CBD: What is it and is it legal in the UK?

What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a cannabis compound found in hemp and sativa cannabis strains. Not to be confused with its psychoactive cousin component Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD oil among other CBD products offer significant medical benefits to users without any negative side effects. It’s important to note that though THC is responsible for the “high” feelings associated with ingestion of cannabis, CBD does not affect your body in this way. CBD-infused products will not get you high.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

Your body is home to the endocannabinoid system; a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and connected molecules. It’s responsible for helping regulate a huge variety of bodily functions, such as memory, sleep, motivation and reward, immune function, temperature, and appetite. The system contains two main types of receptor: CB1 and CB2. The differences between CBD (a non-psychoactive compound) and THC (a psychoactive compound) can be identified by studying the way each compound reacts with these receptors. CB1 receptors mainly influence the release and production of transmitters, while CB2 receptors are involved in maintaining the effectiveness of your immune system. THC interacts with these receptors by overwhelming the endocannabinoid system and bonding with the synapses, throwing it off balance and causing a psychoactive response linked with pleasure, memory, concentration and pain tolerance.

How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?

Unlike THC, CBD does not bond with the CB1 receptors. Instead, it stimulates activity in both the CB1 and CB2 receptors without binding to them. Additionally, when CBD is introduced into the endocannabinoid system it increases the release of 2-AG. This is a naturally occuring endocannabinoid which is produced to enhance the overall effect of the endocannabinoid system on the body. In high concentrations, CBD can even activate the 5-HT14 serotonin receptor, which is responsible for producing anti-depressant effects. It also influences appetite, anxiety, sleep, pain perception, addiction mechanisms, and nausea.

Where does CBD come from?

Cannabidiol molecules are found in industrial hemp, as well as cannabis plants. Because industrial hemp has a low THC concentration, SmartCBD takes extra caution to preserve the raw nature of the hemp plant in order to extract from it the highest quality CBD. If you’re looking to purchase a CBD-infused product, SmartCBD’s extensive range offers a high-quality, natural alternative to wellbeing and health. Visit our products page to buy from the UK’s leading supplier of 100% organic, all-natural CBD products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answered by SmartCBD experts

Is CBD legal in the UK?

CBD is legal in the UK and is commonly sold as a food supplement. All SmartCBD products are produced using hemp and are completely legal for consumption and sale in the UK.

Do Smart CBD only ship to the UK?

We are one of the main distributors of CBD Oil in the UK although we ship worldwide. If you have any questions then do not hesitate to contact us.

Will I fail a drug test?

Drug tests are typically geared towards identifying THC and not CBD or other Cannabinoids. Some CBD oils may contain trace amounts of THC and this may register on a drug test. Take a look at our range of CBD oils’s and balms with zero THC.

Will CBD get me 'high'?

CBD oil will not get you ‘high’ in the traditional sense of smoking or ingesting marijuana. That is because marijuana contains high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the drug that causes people to feel the “hazy” or “stoned” effects typically associated with marijuana use.

Is SmartCBD made synthetically?

No. All of our products are made 100% organically with natural and complex Cannibinoids, the way nature intended.

Does CBD oil help with pain?

Promising studies on the effects of CBD oil’s use for pain management have been carried out. CBD users say that Cannibinoids can offer a natural alternative for people who have chronic pain.

Will CBD make me drowsy?

A lot of our customers, when writing reviews about our CBD products, talk about how “relaxed” they feel as opposed to drowsy.

What is the legal status of CBD?

High concentrations of THC are illegal in the UK.

The legal status of CBD depends on:

Whether the CBD was derived from hemp or marijuana

In the UK, CBD harvested from marijuana is illegal, even if the THC content is low.

This is because cultivation of marijuana is illegal, and CBD derived from these activities would be counted as a byproduct of unlawful cannabis production.

Where the CBD is being harvested, processed, and distributed

Within the European Union (EU), there is a list of approximately 50 approved hemp strains featuring low THC content.

The standard for CBD oil in Europe states that it cannot exceed 0.2% THC.

Can CBD get me ‘high’?

None of our CBD Oils are psychoactive.

