Yoga popularity continues to spread throughout the world as more and more people from athletes to celebrities have discovered the transformative power of having a regular practice. CBD has also enjoyed a similar trajectory as growth continues to reach double digits year-on-year.

But what is at the root of this shift?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness. And in the UK alone, anxiety affects more than 8.2 million people. The numbers are growing, and there’s stress everywhere you turn from managing tight finances, having a packed schedule, working long hours and absorbing the pressure to maintain a work-life balance.

The problem with this is that stress degrades your productivity, your sleep patterns, your mood, and eventually, your health. And that is why so many are turning to wellness practices that promote calm and foster connectedness. In this sense, yoga and CBD are an ideal pairing, as both are an antidote to anxiety and stress.

Similarities Between Yoga and CBD

CBD and yoga are a harmonious combination with both supporting the wellness benefits of the other. The use of cannabis and yoga go back thousands of years, and this ancient connection is being revived as CBD is now legal in most countries.

There is a growing body of research into the physical and mental benefits of yoga. A recent study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine looked at people practicing relaxation and hatha yoga on a weekly basis. The findings showed an improvement in scores across the board when measuring stress, anxiety and quality of life. A different study also noted yoga’s ability to influence pain levels positively, whether it was the pain itself or the perception thereof.

Yoga has also been proven to slow cellular ageing (which is thought to be caused by chronic inflammation), as well as improve brain function and reduce stress.

These findings mirror those of CBD which, while still in their infancy, also show promise for those with painful conditions and mental stress. One such study looked at CBD’s ability to influence subjects with a social anxiety disorder. The results included: lowered anxiety levels, and heightened activity in areas of the brain related to goal-setting, self-control, motivation and emotions. And another showed CBD’s efficacy in reducing neuropathic pain.

CBD supports your yoga practice because it is:

  • A broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory agent. This means that it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system as it works to restore homeostasis in the body, thereby reducing inflammation in the brain, as well as painful areas of the body, joints and tendons, and muscles.
  • An antioxidant. It’s benefit as an anti-oxidant is that, through the endocannabinoid system, it helps repair cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
  • Effectively treats anxiety and insomnia. CBD calms the body, restores balance and improves sleep quality.

Benefits of Combining CBD and Yoga

If you ask most people why they practice yoga, they’ll tell you that it’s to combat the pressures of living in a modern, fast-paced world as it forces you to slow down. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And the reasons that CBD users swear by the cannabinoid are similar: it relieves physical pain and promotes a sense of calm, bringing balance to the body. These are the top 6 benefits:

It can help you achieve a meditative state

While meditation may come easily to some, for most, it is a struggle to slow down and ignore constant internal and external distractions. This presents a problem as meditation is a core part of any yoga practice. CBD taken before the start of a yoga session can help slow your racing thoughts and promote a sense of peace. For those with conditions such as anxiety or depression, it can make it easier to stay on your mat and pursue Shavasana.

It improves the mind-body connection

CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system to influence cognitive processes such as mood, dream states and post-traumatic stress. In your yoga practice, this translates to an improved mind-body connection supporting the work of certain types of yoga such as Hatha yoga.

It can help ease you into your practice

It is difficult to flow right from the start of a yoga class, and thirty minutes can easily be up before you’re in the right headspace and feel focused enough to enjoy the time. But if you only have an hour class, CBD can help you get yoga-ready faster by helping you let go of stress, allowing you to practice with a clear mind.

It can help with tightness, tension and pain

CBD benefits both the mind and body. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that works in synergy with your practice to reduce pain and makes it easier and more comfortable to move into challenging yoga poses. If you are coming to the pat with residual tension, CBD will help you to loosen up faster.

It promotes faster recovery

Athletes use CBD to speed up recovery, and yoga is no different. While yoga is designed to promote relaxation, it is still very hard work. CBD after a class can ease tightness and promote sleep which is essential for optimal muscle recovery. For people who have a sleep disorder, CBD combined with a yoga class is often an ideal recipe for a good night’s sleep.

It helps enhance body perception

Yoga enhances self-awareness and CBD can take that to the next level by increasing anandamide levels which are thought to contribute to an exercise-induced mood boost (often called a runner’s high).

CBD-Inspiration for Your Yoga Poses

CBD is a good fit for different types of yoga and will support your practice. In particular, is it beneficial for more gentle, restorative styles of yoga as it boosts mood, reduces pain and inflammation and improves vitality.

To get the best results, take CBD before your session. Depending on the type of CBD method you use, you will need to consume your CBD between 15 and 40 minutes before. Then start with meditation, set your intention for the time, focus on your breathing and enjoy the luxury of lying in this resting pose as the CBD takes effect.

Some poses that will promote relaxation include:

  • Savasana (Corpse Pose), excellent for relaxation and slowing down.
  • Apasana (Knees-to-Chest), ideal for relieving anxiety, reducing anger and alleviating back pain.
  • Jathara Parivartanasana (Supine Twist), for complete relaxation, upper back and neck pain and releasing tight shoulders.
  • Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat-Cow), perfect for energy, focus and emotional balance.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), energising and calming, this position is ideal for relieving stress and a depressed mood.
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose), for calming the brain, soothing stress and relieving fatigue.

Combining CBD with yoga, whether you join a class or practice at home, will enhance both its physical and mental benefits. And the best part is, it’s easy to do. All you need is a bottle of high-quality CBD oil, and you’ll be ready to hit your mat and flow.

