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Fact Checking the Daily Mail's article: CBD oil – or snake oil?

How to choose a high-quality CBD supplement – and what you should avoid.

An article review by: Honest Cef's Canna - Fact Checking Service, a fictional arm of The Hemp Hound Agency.

Don't you just love it when you post something on Social Media, only for some 'Fact Checker' who is normally tied to an organisation with direct financial links to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to poo-poo you with “this post is missing context”, or “Others have shared similar posts, and they're all untrue”?

I've had the pleasure of this myself, and regardless of how 'wtf' you get, that's magnified exponentially when you realise you can't question those who have suggested you're posts are 'misleading'.

Well, I thought I'd get my own back, and where BEST to start than a publication that has been prolific in it's anti-cannabis stance, The Daily Mail.

Established 1896, but hated cannabis like forever!

Now some of you might be thinking “Cef, didn't they run that article about cannabis and it's potential to help women get a better orgasm?”, well yes, they did run that story, that and a few others as it goes that do look at cannabis in a positive light. However, they're obviously the ones that got past Peter Hitchens, and they did recently run that story about a man in Thailand who chopped his privates off after a psychotic episode induced by smoking 2 grams of hash in a bong, which is a bunkum story by the way!

So with all that in mind, allow me to introduce you to: Honest Cef's Canna-Fact Checking Service.

“Also known as Cannabidiol, CBD oil is an active ingredient found in hemp, a strain of the Cannabis sativa L. plant”

This is as wrong as gherkins are in a burger! Hemp is not a “strain of Cannabis”, it is a name given to Cannabis that expresses less than 0.2% THC D9 in the UK, 0.3% in the US and EU, and 1% in Switzerland. There are many strains of Hemp, just as there are many strains of 'full fat' cannabis, with over 50 listed on the EU Approved Strain List alone.

Cannabis sativa L. is also specified, however due to cross breeding, it's being argued that most strains out there are in fact hybrids, and could contain genetic traces of Ruderalis and Indica, as well as Sativa L.

Unfortunately, Australian Bastard Cannabis has yet to be re-integrated into the family tree...

“Unlike its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the 'high' from marijuana, CBD has no psychoactive effects.”

All foods have a potential to cause some sort of psychoactive effect, so again this is factually wrong. Chocolate, poppy seeds, nutmeg, chilli peppers, black pepper, ginger, and so much more are recognised as having a noticeable effect on someone. 2 tablespoons of nutmeg can in fact make you hallucinate, and a drugs test will come back positive for opioid use if you eat a poppy-seed bun before one. I even know someone who can trip out from eating Stilton, but that's more some kind of kick back from being lactose intolerant and addicted to cheese. I wonder why they don't report on these things?

The good news is that CBD, even if taken in large amounts, won't cause your hand to trace, it won't cause you to have a 3 hour long conversation with yourself in a mirror about something you ordinarily have no interest in, and it certainly won't make you see colours on an old black and white TV whilst playing R-Type on a Sega Megadrive, the best you're going to get is a relaxed feeling.

The Daily Mail is equally misleading by referring to THC as the one that gets you high, there are in fact many THC precursors and isomers, including: Delta 8, Delta 9 (Full fat), Delta 10, THCa, THCv, and a shedload more past there. Not all of them produce a 'high' that is as pronounced or comparable to Delta 9, and some are even good for energy and focus (THCv).

By referring solely to THC, they are muddying the waters and misrepresenting the plant, like all 'good' reporters do.

“But the arrival of CBD has brought confusion along with all the hope and expectation”

I believe this is out of context, and the only confusion that came about was from the press when it became apparent that a plant that they, as a whole, had actively vilified and dismissed as being a drug with no medicinal value, was actually proven to have medicinal value.

All reporters be like...

I mean, where do you go from there? Oh yeah, chopping your bits off after going loopy from a hash bong!

This 'Press Confusion', it isn't a new thing by the way. That "cannabis use can help lead to better orgasms" for example, the Daily Mail have been running that story since 2014, and have been re-releasing it pretty much on a yearly basis.

