What Are Phytocannabinoids? The Full Guide


Phytocannabinoids Explained

CBD and THC may receive the majority of the attention, but there are a total of 113 ‘phytocannabinoids’ among the 545 compounds found within a ‘typical’ marijuana plant.

Most of the time these are referred to simply as ‘cannabinoids‘ with the ‘Phyto’ added simply as an umbrella term that identifies these compounds as being derived from plants.

The key to understand is that there are a lot of them! While CBD and THC tend to make up the largest percentages, there’s a growing interest in how these additional cannabinoids interact with each other alongside terpenes and flavinoids also found within the plant.

Most cannabinoids tend to be found within the plant’s resin and the quantities they contain can vary depending on the particular kind of strain. Even though over a hundred may have been identified we do not yet understand very much about them.

The majority of research over the years has focused on the psychoactive qualities of THC with comparatively little interest in CBD, CBDa, or the perhaps the most interesting ‘new’ compounds – CBC and CBN.

Photocanninoids are derived from the plant, while it may surprise some to discover that the body also produces its own natural cannabinoids. These are referred to as endocannabinoids and have their own receptors dotted throughout the body. Phytocannabinoid oils are increasingly taken to help support our individual endocannabinoid system and give a boost to what we can (or may not be able to) naturally produce – just like how we may take any other supplement.

Some scientific research suggests that they may help with an enormous variety of health problems.

Phytocannabinoids – Why They Exist

So why do cannabis plants need phytocannabinoids? It’s for the same reason why the human body also requires them – to fight off external threats to their health.

Most phytocannabinoids are produced from the trichomes that cover the surface from leaves to stalk. It can essentially offer a kind of shield against bad weather/temperatures and even dissuade predators from eating them.

Trichomes are effective at:

  • Offering protection against frosts.
  • Preventing the loss of moisture to wind.
  • Stopping many predators from consuming the plant material.
  • Encouraging pollination.
  • Keeping the plant at a steady temperature in hot and humid environments.
Trichomes On Cannabis

Trichomes are also the primary producer of THC

Some other plants produce trichomes but the “high” is almost exclusive to the cannabis plant.

As for why the cannabis plant produces THC, the best theories tend to lean towards it being able to prevent microbial diseases. Unlike the human immune system, the plant needs to fight off risks before they have the opportunity to infect as they do not have any kind of remedial system. Trichomes are basically their first and only line of defense.

An interesting point worth mentioning here is that while trichomes do seem to serve as a deterrent to contamination, plants with higher levels of THC are no more or less susceptible to those with far less of these qualities. It seems that quantity/strength makes no difference at all.

So while phytocannabinoids serve some kind of protective role we are still quite some way from understanding exactly how this relates to the quantities/presence of THC – or why the psychoactive element exists at all.

How They Are Made

Phytocannabinoids are created by a process known as biosynthesis. Small enzymes such as THCA, CBCA, and CBDA react together alongside the cannabinoid precursors CBGA and CBGVA to create the core cannabinoids CBDA and THCA. Now the plant needs to expose these to heat (decarboxylation) during which some CO2 and carbon atoms will be shed. This will take a degree of time and accounts for the difference in speed that plants grow in varying conditions.

Over the final stages of the process, the CBDA will become CBD and THCA converts to THC. They can also then be broken down into other cannabinoids such as CBND and many others through oxidation – which is basically why there are so many cannabinoids in the plant.

How Do Photocannabinoids Interact With The Endocannabinoid System?

Earlier we briefly touched upon how scientific interest, research, and investment into the properties of cannabis have been stymied by a fascination with THC and the ‘high’ it gives. So little concern was placed into the cannabinoid receptors within the body that they were not really discovered until the late 1980’s.

You’d think such a groundbreaking discovery would have caused a rethink in the scientific approach to the properties of cannabinoids (and the health-supporting properties they might contain) – but nope! Research has so far identified only CB1 and CB2 receptors and has only recently started to believe that there could be a third (GPR55).

What makes this snails-pace progress even more bizarre is the solid proof for CB receptors being the most common neuroreceptor in the entire body. They play a vital role in the control and release of hormones, are essential to the immune and nervous systems, and have a considerable role to play in how the body both handles inflammation and copes with pain.

Here’s an example of what understanding just one of these endocannabinoids can deliver. Back in 1992 anandamide was identified by a team at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. It very closely resembles THC by being able to regulate mood, memory, pleasure, and appetite. Colloquially known as the ‘bliss molecule’ it’s thought to be one of the reasons why we sometimes feel high after performing some extensive exercise – basically like a natural reward for our hard efforts.

Since this discovery the same research department went on to identify a handful of other endocannabinoids: 2-AG is perhaps the best example for showing how important this could be. It plays a key role within the central nervous system and is essential to helping our immune system run effectively. Further studies have suggested that it may also be integral for pain control.

Despite these groundbreaking results, research into endocannabinoids remains far from even halfway accounting for the many ways that these are essential for keeping the body operating smoothly.

A Selection Of Interesting Phytocannabinoids

Understanding precisely what purpose all of these phytocannabinoids play is still far from understood. It’s far from pessimistic to assume that we are decades away from figuring out how they combine and work together. Yet there is some cause for optimism. What has been discovered so far (as noted with 2-AG) is overwhelmingly positive, and serves as a solid indicator that future discoveries are going to be extremely important.

