Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the 100+ chemical compounds found in the cannabis Sativa plant. In recent years, it has surged in popularity as a natural remedy for a variety of common health issues.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This chemical is psychoactive, meaning you’ll get the feeling of being “high”. However, CBD is not psychoactive, so you don’t have to worry about getting “high” when using it.
Since it’s not psychoactive, CBD is an enticing option for those who want relief from pain, anxiety, and other symptoms without having the mind-altering effects often associated with cannabis or undesirable side effects associated with some of the pharmaceuticals.
CBD oil is found in a variety of products, including dietary supplements, drinks, food, bath soaks, and more. It is made by extracting CBD from the plant, usually using CO2, and then diluting it with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed, MCT, or coconut oil.
Every day, it seems like CBD gains more momentum in the health and wellness world, with a variety of scientific studies indicating that it may ease symptoms of anxiety and chronic pain. However, how can you be sure it’s right for you?
In this article, we’re going to explore 6 of the potential benefits of CBD. Of course, we’ll also explain some of the side effects/safety concerns associated with CBD because it’s only fair to look at both sides of the issue. Hopefully, this will help you understand more about the benefits associated with CBD.
Is CBD Legal?
At this time, CBD products derived from hemp – that is, products with 0.3% or less THC, are legal on the federal level. However, some states still have laws against them. You will need to check the laws in your state to be sure.
On the other hand, CBD products derived from cannabis are illegal on the federal level, but some states have legalized them. Again, you’ll want to check the laws in your state to know for sure.
Of course, if you plan to do any traveling, you’ll want to check the laws in those states as well. Also, it’s important to note that non-prescription CBD products are not regulated by the FDA and the labeling may be inaccurate.
6 Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Below, we’re going to explore 6 of the potential health benefits of CBD oil. While many of these do have scientific backing, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will have the same results.
CBD may offer pain relief
According to experts, cannabis has been used as a pain reliever as far back as 2900 BC. Recently, researchers have learned that certain components of the cannabis plant, including CBD, are what offer the pain-relieving effects.
Your body contains a system known as the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for the regulation of functions such as immune system response, sleep, pain, and appetite. Your body produces endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
Research indicates that CBD may reduce chronic pain by interrupting activity of endocannabinoid receptors, interacting with endocannabinoids, and reducing inflammation. In addition, there is some research suggesting that CBD can effectively relieve some types of pain, including back pain and nerve pain when used alone. However, research indicates that it is most effective when combined with THC.
There are several human studies indicating that a combination of CBD and THC effectively relieved pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS). Several countries have approved an oral spray called Sativex, which is a 1:1 combo of THC:CBD to treat MS pain.
One study involved 47 patients with MS who were given Sativex for 1 month. These individuals had decreased muscle spasms and pain, and an increase in walking ability. However, this study did not include a control group, so it’s impossible to rule out placebo effects.
One review indicated that Sativex may be beneficial for patients who have MS-related neuropathic pain or chronic severe neuropathic pain. This review also indicated that Sativex may relieve anxiety and stress, which are causes of chronic pain.
Additionally, there is some indication that CBD may relieve the symptoms of rheumatic conditions, including fibromyalgia.
One study included survey data from 2,701 individuals with fibromyalgia. It was indicated that those who use CBD for pain relief reported an improvement in their overall symptoms.
According to rodent studies, CBD may relieve pain and inflammation related to arthritis, but at this time, human studies are lacking. At this time, researchers are cautiously optimistic that CBD (especially combined with THC) may help treat some types of pain; more quality human studies are required to determine how effective it is with pain management.
CBD may relieve symptoms associated to some mental health conditions
Mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, may have detrimental effects on your overall health and well-being. Most mental health conditions are treated with pharmaceuticals, which usually bring a plethora of negative side effects including agitation, headaches, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, and insomnia.
Additionally, medications such as benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed, have a high risk of dependence and could lead to a substance abuse disorder- which can make the mental health condition even worse.
