Cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant non-intoxicating compound in marijuana, has been legal in the UK since 2016 and the market has grown rapidly ever since. The legal THC limit in CBD products is 0.2%, and most companies are taking no chances, ensuring to extract CBD from hemp rather than marijuana. The number of CBD users […]
Cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant non-intoxicating compound in marijuana, has been legal in the UK since 2016 and the market has grown rapidly ever since. The legal THC limit in CBD products is 0.2%, and most companies are taking no chances, ensuring to extract CBD from hemp rather than marijuana.
The number of CBD users in Britain doubled from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018 and is likely to hit the one million mark sooner rather than later. In early 2018, Holland & Barrett became the first High Street brand to sell CBD in its stores. Other notable brands have followed suit, including the well-known pharmacy chain Boots.
Why is Boots Stocking CBD?
Boots is one of the largest retailers in the United Kingdom with almost 58,000 employees and over 2,500 stores. It is hardly a surprise that such a huge brand has finally decided to hop on board the CBD bandwagon now that it is apparent how successful the cannabinoid is going to become.
However, the main reason why Boots is selling CBD is probably down to the actions of Walgreens which purchased a 45% stake in Alliance Boots back in 2012. The American giant had the option to buy the rest within three years and did so in 2014. As a consequence, Boots became a subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
In March 2019, Walgreens announced plans to rollout marijuana-based creams, sprays, and patches at approximately 1,500 of its stores in the United States. The news came within weeks of Walgreens’ rival, CVS, introducing cannabidiol products in its stores. As Walgreens owns Boots in the UK, and CBD is legal there, it was a no-brainer to introduce the non-intoxicating substance to a British audience.
What Brands Are Boots Selling?
Given the expected growth of the market, it seems strange that Boots has elected to be cautious. At the time of writing, it only sells one brand, Dragonfly CBD. This brand was founded by three friends in 2016, and it grows the cannabis sativa it uses for its products in Bulgaria. Here is a quick overview of Dragonfly’s entire process:
- All Cannabis Sativa L. plants are grown for five months before they are ready for harvest.
- The crop gets transported to the company’s processing facility, and the CBD-laden flowers are separated from the stems, leaves, and seeds. Dragonfly claims to process between 55 and 220 pounds of plant material each day.
- The flowers are soaked in ethanol to ensure full-spectrum CBD is extracted. As well as offering CBD, the extracted material contains various other cannabinoids, along with terpenes and flavonoids.
- Next, advanced chromatography and fractional distillation techniques are used to refine the oil further.
- Finally, Dragonfly formulates its CBD extract with organic hemp seed oil and bottles it back at its GMP facility.
Although Dragonfly has a wide range of products, Boots only stocks its CBD oil in three different strengths at present:
- 300mg (3.3%): £24.99
- 500mg (5.6%): £39.99
- 1000mg (11.1%): £69.99
Dragonfly provides detailed lab reports of each batch of products. As you can see from batch 0218, which relates to the 300mg CBD oil option, the oil actually contains 3.14% CBD along with 2.46% of CBG and 0.11% of CBL.
There are 200 drops in each bottle, and you are advised to use the dropper to place a few drops beneath your tongue, hold it for up to 120 seconds, and then swallow. If you buy the 1000mg bottle, for example, there is 5mg of CBD in every drop. Boots markets the CBD oil as a ‘food supplement’ and explains that it is free from THC, is suitable for vegetarians, is gluten free and non-GMO.
Boots says that you should begin by using three drops of the 1000mg oil to see how it affects you before you decide to increase the dose. The brand also warns consumers not to use more than 200mg of CBD per day. Finally, you must be aged 18+ to purchase any of Boots’ CBD range. Incidentally, CBD products appear to be eligible for Boots’ ‘3 for 2’ offer on selected supplements.
Although Boots doesn’t sell any other CBD tinctures, it does sell a special CBD oil designed for your hair and skin. Eco Style CBD oil costs £14.99 and contains ingredients such as Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Benzyl benzoate, and Lilial. There is also Leave-in Conditioner and Texturizing Salt Spray from Eco Style. Please note that these particular CBD products are NOT for oral consumption!
Follow the instructions on the products and use a small amount at first. If you buy the Eco Style CBD oil, for example, massage it into your hair or spread it over your body. The total CBD content is 25ppm.
What Next for CBD Oil in the UK?
There seems little doubt that the CBD market in the UK will go from strength to strength now that its legality is assured. One of the big issues surrounding the market is a lack of regulation. If nothing else, the fact that major brands such as Boots and Holland & Barrett are now selling cannabidiol means the cannabinoid should enjoy a more favorable reputation.
For now, Boots has made no indication that it intends to increase its CBD range, nor has it announced plans to create its own cannabidiol products. For the time being, Dragonfly CBD oil is the only CBD product (for oral use) for sale at Boots. While it is a good thing that a major pharmacy chain has become involved in the CBD market, we wish it had shown real faith by selling products from several brands.
The 1000mg CBD option is reasonable value at £69.99. This is certainly the case if you decide to benefit from the 3 for 2 offer because paying less than £50 for 1000mg of CBD is a very good deal. As the market grows and competition becomes more fierce, we fully expect Boots to add a few more brands to its stable. If it doesn’t, it risks allowing its competitors to steal a march in what is sure to become a new battleground for large UK health supplement brands.