Plenty of CBD enthusiasts have long believed in the ‘entourage effect’ whereby all of these cannabinoids can combine together somehow to provide a much more positive and beneficial effect on the body. We may still be a long way from categorically proving this theory, but it’s fair to say that early evidence suggests that they may well be on the right lines.

What Are Phytocannabinoids?

1) THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC is one of the most abundant compound found in the cannabis plant and tends to be removed for practical and legal reasons in most medical supplements. It’s the sole cannabinoid which provides the euphoric highs that the plant remains most famous for. By stimulating the brain’s reward center it can also affect appetite and mood.

2) THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)

THCA is actually the most abundant phytocannabinoid in raw marijuana and converts to THC when it’s heated (decarboxylated). Very early research suggests a possibility that it may help to protect the brain, especially memory and recall. It’s early days but future studies are likely to focus on how it reacts with people suffering degenerative diseases.

3) CBD (Cannabidiol)

This is the second most common phytocannabinoid (behind THC) and most probably now the best known.

It’s an alternative to ‘medical marijuana’ whereby the whole plant is taken and can be found in products such as CBD oils.

As the industry is largely unregulated the quality and provenance of many of these products are often questionable.

4) CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)

Just like THCA, this will convert to CBD when subjected to decarboxylation. It has actually been one of the most studied phytocannabinoids.

5) THCV & THCVa (Tetrahydrocannabivarin & Tetrahydrocannabivaric Acid)

Generally speaking, this is only found in very small quantities but is thought to stimulate the appetite. Anyone who has ever had the “munchies” and blamed THC – now you know the real villain!

6) CBN (Cannabinol)

Even though CBN is the third most present phytocannabinoid in marijuana it still comprises under 1% in most strains although late harvests tend to contain a little more. CBN is an off-shoot from THC and is comparatively very benign.

Most studies (and they’re quite limited so far) focus on the potential it could hold for treating sleep disorders due to its mildly sedating effects.

7) CBC (Cannabichromen)

Here’s another compound that’s believed to be able to stimulate neural cell growth and production. It also needs to be subjected to heat in order to form.

8) CBDV & CBDVa (Cannabidivarin & Cannabidivarinic Acid)

Only found in raw plants, it is thought that when isolated this precursor could have strong anticonvulsant properties. Quite possibly one of the breakthrough aspects of medicinal marijuana.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, there’s plenty that we still have to discover when it comes to phytocannabinoids and how they affect and influence the human body.

Thanks to the sudden growth in popularity with cannabis/hemp-derived supplements the good news is that it has also stimulated a renewed interest within the scientific and medicinal research fields.

Unfortunately, identifying specific cannabinoids and understanding how they can interact with identifiable health conditions is invariably an expensive, time consuming and frustrating process.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that phytocannabinoids do appear to play a significant role in helping supplements effectively bind with the endocannabinoid system. It has long been theorised, but now the trickle of scientific finding is starting to indicate that there is some kind of weight in the ‘entourage effect’ concept.

Does CBD Make You Hungry?


Does CBD Make You Hungry?

Worried about what effect taking CBD may have on your appetite? Scared of becoming a slave to crisps, pizza, and chocolate? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone!

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is whether taking hemp supplements will to lead to the famous ‘munchies’ associated with regular cannabis users.

No doubt you know the character from countless examples in movies and so forth. The typically long-haired guy wearing an obscure metal band T-shirt blazing away next to a pile of empty junk food containers…

Well, in all seriousness, it’s a valid question as CBD is well known to have zero physiological side effects thanks to being naturally benign.

But could it cause a psychological impulse to goggle down sweet and fatty foods? Let’s see what science has to say.

Understanding Cannabinoids

Marijuana is known to contain well over 100 various cannabinoids, of which THC (the one that gets you high) and various forms of CBD make up the majority. Note that the oils/liquids that we enjoy have the THC removed for legal and practical reasons – only products containing less than 0.2% THC are legal in the UK.

The question is how these various cannabinoids bind with our body’s endocannabinoid system (yes we all have one!).

Our system is based upon multiple receptors that are found throughout the body from head to foot. When you ingest a supplement the theory is that it binds to these receptors and causes all sorts of physiological effects within the body. The effect of this depends on where there’s a deficiency and could influence anything from mood through to reducing inflammation.

Scientific understanding of exactly how these processes work is dim at best – largely because it has only recently become a focus of research.

One aspect of research which is ahead of the rest has focused primarily on the CB1 receptors and how taking hemp/marijuana may stimulate ghrelin – often regarded as the ‘hunger hormone’.

Generally, this is found within the brain and digestive tract which when released stimulates the desire to eat and in larger quantities prompts a desire for fat and sugar. An even more troublesome aspect is that it also encourages the body to store fat.

It’s believed that THC is the cannabinoid that’s mostly responsible for stimulating the appetite and releasing this excess ghrelin. Considering that all but a trace of this is removed during the manufacture of CBD products, it should mean that the munchies will not occur.

Will Using CBD Products Make Me Extra Hungry?

It’s highly unlikely that you will experience anything close to the munchies compared to regular cannabis users who intake large quantities of hunger promoting ghrelin.

That being said, by far the most overwhelming research into cannabinoids has been focused on psychoactive THC – which is why we still don’t know much about how CBD ‘works’. Remember that there are several dozen other cannabinoids which have barely been examined at all.

It’s important with all aspects of CBD to remember that people are physiologically different. Some people are simply far more ‘receptive’ to cannabinoids than others, which may go some way towards explaining why a very small number of CBD users report experiencing enhanced hunger.