Exercise can put a lot of physical and mental strain on your body and, for professional athletes, the stakes are much higher. It’s for this reason that athletes from a cross-section of sporting disciplines are advocating the use of CBD for its myriad of health benefits. From MMA to American football, and golf to rugby, CBD covers all areas of the sporting realm.

But what is the reason for this incredible sports-related growth in CBD’s popularity?

The answer, it seems, is quite straightforward. While current pain management strategies work, they can also cause long-term damage which is why there continues to be a search for, and exploration of, alternatives to aid in sports recovery and safer pain relief. CBD is a naturally-derived substitute which sports professionals are using, and many have been very vocal in their support of the cannabinoid.

Is CBD allowed in sport?

First things first. Is CBD even allowed to be used by athletes?

Yes, it is! In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) made a historic move as they removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances (both in and out of competition). This stance was then followed by the US Anti-Doping Agency, who have provided a Marijuana FAQ for added clarity as THC and synthetic cannabinoids are still prohibited.

The urinary threshold is now 150 nanograms of THC per millilitre, up from the previous limit of 15 nanograms. So, even if you are using full-spectrum CBD (which can contain up to 0.2% THC), you are unlikely to have a positive result. The change was enacted by WADA because they found that “many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption. The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition.”

Professional athletes who are tested regularly may consider using broad-spectrum CBD instead of full-spectrum CBD, which offers the same benefits including the entourage effect, but contains 0% THC, so there is no chance of a positive result on your drug test.

Which sporting disciplines are using CBD?

From horse-riding to swimming, there are reports from all corners of the sporting world that continue to raise awareness for the health-promoting benefits of CBD. Four of the most vocal disciplines are:

MMA

MMA fighters are among the leading proponents of CBD for sport, with the Diaz brothers, amongst others, praising CBD for its pain-relieving properties (and they have even gone on to launch their own CBD brand.)

Rugby

In the UK, many rugby players are using CBD to “help put their bodies back together”. The cannabinoid has received a lot of positive publicity recently as Saracens teammates Dominic Day and George Kruis have launched their own CBD brand after experiencing the positive impact of it for themselves for both injury rehabilitation and post-game recovery.

American Football

Retired NFL stars were amongst the first to start talking about CBD, many of whom struggled with injuries sustained over the course of a long, gruelling career. Proponents of CBD include Lofa Tatupu, Kyle Turley, Terrell Davies, David Ahrens and Rob Gronkowski.

Golfers

CBD is being used by a number of golfing greats including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson. While golf may not be as physically challenging, the mental acuity and concentration required, along with high levels of stress, have led many to turn to CBD for its anti-anxiety and calming effects.

Why do athletes take CBD (and how can it benefit your training)?

To relieve pain

The body’s endocannabinoid system works to bring the body back into homeostasis and, amongst other actions, helps your cells to respond to stimuli. This creates pain-relieving effects and can benefit those with chronic pain (including back pain, nerve damage, joint pain and muscle pain.)

To reduce inflammation and speed up recovery

CBD is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal for athletes. While some inflammation can be helpful in stimulating positive training adaptations, an excess of inflammation slows down recovery and has a negative impact on performance. In essence, every time you work out, your body breaks itself down in order to rebuild itself, and this process can often leave you feeling sore and lethargic. Post-workout inflammation is a common issue, but CBD can help. CBD interacts with CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, thereby reducing cytokine and chemokine production, and increasing the body’s T-regulatory cell production, for a powerful anti-inflammatory response.

To improve sleep quality

Sleep is one of the keys to achieving greater progress in training. Adequate sleep has been proven to aid in motivation to stick to training routines while a lack of sleep makes exercise feel harder and reduces endurance performance.

CBD is linked to improving sleep quality by making it easier to go to sleep and stay asleep. This is thought to be because CBD inhibits the reuptake of adenosine. Adenosine slowly accumulates in the brain as your brains burns carbohydrates for energy. As the level of adenosine rises, it binds to neurons and inhibits the release of neurotransmitters which slows down brain activity (making you feel calmer and drowsier. CBD binds to the same receptors as adenosine, ensuring the accelerated accumulation of adenosine, so you feel more tired, more quickly. CBD is also thought to have an anti-anxiety effect, which makes it easier for people using CBD to fall asleep.

To reduce stress and anxiety

Pre-event stress and performance anxiety can be managed with CBD. In both human and animal studies, physiological (such as an increased heart rate) and behavioural symptoms of anxiety were reduced with CBD use, and it may also help treat anxiety-induced insomnia.

To control weight gain

For some people, CBD acts as an appetite suppressant, making it easier for athletes to stick to their strict eating plans. It is particularly important for athletes who compete in specific weight classes, such as MMA fighters.

As an alternative to pain medication

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not as safe as was originally thought, and, for long-term users, can have a number of side effects including an increased risk of renal damage, heart attacks and strokes.

CBD offers a safe, effective alternative to help athletes reduce their reliance on other medication for exercise-related pain. As was reported by The Essentials of Pain Medicine, 4th Edition, “There are no documented deaths from cannabis or cannabinoid-based products. In a systemic review of studies of oral and oral-mucosal cannabis for various medical conditions, the majority of adverse events reports were considered non-serious (96.6%).”

