Vegan diets are complemented with supplements, especially if there are health conditions involved, and CBD may be the new plant-based favourite.
Although cannabis has notorious fame, it has incredible benefits too. Bill Caldwell, 16, was diagnosed with autism and had regular epileptic seizures until a specialist in the US prescribed him cannabidiol (CBD), derived from cannabis (marijuana). In 2018, Billy and his mother Charlotte made history when they started the I am Billy campaign to change an outdated law on medicinal cannabis. Now, he has marked a whole year without convulsions.
Marijuana is considered a Class B drug in the UK due to its psychoactive component, THC. On the other hand, CBD doesn’t affect the psyche — it doesn’t get you high — and it has been found to have medical benefits against pain, anxiety and epilepsy.
Read our story about the vegan cooking show where contestants get high.
Earlier this month, the Association for Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) and Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) launched a report revealing that the market has soared since Billy’s achievement. The CBD market’s value is estimated to be worth £690 million.
Paul Birch, the co-founder of CMC and ACI, said: “The size of this cannabinoid sector is now impossible to ignore. Almost without notice and certainly by accident rather than design, the UK has improbably become the world’s second-largest consumer cannabinoids market.”
The Food Standards Agency, the body that regulates new products in the market, recently published a list of 22 CBD products that can stay on the market until a further decision on their authorisation is taken. Although it’s a massive step towards wellbeing, for some, it’s a short list.
Sarah Ellson, regulatory co-head at the law firm Fieldfisher told NutraIngredients that it’s a bit worrying that just three companies got their products approved: “Technically, products not on the list should not be sold — they are not compliant with food safety law.” But many are already on retailer’s shelves.
“The list is going to be updated weekly until the end of June, so in many ways, it seems that there is a three-month grace period,” she added.
CBD wellness products include oils, edibles, capsules, e-liquids, and more. CBDepot is one of the few companies validated by the FSA, and it produces high-quality natural cannabinoid ingredients for the food supplements sector. The CBD concentration is on the low levels of physiological effects, way below the pharmacological doses used in pharmaceutical applications of CBD, and their side effects are not relevant.
Users use it for a range of reasons, a CBDepot spokesperson tells The Vegan Review: “People buy and use CBD oils for various health conditions — to improve their sleep, for recovery after sports activities, decreasing inflammation and anxiety management. Some of them use the oils as self-medication for a cancer condition.”
While products themselves cannot make medical claims, many academics suggest their therapeutic potential. Nonetheless, they warn against its use by teenagers under 18, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, in addition to when doing activities requiring alertness.
Its bad reputation and legal restrictions come from its origins. CBD, however, comes from leaves and seeds with a very low level of THC — 0.2% in the UK. Traditional marijuana weed can have over 20%. Both ACI and CMC have called for a more straightforward legal framework: “Due to domestic restrictions on hemp cultivation and processing in the UK, the bulk of the profits for this industry are going overseas,” they claim in the CBD market report. “This is because UK farmers must destroy the parts of the hemp crop which lucrative CBD is extracted from.”
Currently, the future for the sector seems green, and experts have forecasted an increase in its market. CBD products are available in many health stores, including Holland & Barrett and Boots. The attributes of this plant have been known for centuries, and now, science is providing us with the option to consume it without necessarily getting high.
The Vegan Review advises professional guidance for use of CBD and cannabis products.