Whether or not the tiny UK legal limit of 0.2% is really enough to stimulate this hunger is seriously open to debate, especially considering that the vast majority of products on the market contain far less than that amount.

Mr Bean Eating

One thing’s for sure – you’re not going to be as hungry as Mr Bean here!

I’m Using CBD – So Why Do I Feel Hungry?

Of course, there could be many other reasons why people are experiencing a more stimulated appetite. Anxiety, stress and all sorts of other conditions are well known to have hunger-pangs as one of their symptoms.

One aspect that may potentially explain why a few CBD users experience such symptoms could relate to the type of CBD extract that they’re taking.

‘Isolate’ CBD is where the manufacturer has taken extra measures to eliminate as much THC as possible from their product – often destroying the vast majority of other cannabinoids in the process.

On the other hand, ‘Full Spectrum’ CBD products look to retain as many of those dozens of additional cannabinoids during extraction as they are thought to aid the efficiency of CBD in absorbing effectively into the body.

It’s an interesting theory, but remember that full spectrum CBD must still fall within the legal THC limits – and once again – usually contains way below that threshold.

The Last Word

Speaking purely from anecdote, we are unaware of anyone who has really experienced munchies that can be explained by using CBD.

Can You Mix CBD With Nicotine?


Can You Mix CBD With Nicotine?

Have you wondered what might happen if you combine CBD oil with a nicotine-based e-liquid? It’s a common question and one that raises quite a number of interesting points!

Those who already enjoy vaping nicotine infused e-liquids wonder if this may somehow negate the potential benefits that CBD may have to offer.

As we’ll see from exploring this topic, the relationship is a complex one.

Do Not Combine Sublingual Oils With E-Liquids!

First of all, we should make it clear that under no circumstances should anyone combine oil designed for sublingual use (taken under the tongue) with e-liquid.

CBD products intended for oral or sublingual intake use a carrying agent such as olive/coconut/hemp/MCT oil that simply doesn’t mix with the Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) found in e-liquids.

While they may appear to be similar to the eye, they are very different substances!

Oils are not designed to be heated whereas the VG and PG used in e-liquids are capable of producing vapour and a ‘throat hit’ that simulates conventional smoking.

Mixing the two together will in all likelihood damage your device and can potentially even be dangerous – after all, who wants to vape olive oil? Really?!

CBD Contains No Nicotine

Another point worth clarifying early is that CBD extracts contain no nicotine. Good quality CBD oils contain nothing other than cannabinoids and all the natural goodness from the hemp plant.

There are a small number of CBD e-liquids that also include a measure of nicotine, but so far these are quite rare to find in the UK (they are far more popular in the USA). Whether or not this is a good thing is really a matter of personal taste.

Specially configured juices that contain both compounds are obviously going to be ‘safe’ to use, but as nicotine is included there’s going to be the risk of becoming ‘hooked’. Nicotine is an additive substance after all!

Most (often self-identifying) ‘purists’ would argue that for this reason that it’s best to vape CBD independent of any nicotine.

Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall (World’s Strongest Man 2017) with the Nano Shot. The vial can be added to your favourite short-fill.

You Can Blend CBD E-Liquids & Nicotine Infused E-Liquids

But what if you’re a daily vaper who enjoys a particular flavour that’s not yet available in a specially defined style?

Well, there’s no reason why you cannot mix a CBD e-liquid (most of these are unflavoured) with a nicotine-based product.

The only thing to potentially look out for is making sure that the liquids are broadly similar in regards to their VG & PG mix.

With a few exceptions, the majority of CBD e-liquids adopt a similar ratio to most e-liquids, just keep an eye out for those designed with sub-ohm (heavy cloud producing) vaping in mind as these may not combine so well.

Much More Research Is Needed

Most of what we know about the interaction between cannabinoids and nicotine stems from the findings of studies that have focused upon classic cannabis consumption.

These have specifically looked towards THC (of which only a microscopic amount is retained in CBD products) and nicotine. Very little has been done relating purely to CBD – and the truth of the matter is that how it binds with our endocrine system is still far from understood.

There’s no evidence – either scientific or anecdotally – that combining nicotine with CBD makes either substance more or less addictive.

Taken at face value, nicotine is perhaps the best known addictive substance on the planet whereby we’ve never encountered anyone physically addicted to taking any kind of cannabinoid supplement. Quite simply, hemp contains no addictive substances.

One interesting aspect of research that’s worth considering is that people who take cannabis without tobacco (nicotine) in a habitual, high intake style do experience a shrinking of the hippocampus that relates to depleted memory retention.

On the flip side, people who take cannabis alongside nicotine tend to experience an expansion of the hippocampus that actually enhances memory.

Whether or not that’s related to a specific cannabinoid compound is still to be identified – so again, much more scientific research needs to be done.

Final Thoughts

So where does this leave the many thousands of people interested in finding a way to add some CBD supplementation to their routine nicotine fix?

If you want to monitor your cannabinoid intake, we’d advise you to have a separate vaping setup besides your daily vaping device. It’s simply easier to measure.

For those of you who are happy to enjoy CBD as you vape throughout the day (and there’s absolutely no harm in doing this), you can opt for either a specially infused e-liquid – with or without added flavours – or consider one of the new ‘additive’ style products recently released to the market.

These are generally quite high strength CBD extracts that are designed to be added to standard e-liquids (either with or without nicotine). These types of juices are designed to avoid crystallisation, which is a common problem.