Quite simply; no. Here’s why: CBD is present in all strains of the cannabis plant, but is most prevalent naturally in hemp. Hemp is a strain of cannabis plant grown especially for its fibre, and has been used for centuries to make cloth, building materials, and oils – BMW even use it today as biodegradable material in their cars. In all plants of the genus Cannabis, two main compounds are present: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is a psychoactive compound famous for causing the feelings of intoxication and being high experienced by recreational marijuana users. CBD interacts with your body in a similar way, but is completely nonpsychoactive. In hemp (a type of cannabis plant) the ratio of THC to CBD is extremely low. Hemp is grown legally in many countries around the world due to its high CBD and low THC concentrations.

Smart CBD has a range of CBD products

All of our CBD Oils and products are shipped from the UK

Research & Studies

CBD & Other Cannibinoids

Please note: The below studies involve CBD and other cannabinoids. We have provided this list of research solely for the purpose of educating those who would like to learn more about the potential wellness and health benefits of CBD. SmartCBD products are not yet medically proven to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.

Anxiety Disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

CBD has been shown to have an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect in humans. A study by Bergamaschi et al. (2011) focused on the effects of CBD on anxiety induced by public speaking in three different groups: 12 subjects (healthy), without any medication; 12 patients with anxiety disorder, who were administered a single 600mg dose of CBD; and 12 patients with anxiety disorder who received a placebo.

This study found that anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels were higher in the placebo group than in the control group.


Traditionally, antipsychotic medication is difficult to describe as it often comes hand in hand with a whole host of negative side effects. In a study by Zuardi et al. (2011), a schizophrenic patient was treated with CBD in place of typical antipsychotic medication. The patient had developed significant hormonal side effects during a course of treatment with typical antipsychotic medication. The patient was a 19 year old woman, who became an inpatient at the Clinical Hospital of Ribeirão Preto because she exhibited the following behaviours:

• Aggressiveness
• Self-harm
• Incoherence of thought/delusions
• Auditory hallucinations

She was administered CBD in a progressively increased dosage. Over a four week period, this dosage maxed out at 750mg, twice per day (a total dosage of 1500mg). After four weeks, a placebo was given in place of the CBD for 4 days. Following this, the patient was administered haloperidol (a common antipsychotic medication) in place of the placebo. Dosage was increased
based on clinical evaluation by inpatient clinic doctors, and the patient received Diazepam (an anxiolytic) at times where their agitation became too great.

Over the four week-period when CBD had been administered, the patient’s mean daily dose of Diazepam decreased from 16.3mg/day to 5.7mg/ day. During this time, the patient was evaluated by two psychiatrists and two nurse  Interviews between the patient and the involved professionals were videotaped, and shown in a random sequence to another psychiatrist at the end of the study.

• Symptoms decreased after CBD treatment
• Symptoms tended to worsen after drug withdrawal
• Haloperidol did not increased the improvement obtained by CBD
• CBD did not seem to decrease psychotic symptoms on a purely anxiolytic basis,
making it improbable that this was the sole mechanism of action with regards to
the reduction of psychotic symptomsgroup.


A clinical study has been conducted on CBD and its potential use in the treatment of epilepsy. In phase 1 of the study (conducted by Cunha et al. 1980), the following conditions were observed:

• The trial was performed in a double-blind setting
• There were 16 healthy human volunteers
• 3mg/kg of CBD was given to 8 of the volunteers for 30 days
• The other 8 volunteers received identical capsules containing a glucose placebo

At weekly intervals, the following tests were performed:

• Neurological examinations
• Physical examinations
• Blood and urine analysis

Results were recorded as a control group data set. During phase 2, the following conditions were observed:

• The trial was performed in a double-blind setting
• The study group involved 15 patients suffering from secondary generalised epilepsy with temporal focus
• The study group was divided into two randomly chosen groups
• One group received 200-300mg CBD daily
• The other group received a placebo in place of the CBD
• The drugs were administered for 4.5 months
• During the trial, all 15 patients continued to take their prescribed antiepileptic drugs, which had been proven ineffective in combating signs of the disease.

• CBD was tolerated well by all patients and volunteers
• There were no signs of toxicity or serious side effects
• 50% of the 8 CBD subjects remained virtually free of convulsions throughout the experiment
• 3 CBD patients experienced a partial improvement in their condition
• CBD was only ineffective in 1 patient
• Out of the placebo patients, the clinical condition of 7 did not change
• However, the condition of one of the placebo patients improved greatly

The study was able to provide a solid basis for further research into the impact of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy.