The Daily Mail aren't the only ones either, most of the press run the same stories, and most are misleading. That gentleman from Thailand who now identifies as being wangless for example, EVERYONE ran it, and by everyone I mean all the mainstream press right down to the 'not so mainstream' press.

You might think I'm getting confused between an article focusing on THC rather than a CBD food supplemental products, but remember according to the Daily Mail, Hemp is a strain of Cannabis!

“In a dizzying market of CBD products and promises – from gummies to drops, creams and drinks – deciding which one to trust feels like a lucky dip”

Bravo, nice play on words, but then does it not also bring us back to the wider problem about the misinformation given out in regards to cannabis, cannabinoids, and the plant as a whole?

That's by the by, the CBD market isn't 'dizzying', and if you're stuck for products from reputable suppliers and manufacturers, feel free to browse through The Hemp Hound Directory... You're welcome 😊

“Around 45% of respondents to a YouGov poll about CBD products in the UK said they were not confident that they are labelled correctly or properly tested”

87.2% of all statistics are made up there on the spot... Vic Reeves.

The poll referred to is from 2020, was full of loaded questions, and shows an attempt of sensationalism based on out of date information. Since that time, the CBD industry has grown, and it's currently going through what is known a Novel Foods, where one of many key requirements is appropriate labelling. On that basis, that ship has sailed.

As for 'properly tested', this was a three way problem: some labs were naff, some companies offer lab reports that aren't truly 3rd party, and the Government are requesting unreasonable testing levels that requires specific processes which some labs don't, or can't yet follow. That being said, that ship has also sailed, as the government have already started indicated their requirements for Labs that test CBD products.

Some people don't realise that the CBD industry was barely out of nappies in 2020, and those who started in 2016 when the Government effectively recognised the industry are viewed as old timers. There have been teething issues, but it's hard to make headway when you're dealing with a plant that the government doesn't want you to touch. This is why we've had various clamp downs by multiple government agencies (VMD, FSA, MHRA, HO), and those that have had no choice but to accept the CBD industry have done so by dragging their feet when it comes to releasing appropriate guidance.

Labels were never an 'industry' issue, they were a 'this company has not sorted their labels out' issue. Labs, for the best part, just needed direction, which they are getting, so both of those points are incorrect.

“In a shocking social media scam, one CBD company pushed unsupported claims of ‘miracle’ health benefits, even using fake celebrity endorsements to sell their products”

These scams are about, however casting light to a company's questionable behaviour to draw suspicion on otherwise compliant companies is in my eyes inappropriate.

For example, if I were to view all newspapers as the same as The Sun after their involvement in the Hillsborough Disaster, I wouldn't pay the slightest attention to any mainstream tabloid... unless they were misrepresenting the good 'erb, of course.

The point is, you should always check what you are buying, and who you're buying it from. Scams and misinformation exist in every marketplace, so always exercise due diligence!

“'There are no legally approved health claims in the UK for CBD, so if you see a company claiming health benefits for their CBD product, that's an immediate red flag”

This statement is on the ball, no-one should be making any health claims on any untested products. That's not because CBD product 'don't work' per se, but it's to do with the complexity and requirements of an individuals Endo-Cannabinoid System (ECS).

But there is a problem with how people are educated about cannabis. People aren't blind, they see their mates arthritis (or whatever) relieved thanks to a compound that comes from a supposedly illegal plant, they can find videos on YouTube that explain the ECS, and they don't need to be a rocket scientist beyond that point to realise that perhaps cannabis is not quite the bad plant we are told it is.

This then leaves the CBD world in a merry dance with the consumer: the industry can't say anything to the consumer, and the vast majority of consumers know that, but most are looking for relief from medical conditions and the side effects of single molecule medications... from food supplemental products.

As for there being no legally approved health claims in the UK (despite the plant itself being used medicinally from earlier than 3,000 BCE), there's a few potential reasons for that, with GW Pharmaceuticals giving 48 patents alone... sorry, I mean reasons.

ixnay on the patent list

“CBD providers are strictly regulated about what can be claimed – and that's as it should be, until the benefits are scientifically confirmed”

I wonder if anyone has told that bloke in Thailand that CBD might help his bits grow back...