More research needs to be carried out into how nicotine and CBD compounds work together in the body, but there’s no reason why the two cannot be enjoyed side by side.

After all, people have been doing so for thousands of years so far! Just be sure to find a way that suits your style.

What Are Cannabinoids? The Ultimate Guide


Cannabinoids Explained

You may be surprised to learn that there are 85 identified and proven phytocannabinoids that are scientifically deemed ‘active’. These are components of the hemp plant that are symmetric to those naturally produced within our own bodies. Yes, we naturally produce our own cannabinoids and they are rather essential to various aspects of our wellbeing.

Some research suggests that the true number could be reaching into the low hundreds if we include terpenes, flavonoids and a host of other bits and pieces. But what the heck are they?

Cannabinoids are one of the very tricky aspects of understanding what constitutes hemp. Much research still needs to be conducted into the nuances of how these seem to bind together, and may potentially offer some kind of supplementary benefit towards addressing an assortment of health issues.

Those who have considered taking CBD oil may have encountered ‘premier league’ companies who publish independent reports on the composition of their products.

You’ll likely be familiar with CBD and THC – but what about CBGA, CBC, THCV, amongst others?

The 9 Major Cannabinoids

Here’s everything you need to know…

What Are They & How Do They Work?

Cannabinoids naturally occur in the Sativa cannabis plant. This is, of course, famous for both recreational and medical use – and remains a Class B drug in the UK making possession, cultivation, and its sale illegal.

Only THC imparts the ‘high’ – which is why many CBD products are now legal and freely available because they contain less than 0.2% of this psychoactive element. By removing the THC, good quality extracts retain – to varying extents – the remaining cannabinoids that are natural to the plant.

People take these supplements to support the cannabinoid receptors that are dotted naturally around the body. These receptors play a role in all kinds of bodily processes, including memory, cognition, pain regulation, mood, and hormonal control.

It all comes down to how well the supplements bind to these receptors, with a growing body of experts believing that products offering a ‘full spectrum’ or ‘whole plant’ range of cannabinoids being superior. So the more cannabinoids the better – in our opinion!

Before we take a look at the most common cannabinoids and what they do, it’s worth pointing out that accepted medical science is still a far way from understanding exactly how these may work.

While CBD products are benign, harmless and impossible to overdose on, there’s still much conjecture over what if any benefits they actually hold.

Our experience would suggest that anecdotally speaking, those who have found most success using CBD have done so by taking high-quality full-spectrum varieties. No promises though!

The 9 Major Cannabinoids Found In Hemp



THC - Chemical StructureLet’s start with the most famous. THC gets you high. Depending on your point of view, it’s either the most or least desirable part of the plant.

One of the reasons cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years and by many contrasting civilisations is that it’s a natural anaesthetic.

It’s also the compound which may help alleviate nausea (one reason why it’s so popular with patients undergoing chemotherapy) and lowers general inflammation.

THC also accentuates appetite and is sometimes used for helping resolve sleeping disorders.

The downside is that the ‘high’ is a very personal thing – some people love it, others may feel extremely anxious, sick and exhibit dry eyes and throats. For this reason, when cannabis is used medicinally (long established in certain US states and very slowly starting in the UK) it’s often prescribed in very low doses, at least to begin with.


CBD - Chemical Structure


Depending on who you listen to, CBD is either psychoactive or not! While it makes up the second largest part of the Sativa plant after THC, it does not carry over any of the high. That being said, many people swear that it helps make them less anxious and/or prone to depressive thoughts – meaning that surely it must be psychoactive? Regardless of who you believe, taking CBD will not flag on drugs tests or in any sense make you feel high as you would by taking THC.

There have been some pretty clear scientific tests which suggest that CBD can potentially help with some health issues (epilepsy and muscular diseases being the most prominent).

It’s also believed to help with a wide variety of issues in some cases, primarily for helping regulate processes within the body and especially help manage inflammation, pain, and psychological distress. There are no side effects, and if anything it serves to reduce those which may be experienced by taking THC.

Between them, THC and CBD constitute around 85% of the entire plant. Naturally, this begs the question of how important the other cannabinoids are, and what they may offer in such relatively limited quantities.


(Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)

THCA - Chemical StructureAs keen-eyed readers may have guessed, this is an acidic precursor that will over time and through exposure to sunlight and heat become THC.

At this stage, it is not psychoactive and can be combined into CBD products to deliver the benefits of THC without the high.

Among other potential benefits, these include the essential anti-inflammatory properties that have made the cannabis plant so popular for so long, and may even help with attacking cancerous cells (depending on how far you trust rodent-based research).


CBDA - Chemical Structure

(Cannabidiolic acid)

You’ll notice this listed a lot as an active ingredient in generally higher quality products.

Just like the above, it’s the acidic parent of CBD and delivers all the positives of the matured compound.

This depends on exposure to heat, time and sunshine.

Expect to find a good deal of this in ‘whole plant’ varieties as it is thought to be crucial in helping bind supplementation into the body.


CBGA - Chemical Structure

(Cannabigerolic acid)

Arguably the most important building block for the mature plants, this will mostly disappear as it morphs into THCA and CBDA.

There will likely be a very low remaining percentage in full spectrum extracts.

It’s believed to aid with spreading and carrying other cannabinoids throughout the body.


CBN - Chemical Structure


Enthusiasts may have noticed that older plants deliver more sleepiness than the classic THC driven high when taken recreationally.

