When looking to purchase CBD, the prestigious UK health retailers, Boots and Holland and Barrett are great places to start. People all over the world are hungry for products containing cannabidiol, short for CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant
Holland and Barrett CBD and Boots CBD | Honest Review
When looking to purchase CBD, the prestigious UK health retailers, Boots and Holland and Barrett are great places to start.
Boots has over 2,500 stores and is one of the UK’s most trusted brands. So, you can be reassured any CBD Oil in Boots has passed a rigorous litmus test, guaranteeing the CBD’s quality.
Natural remedy focused Holland and Barrett (H&B) is a big CBD fan. Founded in 1870, H&B now has a whopping 1,300 stores in 16 countries across Europe. Holland and Barrett places a lot emphasis on procuring a wide selection of CBD. Thus, it has a large offering, including CBD Oils, CBD Capsules and CBD Balms and Rubs.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 chemicals found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike its counterpart Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a ‘high’ and is used in a range of medicines.
CBD is a malleable compound that can easily be formulated into a range of different products. Many of these vary in quality and efficacy. The most useful methods of taking CBD remain CBD Oils (when held under the tongue) and CBD Skincare.
Both Boots and Holland and Barrett have a range of CBD products. However, this review will focus mainly on CBD Oils, which can be found in both Holland and Barrett and Boots. This is because they are the most bioavailable – biologically efficient – ways to take CBD.
Boots Joins The CBD World, But Should You Buy From There?
Boots is one of the biggest retailers of health and beauty products in the UK, being the go-to for everything from mouthwash to mascara. With approximately 2,500 stores UK-wide, the retail giant is now adding CBD to their collection and have even launched their own brand CBD muscle gel. But with stores like Holland Barrett coming under fire for selling misleading and unreliable CBD products, have Boots taken the necessary steps to bring their customers trusted products? Here we take a look into just that.
The CBD bandwagon
CBD blew up in the UK as word spread of its therapeutic potential for common ailments like stress, anxiety, skin issues and pain. Cannabis and cannabis-derived products had previously been banned for sale and consumption since the 1920s, but seemingly out of nowhere, specialist CBD stores started cropping up on the high street after it was removed from the controlled substances list in 2016. Over two years, the size of the UK CBD market grew from £100 million to £300 million, and the number of users jumped from thousands to millions. Word of mouth was the key reason CBD shot to fame, after all, most of us would rather take a recommendation from a trusted friend over a big shiny marketing campaign. Sales soared but the research was and still is slow at backing up the claims made by CBD users. This grey area coupled with not much being known about CBD, it wasn’t long before cowboy brands appeared on the market, selling snake oils made up of low to no CBD at premium prices. A study found that such mislabelled products on the shelves of the retailer giant Holland & Barrett.
What do we know about CBD so far?
Boots began by stocking one brand, Dragonfly CBD, back in 2019. Today, they stock 70 products from 13 different brands. But what is CBD and why is it so popular? CBD is a compound derived from cannabis plants. It is one of over 80 different phytocannabinoids that exist in cannabis, other well known cannabinoids include THC, CBG and CBN. While phytocannabinoids come from plants, endocannabinoids which were so-called due to their striking similarity to those found in cannabis, are created in the human body. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was discovered by scientists less than 30 years ago while researching the effect of cannabis on the body. This discovery was hailed as one of the most important physiological discoveries in our history as it helped us understand how the body regulates itself to stay balanced. ECS receptors can be found throughout the entire body; on organs, skin cells, immune cells and bones. This helps to understand why CBD has such a wide range of reported benefits, from psoriasis to pain and insomnia. So how does CBD interact via the ECS? A lot is still unknown but many important discoveries have been made. For example, one well-known endocannabinoid called anandamide was found to increase in the body after CBD use.
Anandamide is affectionately referred to as the ‘bliss molecule’, named after the Sanskrit word ananda meaning bliss or delight. As you may have guessed, we want lots of anandamide in the body because it brings us feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Anandamide also plays a role in memory consolidation, sleep, pain relief and appetite. Exercise, meditation and massage are also known to increase levels of anandamide in the body. The problem with this molecule is that it doesn’t stay in the body long, as it is quickly broken down by enzymes and reabsorbed. Scientists found that CBD can delay the reuptake of anandamide in the body, making those blissful feelings last longer. This is just one of the ways CBD can promote health and wellbeing. Research into all of the ways CBD interacts with the many ECS receptors located across the body is still underway, but ealy research is revealing that CBD could be effective for many chronic diseases. Moreover, studies have shown that CBD is safe and well-tolerated, with just a few minor side effects reported, such as nausea, changes in appetite and drowsiness.
What are Boots doing to ensure quality?
Building consumer trust
Boots is one of the largest and most trusted health and beauty chains in the United Kingdom, established around 170 years ago. It’s rare to see a high street in the UK that doesn’t feature a Boots store. Because of their reputation, adding CBD products to their collection may further help remove any stigma people may feel about cannabis-derived products. Boots have even launched their own-brand affordable CBD Muscle Gel.
