By Tess Hardy
You may have noticed recent exposure surrounding the ‘miracle product of the moment’, CBD, which has become increasingly popular in the world of health and wellness. Despite this, there are still plenty of myths and misconceptions regarding its use, so we decided to do a research and pop it over to The Drug Store in Marylebone and talk to the founders Johan Obel and Clemens Böninger, as well as the cannabinoid expert Dr Julie Moltke, to get the bottom line.
What is CBD?
After recognising the failings and misinformation in the CBD space, Johan and Clemens set out to change the CBD industry together for the better and thus founded The Drug Store. They began this venture to highlight the potential in the trade and for them to become the number one destination for CBD in the UK, capitalising on its well-established popularity in the US.
For those of you thinking that you can get high from taking CBD as it comes from cannabis, unluckily for you, no, you cannot get high from CBD alone and it will not show up on any drug test.
CBD is extracted from a cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil. It is a non-psychoactive chemical, so does not produce a euphoric “high” or alter a person’s state of mind once consumed, unlike other cannabinoids.
This brings us on to the question of whether CBD is legal. Yes! CBD is completely legal and readily available in the UK and in most parts of the US, “provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved”. Also, it cannot contain any trace elements ‘Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)’ – a psychoactive chemical with mind-changing properties – for CBD to be legally sold in the EU.
In Europe, we are always looking to the US for new trends. Here, it seems no different; the US and Canada have influenced Europe massively by jumping on the CBD bandwagon. We spoke with Dr Julie Moltke, who stated that, ‘for decades, cannabis has been considered a class 1 substance without any medical benefits’; CBD is proving this stigma wrong.
Which are the health benefits?
CBD products have been used by approximately 300,000 people in the UK alone. In Dr Julie’s experience and according to the evidence, CBD works well with many neuropsychological conditions like anxiety, potentially depression, and schizophrenia, to improve sleep and against addiction.
Having been linked to cognitive research and treatment of neurological and movement disorders, such as epilepsy, CBD also has stress-reducing properties to help lower blood pressure.
Johan reiterated to us that there is a medical and a wellness side of the market. It is important to make that distinction and spot the differences between the two.
Although they sell a lot of standard CBD oil, face creams and, more uniquely, CBD arousal lube are actually their best sellers!
He agreed that the human body could benefit from using CBD to control a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response, as well as to improve overall health and well-being.
CBD has a promising ability to boost serotonin levels in the brain. In an ideal world, this could help those who suffer with mental health disorders, who could initially try out CBD as a natural management approach before potentially resorting to pharmaceutical drugs.
This finding is an especially important development for those with depression, the single largest contributor to disability worldwide.
She suggested anxiety as an example where we do not have many good medical drugs available (most people get anti-depressants) and where CBD might very well turn out to be safe and efficient.
So how can we know whether CBD is coming from a trusted source?
I would suggest researching the premium CBD retailers on the market prior to buying what may be advertised as ‘reliable and safe CBD’ online or in-store.
At The Drug Store, their target is to help brands gain access to the European market. Johan stated, ‘…it is very, very difficult for the average consumer to understand whether one product is better than the other, and that is why we think that we have a very good position in the market… people put their trust in us and in finding the best and most interesting products from around the world.’
Whilst all age groups are represented, The Drug Store’s typical customer is around 40-45 years of age plus. CBD is relatively costly due to the raw material being very expensive, but prices are lowering year on year and Johan reckons it will become significantly more affordable and accessible for everyone.
The founders reminded us that CBD is principally sold as a nutritional and therapeutic supplement.
‘People put so much trust into this kind of ‘wonder drug’ that they read about online… [Or] they might have watched a YouTube video of someone who cured their cancer with cannabis oil… [and] when people start talking about how they cured themselves with a product that is, at the end of the day, at the moment primarily a health and wellness product, that is something that we have to be quite conscious about.’
The Drug Store therefore has a big responsibility in portraying their products, making sure people understand that CBD is not in fact a medication. As CBD may also cause side effects including nausea, tiredness and irritability, if you are considering using any products, it is always advisable to consult a doctor beforehand.
I personally endorse healthy living and CBD offers huge potential to make that lifestyle a reality. I have already incorporated CBD into my routine to test out some of the products; who knows, maybe they will serve me as my new favourite therapeutic resource and lower my stress and PMS levels – now that really would be a miracle!