THC gradually turns to CBN once the plant has been harvested, and there may be a small amount retained in your CBD product. This is a good thing, and ought to be of particular interest to those hoping these supplements can help with sleeping problems and anxiety.

Even less is known about the final three key cannabinoids so take these with a pinch of speculation! They will be present in small quantities in any decent extract.


CBC - Chemical Structure


Even mature plants contain very little of this essential cannabinoid, and post-extraction there is likely going to be little more than a trace remaining.

However, and while research is barely in its infancy, there are noises that this may be one of the most important cancer-fighting components.

It’s identified as a natural antioxidant and antifungal component, but in such small quantities, there is a large question mark over how much difference it may actually make.


CBG - Chemical Structure


Some experts believe this could be one of the most significant cannabinoids relating to mood and depressive disorders. It may also help particularly with blood pressure and circulation problems, but for now, that is far from demonstrably proven.

What you may notice is that there is a growing range of quality extracts that promote having a higher than usual quantity of CBG – so read into that what you will.



THCV - Chemical StructureWhile carrying a very gentle psychoactive effect, THCV has been identified as probably the most likely cause for the success that has been found using these supplements to address seizures and epilepsy.

Clinical trials are underway at the moment, and their conclusions are eagerly awaited.

Final Thoughts

These nine cannabinoids are the most distinctive and understood components that ought to be present in any good full spectrum extract.

While they may not seem to make that much of a difference independently, the “entourage effect” which they may provide when combined and working together is why many people take those lab result breakdowns so seriously.

Only recently has the tide started to turn away from ‘pure’ CBD isolates that largely destroy any other cannabinoids towards more full plant varieties.

Whether or not that change in fashion is going to help anyone more or less depends on your opinion, but in ours, the more cannabinoids the more natural the extract – and that’s never a bad thing!

How To Buy The Best Quality CBD Oil – 5 Things To Consider

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How To Choose The Best CBD Oil

It’s quite bewildering how many CBD products have been released over the last few years. Variety may indeed be the spice of life, but as with any supplement, there’s a very real difference when it comes to quality.

One thing even total newbies to this scene will notice right away is how every company on the market claims to offer the ‘purest’, ‘finest’ or most ‘natural’ choices going. But what do these labels actually mean?

Due to the CBD market being practically unregulated, there’s nothing to prevent these supplements being marketed however the manufacturer chooses.

Even those truly dodgy operations flogging knock-off extracts can claim their snake oil is the highest quality possible. Naturally, this can make it very awkward identifying the real deal from the chaff.

That being said, there are sensible precautions to take when considering purchasing a CBD oil – so here’s the lowdown on how to avoid being ripped off.

1) Manufacturing Methods Are An Essential Indicator Of Quality

Manufacturing CBD

How CBD oils are manufactured can make all the difference.

Ever wondered why one 10ml bottle of CBD oil costs maybe a third the price of another yet boasts the same strength and size? By far the greatest reason for this differential comes down to the production and extraction methods used to refine the oil from the hemp.

All ‘value’ manufacturers use extraction processes which are heavily depended upon toxic chemicals. These may be anything from butane through to ethanol and pretty much everything in between.

When performed with care these methods can indeed provide a cheap and effective means to produce oil – but very few companies are so exacting. 99% of the time these isolates will have destroyed all the other cannabinoids (as well as psychoactive THC) which are increasingly thought to be essential for making CBD effective.

Top tier companies use far more expensive and time-consuming CO2-based extraction methods. These can either produce an isolate or a more complex end product retaining much more of the goodness.

So look for those which use either this or high-quality ethanol based processing should you be searching for a truly legit and great quality oil.

2) Not All Hemp Is Grown Equally!

Growing Hemp

Where and how hemp is grown can also be an indicator of quality.

Hemp is renowned for being able to grow pretty much anywhere. This is all fine and great for industrial purposes, but don’t forget that the quality of the soil plays a huge part in the resulting health of the plant. When looking to use these plants for supplemental purposes, this makes the quality of the hemp absolutely paramount.

Cheap hemp is almost certainly going to be grown on soil that is dense in heavy metals and other pollutants. Sure, these may be filtered during processing but it’s still going to undermine the actual quality of the plant.

Reliable manufacturers will use only organically grown plants with no artificial chemicals, growth agents, pesticides or similar nasties employed at any stage. Love CBD are a great example of such a highly reputable company.

In the European market look for manufacturers who stress the origins of their hemp grown under license for explicitly human consumption.

CBD manufacturers in the U.S. are at an advantage because of strict licensing rules that all but ensure only high-grade hemp can be grown.

So check the provenance of the hemp and be wary of any manufacturer who is shy to reveal their sources.

3) Isolate Or Full-Spectrum?

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum

CBD Isolate vs. Full-spectrum: Which is better?

When it comes to ‘pure’ CBD this term has usually been used to describe isolates which all but totally eliminate any residual cannabinoids – especially THC.

Logic would suggest that this means isolates are the best because after all, they’re strictly speaking delivering exactly what they claim.

Yet plenty of research suggests that full-spectrum CBD is more beneficial. It retains far more of the dozens of other cannabinoids found within the plant, as well as terpenes, minerals, and secondary vitamins.

It’s believed that these play a vital role in helping the body effectively use and absorb the CBD goodness – at the cost of retaining a slightly higher (yet still legal) amount of THC.

Be careful when it comes to terminology because there’s no industry standard on what manufacturers may use to label their products.

