7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects)
Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.
Better known as CBD, it is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa ( 1 ).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
It’s gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it may ease symptoms of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety.
Here are seven health benefits of CBD oil that are backed by scientific evidence.
Marijuana has been used to treat pain as far back as 2900 B.C. ( 2 ).
More recently, scientists have discovered that certain components of marijuana, including CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects.
The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response ( 3 ).
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters ( 4 ).
For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation ( 5 , 6 ).
Several human studies have found that a combination of CBD and THC is effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
An oral spray called Sativex, which is a combination of THC and CBD, is approved in several countries to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis.
One study of 47 people with multiple sclerosis examined the effects of taking Sativex for one month. The participants experienced improvements in pain, walking, and muscle spasms. Still, the study didn’t include any control group and placebo effects cannot be ruled out ( 7 ).
Another study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis ( 8 ).
Summary CBD, especially in combination with THC, may be effective in reducing pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on health and well-being.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth (9).
Anxiety and depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache ( 10 ).
What’s more, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may lead to substance abuse ( 11 ).
CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, leading many who live with these disorders to become interested in this natural approach.
In one Brazilian study, 57 men received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before they underwent a simulated public speaking test. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at significantly reducing anxiety during the test.
The placebo, a 150-mg dose of CBD, and a 600-mg dose of CBD had little to no effect on anxiety ( 12 ).
CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder ( 13 ).
CBD has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies ( 14 , 15 ).
These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
Summary Using CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies.
CBD may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain.
One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication.
Those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract ( 16 ).
CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer ( 17 ).
Though there are drugs that help with these distressing symptoms, they are sometimes ineffective, leading some people to seek alternatives.
A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone ( 18 ).
Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells ( 19 ).
Another study showed that CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice ( 20 ).
However, these are test-tube and animal studies, so they can only suggest what might work in people. More studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.
Summary Though CBD has been shown to help reduce symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment, and may even have cancer-fighting properties, more research is needed to assess its efficacy and safety.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects more than 9% of the population ( 21 ).
It is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, bacteria, underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily secretion made by sebaceous glands in the skin ( 22 , 23).
Based on recent scientific studies, CBD oil may help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production.
One test-tube study found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, exerted anti-inflammatory actions and prevented the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines ( 24 ).
Another study had similar findings, concluding that CBD may be an efficient and safe way to treat acne, thanks in part to its remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities ( 25 ).
Though these results are promising, human studies exploring the effects of CBD on acne are needed.
Summary CBD may have beneficial effects on acne due to its anti-inflammatory qualities and its ability to control the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands.
Researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders.
In fact, one of the most studied uses for CBD is in treating neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have shown promising results.
Sativex, an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, has been proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
One study found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of 276 people with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was resistant to medications ( 26 ).
Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5% ( 27 ).
One more study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder, compared to a placebo ( 28 ).
However, it’s important to note that some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever and fatigue.
CBD has also been researched for its potential effectiveness in treating several other neurological diseases.
For example, several studies have shown that treatment with CBD improved quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease ( 29 , 30 ).
Additionally, animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease ( 31 ).
In one long-term study, researchers gave CBD to mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent cognitive decline ( 32 ).
Summary Though research is limited at this time, CBD has been shown to ease symptoms related to epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. CBD was also shown to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in test-tube and animal studies.
Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of a number of health conditions, including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome ( 33 ).
Studies indicate that CBD may be able to help with high blood pressure.
One recent study treated nine healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo.
The same study also gave the men stress tests that normally increase blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to experience a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to these tests ( 34 ).
Researchers have suggested that the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.
Additionally, several animal studies have demonstrated that CBD may help reduce the inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.
For example, one study found that treatment with CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease ( 35 ).
Summary Though more human studies are needed, CBD may benefit heart health in several ways, including by reducing blood pressure and preventing heart damage.
CBD has been studied for its role in treating a number of health issues other than those outlined above.
Though more studies are needed, CBD is thought to provide the following health benefits:
- Antipsychotic effects: Studies suggest that CBD may help people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders by reducing psychotic symptoms ( 36 ).
- Substance abuse treatment: CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. In rats, CBD has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior ( 37 ).
- Anti-tumor effects: In test-tube and animal studies, CBD has demonstrated anti-tumor effects. In animals, it has been shown to prevent the spread of breast, prostate, brain, colon and lung cancer ( 38 ).
- Diabetes prevention: In diabetic mice, treatment with CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56% and significantly reduced inflammation ( 39 ).
Summary Some studies suggest that CBD may help with diabetes, substance abuse, mental disorders and certain types of cancers. However, more research in humans is needed.
Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.
Side effects noted in studies include ( 40 ):
- Changes in appetite and weight
CBD is also known to interact with several medications. Before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions ( 41 ).
This is especially important if you take medications or supplements that come with a “grapefruit warning.” Both grapefruit and CBD interfere with cytochromes P450 (CYPs), a group of enzymes that are important to drug metabolism (42).
One study performed on mice showed that CBD-rich cannabis extracts have the potential to cause liver toxicity. However, some the mice in the study were force-fed extremely large doses of the extract (43).
Summary Although CBD is generally considered safe, it can cause adverse reactions like diarrhea and fatigue in some people. It may also interfere with certain medications.
CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms of many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease.
For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief.
Research on the potential health benefits of CBD oil is ongoing, so new therapeutic uses for this natural remedy are sure to be discovered.
Though there is much to be learned about the efficacy and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment for many health issues.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, you can purchase many products online, including gummies, oils, and lotions.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound in marijuana with a variety of uses. Here are 7 benefits of CBD oil.
What is the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?