Research indicates that CBD can be an effective treatment for some mental health conditions, such as anxiety, which has led many individuals with these conditions to consider this natural approach.
One Brazilian study involved 57 men who were given oral CBD or a placebo, an hour and a half prior to a simulated public speaking test. Researchers learned that the most effective dose of CBD for reducing anxiety was 300-mg. Those who were given the placebo, 150-mg of CBD or 600-mg of CBD saw little to no effect.
CBD has been used to treat insomnia and anxiety in children diagnosed with PTSD, which is a type of anxiety disorder. One small study in 2019 indicated that CBD can also reduce symptoms of PTSD, including nightmares, in adults.
Other studies have indicated that CBD can effectively treat the symptoms of social anxiety and other anxiety disorders.
There are some people who believe CBD improves depression-related symptoms- but at this time, research is limited in this area. That being said, some studies indicate that it may reduce depressive symptoms in those who have cannabis use disorders.
Research related to how CBD affects anxiety and depression is ongoing. In fact, one study looked at the potential effectiveness of 150 to 300 mg of CBD daily for 12 weeks on anxiety & depression in patients with bipolar is expected to wrap up in April 2022.
CBD may improve symptoms related to cancer treatment
There is some indication that CBD can relieve symptoms and side effects related to cancer and cancer treatments, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. One particular study looked at the effects of CBD with THC in 177 patients with cancer-related pain that did not get relief from traditional medications.
Patients who were given an extract with both compounds had a substantial reduction in pain compared to those who were only given a THC extract. In a review of 5 studies, it was found that Sativex may effectively reduce cancer-related pain in some patients.
That being said, results from studies looking at the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on nausea, pain, and decreased appetite related to cancer have been mixed.
While it’s true that CBD may help some patients with cancer-related symptoms, more research is required to determine whether it should be used more often to manage symptoms of cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and you want to use CBD or other cannabis products, you need to speak with your healthcare team. It’s important to note that these products are not appropriate, safe, or effective for everyone with cancer.
CBD may offer neuroprotective properties
According to some research, the ability of CBD to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain-signaling systems may benefit patients with neurological disorders.
In fact, one of the most common uses of CBD is treating neurological disorders such as MS and epilepsy. While research is still fairly new in this area, there are several studies that are showing promise. Sativex has shown to be safe and effective for reducing muscle spasms in patients with MS. In fact, one study showed a reduction in spasms in 75% of 276 patients who had muscle spasms that were resistant to traditional medications.
Another study looked at 214 patients with severe epilepsy. They were given 0.9 to 2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound of bodyweight. Seizures were reduced by an average of 36.5%.
One more study indicated that CBD oil markedly reduced seizure activity, compared to a placebo, in pediatric patients with Dravet syndrome, which is a childhood epilepsy disorder.
However, it is important to note that some patients in both of these studies experienced a few adverse reactions associated with CBD use, including fever, fatigue, and convulsions.
CBD is also being researched for its effectiveness in treating other neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s. In fact, several studies have indicated CBD could improve sleep quality and overall quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s. However, at this time, there’s not a lot of high quality data available, so there’s not enough evidence to support CBD as a clinical treatment for Parkinson’s.
On the other hand, there is one CBD product that has been approved by the FDA for use in treating seizure disorders. Epidiolex is a prescription cannabidiol product approved in 2018 by the FDA for treating seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
In 2020, this medication received approval from the FDA for treating seizures caused by tuberous sclerosis complex, which is a rare genetic disorder resulting in benign tumors to grow in the brain and other areas.
CBD may offer benefits for heart health
There is some research indicating that CBD offers benefits to the heart and circulatory system, including lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to an increased risk for various health issues, including metabolic syndrome, heart attack, and stroke.
