The popularity of CBD oils, drinks, tinctures and creams continues to rise – probably because CBD is said to deliver all the things we crave right now: calmness, improved sleep, focus and peace.
As we see more spas add CBD treatments and drinks to their menu, we decided to ask Helen Cain, Head of Spa at the luxurious and highly respected CBD brand OTO to give us their expert lowdown on the ingredient everyone is talking about ...
Q: First obvious question – what is CBD and is it safe?
“Approved by the World Health Organisation, CBD stands for Cannabidiol and is a completely natural, safe compound derived from the cannabis plant,” says Cain. “Unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is a different natural compound found in plants of the Cannabis genus, CBD has no psychoactive or intoxicating properties, meaning you will not get ‘high’ from using it.
“CBD (Cannabidiol) is a molecule found in hemp plants that matches one naturally produced by our own bodies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps keep the body in balance - or, to use the technical term, homeostasis. It helps regulate sleep, mood and pain amongst other things; by communicating to neurone transmitters, cells and hormones to regulate back to their happy equilibrium.”
Q: Why do you think CBD is so popular now?
“People are looking for products that will enable them to be treated as a “whole”. If you can sleep more effectively and achieve balance in your body at the same time, that fits nicely with the trend of streamlining the number of products used. With the ongoing effects of the pandemic and people anxious about returning to work and normality, and the lack of sleep for some, CBD has been catapulted to the forefront.”
Q: We heard CBD is good for anxiety and low mood – how does that work?
“As CBD is absorbed by our skin, it makes its way to our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and stimulates it,” Cain explains. “The ECS is a remarkable network of compounds and receptors that has been described as ‘a central component of the health and healing of every human and almost every animal’. This vast grid has the capacity to influence functions in the brain including memory, mood, pain response, appetite, perception, cognition, sleep, emotions, motor function and anti-inflammatory function, as well as brain development and protection.
“Here are some of the actions we know CBD carries out, based on pre-clinical and clinical trials:
It boosts the level of anandamide in the brain, which is one reason why CBD has proven to be so effective at helping to manage seizures.
CBD is able to provide anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects.
CBD is known to have formidable antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. It has been reported to be a more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C and E.
CBD binds to several non- cannabinoid receptors in the brain making it indirectly therapeutic.
By directly stimulating the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, CBD can impact anxiety, appetite, sleep, perception of pain, mood and nausea to name but a few.”
Q: Tell us about OTO’s skincare range – how does it help our skin and what kind of skin does it suit?
“OTO was founded by husband-and-wife team designer Gemma and James Colao, who set up California’s first legal online CBD dispensary. When they had their first child, they moved to the UK, and were disappointed by the low quality of CBD products available. Together with a group of renowned scientists, entrepreneurs and anthropologists – who also happened to be their friends – they created OTO. After months of research, OTO’s team concluded that 40-60mg of CBD per day represents the optimal amount needed to deliver an effective dose - we call this OTOStrengthTM.
“For skincare, CBD is a powerful antioxidant, anti-sebum, conditioner and protectant. Combined with our high-quality essential oils, vitamin c, e, antioxidant rich compounds and more, we have created the ultimate skin repairing and protecting skincare.
“The anti-oxidant rich Ritual skincare range helps protect your skin from morning to evening. The ultra-repairing Balance range helps repair your skin as you sleep. The products are entirely vegan, cruelty- and nut-free.”
Q: What products would you recommend if you were feeling tired, foggy headed and sluggish?
“Focus is designed to clarify, fortify and energise, will revive your senses to bring you back into the present. The warming scent of ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can be soothing on digestive upset. Along with its grounding properties, black pepper helps to boost the body`s natural defences and ease aching muscles. Frankincense can help calm a busy mind, reducing the feelings of anxiety and improve your concentration levels.”
Q: How can we introduce CBD into our sleep routine – and how will it help?
“The OTO Sleep Drops (15ml, £69) deliver 50mg of CBD per dose and last for 30 days and they are our best-selling product. They fit into your evening routine of brushing your teeth and then taking your sleep drops which can reduce insomnia and sleeplessness. It contains calming Lavender, Butterfly Pea Flower (a memory enhancer and anti-stress remedy) and antioxidant Field Mint.”