Since the approval of the first cannabidiol (CBD)-based drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers have become increasingly interested in the benefits of hemp seed and CBD oils.
First, it is important to note that there is a lot of confusion around the names of these products. “Hemp oil” is another way that people can refer to CBD oil. However, some people may also refer to hemp seed oil as hemp oil.
Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are very different products.
CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant in its production. These contain a higher concentration of CBD, which is a compound with numerous potential health benefits.
Meanwhile, hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. The seeds do not contain CBD, but they still have a rich profile of nutrients, fatty acids, and useful bioactive compounds that can also have health benefits.
Having a better understanding of hemp seed oil and CBD oil may allow both clinicians and consumers to choose the safest and most appropriate product.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil.
Share on Pinterest Both hemp seed and CBD oil contain a range of compounds that may offer health benefits.
Image credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Image.
Hemp seed oil derives from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. It contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and other nutritional antioxidants. It is also high in B vitamins and vitamin D.
People will not get high when using hemp seed oil, as it contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and little to no CBD.
People do not use hemp seed oil for recreational purposes. This is because the levels of THC and CBD, which cause the psychoactive effects, are either limited or absent.
Some nutritional supplements contain hemp seed oil because of its high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and nutritious antioxidant content.
Other uses of hemp seed oil include manufacturing clothing and fibers.
How it works
Some people suggest that hemp seed oils can help people maintain good cardiovascular health by improving:
- total cholesterol
- high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
- low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
However, the evidence for its efficacy for these purposes is not clear.
Effects and benefits
When manufacturers add hemp seed oil to nutritional products — such as snack bars, breads, cookies, and yogurt — it provides an excellent source of nutrients. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential amino acids.
Hemp seed oil also has several possible benefits, including:
- relieving constipation
- providing cardiovascular health benefits
- modifying the immune system
- improving skin conditions
- improving gastrointestinal conditions
Some other possible benefits of hemp seed oil include:
- anticancer effects
- antioxidant effects
- anti-aging effects
Hemp seed oil also contains other components that may provide benefits to consumers.
How is it made?
Manufacturers extract hemp seed oil from the seeds of the hemp plant.
Since the oil comes from the seeds and not the leaves, flowers, or stem of the cannabis plant, hemp seed oil does not contain THC.
Risks and side effects
Consuming hemp seed oil is safe.
However, it may not provide any benefit for cardiovascular health, as some people believe. Some consumers also report digestive issues, but these effects may not occur in everyone.
Less than 0.3% of the dry weight of hemp seed oil contains THC, so people are unlikely to experience a high when consuming it.
People can generally find three different types of CBD oil on the market:
- full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains all compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC (but at a very low level)
- broad-spectrum CBD oil, which contains several compounds but not THC
- CBD oil made using CBD isolate, which contains only CBD
It is important to note that because these terms are not regulated, some manufacturers may use them interchangeably.
People should always check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) of CBD products. Usually, a third party will conduct this testing. Checking the COA is the only way to fully understand what exactly a CBD oil product contains.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.
Some people use CBD oils for their alleged medicinal benefits.
For example, people may use CBD-derived products for:
- pain and inflammation
- anxiety and depression
- addiction management
- inflammatory skin conditions
- neurodegenerative conditions
Aside from the antiepileptic effects of CBD, researchers still need to confirm the other potential therapeutic benefits of CBD.
Since full-spectrum CBD oil contains THC, some people may use it for recreational purposes because it has psychoactive effects. Other effects of THC may include preventing nausea and vomiting.
These oils may also contain smaller amounts of other phytocannabinoids and terpenoids, which may have other effects that require further investigation.
How it works
Researchers are still attempting to determine how CBD affects the body, but they suggest that it works in several ways, including by:
- inhibiting endocannabinoid reuptake
- activating the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1, which plays a role in regulating pain, and g-coupled receptor 55
- increasing the activity of serotonin receptors
The THC in full-spectrum CBD oil binds to the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, and this is responsible for its psychoactive effects.
Full- and broad-spectrum CBD oils may also contain beta-caryophyllene, which can bind to the CB2 receptors. Researchers are still investigating the function of the CB2 receptors.
Effects and benefits
Several components of the different CBD oils have specific effects.
The following table summarizes some of the components in CBD oils and their potential effects:
Researchers are still studying the effects of the components in CBD-derived products.
How is it made?
CBD oil comes from the flowers and leaves of the plant. With specialized extraction processes such as carbon dioxide extraction, manufacturers can draw out an extract rich in CBD and other components.
Although manufacturers need to keep all components intact for full-spectrum CBD oil products, they only need to extract CBD for CBD isolate.
Risks and side effects
Research suggests that CBD-derived products are safe and have limited side effects. Although information about the safety of different CBD oils is lacking, researchers have studied the side effects of individual ingredients in CBD-derived products.
For example, there were no reported side effects when participants took 300 milligrams (mg) of CBD per day for up to 6 months. A study also demonstrated no side effects when people took up to 1,500 mg per day for a month.
Larger studies into the effects of Epidiolex, a CBD drug for people with epilepsy, reported some side effects. These included:
- decreased appetite
- elevated liver function tests
Experts advise people who want to use CBD-derived products to ensure that they can trust their source. Improper labeling and faulty manufacturing processes can expose people to contaminants or THC in CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD oil.
Today, regulations on product labeling in the United States are unclear. To select an appropriate and safe product, experts suggest ensuring that:
- the manufacturers did not use solvents during extraction
- the U.S. Department of Agriculture have certified it as organic
- the product underwent pesticide and herbicide testing
- the label clearly lists the potency
People who want to use CBD oils or other CBD-derived products should speak with a doctor or qualified cannabis clinician first, as CBD can interfere with certain other medications.Both hemp seed oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil have numerous potential health benefits. Learn more about the differences between them here. ]]>