CBD 101 - Learn All You Need To Know

Is CBD Oil Vegan?

From once being a fringe movement, in recent years, veganism has taken the UK by storm. According to an Ipsos poll commissioned by The Vegan Society, there were over  600,000 vegans in 2019 — a fourfold increase from 150,000 in 2014. Vegan products have also increased in popularity over the years. A report by ProVeg International also shows the UK’s purchase and consumption rates of vegan milk, meat substitutes, butter, cheese and other types of food are the highest in Europe. Interest in vegan products has also spilt over into other products, particularly those in the health and wellness sector. For instance, pure CBD oil and hemp-based products are getting more attention because of their obvious overlap with vegan principles.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the 144 naturally-occurring compounds in cannabis known as cannabinoids. Another example of a cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for cannabis’s intoxicating effect. However, CBD offers multiple potential benefits but without THC’s euphoric properties.

What Is Veganism and How Does It Cross over with CBD?

The Vegan Society defines veganism as a “philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” In other words, being a vegan means avoiding all food derived from animals — that includes meat, eggs and dairy products like milk, cheese and butter. In nearly all cases, it’s possible to find a substitute for any meat-based product. But because some plant-based food items lack some of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in meat, it can be a good idea to turn to supplements and additional food items to enhance your diet.

This is where CBD comes in. As a chemical compound derived from hemp, CBD-based products like oils, topicals and edibles meet the criteria of a vegan product. And from a nutritional perspective, CBD offers many benefits for vegan diets. For starters, nutritionists refer to hemp as a “complete protein” — this means it has all nine essential amino acids for building and repairing the body’s protein. Hemp is also packed with B vitamins for more improved energy levels and cognitive function.

The only time a CBD product would not be vegan is if it’s combined with animal-based ingredients. For example, CBD chocolates would automatically not be vegan as they typically contain milk and butter. For the most part, however, pure CBD oil will be vegan-friendly.

Is CBD Safe and Legal?

Despite its association with cannabis, CBD is perfectly legal to sell for human consumption in the UK. According to Regulation 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, CBD and other similar substances are exempt from the Misuse of Drugs Act if they meet three conditions: 

  1. The product is not designed to administer a controlled drug (in this case, THC).
  2. The controlled drug in the product cannot be readily isolated and recovered in quantities that represent a health risk.
  3. The product does not contain more than one milligram of the controlled drug per component part.

CBD is also generally considered to be safe by scientists and medical experts. According to the World Health Organization, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.” While you don’t necessarily have to be a vegan to appreciate CBD, it still helps to know the full list of benefits you get from using it. Whatever your reasons for using CBD might be, you’re getting a product that’s both socially responsible and good for your overall wellness.