One of the clearest signs that the CBD industry was about to take off was when UK health food giant Holland and Barrett started stocking CBD oil back in January 2018.
With Holland and Barrett’s seal of approval, CBD oil's popularity has risen dramatically. Two years later and CBD oil is everywhere, 63% of the UK population have heard of CBD and approximately 7.3 million people are using CBD products.
There’s now a huge number of CBD brands in the market. And without any industry regulation it's hard to know which ones you can trust.
Point in case:
A recent study from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis that found 38% of CBD Oils tested had less than 50% of the advertised amount of CBD!
To make it worse:
They said CBD Oil from one ‘High Street Pharmacy’ had ZERO cannabinoid content at all!
With that in mind, and the fact that so many people ask us if Holland & Barrett CBD Oil is any good, we decided to do a review of their CBD oils for ourselves.
At the time of writing, Holland and Barrett currently stocks 3 brands for CBD Oils – Jacob Hooy, Holistic Herb and Love Hemp.
They have other brands for CBD Capsules, but for this review we’ve only looked at the CBD Oil products.
In short, here’s how we rank them:
And here’s why.
We’re massive fans of Love Hemp. They're undoubtedly one of the UK's best CBD companies. And they’re one of the select few brands that we’ve chosen to list on Handpicked CBD.
And for good reason:
Love Hemp sources their CBD from North America’s largest hemp extraction company - Folium Biosciences, who grow their hemp outdoors in the Colorado sunshine. Importantly, they don't use any chemical fertilisers, growth hormones or genetically modified products in their cultivation process.
After sourcing high quality raw cannabinoid extract from the States. Love Hemp really ups their game in their manufacture process, producing a wide range of CBD products including CBD oils in drop and spray form, CBD capsules, CBD balm, CBD gummies, CBD chocolate and even CBD water!
All of their finished products are tested in house and by independent 3rd party labs to ensure quality, purity and ingredients.
Their manufacturing process is so good in fact, that a big part of Love Hemp’s business is ‘white-labelling’ CBD products for other CBD brands.
Lots of very popular CBD brands on the market actually source their CBD oil products from the team at Love Hemp.
It’s worth noting:
Love Hemp’s products are all ‘Broad Spectrum’ which means they contain a whole variety of cannabinoids but not THC. The THC is completely removed in the CO2 super-critical extraction process.
When it comes to Love Hemp CBD oil in Holland and Barrett, there’s one big disappointment:
Only their CBD oil spray is available!
To make it worse:
They’ve only got two out of a possible four flavours, and only stock the 400mg strength!
Love Hemp has such a wide array of great CBD oils, both in drops and spray format, it’s a shame that Holland and Barrett are only stocking a very limited selection.
Of course, this may change in the future. But as of time of writing that’s what they’ve limited it to.
Good news is:
If you want to shop the full Love Hemp range, we’ve got it all on Handpicked CBD.
Check out Love Hemp CBD oils and more on Handpicked CBD here. (And get a 15% discount on your first order with discount code LOVE15).
All in all Love Hemp is a great trustworthy UK CBD brand. However the sprays stocked in Holland and Barrett are quite low strength (400mg in a 30ml bottle is just 1.3%). So most people will be looking to move up to Love Hemp's stronger 1200mg spray, or one of their stronger drops quite quickly (which right now are not available at Holland & Barrett).
**2020 Update: we spoke to a store manager at Holland and Barrett recently and he said they're not allowed to stock any oils stronger that 5%. Whilst not an official statement, it does give some insight as to why all Holland and Barrett CBD oils are of low strength.
Jacob Hooy is an extremely reputable Dutch company with a long history dating back to 1973!
They were the first CBD brand to get on the shelves at Holland and Barrett which salutes to their trustworthiness.
We’re surprised at the lack of product information available on the Jacob Hooy website. In an unregulated market like CBD we would expect a reputable brand like Jacob Hooy to have a more educational and transparent website.
