Please wait, the site is loading...


CBD: the health supplement everyone's talking about

by Hannah Ebelthite

It’s the health supplement everyone’s talking about. But what is CBD, and what might it do for you? Hannah Ebelthite reports. 

CBD oil

Jennifer Aniston says she takes the oil for pain relief and stress. Kim Kardashian-West threw herself a baby shower with a dedicated CBD bar for guests to mix their own oils. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop lifestyle website regularly runs CBD-infused recipes... heck, you can even buy CBD treats for your dog. CBD – which is short for cannabidiol oil – first launched into the wellness market in spring last year, and has become one of the fastest-growing supplements ever.

In fact, demand is so high that CBD is now being added to skincare products, drinks and food as well as gummies, lozenges and traditional under-the-tongue drops. So, why all the hype? Fans claim it helps ease everything from chronic pain, to insomnia, anxiety, skin complaints and arthritis. ‘Overall, CBD is likely to give you improved feelings of general wellbeing,’ says GP Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of CBD oil producer Healthspan, ‘because it enhances the effects of the brain’s natural chemicals.’

CBD is particularly useful for reducing anxiety, and increasing relaxation and restful sleep; it also appears to reduce the perception of pain, and relieve general muscle aches and pains, she adds. In Britain alone, there are 1.3 million users, and experts predict that the market could be worth almost £1bn by 2025 – to put that in context, it’s on course to equal the current market for all herbal supplements. It all sounds promising – but does the science back up the anecdotal evidence?

What is CBD?

CBD is one of 104 chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis. Unlike cannabis oil, which often contains high levels of THC, CBD contains less than 0.2% of THC. Research suggests that the compound works by interacting with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system – and it’s this system that helps regulate bodily processes like mood, appetite, pain, blood pressure and immunity.

Medical-grade CBD and other cannabis medications are prescription- only and currently licensed solely for patients with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Promising new studies suggest CBD could also play a role in reducing pain in conditions like arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, cancer and back pain. But it’s the anti- inflammatory compounds in CBD that are particularly interesting, says GP Dr Julie Moltke, an expert in cannabinoid science. ‘Chronic inflammation is thought to be at the root of many modern lifestyle diseases including type two diabetes, heart disease, depression and some cancers. Large scale human trials are needed, but CBD could become important in preventing and treating these conditions, as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.’

As for the effectiveness of over-the- counter CBD – well, the scientific jury is still out on its benefits. Professor Gino Martini, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Chief Scientist, points out that high-street CBD is very low strength. ‘To be medically effective,’ he adds, ‘the cannabidiol shown in clinical trials is given at much higher concentrations.’ One format that does show promise is high street CBD in the form of massage oils, balms and other skincare. ‘The skin has lots of endocannabinoid receptors so it follows that topical forms could be useful for things like joint pain and even inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and acne,’ says Dr Moltke.

Is it safe?

In February this year, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommended that CBD should be limited to 70mg a day, and that it should be avoided completely by anyone pregnant, breast-feeding or taking medications. It’s worth checking with your GP before you use CBD if you have an existing health condition. And when it comes to choosing a product, remember that the CBD industry is currently unregulated; do your research before you buy. While it’s true that high street CBD is low-dose, that doesn’t mean you won’t feel the benefits, says Dr Moltke, pointing out that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different. ‘If someone feels a positive effect on their wellbeing and wants to invest in CBD, it’s not going to harm them,’ she adds.

Could it work for you?

Why not try one of these low-dose products and see if they have an effect on your general wellbeing?

● Skin issues? Love Hemp’s CBD Cellulose Fibre Facemask, £9.99 ( is a sheet mask infused with hemp oil.

● To relax before bed, Sanctuary Spa Calming CBD oil, £12 ( is a multi-tasking bath and shower oil that helps you destress.

● Sore muscles? Vitality CBD Muscle Balm is made with a mixture of eucalyptus and lavender oils to soothe aches and pains, £29.99 (

● For an on-the-go product, try Love Hemp’s CBD Water, £2 ( – spring water infused with CBD droplets.

What to look for in CBD oil


Choose a CBD oil free from pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers


Products should come with a lab analysis certificate showing the amount of CBD in the product. If there is more than 0.2% THC in the product, then it is illegal in the UK.


Contains a wide spectrum of cannabinoids, making it potentially more effective at pain relief.


Read reviews and check the reputation of the brand, and only opt for a product that lists its ingredients on the bottle.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy

Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
viewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days


Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends


DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months


These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.


Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
gadsTest Until the browsing session ends
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year


These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.


Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year


These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months


Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years