It is also an alternative to opioid medication such as morphine and oxycontin, which are highly effective but come with significant risks in terms of addiction and overdose. In the UK, opioid deaths continue to climb so, while CBD may not offer the same relief for acute, high-intensity pain, it can be effective for long-term pain management and comes with a much lower risk profile.

How can CBD help with your exercise and training?

Whether you like to hit the gym hard or are a dedicated endurance athlete, the research is clear: CBD can help your performance while you’re working out and as you recover after. Whether you experience pain, inflammation, poor sleep quality, or even anxiety, CBD can help to modulate your body’s response allowing you to get the best results from your training.

The month of September has been declared Pain Awareness Month by the World Health Assembly (WHA) – the policy setting forum of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is dedicated to raising public awareness of “issues in the area of pain and pain management.” Pain awareness is an important topic, especially in the UK, where more than 40% of the population are living with pain that has lasted for three months or more (defined as chronic pain), and the percentage goes up to 62% for those over the age of 65.

Mainstream Support for CBD

With people becoming more aware of the harmful side effects of prescription pain medication, what are the options for those living with chronic pain? Recent studies and developments in the field of natural medicine, and in particular CBD, show a number of different applications for the cannabinoid to assist with managing pain perception, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. It is an alternative to other pain medications that can be used for the management of everyday painful conditions.

The research is finding mainstream support in organisations such as the WHO World Health Organisation, WADA and several disease associations (such as Arthritis.org). In 2017, the World Health Association recommended that CBD not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has removed CBD from its banned substances list, and the Arthritis Foundation has acknowledged that CBD may help in managing arthritis-related pain.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

Your body’s cell signalling system, called the endocannabinoid system, is responsible for receiving signals in your brain and immune system and helping your cells respond. CBD is thought to interact with these endocannabinoid receptors, stimulating a response that creates pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects, allowing your body to more effectively manage pain.

Looking at the body of research around CBD (from 1975 to 2018), a 2018 review of the studies looked at neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia, amongst others, and concluded that CBD:

  • Is effective in overall pain management
  • Doesn’t have negative side effects (a finding that is supported by the WHO)

CBD for Pain Perception

CBD is thought to reduce the perception of pain by reducing the body’s sensitivity to pain. CBD may interact with CB2 receptors, generally found throughout the body in organs, bones, the lymphatic system, glands, and blood vessels. There is still more research needed into the biological processes, but CBD is able to stimulate the CB2 receptors in such a way as to affect the way that the body experiences pain.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is at the root of a number of diseases and conditions. While inflammation does play an important role in activating your body’s immune response to protect against foreign bodies such as bacteria and viruses, extended or extreme inflammation can cause long-term health issues. These concerns include increased production of free radicals in the body, which causes oxidative stress and cause damage to proteins, cells and even your DNA.

CBD works as an anti-inflammatory, pain-controlling agent as it is may inhibit some of the receptors responsible for pain perception as well as lowering the production pro-inflammatory cytokines by the immune system. It, therefore, works in a similar way to medication such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and steroidal drugs. But, unlike mainstream medical alternatives, it doesn’t have the same long list of negative side effects, making it an ideal natural treatment option for those struggling with chronic pain.

CBD for Chronic Pain Conditions

Arthritis

There are several trials that cover the potential of CBD to treat rheumatoid arthritis. A 2016 study conducted on rats with arthritis determined that CBD reduced inflammation and overall joint pain with no noticeable side effects.

Migraines

This is an ongoing area of research, and most of the studies look at CBD paired with THC, not CBD alone, but the results are promising. A 2017 study found that CBD (with THC), leads to lower acute pain, and the pain intensity also decreased. Taking a combination of CBD and THC compounds, the frequency of migraine attacks fell by over 40%. For participants with cluster headaches, there was also a noticeable decrease in pain. Another study concluded that there is a growing body of evidence for the benefits of cannabinoids in the treatment of pain, which may extend to headaches and migraines.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and bones, causing a range of symptoms including stiffness, pain, exhaustion and extreme sensitivity to touch. There are a number of theories about what causes the condition, but it is likely due to the way that the brain interprets pain signals. CBD is, therefore, an effective method for managing symptoms of the condition as it may reduce the body’s sensitivity to pain. CBD trials are still ongoing, but cannabis has been linked to reduced pain and stiffness, and significant drops in acute pain, and fatigue.

CBD as an Alternative to Other Pain Medications

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is one of the most common anti-inflammatories on the market, used for treating pain and fever. It’s effective at providing treatment, but may have a negative impact on your gut health and can damage the lining of your stomach. This is different to CBD, which also acts as an anti-inflammatory, but supports gut health and won’t impact your stomach lining.

Opioids

Opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin are becoming a bigger problem as the use and abuse of these medications is linked to increasing rates of addiction and overdose. Opioids are usually prescribed to manage pain, but they essentially mask the symptoms rather than dealing with the root cause and often lead to addiction in the long-term. The short-term effects are also problematic, causing dizziness, anxiety, irritability, nausea and vomiting.

CBD is being presented as an alternative for managing chronic and acute pain, because unlike opioids (and even THC for that matter), CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. This ties in with recent studies that have shown a decreased reliance on opioids in areas where there is legal access to cannabis.

While more research is needed into CBD and its ability to support those living with chronic pain, there is consensus amongst doctors and researchers that the cannabinoid shows potential for treating inflammation and pain. As the world collectively dedicates a month towards raising pain awareness, there is a lot to get excited about with research showing that CBD may offer a safer, more natural path towards pain relief. In particular, it may help with arthritis, migraine and fibromyalgia-pain, without the negative short-term and long-term side effects.

