Whether you have chosen to forgo animal products for sustainability reasons, for a love of animals, for dietary needs, or for some other reason, it can sometimes be tough to determine if a specific product meets your requirements.
And that includes CBD oil. Some companies market their products specifically as vegan CBD, while others don’t make mention of it.
So does that mean CBD is vegan? Not vegan? What’s the deal?
What is CBD Oil?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a powerful, non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant.
CBD works by interacting with the Endocannabinoid System (ES) – one of the most important systems in the body when it comes to building and maintaining health. It’s a key player in keeping everything balanced.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in your body:
- CB1 receptors – found mostly in the brain and central nervous system (CNS)
- CB2 receptors – live throughout the rest of the body: the organs, the glands, and probably most important, the immune system
Your body produces endocannabinoids and these interact with the cannabinoid receptors throughout your body. You can increase the cannabinoids in your body with CBD oil.
Research suggests that almost every type of disease has to do with some sort of change with CB receptors.
CBD oil works by indirectly impacting the various receptors, causing some sort of change.
Vegan CBD: Yes or No?
Since CBD is extracted from a plant, the oil itself is 100% vegan. It contains no animal products whatsoever.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
CBD comes in many different forms – tinctures, capsules, lotions, gummies. Many CBD products are infused with different flavours or ingredients which may not fit the vegan CBD mold. So if you’re vegan, you need to pay attention to what else is in your CBD – or what your CBD is in.
Let’s take tinctures as an example.
Since CBD isn’t super bioavailable in the body, it needs to be mixed with a carrier oil to help your body absorb it. Now, most companies use plant-based oils (hemp oil, coconut oil, etc.) for this. And yes, those ones will still be vegan.
But, even when infused with a carrier oil, CBD does have an earthy taste to it. It’s not bad, it’s just interesting. To make it more palatable, some companies add flavorings – and these may not be vegan.
Then you have things like gummies or chocolate. Many CBD gummies are made with gelatin, which isn’t vegan-friendly. CBD chocolate often contains dairy, another non-vegan ingredient.
The same goes for lotions, creams, make-up, or other beauty products. Check that the ingredients are vegan-friendly, and of course that they’re not tested on animals!
When it comes to finding vegan CBD, remember: CBD itself is vegan, but the ingredients it’s mixed with may not be. A quick read of the label/website/COA will help you determine if it is for sure.