Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a product that’s derived from cannabis. It’s a type of cannabinoid, which are the chemicals naturally found in marijuana plants. Even though it comes from marijuana plants, CBD doesn’t create a “high” effect or any form of intoxication — that’s caused by another cannabinoid, known as THC.
There’s some controversy around cannabis products like CBD oil because of recreational marijuana use. But there’s growing awareness about the possible health benefits of CBD oil. Here’s what you need to know about six potential medical uses of CBD and where the research stands:
1. Anxiety relief
CBD may be able to help you manage anxiety. Researchers
- reducing stress
- decreasing physiological effects of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate
- improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- inducing sleep in cases of insomnia
CBD has been in the news before, as a possible treatment for epilepsy. Research is still in its early days. Researchers are testing how much CBD is able to reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy, as well as how safe it is. The American Epilepsy Society states that cannabidiol research offers hope for seizure disorders, and that research is currently being conducted to better understand safe use.
Researchers are looking at a receptor located in the brain to learn about the ways that CBD could help people with neurodegenerative disorders, which are diseases that cause the brain and nerves to deteriorate over time. This receptor is known as CB1.
Researchers are studying the use of CBD oil for treating:
CBD oil may also reduce the inflammation that can make neurodegenerative symptoms worse. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD oil for neurodegenerative diseases.
4. Pain relief
The effects of CBD oil on your brain’s receptors may also help you manage pain. Studies have shown that cannabis can offer some benefits when taken after chemotherapy treatments. Other pre-clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health are also looking at the role of cannabis in relieving symptoms caused by:
Nabiximols (Sativex), a multiple sclerosis drug made from a combination of TCH and CBD, is approved in the United Kingdom and Canada to treat MS pain. However, researchers think the CBD in the drug may be contributing more with its anti-inflammatory properties than by acting against the pain. Clinical trials of CBD are necessary to determine whether or not it should be used for pain management.
The effects of CBD on receptors in the immune system may help reduce overall inflammation in the body. In turn, CBD oil may offer benefits for acne management. A human study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigationfound that the oil prevented activity in sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oily substance that hydrates the skin. Too much sebum, however, can lead to acne.
Before you consider CBD oil for acne treatment, it’s worth discussing with your dermatologist. More human studies are needed to evaluate the potential benefits of CBD for acne.
5. Cancer treatment
Some studies have investigated the role of CBD in preventing cancer cell growth, but research is still in its early stages. The
CBD oil may offer benefits to those with drug addiction. In an analysis of 14 published studies (nine involving animals and five involving humans), scientists with the University of Montreal concluded that CBD "showed promise" in treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant addiction.
However, the effect of CBD on each addiction type was often very different. With opioid addiction, for example, CBD showed little effect in minimizing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of THC. By contrast, CBD on its own appeared effective in minimizing drug-seeking behaviors in users of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other psychostimulant drugs.
CBD oil usually doesn’t have any major risks for users. However, side effects are possible. These include:
- low blood pressure
- withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and insomnia
More human studies are needed to fully understand the range of risks and side effects that CBD oil may cause. Studies of CBD oil aren’t common. This is partially because Schedule 1 substances like cannabis are highly regulated, causing some obstacles for researchers. With the legalization of marijuana products, more research is possible, and more answers will come.
CBD oil isn’t legal everywhere. In the United States, CBD oil is legal in some states, but not all. Certain states that have legalized CBD for medical use may require users to apply for special licensing. It’s also important to know that the FDA hasn’t approved CBD for any medical conditions.
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.