Like all CBD oil products on Holland and Barrett there are no 3rd party lab reports attached (which is a major flaw from Holland and Barrett in my opinion), so we went looking on the Jacob Hooy website.
But there’s no lab reports on there either.
That means we’re left to trust them on their word, which, given their history and reputation is probably good... Just in this unregulated market, I’m trained to treat lack of transparency with suspicion.
Anyway, back to it:
Holland and Barrett stock four types of Jacob Hooy CBD oil
All of their oils are 'Full Spectrum' which means they contain a full set of cannabinoids from the extraction process, including THC (trace amounts under the legal limit). Again, this is all 'allegedly' as we have no lab report proof.
Overall, it’s a reputable brand name and therefore a solid choice but the lack of info is a bit of a disappointment.
**2020 Update: In the BBC's January airing of "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor" they lab-tested several high street cannabis products, and found that:
"The results of our tests showed that three of the products contained less CBD than was indicated on the label. One, the Jacob Hooy CBD+ Hemp Oil that claimed to be 2.75% CBD, actually contained 1.7%. Another, the 5% Hemp Drops product from KØD, was found in our test to contain 2.9%. A third product, Celtic Wind CBD Multi-Complex Hemp Oil Concentrate, claimed on the bottle to contain 500 milligrams of CBD. The results for the particular sample we tested showed barely detectable amounts – 0.00075%."
Whilst Jacob Hooy have disputed the claims and accuracy of the test. It's worth pointing out for the purpose of transparency in this article.
(Points to what we're always saying about only buying CBD products that come with verified 3rd party lab reports, so you can check their ingredients before purchasing. For brands to stock their products on Handpicked CBD we insist they publish relevant lab reports for each product).
Holistic Herb is a CBD brand cloaked in mystery. We've found it very hard to understand their product and there’s very little information to help online.
Their CBD oil products come in two strengths: "Single" 4.2mg or "Double" 8.1mg – which is confusing straight from the start. Not to mention the math is wrong.
They’ve 3 bottle sizes at 15ml, 30ml and 60ml, and each size supposedly has a strength of 4.2mg or 8.1mg CBD respectively…
Do they mean 4.2 and 8.1 percent? Or maybe 4.1 and 8.2mg per drop?
According to the info on Holland and Barrett and their website it seems they mean 4.1mg and 8.2mg per bottle.
That means for a 60ml bottle, with 4.2mg of CBD, that would be a strength of 0.01%. For £64.99!
Surely not? We must be getting something wrong.
There are no lab reports anywhere to be found on their website (or Holland and Barrett’s as we know), so it’s total guesswork. And there’s no number to contact them on either.
To confuse matters more:
Holistic Herb’s website claims their CBD is "15x more bioavailable than regular CBD".
They go on to say that "90% or more" (or "over 98%" depending which paragraph you read) of their CBD will be absorbed into your bloodstream. In comparison to, they say, "only 8% or less" of regular CBD that will enter your bloodstream.
We’ve tried to find out some more about their CBD's "micro-emulsified vastly superior bioavailability" (their words not ours), but again their website fails to give much information at all, and we're left to trust what they’re telling us.
Perhaps it's all true and their product does have this extra bioavailability. Maybe that goes some way to explain the 'unique' labelling of their product. However, one thing is for sure:
As a consumer it’s super confusing.
The CBD world is already daunting and filled with jargon, so if you're labelling your products in a different way to everyone else, then back it up with thorough information.
The team at Handpicked CBD deal with CBD products everyday. We’d consider ourselves somewhat knowledgeable on the market. And we really have no idea what's in a bottle of Holistic Herb CBD oil. So that’s a little worrying.
If it wasn't for the badge of approval from Holland and Barrett, we'd be very wary indeed and advising you to avoid.
The best CBD oil currently on the shelves at Holland and Barrett is Love Hemp (in our opinion). However, the selection they’ve got is pretty limited, so we’d recommend going directly to the Love Hemp website or to check out the full Love Hemp range on Handpicked CBD alongside several other brands that we’ve tried & tested.