As it stands today, the common reasons that people choose to consume hemp-derived CBD are health and wellness-related. Most are looking for alternatives to medication to improve their quality of life, manage health conditions, relieve pain and inflammation or to sleep better.

But is it a fad, or is it just the start of a long-term trend?

While the growth of the CBD industry is close to unprecedented, it’s important to discern whether there is a CBD bubble or if it’s a long-term player in the wellness industry.

The evidence, both scientific and market-related, show that CBD is here to stay. CBD offers real benefits for users, is completely safe and ongoing R&D and customer education is only likely to accelerate uptake among people in the UK.

In a world of consumers who are wanting to look and feel healthy and well, CBD alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter medication present a significant disruption to the wellness industry.

And how is CBD doing it?

1. CBD is Backed by Science

Unlike many wellness products, CBD is able to fall back on a body of research. Although many studies are still in their infancy, there are a number of trials that point towards the efficacy of CBD.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body and is responsible for controlling a number of different functions such as mood, sleep, temperature, pain, memory, appetite and more.

Discovered in the early 1990s, the endocannabinoid system releases endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally within the body) in response to health problems in order to restore homeostasis (or balance) even if external circumstances change. It’s also able to offer specific, localised support to address an imbalance without impacting other systems because the receptors are found throughout the body.

2. CBD is Becoming More Regulated

Worldwide, CBD has been subject to much regulatory scrutiny due largely to its association with marijuana and THC. However, legislation changes in countries such as the United States and Canada have helped to reduce the stigma of hemp-derived CBD.

In the UK, many CBD manufacturers are opting for self-regulation, choosing to focus on increasing education around CBD and promoting product lifecycle accountability and transparency. This shows that reputable suppliers are invested their clients as well as the long-term outlook of the industry.

And regulation is set to be written into law in the UK. All forms of CBD that are consumed will be classified as a novel food, which will require CBD manufacturers to apply for authorisation by January 2021, adding a new layer of protection for consumers buying CBD in the UK.

3. CBD has a Multi-Faceted Offering

Wellness isn’t just about taking vitamins and drinking eight glasses of water. The shift in general consciousness means that the concept of wellness is spilling over into all areas of life, presenting a range of new opportunities for CBD.

CBD is not restricted to tinctures, balms or capsules, as it transcends many of the usual limitations of ‘wellness’ products. CBD is being infused into a wide range of products from beverages and drinks, to beauty products.

Beverages

You can order your morning coffee with a shot of CBD, buy CBD-infused water, even soft drinks and alcoholic drinks come with the option of CBD. This allows CBD to move beyond wellness stereotypes into social settings, adding a health and wellness element to almost any occasion.

Beauty Products

CBD is being used in beauty and skincare products for it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidising and oil-balancing properties. In fact, CBD is being touted as the most disruptive force to rock the industry in the last 20 years, and the global market is expected to be worth over £700 million by 2024.

Packaged Foods

While hemp has been a staple in a cross-section of packaged foods such as plant-based milk, protein bars and hemp seed oil, it’s only recently that CBD-infused foods are becoming the norm. Euromonitor International expects CBD packaged food sales to double in the next two years as more people are exposed to and learn about CBD. CBD will soon start popping up in many different food categories such as sweet and savoury snacks, pasta, soups, and baked goods.

Consumer Health Products

CBD product ranges are rapidly expanding and are popping up in various health categories, including sleeping aids, topical analgesics and dietary supplements. Its popularity is driven to a large extent by a desire to find natural alternatives to medication for treating pain, stress and sleep disorders.

4. CBD Products are Flexible Enough to Meet Customers’ Needs

Products orientated towards health and wellness are growing, and consumers are comfortable with the cross-over from more traditional wellness over-the-counter products to CBD-infused products in almost every category.

New innovations in the delivery mechanisms for CBD products and a wider range of products mean that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of CBD, and are more likely to be exposed to it. For example, if you tend to stay away from health stores, but can’t resist bath products like soaps, soaks and bombs, you’re still likely to come across CBD in the form of a CBD-infused bath product.

CBD, through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, also offers a range of benefits that are not limited to one single area. Because endocannabinoid receptors are supported by CBD and occur throughout the central and peripheral nervous system as well as the immune system, the cannabinoid is able to offer an extensive range of benefits. The endocannabinoid system is unique as it doesn’t focus on specific functions (such as digestion) but rather works to maintain balance between the systems in the body so that they can function optimally.

5. CBD Supports Self-Care

Another of the biggest trends in health and wellness is self-care. Consumers are taking a more holistic, long-term approach to their wellbeing. For women, in particular, there is more openness around mental health, and self-care has become the norm. There is the recognition that health and happiness are interrelated, and many will actively seek out products that promote both. It is therefore not surprising that there are many CBD products targeted towards women from skincare and bath products to tampons and breath mints. From home use to medi-spas and celebrity endorsements, CBD isn’t being used just for health but also for beauty and wellness.

If self-care is focused on mental and physical health, then CBD is the perfect support. It helps to reduce anxiety, manage depression and improve sleep quality for mental wellbeing, as well as being helpful for a range of physical health conditions such as inflammation and joint pain. In addition, it also builds towards long-term health, offering neuroprotective and heart health properties and protection against diabetes.