If medical benefits were accepted for CBD food supplemental products, they would cease to be defined as food supplemental products. But then this is where another problem resides, you can't say anything about food supplements that suggests they have curative properties.

So what exactly is a 'food supplement'?

The European Food Standards Agency describes them as "concentrated sources of nutrients (i.e. mineral and vitamins) or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect that are marketed in “dose” form".

Allow me to drop one of them there hypothetical thingies on you: when is a food, a medicine? Think about this - there's many ailments, conditions and diseases that arise from not eating a food that's rich in whatever vitamin or mineral dependent on the individuals needs. Having a certain food or food supplement gives their body the means to fight whatever it needs to fight, so does that make that food or food supplement a medicine?

The fact that there's a distinction between preventative, and curative medicines, is what clouds this issue.

As for the suggested lack of data on CBD, the article continues with “Scientific interest in the efficacy of CBD has skyrocketed, with more than 3,000 research papers published in just the last three years”

Say what, now?

Maybe the source is confused, or the Daily Mail reporter has misread their shorthand. Surely 3000 research papers in 3 years would have produced enough scientific evidence to show that CBD is more than something you can make a food supplement with.

If memory serves, there was enough evidence in 2020 for the EU Courts of Justice to rule that hemp and CBD extracts were essential for health and well-being. Even the WHO had enough evidence to draw up their suggestions for the reclassification of cannabis in 2018, and that was discussed by the 63rd UN - CND just a few weeks after the EU courts made their ruling.

I personally think that there's more than enough evidence to show that CBD can give you a glossy coat and a shiny nose, but I suppose someone has to make their money before that can be publicly acknowledged.

“Some supporters believe using CBD oil may affect health and wellbeing, but scientific confirmation is still ongoing as many of the claims are based on animal studies”.

Nooooo way, de ja vu! Health and wellbeing, anyone?

As for animal studies, they tend to be the type that submit a rat to a quarter of its body weight in CBD isolate, and they dismiss the fact that there's been ongoing animal trials since people have been consuming Cold Press Hemp oil – not to be confused with Hempseed oil – which has been chowed down on for centuries, and is packed full of cannabinoids.

Now you might say "Cef, CBD oil and hemp oil are different!", that depends on your way of thinking.

They are one and the same, not brand to brand, but cannabis oil always had cannabinoids in, so all of this BS about them being 'different' is without a doubt an exercise in how to make someone's pockets fatter.

Let's flip back to that rat though, as from my understanding, you've got to give this isolate to them in a certain way. You can't just slap a bowl of powder in a cage, and hope that 'Roland' is going to chomp on down. Some of these rats get fed a full English breakfasts that's laced with the drug that's being tested, and most certainly wouldn't have been fed any old crap, but all will ultimately get chopped up for their body parts can be scrutinised.

Since these tests have been conducted, there's a suggestion that there is the potential for an adverse effect on the Liver through continued ingestion of CBD products. I'd say this: anything that ate a quarter of its body weight of anything is going to have consequences to deal with, so what's the point of animal testing requirements if the test animal is put through an ordeal that no human in their right mind would try and do, and how does that 'test' provide data that can be used to determine whether or not CBD does have an effect on health and wellbeing in humans?

Past there this 'article' turns into a Sales Piece for a company I've not really had any dealings with, so the last point I will touch on is this.

“This also reduces the amount of THC to below the detectable limit, far below the UK legal limit of less than 0.2%”

Oh no it isn't, it's the legal limit for farmers and hemp focused products, for food supplements it's 1gm per container, and that could change very soon as well.

So there you have it, classic twaddle from the Daily Mail, but what's the point of it all? Who knows, but it shows that it's rare, if at all, that those who should be educating the masses provide accurate information on the topics that they cover.

Cannabis is the worst topic of all when it comes to the level of misinformation that is put out about it, with the Daily Mail being one of the main offenders. Honest Cef's Fact Checker Service gives this article a Bunkum Rating of 9 out of 10.

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