slowly and steadily working on increasing their presence. With great initial feedback from customers, and a rock-solid range of CBD products, this is a CBD brand to watch out for.
Excite CBD blends their CBD with proprietary herbs, flavonoids and essential oils, boosting the effectiveness of the oils and changing the flavor somewhat.
These rich and effective CBD oils work beautifully, the extra flavonoids adding to the potency of the CBD at a lower cost than increasing the CBD concentration.
Slightly cheaper than other brands in the UK, Excite CBD is a great option for those looking for affordable CBD oil.
4. Bud and Tender
Bud and Tender is a locally based UK CBD company. They started a small operation but are always growing.
They handle production of their plant extracts from start to finish, everything but the concentration/lab testing, which is carried out by the third-party lab.
One of the best benefits of this brand is that you can buy a tester sized vial of their oils for only £10.00 before buying a larger bottle.
Hempura uses supercritical extraction to create its CBD oils, resulting in some of the highest purity of any CBD oil in the business.
They also make their lab results publicly available and have been vetted for good business practice besides (they’re part of the Cannabis Trades Association).
This highly concentrated oil is also good added to topical creams and treatments, although it’s best effects are certainly reserved for when it’s taken internally via the oil tincture.
Provacan is another company that produces a range of different oils, as well as other CBD products for different uses.
They understand the importance of quality over quantity, and so focus on making sure they can deliver the highest possible quality of their products rather than bringing new ones to market.
Great if you want to experiment with different concentrations, or if you want to compare the effects of different CBD products from the same company.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
CBD oil has gained a lot more traction in medical circles than it once had. As more research is being done, the benefits of CBD are becoming clearer and more doctors and medical practitioners are embracing the product.
CBD is also being considered as an alternative or supplement to other treatments since it comes with few side effects.
From a medical perspective, the effects of CBD are best studied in relation to epilepsy, where it seems to offer significant benefits. But it’s also been shown to have positive effects on a wide range of other disorders and conditions, including but not limited to:
● Inflammatory Bowel Disease
● Rheumatoid Arthritis
● Multiple Sclerosis
● Huntington’s Disease
● Parkinson’s Disease
● Some complications of diabetes
(according to the 2017 report by the WHO)
That doesn’t mean that CBD is a treatment for those conditions, only that it can have a positive effect and may help alleviate the symptoms.
You should still consult with your doctor before taking CBD. CBD may interact with other medications, so it’s important to check and be sure ahead of time.
Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
Per the Home Office, CBD oil is legal only if the THC concentration is no more than 0.2%.
CBD products can be imported into the UK, so long as THC concentration is low enough it isn’t detected at customs. Cannabis oil – not to be confused with CBD oil – contains higher traces of THC, which makes it illegal in the UK.
However, the sale of CBD flowers is prohibited, and there are additional license requirements for selling CBD foods.
UK CBD oil manufacturers are also not allowed to advertise any medical benefits on the packaging. If you see benefits listed, you should consider that a red-flag and avoid that particular product.
Different types of CBD products
While we’re focusing on CBD oil, it’s worth examining what kinds of CBD products you can buy in the UK. Oil isn’t for everyone, and thankfully, it isn’t the only option.
● CBD Tinctures/Oils
These are the most popular options in the CBD market. It’s easy to control your dose by counting drops. Oils and tinctures are also easy to administer quickly and can take effect in only a few minutes.
● CBD Capsules
CBD oils do tend to have a noticeable flavor, which is why some people prefer capsules. They don’t have a flavor, but it can take a little longer for the dose to take effect, and the capsules are a fixed-dose. If you need more, you can take another, but you’re stuck with however much CBD is in the capsule.
● CBD Vape
Vape is the fastest option and doesn’t usually have as much flavor as oils. However, the effects of vaping aren’t well understood, and vaping might not always be an option, depending on why you’re taking CBD.
Finding the best CBD oil in the UK
● Concentration & Purity
The most important quality in a CBD oil, and often the hardest to find, is concentration and purity. Higher concentrations mean you’ll need less of the oil to reach an effective dose. This is why Blessed CBD produces their oils in 10ml bottles – with each droplet containing as much as 6mg of CBD.
Purity isn’t about THC since all CBD products are required to have a low concentration of THC. But you do want to make sure there aren’t any fillers in the oil. You also want to look for an oil that is pesticide and herbicide-free. Chemical fertilizers and anything else that might have been sprayed on the hemp plants can also be a problem.
The best CBD oils in the UK will usually say that they use organic hemp, many will say that they are GMO-free/vegan friendly, and some will also advertise that they are free of other chemicals. Always go for a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product and try to avoid CBD isolates.
Try to avoid anything that’s hyping the product. Good CBD manufacturers will trust their product to do the talking for them, while lower-quality oils will try to convince you to buy.
You should also check the CBD concentration. Most will list the amount of CBD contained in the package on the packaging or label, but you may also need to look on the brand website.
The lowest you’ll see is 300mg, or 3% concentration, but it can be much higher. It’s worth paying more for a product that’s very pure and high concentration since you’ll use less. You’ll go through it more slowly when you only need a few drops at a time instead of a full dropper.
● Extraction Method
Another important consideration is how the manufacturer got the CBD into the oil in the first place. The best extraction method is the CO2 extraction process.
The supercritical CO2 extraction process is considered cleaner and produces a higher concentration and purer CBD product. However, it’s an expensive process, and you’ll see that reflected in the price of your oil.
CBD oil UK: final thoughts
More CBD oil products (oils, e-liquids, gummies, vape pens, etc) are coming to the UK market every day, but in all that competition it’s still important to make sure you’re getting a product that delivers what it advertises.
We stand by Blessed CBD as the top pick of all these oils – their oils are effective and come in the highest quality, reasonably priced, and they work.
But we also stand by all the oils on this list as a solid option.