6. CBD Taps Natural Wellness Trends

Consumers are increasingly savvy and well-informed and, with technology, today have unprecedented access to knowledge. More people are seeking out natural alternatives to support their wellness, as well as offer relief for health conditions and many are doing their research online.

Education (and re-education) around CBD and its benefits is therefore important as consumers, armed with knowledge, are able to make informed decisions and take charge of their own health and wellness. Iterative studies show that already, within a few short years, CBD is no longer automatically associated with marijuana and ‘getting high’. And if this trend of education and natural wellness continues, then it’s likely that we’ll see a greater uptake of CBD by consumers, and more CBD products across a greater number of categories.

CBD is taking the wellness industry by storm, and there are no signs of it letting up anytime soon. CBD-infused products are set to infiltrate all aspects of life from consuming a CBD beverage in place of a coffee, using CBD toiletries in your morning shower, consuming a CBD-infused sports supplement before a workout, and rounding off the day with CBD drops as a sleeping aid before bed. As the body of research for the cannabinoid continues to reveal new benefits, and education reshapes thinking around CBD, the cannabinoid looks set to continue its steep upward trajectory.

Holland and Barrett is one of the leading health and wellness retailers in the world and the largest in Europe. They have over 1300 stores in 16 countries, and in the UK they’re the top health and wellbeing store. The fact that such a high-profile retailer is stocking CBD has done a lot for the reputation of CBD in the UK.

Holland and Barrett stock CBD by Jacob Hooy, a well-recognised and reputed Dutch brand, and the range was introduced to stores in the UK in 2018. It’s a popular choice for many as the Holland and Barrett brand has a good reputation and consumers trust them to stock high-quality products. But is Jacob Hooy CBD good quality, and does it offer good value for money?

What CBD Product Ranges Does Holland and Barrett Stock?

Holland and Barrett stock a few different ranges of CBD, but the top-selling, and best-known is Jacob Hooy. So, let’s look at the details and science of the products in this range first, and then have a quick look at a few of the other ranges.

Jacob Hooy

Independent Lab Testing

According to the website, all oils are tested to ensure that THC levels are below 0.2%, but a recent article published in the Daily Mail revealed that the THC content of Jacob Hooy products is four times higher than the legal limit. In addition, earlier this year, the in an episode of “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”, one of the Jacob Hooy products that claimed to contain 2.75% CBD was tested and was found to contain only 1.7% CBD. Because there are no third-party lab tests available, there is no way to know what’s in the oil, and this should be a red flag for anyone interested in the brand.

Product Labeling

The product labels are a bit unclear about the ingredients in the CBD oil, and the concentration of CBD is low (either 2,75% or 5%). There is no indication if the CBD oil is broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, or whether it contains any other cannabinoids at all. This may mean that you can’t experience the entourage effect if there are no other cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. Another thing to note is that, according to the label, the CBD is extracted from hemp seed oil, which contains very little in the way of CBD (or any other cannabinoids). So, if this is the source of the CBD, then the quantity of CBD you are consuming is likely to be low, but since the lab reports aren’t available, it’s difficult to know.

Product Strength

This is another area where you need to do your homework. The two strengths offered by Jacob Hooy are lower than most of the other CBD products on the market (with many offering strengths of between 10% and 20%). This means you need to take more drops to feel the benefits of CBD. If you compare a 5% bottle with a 10% concentration from a different product range, you will need to take double the number of drops to have the same effect. So, unless Jacob Hooy is less than half the price of competitors, it’s actually going to be an expensive option.

Efficacy

The low levels of CBD (and lack of transparency in the labelling and lab testing reports), means that you might not experience the benefits of taking CBD, especially compared to other produces with higher concentration.

Reviews

A quick search of Holland and Barrett’s site, as well as a few independent online sites, give Jacob Hooy’s products less than stellar reviews. They’re usually around 3 or 4 stars out of 5, with concerns around the strength of the products cited regularly.

Other Holland and Barrett CBD Ranges

The number of CBD products that the retailer stocks has risen dramatically over the last two years, and has expanded to their in-house CBD line that focuses on skincare and topicals.

Their product range includes:

Holistic Hemp

Stocked on the high street in their physical stores, Holistic Hemp has grown quickly in popularity, specialising in CBD oils and oral sprays. Their TrustPilot ratings are high, and all products are made from organic hemp (and some of their products offer extremely potent CBD doses).

Ambiance CBD

The Ambiance CBD website contains very little information on the sourcing, manufacturing and testing of their products. The range includes lip balms, muscle balms, body oils and moisturisers which all get consistently high ratings on the Holland and Barrett site.

Grounded CBD

Grounded CBD is well-known for their CBD-infused serums which get good reviews on the Holland and Barrett site. Finding their lab reports and sourcing and manufacturing process is difficult, indicating a lack of transparency by the brand.

CBD Daily

CBD Daily focuses on topicals such as serums and creams. There are third-party labs reports available online for each product, which makes it easier to verify the composition of their products.

How Does Purity Hemp Co Measure Up?

Due to a lack of transparency, there are a lot of questions that Jacob Hooy CBD and some of the other Holland and Barrett product lines just don’t answer. In comparison, brands that can demonstrate the use of high-quality ingredients and full traceability will do a lot for their customers’ peace of mind.