Look especially for those companies who openly publish independent testing results to prove that their oils retain additional cannabinoids – as almost always these will be far higher quality extracts. Isolate isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

4) Does THC Content Matter?


In order to buy CBD oil legally in the UK, it must not contain more than 0.3% THC.

Providing it falls below the legal threshold (which every commercially available extract in the UK will) then there’s no harm in having a little residual THC.

We’re talking levels so small that there’s not the slightest chance of becoming ‘high’ or failing a drugs test. Remember that the body produces small quantities of THC anyway!

Plenty of lower quality manufacturers make a great song and dance over their product containing ‘zero’ THC. As outlined above, that’s not necessarily a good thing and should not be taken as a hallmark for quality. It’s also neigh on impossible to create an oil without a trace amount of THC retained.

Good producers will acknowledge this and be open about it, even if they specialise in isolates.

5) Factor In Marketing Methods

We’ve already touched on this but it’s worth making it perfectly clear that inappropriate labelling usually indicates a substandard product.

Any CBD oil marketed as ‘marijuana’ or cannabis oil is likely very low grade, and quality vendors will always shy away from trying to market their wares as such.

Look instead for operations which maintain a consistent eco-friendly and ‘right-on’ emphasis on the quality of their products.

There’s a growing number of companies who understand that people don’t want to pump themselves full of contaminated oils from substandard plants. Their products are the ones to look towards, and while they will most certainly be more expensive, quality goes a long way.

To an extent, this can also be applied to strengths. Not many people will really need the benefit of the superstrong concentrates that have been launched in recent times.

A good quality CBD oil will be naturally produced with great care, and will likely be far more beneficial than a high strength product.

Final Thoughts

If you follow these five guidelines then it should be quite clear how to source the best quality CBD oil without much risk of being fleeced.

If you’re ever in any doubt, then the best policy is to check directly with the manufacturer and ask them questions about the production of their extracts.

It’s a buyer’s market right now and competition between the best and biggest names is fierce – meaning they also have very good customer service teams in place to answer questions from prospective customers.

Shop around and simply do not settle on second best for a small discount in price.

Do You Really Need A High Strength Dose Of CBD? Our Facts & Findings


Do I Need A High Strength CBD Oil?

One of the most interesting trends you may have noticed recently is the considerable increase in the availability of high strength CBD products.

Until the last couple of years, it was unusual to find many options when it came to 1000mg+ oils and e-liquids.

Now, pretty much all of the biggest names on the scene have at least one such specialist range – but is this level of strength really necessary?

We took a look at some of the most recent scientific studies that certainly seem to suggest people are finding these products useful.

But as with so many factors regarding CBD, there’s no categoric evidence that suggests everyone will find them beneficial. In fact, taking far more CBD than necessary may even be counterproductive.

How Important Is The Strength Of A CBD Dose?

This million-pound question always needs to be taken in context.

Some people are simply going to need to take more than others, and this can be influenced by everything from body size, age, internal chemistry and of course their state of physical health.

Most people tend to settle on a dose somewhere between 300-500mg in strength, but there’s a minority who find extremely potent oils necessary.

A common mistake that many people continue to make is to just immediately take up a high strength CBD routine. Not only is this often unnecessarily expensive, but saturating the body with more than is needed to support our own endocannabinoid system can be ineffective.

There’s plenty of studies that have been undertaken which show that people who are given a far greater dose of CBD are not automatically going to ‘feel’ any benefit. Often people who undertake a more moderate dosing routine actually find it more beneficial.

Ingestion Methods Really Do Matter

Another commonly overlooked factor when taking CBD is that some methods are far more effective than others. Capsules may be convenient but they can also lose a great deal of their advertised strength when processed through the digestive system.

Other methods such as oil-based tinctures applied underneath the tongue or vaping allow the compound to much more efficiently enter the bloodstream.

Quite how much CBD actually ends up in the body when taking capsules is again going to vary considerably by person, but it’s important to understand that taking a 1000mg strength capsule isn’t going to entirely enter the bloodstream.

It may actually be just a fraction that’s actually going to be absorbed. This is not the case with vaping or using oral drops, both of which have a far lower wastage percentage.

If you’re opting for a high strength CBD oil, it’s advisable to consider either of these methods ahead of capsules. Anyone needing a high strength dose will find that vaping offers the best way to ensure as total an absorption of the goodness and vitamins/minerals as possible.

Consider The Quality Of The CBD

There’s a growing body of research that suggests CBD absorbs into the body much better when it’s combined with additional cannabinoids and terpenes that are commonly filtered out when manufacturing isolate.

Typically labelled as either ‘broad’ or ‘full spectrum’ varieties, these dozens of additional components help to circulate the CBD throughout the body and attach to a greater number of receptors.

This can mean that a 1000mg isolate may not be as effective as a far lower strength but fuller spectrum oil.

Consider the quality and reputation of the company should you be looking to try stronger concentrates. Only use those who employ 100% natural, chemical-free and eco-friendly hemp and extraction methods.

So Should I Try Very High Strength CBD?

These varieties are only necessary for those who have already established that they require a high strength dose.

Jumping straight into these without trying more moderate options may not be effective, and will require spending an unnecessary amount of money.

There’s no doubt that for people who do need high strength supplements that the ever-growing variety of options out there can be a godsend.

Just take your time when considering varieties, ingestion methods and of course the quality of the core extract.