Variety of products from well known brands
Today, they stock a vast range of products including CBD oil sprays, drops, topicals, capsules and gummies. The biggest collection is their range of CBD oil drops and sprays which currently stands at thirty-seven SKUs from nine different brands. The other collections are more limited with nine topicals including a Boots own-brand, six different capsules and just three varieties of gummies. Some of the well-known brands stocked by Boots include Dragonfly, Green Stem, Healthspan and Love Hemp. Bear in mind, these products are found online and may not be available in all Boots stores.
Lack of information
When it comes to their own brand CBD Muscle Gel, the packaging claims that it contains no THC but there isn’t any information on how much CBD it contains. This is pretty important information when buying a CBD product and will influence the price. Seeing as this product is a relatively affordable £16, it may indicate it’s low in CBD. When it comes to other products, the descriptions on their website are limited and only some brands outline what type of extract is used. If buying in store, due to the wide range of products on offer at Boots, it’s unlikely the staff will have received specific CBD training to be able to advise on what product is right for you, although we can’t say for sure.
No lab reports
Key to building trust in the CBD industry is verifying the cannabinoid content with lab reports, or Certificates of Analysis (COA). Lab reports at a minimum will list out the concentration of CBD and THC in the bottle. It’s there to show that the contents have been tested and verified by a lab, preferably a third-party. The Centre of Medical Cannabis conducted the first major third-party lab testing exercise in the UK. Shockingly, seven out of ten tested CBD products didn’t contain the CBD amount as advertised on the label. Almost half had more than the legal levels of THC and one product had no CBD content at all! This product of CBD-less CBD oil retailed for £90! The results highlight the importance of lab testing in the UK due to the lack of deliberate or non-deliberate inaccuracy of labelling.
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What to look for when buying a CBD product
How many mgs of CBD
A CBD product should always be labelled with how much cannabidiol (CBD) it contains, and this should be backed up by a lab report. A lab report shows the CBD product has been tested to verify that the amount of CBD in the product matches what’s on the label. Brands should make their lab reports open to the public. At Alphagreen, all of our brands are required to show a lab report if they contain CBD.
Are there any other cannabinoids
When it comes to CBD products, there are three main types of extract: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate. CBD isolate. CBD isolate is generally less expensive than broader-spectrum extracts and only contains pure CBD. Broader-spectrum extracts contain other cannabinoids like CBG, CBC and perhaps legal concentrations of THC. The addition of these cannabinoids and other hemp plant compounds like terpenes are believed to increase the potency of CBD’s effects, a phenomenon coined “the entourage effect”. Again, the cannabinoid profile should be supported by a lab report.
Are there any outrageous health claims
Any CBD brand that claims their product cures, heals or treats any disorders, steer clear! Although early research is promising, CBD has not been approved as a medical device. That means CBD companies can’t make claims related to specific disorders and diseases.
Is the price too good to be true?
A CBD product’s price tag should reflect a couple of things but mainly how much cannabidiol it contains. If you see a super strong CBD oil with a low price tag, then I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably hemp seed oil. And hemp seeds only contain trace levels of CBD. Another factor is the type of extract used. Generally, products made with CBD isolate will be more affordable than full- and broad-spectrum extracts. The reason CBD is expensive is because the processes involved in production are costly. At a minimum companies will need to source CBD from quality, non-contaminated hemp plants, invest in extraction processes which involve high-tech and expensive equipment, GMP standard facilities and testing. Responsible brands who produce top-quality CBD products will source the best organic hemp, invest in high quality extraction processes and obtain third-party lab reports.
Where is the hemp sourced?
Just like you might at the supermarket, if you’re serious about quality, it’s good to know whether the hemp used for your CBD oil is organic and maybe where it was sourced from. Hemp is a bioaccumulator which means it absorbs toxins from the air and the soil. This makes hemp great for improving the environment, it was even used to help clear up some of the contaminants from the Chernobyl disaster. But this quality is not so good when it comes to creating CBD products. One way to get around this is to cultivate hemp without the use of chemicals and pesticides, in other words, organically. Organic hemp limits the accumulation of pesticides and heavy metals in crops. In addition, some companies will even list the concentration of contaminants and heavy metals on their lab reports so you can double check the hemp used is contaminant free!
And last but not least, lab reports!
All responsible brands should have lab reports available to their customers to verify that they’re honest and transparent about what’s in their product.
Because of the confusion surrounding the CBD industry, some dishonest CBD brands are using this grey area to make a quick dollar with subpar CBD products. By stocking a good variety of well known brands, Boots is helping to build trust and remove stigma around CBD and hemp-derived products. Yet, to further increase trust, Boots should display lab reports for any CBD products to set the industry standard. Furthermore, if you’re new to CBD and have any questions about strength, dosage or type, the limited product descriptions on their website and lack of specialised training (virtual and in-person) may leave you struggling to find the product that’s right for you. You can purchase from the Boots online collection and from some larger physical retail stores. There’s a good selection of well known, affordable brands on offer at Boots, just check the details to ensure you’re buying a CBD product that’s right for you.
Verified by a Healthcare Professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.