It’s for this reason that Purity Hemp Co offers full product traceability from seed to shelf, demonstrating that the product range is the best possible quality. The brand is also committed to the continual improvement of quality of life for customers through the continued education and support that they offer as part of the Purity Hemp Co service.

Traceability

Purity Hemp Co has put the traceability at the heart of the business with full vertical integration, controlling the supply-side process from farming to extraction, purification to product manufacturing, and on-site laboratory testing to bulk CBD distribution. This ensures consistency and the highest levels of quality control across all products.

We are completely transparent about each step of the process, from where the crops are cultivated, to providing certificates of analysis. This is important to us as we want customers to know where their CBD oil comes from, and they have a full understanding of what is contained in the product.

Research and Development

We have put years of research into sourcing and securing CBD from the purest strains of hemp plants so that the products we sell are nothing short of excellent. This, coupled with our advanced extraction methods, means that customers can rely on our CBD to deliver the maximum therapeutic value.

Reviews

Purity Hemp Co continues to receive rave reviews and is consistently rated 5 out of 5 on independent review sites. Clients highlight the effectiveness of the products, their purity, and the trustworthiness of the brand.

Commitment to Excellence

The clue is in our company name. At Purity Hemp Company, we’re at the cutting edge of science and technology, committed to bringing our customers the best quality CBD products. We offer transparency, trust and innovation, delivering a range of the purest products that deliver real health and wellness benefits.

When you look at the Purity Hemp Company products and compare them to some of the brands stocked at Holland and Barrett, it quickly becomes apparent that there are issues with some of their product lines.

Jacob Hooy, in particular, offers very little in the way of traceability and transparency. They have no lab reports available, you don’t have a good idea of what ingredients are included in the products, and there’s even the chance that the amount of THC is over the UK’s legal limit. In comparison, Purity Hemp Company goes out of their way to offer full traceability, and it’s possible to check each of the ingredients in the products.

Independent reviews of Jacob Hooy products are lack-lustre, especially when compared to those of Purity Hemp Company on Trust Pilot.

Product strength and efficacy go hand in hand, and the low concentration of Jacob Hooy products means that customers need to consume much more to experience the same effects as they would with a product that has a higher concentration. This means that the lower price point of Jacob Hooy is misleading as customers need to consume much higher doses compared to other products.

Other brands stocked by Holland and Barrett, such as Holistic Hemp perform much better. An artisanal brand focused on quality sourcing and manufacturing, continues to get good reviews both on the Holland and Barrett sites, as well as on TrustPilot and other independent review platforms.

It’s important that customers know where the products that they consume are coming from, and that what they’re consuming is of the highest quality. Purity Hemp Company’s commitment to offering its customers products that are pure and science-backed makes it a safer, more trusted option.

CBD is the natural health and wellness supplement that everyone is talking about, and millions across the UK are using. But, unfortunately, as the popularity of CBD has grown, so too has the number of poor-quality products because the industry is largely unregulated. Rather than seeing this as a problem, though, it can be an opportunity to do your own homework and give yourself the best chance of experiencing the benefits of CBD.

Before you get started with CBD, it’s important to take a step back and do some research to find out how CBD works, what conditions it can help with, how to get your dosage right and which factors will impact the effectiveness of your dose.

Let’s start with looking at your body’s endocannabinoid system:

What is the ECS?

It was originally discovered in the early 1990s when researchers were investigating the cannabinoid THC. The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate a number of processes in the body including sleep, mood, memory, appetite and fertility.

Made up of a complex network of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally within the body), the endocannabinoid system’s primary role is to maintain homeostasis in the body.

Endocannabinoids

These are cannabinoids produced by your body, the two most important of which are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

Endocannabinoid Receptors

Found throughout the body, endocannabinoids bind to receptors. The two main types are CB1 receptors (found predominantly in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (found in the peripheral nervous system).

Endocannabinoids can bind to either type of receptor to produce a result that is dependent on the location of the receptor and the type of endocannabinoid.

Enzymes

Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function. The fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme breaks down AEA, while the monoacylglycerol acid lipase enzyme breaks down 2-AG.

Based on the available research, the ECS contributes to homeostasis because it is linked to appetite and digestion, metabolism, pain and inflammation, mood, sleep, motor control, cardiovascular health, muscle formation, learning and memory, bone health, liver function, reproductive health, stress and skin function.

How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?

CBD is different to THC as it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors in the same way. CBD may inhibit the work of the enzymes that break down naturally occurring cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), and it may support the health and function of receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system. In both instances, the work of endocannabinoids is enhanced, and they can have more of an effect on regulating your body.

What is the best way to get the right dosage?

The first month of your CBD journey is vital. Getting the right dosage can be confusing because almost every company has different recommendations. At Purity Hemp Co we take a science-backed approach to dosage, to help you get it right up front. CBD can be taken in many different forms, the most popular of which are CBD oil and CBD gummies, and for many people, it comes down to personal preference.

CBD Oil

If you’re new to CBD, start small. Place two to three drops of CBD under your tongue, hold for between thirty seconds and a minute, and swallow. You should then wait for at least half an hour to assess your body’s reaction to CBD. The effects are usually felt within 5 to 20 minutes.

CBD Gummies

Like with CBD oil, we recommend starting small with one to two gummies, then waiting 30 minutes to feel the effects of the CBD before consuming more. At Purity Hemp Co, one CBD bear is the equivalent of 5mg of CBD, while each dome is the equivalent of 10mg of CBD. The effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes.