What Is The Difference Between Cannabis Oil & CBD Oil?


Cannabis Oil vs CBD Oil

Oils derived from hemp are often confused. There’s an underlying assumption that because they are taken from the same plant, they will/can make you high. Quite simply, that’s not the case!

CBD oils are those that have been extracted from the plant to reduce to absolute minimum quantities of THC (the psychoactive component that makes one ‘high’). Once made benign, a good quality CBD oil will be packed full of all the good cannabinoids that serve as a health supplement. They just won’t make you feel wonky!

Before we look into the full story behind this very important distinction, we ought to make a quick disclaimer.

While CBD is increasingly thought to help with many health issues, it’s not our place to claim it as being a wonder cure.

The very public recent case of Billy Caldwell being granted a special license to help him with epileptic seizures is an example of how it may help. Special measures were granted by the UK Home Secretary, no less, to allow it. Read into that what you will, but for now, let’s take a look into what distinguishes CBD oil from Cannabis oil.

Terminology Is Key

The root of all confusion regarding cannabis extracts stems from a confusing terminology.

As much as we’d wish there were a clearer sense of definition, for now, there isn’t one!

Over in the USA, ‘cannabis oil’ can relate to either a health supplement without any active compounds or as a recreational drug packed with THC.

Always beware any product that claims to be cannabis oil. Plenty of less scrupulous manufacturers market their product extremely casually and without much care.

If you’re looking for CBD – check not just the source and extraction process, but also for batch testing. That ought to present a very low THC content – and certainly nothing close to failing a drugs test level. For reference purposes, only CBD oils containing under 0.2% THC content are currently legal in the UK. Oils sourced from overseas are often considerably higher – and illegal.

Why Hemp Is Important

Plenty of people assume that just because oils are produced from the marijuana family that they must share active ingredients. This is far from the case.

Good quality CBD based oils will originate from organically sourced hemp. Taken alone, hemp naturally contains barely a fraction of the THC found in a ‘traditional’ cannabis plant.

When it comes to making a distinction between oils, this is a key factor – and once again, all quality producers will verify and account for the provenance of their batches.

Terminology makes things awkward to establish. The sativa plant is the most commonly used in any oil extract – but there’s an increasing number of strains on the market. Sativa is used because it is the easiest to measure THC levels with. Over 95% of CBD oils for sale in the UK will be based on this variety.

Quality Extraction Is Essential

As most people would be aware of by now, the process of making CBD oil packed full of non-active cannabinoids can be counteracted.

Cannabis oils – the ones that get you high – are produced in a way that maximises THC levels. This can make them extremely potent.

Very similar methods are used in both processes. Generally (but not exclusively) speaking, high strength cannabis oil is extracted using artificial methods such as ethanol. This makes for a cheaper and easier process.

Top quality CBD is manufactured using cold filtering CO2 methods. This method extracts additional non-psychoactive terpenes and cannabinoids. Sometimes they’re supplemented back into the compound and deliver a superior product. This is referred to as ‘full spectrum’ CBD.

So while it may seem like the two are very closely related, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Both cannabis and CBD oils have their own specific purpose.

Always check the quality of any manufacturer – the good ones will be happy to provide complete documentation regarding the sourcing, composition and extraction of their oils.

What Are Terpenes & Their Roles In CBD Oils

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What Are Terpenes?

A regular question many newcomers to the CBD scene ask is what makes ‘full spectrum CBD’ so bloody fantastic?

We make no qualms in saying that based on personal experience and second-hand anecdotes, these tend to be considerably more ‘effective’.

Quite why is still a topic for the boffins to research, but the indications are that it’s thanks to full spectrum varients being rich in all the cannabinoids that may otherwise be filtered out when producing CBD.

These include masses of terpenes (and no they aren’t a fancy kind of tadpole).

Just like any other plant or fruit, they add flavour and variety. Ever chopped an onion and cried a little? That’s actually a terpene at work!

In better news, it’s also what makes berries taste so good. They interact with our senses to just make things feel better or more interesting. Given that proper CBD extracts are non-psychoactive, why should that make a difference?

Hemp Is Packed Full Of Terpenes

Top quality organic hemp contains over 200 different variants of terpenes. Quite what they all actually do is still a matter of conjecture, but for our purposes, they are thought to help with making CBD extracts more effective.

At the moment, less than a third are being actively researched, but there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that these terpenes make CBD much more effective.

Why is this the case? Everyone has their own endocannabinoid system. Sometimes it’s great, and other times not so much. Just like any other aspect of our body, it’s about finding a suitable balance – something much easier to do with proper supplementation.

Terpenes are thought to be essential when it comes to helping CBD transit between the dozens of ‘receptors’ across the body. Think of them like a water carrier, an essential yet often overlooked part of any team.

Most scientific research has been focussed on CB1 receptors – those thought to have indigenous pain relieving properties. Terpenes are active there, but even more so in the neglected world of CB2 receptors.

Terpenes In CBD Oils

The Entourage Effect

Many people immediately find themselves looking for the purest CBD extract possible. Fair enough, and whether by oils, liquids, balms or capsules we will always agree that purity is essential. But what is purity?

There are plenty of top quality companies out there offering CBD with just trace elements of cannabinoids and terpenes. For some people, that’s great – but for others, they may prove ineffective regardless of strength.

The “entourage effect” is when your extract is also inclusive of the additional components. As mentioned above, this style of dosage is considered simply to be more efficient.

