What is CBD oil? if cannabis oil products are safe and the laws in Scotland explained

After it was announced that CBD oil products could be taken off the shelves within a year, many are now questioning how safe they really are.

CBD oil-based health products come in a variety of forms. Picture: Shutterstock
CBD oil-based health products come in a variety of forms. Picture: Shutterstock

Although many of the products containing CBD are highly popular, the veracity of their health claims has always attracted a great deal of scrutiny.

Here’s everything you need to know about CDB oil - and what the rules are in Scotland.

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Vulnerable groups are advised to stay away from CBD oil. Picture: Shutterstock

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, is a substance that can be extracted from a cannabis plant via steam distillation.

It is completely separate from the part of cannabis which offers a high – that would be the psychoactive component, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

What products contain it?

CBD oil does come from marijuana but it won't get you high. Picture: Shutterstock

CBD oil has been used in a great variety of products which have become popular in recent years.

Classified as “novel foods”, this range includes oils, drops, sweets, baked goods, drinks and capsules.

What is it used to treat?

CBD oil has been claimed to help in the treatment of various mental health issues, lessening the effects of depression and anxiety, as well as helping with sleep and eating disorders.

It has also been recommended as a skin treatment, with some suggesting that applying it directly to the skin can help with the symptoms of eczema and even slow the effects of aging.

Some have also claimed that cannabis oil helps with some of the side effects of cancer treatments, such as helping to lessen the nausea experienced as a result of chemotherapy.

While studies have backed the claim that medicinal marijuana does have this effect, there is as of yet no scientific backing for the idea that CBD oil has the same benefits.

Is it legal in Scotland?

At the moment, CBD oil is perfectly legal in Scotland, as well as in the rest of the UK, so long as the products containing it have no more than 0.05% THC - the component that gets you high.

However the Food Standards Agency has now ruled that products containing CBD oil must be registered by 2021 or they risk being pulled from the shelves.

This will require the manufacturers to provide more information about the safety and contents of their products to the FSA.

The FSA’s rulings are only guidelines and it will be up to local authorities to make the decision regarding whether to pull products that do not comply with them.

The guidelines also only apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland – Scotland is covered by a separate agency, Food Standards Scotland.

Is it safe?

While CBD oil products have been on the shelves for years, recent revelations have suggested that they are not as tightly regulated as they should be.

Trials have already found that some products contain more than the permitted levels of THC, while others actually contain little or no CBD in spite of how they are marketed and priced.

At the moment, Food Standards Scotland only advises that CBD oil should not be used alongside other medication, and that no-one should consume more than 70mg a day.

Those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding are also advised to stay away from CBD oil.