What are CBD Edibles? Effects, Legality, and Benefits
When it comes to CBD products, edibles are some of the most approachable and user-friendly options. But edible cannabinoid products can be intimidating, and it’s important to understand how they work before you start with CBD edibles.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up all you need to know about CBD edibles.
What are CBD edibles?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a major cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plant material. As a major cannabinoid, CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis and hemp, and it has gained quite a reputation for its therapeutic properties.
While CBD naturally occurs in hemp and cannabis, you don’t have to consume these plants to consume CBD. CBD is available in a range of extract forms, most commonly oil. CBD extract can easily be used to create a range of edible products, from gummies to baked goods, smoothies, or chocolate.
Can CBD edibles get you high?
Edible cannabinoid products like brownies and gummies have garnered a rather infamous reputation for providing a very intense ‘high’. But with CBD edibles you don’t have to worry about getting high or even experiencing any intoxicating effects at all.
This is because CBD can’t induce a ‘high’. While CBD is an active cannabis compound, it isn’t responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis. Another cannabinoid called THC is the compound responsible for the infamous effects of cannabis.
So, as long as you ensure that your CBD edible doesn’t contain any THC, you can be sure that you won’t experience any kind of high.
What are the effects of CBD edibles?
While you won’t experience any psychotropic effects from CBD edibles, you could still experience some therapeutic effects.
Research tells us that CBD has a range of therapeutic effects.
CBD and inflammation
One of CBD’s benefits is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. While inflammation is a natural immune response, when it occurs in the wrong place at high levels it can cause pain, reduced range of motion, redness, and heat. Inflammation is actually responsible for debilitating conditions, including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
CBD has shown strong anti-inflammatory action in a range of areas. Animal studies, for example, have shown that CBD induced an anti-inflammatory effect in the inflamed pancreas of mice and was able to reduce inflammation in mice with arthritis, helping to reduce the symptoms of their arthritis.
There is also significant evidence that CBD is able to reduce inflammation in humans. A recent study published in 2019 in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease found that CBD inhibited the effects of inflammation in the human gastrointestinal tract. These results indicate that CBD shows a lot of potential as a treatment for inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
CBD and pain
CBD also shows a lot of potential as a pain reliever, and a 2019 survey by YouGov found that 71% of UK respondents who reported using CBD for medicinal purposes said that they did so specifically to treat their pain.
More research is needed into the effectiveness of CBD’s analgesic properties, but a 2018 study did find that CBD use alongside other cannabinoids managed to reduce pain levels by 30% in some cases.
One way that CBD may cause an analgesic effect is through its relationship with serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone often referred to as the ‘happy hormone’ due to its ability to induce feelings of happiness. As well as improving mood, serotonin plays an important role in the perception of pain. CBD is able to bind to and activate serotonin receptors, leading to an increase in serotonin and a pain-relieving effect.
CBD and sleep
Another of CBD’s benefits is an improvement to sleep. Early research into CBD’s therapeutic effects tells us that the cannabinoid holds strong potential as a sleep aid.
A 2017 review that examined the use of cannabinoids to treat sleep disorders found that CBD holds significant value as a treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness and REM sleep behaviour disorders. Impressively, a 2019 study investigating the impact of CBD consumption on sleep scores found that after a month of CBD use, 66.7% of patients saw their sleep scores improve.
While more research is needed to fully understand the impacts of CBD on sleep, these studies are certainly indicative of CBD’s potential as a sleep aid.
CBD and mental health
One of CBD’s most impressive benefits lies in its effects on mental health. CBD has shown a significant ability to reduce anxiety, thanks largely to its effects on serotonin and cortisol.
Serotonin and improved mood are so intrinsically linked that serotonin is often used to treat mood disorders like depression and anxiety. CBD has been found to increase serotonin levels. Cortisol, meanwhile, is a stress hormone that CBD has been shown to reduce the levels of.
CBD’s effect on mood is so impressive that a 2019 study found that the cannabinoid was able to significantly decrease anxiety in teenage patients with social anxiety. Another study highlighted CBD’s potential to improve the symptoms of depression, finding that it caused antidepressant effects in mouse models that were on par with a specific antidepressant medication.
How effective are edibles vs. other CBD products?
The bioavailability of a cannabinoid refers to the amount of the compound that is actually delivered into the bloodstream. CBD edibles have a bioavailability of 6 to 20%. This is a medium-level bioavailability, which is lower than consumption methods like vaping, which has a bioavailability of up to 70%.
CBD edibles’ lower bioavailability is mainly due to the fact that edibles have to pass through the gut, which has high metabolic action.
CBD edibles also take a lot longer than other methods to reach their peak effects, around 1.5 to 3 hours.
Because of this, CBD edibles are ideal for those wanting more sustained, medium-level effects from their CBD use. Sufferers of chronic pain, for example, might prefer CBD edibles for their longer-lasting relief.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
If the therapeutic effects of CBD have convinced you to give CBD edibles a go, you may be wondering if you’re legally allowed to try them.
The good news is that edible CBD products are legally available for purchase in the UK, provided they contain less than 0.2% THC. CBD foods, including gummies, sweets, drinks, or snacks, also have to go through a novel food application to be legally sold.
As long as you purchase CBD edibles that contain less than 0.2% THC and come from a reputable supplier that has gone through the novel food application process, then they are perfectly legal.
All of the CBD products that we sell on Handpicked CBD have been checked to ensure they comply with the UK's legal and regulatory guidelines.
The bottom line
CBD edibles come in many forms. Whether you’re after sweets, ingredients for cooking, or drinks, there’s something to fit your tastes.
With their ability to target a range of conditions and symptoms, CBD edibles could be just the thing to improve your mood, pain or sleep.