In one small study, 9 healthy men were given 600 mg of CBD. These men experienced a reduction in resting blood pressure compared to a placebo. In this same study, the men underwent stress tests that typically increase blood pressure. Those who were given the CBD had a smaller increase in response to these tests than normal.
Another study involving 26 healthy men discovered that treating with 600 mg of CBD for a period of 7 days resulted in significant blood pressure reduction in the short term compared to the placebo group. However, after 7 days, the effect was lost.
After repeated doses over time, the group that was given CBD maintained lower blood pressure when faced with stress compared to the placebo group. It was also discovered that the group that was given CBD experienced improved blood flow and reduced arterial stiffness after repeated dosing compared to the placebo group.
While these results are promising, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of CBD on heart health.
CBD may offer other benefits
There have been many studies regarding CBDs role in treating a variety of health issues other than the ones we discussed above. While more studies are needed, it is believed that CBD can provide the following benefits:
Antipsychotic effects: some research indicates that CBD can help treat mental health conditions including schizophrenia by reducing psychosis symptoms.
Treatment for substance abuse: some research indicates that CBD may relieve anxiety and depression in those who are dependent on drugs, including heroin.
Possible life extension in patients with glioblastoma: recently, research has indicated that treating with both CBD and THC may extend the life of patients with glioblastoma, which is an aggressive form of cancer- but research is limited at this time.
Improve sleep: there is some indication that CBD may help improve sleep in patients with certain sleep disorders. However, research is limited in this area as well- more is needed to confirm these findings.
Potential Side Effects Associated with CBD
According to experts, CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and will not have the same experience. Some may have adverse reactions. Some of the most common potential side effects associated with CBD include:
- Weight changes
- Appetite changes
Some of the other side effects include drowsiness, sedation, pneumonia, and abnormal liver functioning tests. These are primarily seen in childhood epilepsy studies and could be due to the interaction of CBD with other medications, such as clobazam.
In fact, it is important to note that CBD can interact with many prescription medications, including those for pain, seizures, diabetes, and depression. Before you decide to try CBD products, you need to have a discussion with your physician to determine the safety and avoid harmful interactions.
Also, when shopping for a CBD product, you must do your research because at this time, the market is flooded with products- and they’re not all good quality. You will find that CBD is an additive in a variety of foods, drinks, body care products, and dietary supplements that are marketed as a way to improve issues related to sleep, stress, and pain. However, you should not necessarily include these in your health/wellness regimen.
Some evidence does indicate CBD is effective for certain health issues, but dosing varies widely. It’s almost impossible to determine the most appropriate dosage for treating certain health needs.
Additionally, many of the products on the market contain several ingredients- they are typically not pure CBD. For example, most dietary supplements contain a variety of herbal ingredients along with CBD. These herbal ingredients are known to interact with prescription medications and may not be safe for everyone.
Therefore, before adding a CBD product to your regimen, be sure to discuss it with your physician. You’ll want to determine the most appropriate dosage for your condition- and be sure to ask any other questions that you might have. If you do decide that you want to move forward with trying a CBD product, be sure that it has been third-party tested.
There have been numerous studies on CBD and its role in easing symptoms of common health conditions, including neurological disorders, pain, anxiety, and more. It’s also believed to benefit heart health and other benefits.
Of course, it’s important to know that some of these health benefits involve the use of CBD with THC- not CBD by itself. Research on CBD and its effect on health is ongoing. There is still so much that we need to learn about potential uses of CBD.
If you want to try CBD to manage a health condition or support your overall health, be sure to check with your physician. They will be able to help you determine whether treatment with CBD is appropriate for your condition and if so, the appropriate dosage.
Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely substitutes for sound medical or financial advice from a licensed healthcare provider or certified financial advisor. Make sure to consult with a professional physician or financial consultant before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed as the statements regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA, or Health Canada approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and do not provide any kind of get-rich money scheme. Reviewer is not responsible for pricing inaccuracies. Check product sales page for final prices.