Tips for CBD Oil and CBD Gummy Dosage

  • Aim for consistency in timing and frequency, set calendar reminders so you can consume the same amount of CBD at the same time each day to help your body get into a natural rhythm.
  • Avoid taking CBD near bedtime, some people may find that a low dose of CBD boosts alertness, and a larger dose may be more calming or sedating.
  • Listen to your body, note how your body feels to get an idea of how your body is responding to the dose.
  • Follow the UK government recommendations, which are set at a maximum of 70 milligrams of CBD oil per day.

Everyone is different and getting the dosage right over the first few weeks is key as it will impact on the benefits that you experience and your longer-term use of CBD.

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD is linked to a large number of wellness-supporting benefits. While there is still more research needed, initial studies show promising results, and anecdotal evidence points towards the benefit of using CBD to improve your physical and mental health.

Anxiety

CBD may impact the way receptors in your brain respond to serotonin and may help those with social anxiety and PTSD. Animal studies have linked CBD to lowering anxiety by reducing stress, regulating heart rate, helping with PTSD and improving sleep quality.

Pain

Pain relief is one of the primary reasons people turn to CBD. Pain conditions include muscle pain, joint pain (such as arthritis), and nerve pain.

Epilepsy

CBD may help with seizure disorders, with research supported by The American Epilepsy Society and the New York University Langone Medical Center showing promising results.

Neurological Disorders

There is ongoing research into the ability of CBD to help with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and strokes. CBD is linked to reducing free radical damage and inflammation to protect brain cells and help grow new ones (neurogenesis).

Heart Health

According to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, CBD may help to lower high blood pressure by regulating anxiety, as well as providing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

In addition, CBD may help with treating acne by reducing the production of sebum which can lead to acne. It may also play a supporting role in cancer treatment as it can alleviate symptoms and reduce the side effects of treatment.

What can impact the efficacy of the dose?

Because everyone is different, CBD has a slightly different effect on different people and so finding the right dose might take some time and experimentation. But there are some other factors to consider:

Quality

You won’t get the benefits of CBD if you aren’t using high-quality CBD from a reputable brand. Many people, especially if you are using CBD for the first time, assume that a higher-priced product means that you’re getting a good quality product. Unfortunately, many companies are selling low-quality products that contain little to no CBD (and may even contain harmful ingredients) at a high price point. There are several studies that have investigated these discrepancies with one from Penn State University finding that close to 70% of cannabidiol extracts are mislabeled. More recently, a California company found incredibly high levels of dangerous chemicals and misleading labels, and forensic toxicologists from Virginia Commonwealth University identified the addictive compound dextromethorphan and Spice (a potentially dangerous synthetic cannabinoid) in several of the ‘pure’ CBD extracts that they tested.

Concentration

In addition to the many different types of CBD products available on the market, there is also the added confusion of different CBD concentrations. It’s important to take into account the concentration of the CBD that you are using to ensure that you take the right amount. The more concentrated the CBD, the less you need to take.

Genetics

The effect of CBD will also be impacted by your individual body chemistry, your metabolism, sensitivity to CBD, other medical conditions and your body weight.

Bioavailability

The type of CBD you choose will have an impact on the benefits you experience because dosage is not the same as intake. Bioavailability is the degree and rate at which CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream and determines how much of the dose is absorbed and able to have an effect. The bioavailability of your CBD depends on the concentration of the CBD and the consumption method used.

CBD oil has sublingual bioavailability of 13% – 19% (possibly even up to 35%). This is significantly higher than other methods as the CBD is held beneath your tongue for at least 30 seconds. It can then be absorbed by the sublingual gland and into the bloodstream. This method is more direct and therefore impacts the body quicker and offers higher availability.

CBD gummies, in comparison, are subject to the body’s digestive and metabolic systems which break down and filter out some of the CBD, reducing its bioavailability. Research shows that the bioavailability of oral consumption methods is somewhere between 4% and 20%.

Many people feel the benefits of CBD the very first time they try it. But if you don’t, the good news is that it’s a learning process. Every person is different and finding the right dose might be a process of trial and error. It’s best to start small and increase the dosage incrementally until you find the right level, taking into account the type and concentration of the CBD you are using. Keep in mind though, that if you’re not using a high-quality product, you won’t experience the benefits of CBD at all, which might lead you to conclude, incorrectly, that CBD itself is not effective.

According to a recent survey, around 9 million people in the UK use complementary or alternative medicine, and the percentage of people turning to natural health solutions is increasing every year. CBD, in particular, is helping many people as they look to take control of their own health and make proactive changes to their daily wellness routine. In the UK alone, 6 million adults have used CBD, and 11% of the population has consumed CBD in one form or another in the last year.

But what is at the root of this fundamental shift away from conventional medicine? The two primary areas of concern are vaccinations and conventional medicine.

Mainstream Vaccination and Medication Fears

Concerns About Vaccinations

Fears about the side effects of vaccines are the main reason that people are choosing not to vaccinate their children or, if they do decide to vaccinate, they may modify the vaccination schedule. There is also the much-discussed concern that vaccines can cause autism. Across the UK and Europe, immunisation rates are dropping as fewer people trust the effectiveness and the safety of vaccines.

There are also concerns about the preservatives used in vaccines. Thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, was used in most vaccines in the past but is now limited to multi-done flu vaccines. Other additives are still used, including aluminium, which many parents are hesitant about giving to their children.