A study by Crippa et al. (2013) at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil aimed to treat a 19 year old woman suffering withdrawal symptoms following cessation of prolonged cannabis use. Daily dosage of CBD helped treat her significant withdrawal and anxiety symptoms, diminishing them over the course of the treatment.

Scientists said “CBD can be effective for the treatment of cannabis withdrawal syndrome.”


CBD may be useful as a food intake regulator, thanks to its effects as a THC-agonist, and consequently as a potential anti-obesity drug or supplement. Four clinical studies were undertaken by GW Pharmaceuticals in order to determine how tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and CBD affect the body’s appetite. Research conclusions (as of 2012) are as follows:

• THCV and CBD both have an appetite suppressing effect
• This effect is, however, short lived
• Both THCV and CBD impact the fat levels within the body, as well as their response to insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels)

A statement from Prof. Mike Cawthorne, director of metabolic research at the University of Buckingham, reads as follows: “Overall, it seems these molecules increase energy expenditure in the cells of the body by increasing the metabolism.”

Skin Diseases

The endocannabinoid system has long since displayed a connection to the epidermal physiology of the human body. The natural cannabinoid “anandamide” plays an important role in the regulation of expression that skin differentiation genes experience via DNA methylation. In a study by Pucci et al. 2013, CBD was shown to reduce the expression of allgenes tested in  differentiated HaCaT cells: keratins 1 and 10, transglutaminase 5, and involucrin. According to the study, CBD was able to achieve this by increasing DNA methylation of the keratin 10 gene.

The researchers concluded that such action suggests, “a possible exploitation as lead compounds to be used in the development of novel therapeutics for skin diseases.”


The effects of CBD on sleep has been shown to be largely dose-dependent. In a clinical study by Nicholson et al. 2004, 8 volunteers received four treatments prior to sleep at 10pm.

The treatments were as follows:
• Placebo
• 15mg THC
• 5mg THC and 5mg CBD
• 15mg THC and 15mg CBD

The results were as expected – CBD has a sedative effect in higher doses, and an alert effect in lower ones. Research conclusions were as follows:

• 15mg THC increased sleepiness
• 15mg CBD appeared to make subjects more alert

CBD and Inflammation

2012 – Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic plant-derived cannabinoid, decreases inflammation in a murine model of acute lung injury: Role for the adenosine A(2A) receptor.
2012 – Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Brief Overview
2010 – Diabetic retinopathy: Role of inflammation and potential therapies for anti-inflammation

CBD and Anxiety

2012 – Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug
2012 – On disruption of Fear Memory by Reconsolidation Blockade: Evidence from Cannabidiol Treatment
2011 – The endocannabinoid system in the regulation of emotions throughout lifespan: a discussion on therapeutic perspectives
2011 – Effects of intracisternal administration of cannabidiol on the cardiovascular and behavioral responses to acute restraint stress
2011 – Cannabidiol potentiates Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) behavioral effects and alters THC pharmacokinetics during acute and chronic treatment in adolescent rats
2011 – Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients
2011 – Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report
2010 – Therapeutical use of the cannabinoids in pyschiatry
2010 – A behavioural comparison of acute and chronic Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in C57BL/6JArc mice

CBD and Depression

2010 – Antidepressant-like effect of Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa

CBD and Pain

2012 – Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors
2010 – Cannabinoid-mediated modulation of neuropathic pain and microglial accumulation in a model of murine type I diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain
2010 – Cannabinoids inhibit and may prevent neuropathic pain in diabetes

CBD and Arthritis

2000 – The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis

CBD and Memory

2010 – Key ingredient staves off marijuana memory loss
2010 – Key ingredient dilutes marijuana’s effect on memory
2010 – Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: naturalistic study

CBD and Seizures

2012 – Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures
2010 – Anticonvulsant effects of GWP42006 in vitro and in vivo in rats
2010 – Cannabidiol Displays Antiepileptiform and Antiseizure Properties In Vitro and In Vivo

CBD and Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia

2012 – The therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for Alzheimer’s disease
2012 – Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid
2011 – Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids reduce microglial activation in vitro and in vivo: relevance to Alzheimers’ disease
2011 – Memory-rescuing effects of cannabidiol in an animal model of cognitive impairment relevant to neurodegenerative disorders
2011 – Prospects for cannabinoid therapies in basal ganglia disorders
2011 – Phytocannabinoids as novel therapeutic agents in CNS disorders

