CBD has undoubtedly been one of the biggest wellness buzzwords of 2019. Hailed as a wonder ingredient, the non-psychoactive cannabis-derived oil is popping up everywhere from lattes to hummus to fitness classes. And it seems us Brits are hooked: each year, an estimated £300m is spent on CBD products across the country.
But what actually is it? Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is made from the stalk, stems, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain therapeutic cannabinoids. Crucially, it doesn’t contain THC – the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana – meaning it’s completely legal in the UK.
‘CBD is one of the 144 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant,’ says Dr Julie Moltke, Founder of Dosage and Medical Advisor to The Drug Store, London’s new CBD retailer. ‘It is non-intoxicating and works by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid was discovered in 1991 and is an important part of our nervous system, regulating many important functions from mood and memory to pain, fertility, immune function and sleep.’ As a result, cannabidiol is believed to help with everything from general pain to anxiety to insomnia, and it’s been widely adopted into many skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The past few years we’ve seen an influx of CBD products hitting the shelves, alongside an ever-increasing range of cannabidiol-infused food, drink and spa treatments. Curious? Here’s our guide on where to get your fix in the capital…
Where To Buy CBD
The Drug Store
A specialised CBD store which previously stood as an exhibition space for Damien Hirst, The Drug Store opened earlier this year in the heart of Marylebone. A chic and minimalist spot, this forward-thinking part shop, part gallery aims to shake off the stigma attached to the ingredient with science-backed information and light-filled spaces. Here you can buy ingestible oils, creams and aromatherapy-style roll-ons – all categorised by potential benefits – and enjoy CBD spa services in the two on-site treatment rooms.
‘We look at CBD as an active ingredient that can be included in a variety of products for numerous purposes,’ says co-founder Johan Obel. ‘The most common product is a tincture/oil. People use the oil by placing it under the tongue and letting it absorb for 60 to 90 seconds. Capsules are essentially the same in a different form, gaining more popularity because they are convenient to take and also allow people to be more consistent with their dose.’ If you’re interested in learning more, The Drug Store recently announced the launch of their ‘Tackling Taboos’ talk series, where guest speakers will discuss important themes surrounding mainstream issues that have a stigma attached to them, inspired by the shop’s own challenges it faces to shift perception of CBD. thedrug.store
Food & Drink
Camilla Fayed’s Notting Hill hotspot Farmacy always has its finger on the pulse when it comes to wellness trends, so it’s no surprise they’ve tapped into the CBD market. Their ultra-healthy take on the classic afternoon tea includes a CBD-infused cocktail, homemade CBD chocolates and a pot of hemp leaf tea. You can also enjoy cannabidiol-infused cocktails while enjoying a plant-based dinner, including ‘There’s Something About Mary’: organic wildcrafted vanilla infused vodka, housemade hemp and bayleaf syrup, chilli sauce, mango puree and lime juice. farmacylondon.com
A one-stop-shop for wellness, Glow Bar is based around holistic stress management – so CBD fits in perfectly with their ethos. At their Instagram-friendly pastel pink café guests can enjoy CBD croissants, and there’s an option to add a ‘High Vibe Spike’ to your drink. glowbarldn.com
Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals
A millennial dreamland bedecked with flora and fauna, Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals describes itself as a ‘cocktail bar for the adventurous’ – which is certainly true of their CBD-infused cocktail, The Botanist’s High. Arriving in a flurry of smoke, it’s mixed with CBD Oil washed Alipus San Juan mezcal, Chartreuse green herbal liqueur, Acqua di Cedro liqueur, lime, sugar and fresh tarragon. mrfoggs.com
Famed for its Rose Lattes and pretty-as-a-picture acai bowls, Farm Girl now has branches in Chelsea, Soho and Knightsbridge, alongside the original in Notting Hill. Their strong CBD offering includes The DL: a smoothie featuring CBD oil, chamomile, Amazonian acai, oat milk, vanilla, blueberries and coconut yoghurt; alongside the CBD Julep, mixed with peppermint syrup CBD oil, ginger and lemon kombucha, and woodford reserve. If neither of these take your fancy, you can add CBD oil into any drink for an extra boost of goodness. thefarmgirl.co.uk
Nestled down an unassuming street in the heart of Notting Hill you’ll find Cloud Twelve, a recently opened wellbeing wonderland and family-friendly members club. There are three floors, comprising of a spa, salon, nutritionally-focused brasserie and holistic wellness clinic – where they’ve recently launched a CBD Oil Massage. Combining deep tissue, stretching and aromatherapy massage techniques, it’s designed to help ease aches and pains while balancing body and mind. £165 for 1 hour. cloudtwelve.co.uk
Gymbox’ Cannabliss adds a new meaning to happy endorphins. ‘The Cannabliss class incorporates exercises and mobility movements akin to a yin yoga class, as well as drawing on the growing trend of using CBD oils to relieve everyday stress and anxiety,’ says Hannah Curtis Nunn, Group Fitness Manager at Gymbox. ‘Members are provided with a CBD patch to apply to their arms which delivers the natural, potent oil osmotic-ally into the body, providing anti-inflammatory relief to the wearer. This combined with the stretches and mobility exercises helps to relieve those niggly aches and pains that most desk workers experience.’ gymbox.com
Blush + Blow
Stylish Fulham salon Blush + Blow offers a one-hour long CBD Detox Facial, including a 20-minute detoxing lymphatic drain facial massage using Kannaway CBD Oil. £100, blushandblowlondon.com
Notting Hill’s hippest beauty destination Young LDN has been designed specifically with Gen Z and millennials in mind. Each nail booth has noise-cancelling Beats headphones and iPads so you can catch up on the latest Netflix series while getting your mani-pedi – the dream. Naturally, they offer CBD facials too, which begin with a CBD coffee to get you in the zone followed by a 45-minute session designed to calm congested skin and lessen visible signs of ageing. £75, youngldn.com
The Harley Street Clinic
Popular among celebrity clientele, The Harley Street Clinic offers a CBD facial designed to leave the complexion looking dewy and botanically enhanced. It’s geared towards people with congested skin in need of a rehydration boost, with a relaxing facial mask and herb-infused massage aimed at releasing toxins. £120, harleystreetskinclinic.com