What is cannabis oil, what's CBD used for, is it legal in the UK and when will it be available on prescription?

The legal low-concentrate CBD oil is said to be beneficial for treating a number of complaints as well as promoting sleep, boosting appetite and reducing stress, depression and anxiety.

What is cannabis oil and is it legal in the UK?

CBD cannabis oil is a substance extracted from the cannabis plant by steam distillation.

Cannabis oil is usually consumed orally, and has a very distinct taste.

This low-concentrate version of the oil is available to buy in the UK and is not illegal.

Products are required to contain less than 0.05% THC.

THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component in cannabis that makes users feel "high".

There have been high profile calls for higher concentration oil to be made legal.

The family of epilepsy sufferer Billy Caldwell, 12, were granted an exemption by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to take concentrated CBD cannabis oil after insisting it was a lifeline.

And Alfie Dingley's parents say the six-year-old should be allowed the same treatment after describing its impact on his seizures as "nothing short of a miracle".

What is cannabis oil used for?

Cannabis oil can be beneficial in a variety of ways, from helping promote sleep to boosting appetite and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

It is also said to have skincare benefits, such as preventing signs of ageing and protecting against eczema and psoriasis, so can also be applied to the surface of the skin.

Though research is limited, there is evidence to support the idea that medical marijuana, which contains small amounts of the illegal compound THC, can alleviate some of the side-effects of cancer treatment including nausea during chemotherapy.

And while it is different, some accounts from users have claimed to find similar benefits from using cannabis oil, though this has never been scientifically backed by doctors, so is not advised as an alternative to other treatments.

One type of oil or Cannabidol is CBD which has been promoted as a possible treatment method for those living with addiction or anxiety.

However CBD products – while legal – have not been approved for use in the US and there are possible side effects including irritability and nausea.

When will it be available on prescription?

Doctors in England, Wales and Scotland will be able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicine from November 1, 2018.

Business secretary Sajid Javid announced the measure after a number of high-profile cases where children were denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures."

Mr Javid stressed that the 2018 regulations would "continue to prohibit the smoking of cannabis, including of cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans."

Home Office officials are still in talks with Northern Ireland's Department of Health over the changes.

Earlier this year Holland and Barrett recently started stocking Dutch brand Jacob Hooy's CBD (cannabidiol) oil.

They advise on their packaging: "CBD+ Oil has a 'distinctive' taste – have a small drink of water after taking the oil and the taste will be gone within 30 seconds."

Hemp-infused water is being sold online by Ocado, with prices ranging from £1.29 to £11.99.

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