CBD and Breast Cancer

2011 – Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis
2011 – Cannabidiol induces programmed cell death in breast cancer cells by coordinating the crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy

CBD and Brain Damage

2011 – Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery after acute hypoxia-ischemia in newborn pigs
2010 – Effects of cannabidiol on amphetamine-induced oxidative stress generation in an animal model of mania
2010 – Cannabidiol ameliorates cognitive and motor impairments in bile-duct ligated mice via 5-HT1A receptor activation
2010 – Opposite Effects of Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function and Psychopathology
2010 – Disposition of Cannabichromene, Cannabidiol, and Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and its Metabolites in Mouse Brain following Marijuana Inhalation Determined by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry
2010 – Treatment with cannabidiol reverses oxidative stress parameters, cognitive impairment and mortality in rats submitted to sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture
2010 – The neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol in an in vitro model of newborn hypoxic-ischemic brain damage in mice is mediated by CB(2) and adenosine receptors
2010 – Cannabinoid receptor CB1 mediates baseline and activity-induced survival of new neurons in adult hippocampal neurogenesis

CBD and Lung Cancer

2010 – Decrease of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 may contribute to the anti-invasive action of cannabidiol on human lung cancer cells.

CBD and Cancer Cells

2012 – Cannabidiol Inhibits Angiogenesis by Multiple Mechanisms
2012 – Poly-e-caprolactone microspheres as a drug delivery system for cannabinoid administration: Development characterization and in vitro evaluation of their antitumoral efficacy
2012 – Cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in murine microglial cells through lipid raft
2011 – Phytocannabinoids for use in the treatment of cancer – Patent GB2478595(A) 
2011 – Cannabidiol induced a contrasting pro-apoptotic effect between freshly isolated and precultured human monocytes
2010 – Antitumorigenic Effects of Cannabinoids beyond Apoptosis
2010 – Anti-tumoural effects of cannabinoid combinations – Patent TW201002315 (A)
2010 – Cannabidiol inhibits cancer cell invasion via upregulation of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases
2010 – Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Delta9 – Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human Glioblastoma Cell Proliferation and Survival
2010 – Cannabidiol attenuates delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions via suppressing T-cell and macrophage reactivity
2010 – Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC

CBD and Brain Cancer

2010 – Science: Cannabidiol enhances the anti-cancer effects of THC on human brain cancer cells.

CBD and Cardiac Arrythmias

2010 – Acute administration of cannabidiol in vivo suppresses ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when given at reperfusion.
2010 – Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Anti-Arrhythmic – the Role of the CB1 Receptors

CBD and Diabetes

2011 – The potential for clinical use of cannabinoids in treatment of cardiovascular diseases
2010 – Cannabidiol Attenuates Cardiac Dysfunction, Oxidative Stress, Fibrosis, and Inflammatory and Cell Death Signaling Pathways in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
2010 – Lab Notes: Pot Has Benefits for Diabetic Hearts

CBD and Colon Cancer

2012 – Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors
2012 – Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer
2011 – Induction of apoptosis by cannabinoids in prostate and colon cancer cells is phosphatase dependent
2010 – Cannabinoid-mediated modulation of neuropathic pain and microglial accumulation in a model of murine type I diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain.
2010 – Cannabinoids inhibit and may prevent neuropathic pain in diabetes

CBD and Cholesterol

2011 – The Non-Psychoactive Plant Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol Affects Cholesterol Metabolism-Related Genes in Microglial Cells

CBD and Appetite

2012 – Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns
2010 – Cannabidiol Attenuates the Appetitive Effects of Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Humans Smoking Their Chosen Cannabis

CBD and Nausea

2011 – Interaction between non-psychotropic cannabinoids in marihuana: effect of cannabigerol (CBG) on the anti-nausea or anti-emetic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in rats and shrews
2011 – Cannabidiol, a Non-Psychotropic Component of Cannabis, Attenuates Vomiting and Nausea-like Behaviour via Indirect Agonism of 5-HT(1A) Somatodendritic: Autoreceptors in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus
2011 – Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids
2010 – Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids


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