Think of it like eating a nice slice of cake. It’d be quite uninspiring, and possibly less tasty, without some berries, jam and a cherry on top. It’ll still fill you up, but for proper satisfaction, those extra ingredients make the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

Terpenes In Cannabis Chart

Infographic: These are the most common terpenes found in the cannabis plant.

What Terpenes Should You Look Out For?

You’ll find it tricky to find a producer who lists specific terpenes included in their base product. That isn’t because they’re being tricky – it’s more to do with how they are actually labelled.

As a rule of thumb, full spectrum (terpene heavy) CBD tends to be more ‘hempy’. If you’re using it as an e-liquid or oil, it will look darker and taste a whole lot richer.

While it may not be to everyone’s taste (at times it can really be quite full on), capsules present a perfectly valid bypass. As does adding to a shake, smoothie or even your morning cereal.

The point is to always look for companies vending full spectrum CBD with terpenes who list their batch testing results. Ideally, these will include everything from natural extract – usually about 98% – and a whole list of others.

A recent trend has been adding those active terpenes back into the mix. It may not stem from the same batch of hemp, but if it improves the quality of the product then who are we to argue?

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a decent oil, we’d recommend steering very much towards those that are richer and jam-packed full of terpenes.

Ideally, they will be the most effective supplement going – and of course, they will not make you high.

So if you’re looking for a new CBD oil, consider this as a priority when choosing your next vendor. All the great ones will provide a total breakdown of the detected composition. It really can make a massive difference.

Is It Possible To Develop A Tolerance To CBD Oil?


CBD & Tolerance

Like many aspects of CBD, the issue of developing a tolerance is a complicated one without a comprehensive 100% answer.

There’s a purely scientific approach that claims pretty unanimously that if anything this compound imparts a form of reverse tolerance.

On the other hand, some people who use extracts to help with certain conditions anecdotally report that they’ve developed a tolerance.

To find a sensible balance we need to look into exactly what CBD is, how it differs from THC (the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant) and balance this with dosage and product quality.

What Is Tolerance?

Long-term exposure to many intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine and even caffeine causes the body to adapt and become used to the presence of the compound within the system.

When this is suddenly stopped or reduced, the body reacts by going in to withdrawal with often unpleasant physical reactions.

On the other hand, if consumption is steady and regular it can take ever higher dosages to feel the same effect or “buzz”.

This is due to these kinds of psychoactive substances binding themselves to the CB1 receptor that imparts the psychological changes such substances deliver.

So how does this relate to CBD?

CBD Does Not Bind To One Receptor

The crucial difference that is often overlooked or ignored is that despite originating from the same plant, CBD – unlike THC – does not attach itself to one single receptor.

Instead, it distributes itself throughout the body via the bloodstream and as such delivers a ‘whole body’ effect.

Most importantly of all – it’s been proven that unlike THC which reduces cannabinoid receptors and creates tolerance, CBD actually provides a boost to these receptors making them more effective and efficient.

Scientifically speaking, this ought to actually lead to what is rather ambiguously described as reverse tolerance.

For the user, this means that once the CBD has settled in to the system it ought to require smaller doses in order to just keep the body ‘topped-up’.

Of course, this is dependent upon a user having already found their personal “goldilocks zone” when it comes to dosage and having taken their dose often enough to have a solid foundation to decrease from.

Those interested in taking up CBD ought to aware that very few companies tend to explain this in their ‘how to dose’ guides. Obviously, it’s in their interests to sell higher concentrated products at higher prices, so publicly expressing that people can maintain with lower doses would be poor for business.

It’s much easier just to let people assume they will become tolerant and needlessly up their intake far beyond what is actually required.

So that’s the scientific take. Tolerance to CBD ought to be essentially impossible. What about the actual experiences and anecdotes from people who have found that they developed a tolerance to CBD?

Is Tolerance Psychological?

People take CBD products to hopefully help with all sorts of problems.

One of the most common reasons tends to be to help with anxiety and panic disorders. Quite a few users have reported via various online forums that after initially “feeling” the benefits that they have developed a kind of tolerance. In order to feel a similar reduction in their symptoms, they needed to up the regularity and concentration of their dose.

This presents an awkward issue because there are so many variables at play.

For instance, if a person suddenly faces a stressful situation they’re going to naturally be stressed. CBD does not dull the senses or create any kind of devil may care attitude. It cannot be blamed for circumstantial stresses!

But for less overt instances of general anxiety disorder, there’s a possibility that they could be taking far more than they actually need, saturating the body to such an extent that there’s just no benefit left to be gained.

In these circumstances, it’s time to look into dosage and perhaps ‘reset’ the body by taking a break for a few days before starting back on a much lower dose. Again, this varies enormously. Some people find 25-40mg per day plenty, others may need 1500mg per day. Finding and correcting a dose regimen is that individualistic.

Final Thoughts

Theoretically, there’s no reason why people should experience any tolerance along the lines of typical intoxicants – which is because it’s not a drug.

CBD is considered a dietary supplement that relays no psychoactive properties and does not bind to the same receptors, so using “tolerance” in such a way is really missing the entire point of what it actually does.

The chances are that those who claim such tolerance simply are not taking an appropriate dose, and/or just as bad using an inferior product.

When it comes to selecting CBD oils, do take due diligence on the company you are buying from because there are plenty of low-grade options out there that contain far less active ingredients than they claim.

There’s nothing wrong with starting over and carefully working towards ascertaining a quality and effective long-term solution.