Many parents believe that “natural is best”, and the large number of vaccinations required may overwhelm the child’s immune system, thereby harming the child. This, coupled with the worldwide trend towards natural health, has led to parents seeking out non-medical alternatives for their own health, and the health of their families.

MMR Vaccination

The primary vaccination that parents are choosing not to give their children is the MMR jab which offers protection against measles mumps and rubella. Around 10% of parents are electing to skip this injection, and the reasons given include fear of side effects and doubts over whether the vaccine is effective. The recent wave of scandals around the MMR vaccine makes it likely that the number of children getting the vaccine will drop even further.

Corona Virus Vaccination

The anti-vaxxer movement has come out strongly against the idea that people should be getting a vaccination to protect against the Coronavirus. It seems that their sentiments are shared more widely than was initially forecast. There are at least seven COVID-19 candidate vaccines in the clinical evaluation phase (with over 82 in the preclinical evaluation phase). These numbers are unprecedented and underlining the scale of the current efforts to find a vaccine. But a survey conducted in the UK found that at least half of the population would choose not to have a COVID vaccination even if it were available.

Concerns About Conventional Medicine

The stats around prescription medication addiction in the US are alarming, and there are studies showing the same trends in the UK. In the US, it is estimated that around 20% of the population has abused prescription medicine, and 18 million Americans have done so in the last year. In the UK, a review conducted by the Public Health England showed that one in four people take ‘addictive medication’, and the number of fatal overdoses involving prescription medication continues to rise.

There is also a growing dissatisfaction with conventional medicine. For many people, conventional medicine is not effective and, even if the medicine is effective, sometimes the side effects outweigh the benefits of the medication. A study published on the JAMA network found that the two most frequently cited benefits of alternative therapies were, “I get relief for my symptoms, the pain or discomfort is less or goes away, I feel better,” and “The treatment works better for my particular health problem than standard medicine’s.” These insights show natural alternatives exist that may be more effective that conventional medicine, and may come with significantly fewer side effects.

A Movement Toward Natural Health & Taking Back Control of the Wellness Journey

Natural Medicine Has Become Mainstream

The uptake of natural health supplements is linked to a growing desire to become healthier. The use of herbal remedies has become mainstream in the UK (as well as the rest of Europe and other developed countries such as North America and Australia), and it’s because they form part of a balanced and moderate approach to healing. Instead of taking prescription medication that is full of chemicals and can have serious side effects, patients would rather stick with natural options that proactively support their health and wellness and can assist in bringing the body into homeostasis. A study by JAMA found that promoting health rather than just focusing on illness was one of the most important benefits of alternative health treatments.

Advancements and Research in Natural Health

Increasingly people want to have a degree of control over their health care decisions. Traditional medicine can be confusing and overwhelming. In addition, healthcare providers who facilitate access to medication are often in a rush and don’t take the time to adequately explain and equip patients to manage their own health effectively. Alternative therapies put the control back in the hands of the patient as advancements in science are widely available to end consumers online, allowing them to make their own decisions and manage their health, armed with the latest research-backed information.

CBD is Becoming an Important Part of an Everyday Routine

For many the advances in natural science and access to the latest research has meant the integration of CBD into their daily diet. CBD is becoming part of an everyday routine and is seen as playing an integral role in a healthy lifestyle in 2020.

Studies show how CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to bring about homeostasis as well as the relief of a range of symptoms from sleeplessness and anxiety to joint pain and acne. And it’s this wellness-supporting action of CBD that makes it an ideal daily supplement as it enhances health and proactively improves wellbeing.

CBD and the Body’s Endocannabinoid System

The body’s endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body, primarily in the immune system and the central and peripheral nervous systems. Discovered only recently in the 1990s, the system is responsible for the control of a number of function including sleep, mood, immune response, pain perception, memory, appetite and temperature. In the case of a health problem, the system releases natural cannabinoids to restore balance (or homeostasis). And CBD can help to improve the way the system responds to health issues.

CBD works directly and indirectly with the endocannabinoid system to help relieve mental and physical conditions. It is able to bind to CB1 receptors in the brain and CB2 receptors throughout the body, as well as also modifying and regulating the transport of proteins and enzymes within the endocannabinoid system.

The Need for Confidentiality

Many patients are uncomfortable discussing their medical problems and fear a lack of confidentiality if they disclose their health information to a practitioner. They are also worried about the possibility of misdiagnosis and receiving the wrong treatment, especially if they don’t feel that they can describe their condition adequately. Natural medicine such as CBD taps into the body’s natural ability to self-repair (depending on the type of condition), and this can often lead patients to use herbs to self-medicate, rather than visiting a doctor. CBD businesses have been quick to offer solutions for individuals who seek privacy and confidentiality. Most offer discrete packaging and delivery, a wealth of information on how to get the best results and give their clients the freedom to purchase online from the comfort of their own homes. And, because CBD is available without a prescription, it can be taken confidentially.

The alternative health market, and CBD in particular (with annual growth in the double digits), is expected to expand significantly in the UK in the next few years as more patients seek to take control of their own health, empowered by the amount of information available to them online and the movement towards balanced, healthy living. For parents who are tasked with managing the health of their families, the daunting responsibility of making safe, effective decisions for their children may mean many will turn to natural sources. It’s because of this trend that CBD is seeing unprecedented growth as it is both effective, through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, as well as being a completely natural health supplement that is available without prescription.

 

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