The Health Benefits of CBD Oil
This cannabis extract may help treat nerve pain, anxiety, and epilepsy
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman’s World, and Natural Health.
Lana Butner, ND, LAc, is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist in New York City.
CBD oil is an extract of Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa—the same plants that, when dried, make marijuana. CBD oil is believed by some to treat pain, reduce anxiety, and stimulate appetite in the same way that marijuana does, but without its psychoactive effects. CBD has also shown promise in treating certain types of seizures.
CBD is the short name for cannabidiol, one of the two chemicals—among the dozens in cannabis—that have the most health benefits. The other, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is what gets people “high.” CBD oil generally does not contain THC, although some trace amounts may be present in products sold in certain states.
CBD oil contains CBD mixed with an inert carrier oil, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil. The bottled oil, called a tincture, is sold in various concentrations. There are also CBD capsules, CBD gummies, and under-the-tongue CBD sprays.
CBD’s exact mechanism of action is unclear. Unlike THC, CBD has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These are the molecules to which THC binds to elicit its psychoactive effects.
Instead, CBD is thought to influence other receptors, including opioid receptors that regulate pain and glycine receptors involved in the regulation of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin.
Proponents claim that CBD oil can treat a wide variety of health problems, including:
- Chronic pain
- Drug addiction and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease
Despite the growing popularity of CBD use, CBD oil remains sorely under-researched. As such, some of these claims are better supported by studies than others.
Here is just some of what the current evidence says.
CBD shows promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, suggests a 2015 review of studies in the journal Neurotherapeutics. According to the investigators, CBD demonstrated potent anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effects in animal research, albeit with counterintuitive results.
In all but a few studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) were better able to treat symptoms of anxiety. Higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) exhibited virtually no effect.
Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In many cases, CBD works as an agonist, meaning that it triggers an opposite response when binding to a receptor. It is possible that low doses can elicit a positive agonist response, while high doses overwhelm the brain and trigger a compensatory effect to fight CBD’s effects.
Among the few human trials evaluating CBD’s anxiolytic effects was one published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019. For this study, 57 men were given either CBD oil or a placebo before a public-speaking event. Anxiety was evaluated using physiological measures (such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and a relatively reliable test for mood states known as the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).
According to the investigators, men provided 300 mg of CBD exhibited less anxiety than those given a placebo. Interestingly, those provided 100 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil did not.
CBD oil may benefit those with drug addiction, suggests a 2015 review of studies published in Substance Abuse.
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.
There have also been suggestions that CBD may aid in the treatment of cannabis and nicotine addiction. Further research is needed.
Medical marijuana is frequently prescribed to people with intractable (treatment-resistant) pain, including those with terminal cancer. There is some evidence that CBD contributes to this benefit.
According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, rats injected with inflammatory chemicals in their hind feet experienced less inflammation and neuropathic pain when treated with an oral dose and spinal injection of CBD.
Scientists believe that CBD reduces nerve pain by binding to glycine receptors in the brain that regulate the speed at which nerve signals pass between nerve cells.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
CBD oil may reduce the risk of heart disease by alleviating hypertension (high blood pressure) in certain people, suggests a 2017 study in JCI Insight.
For this study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. According to the researcher, those treated with CBD had lower blood pressure before and after exposure to stressful stimuli (including exercise or extreme cold).
In addition, the stroke volume (the amount of blood remaining in the heart after a heartbeat) was significantly reduced, meaning that the heart was pumping more efficiently.
The findings suggest that CBD oil may be a suitable complementary therapy for people whose hypertension is complicated by stress and anxiety. However, there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat hypertension on its own or prevent hypertension in people at risk. While stress is known to complicate high blood pressure, it cannot cause hypertension.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used for the treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy in children under 2—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both are exceptionally rare genetic disorders causing lifelong catastrophic seizures that begin during the first year of life.
Outside of these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness in treating seizures is uncertain. Even with Epidiolex, it is uncertain whether the anti-seizure effects can be attributed to CBD or some other factor.
There is some evidence that CBD interacts with seizure medications such as Onfi (clobazam) and “boosts” their concentration in the blood. This would not only make the drugs more effective but extend their half-lives as well. Further research is needed.
Possible Side Effects
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can trigger side effects. Severity and type can vary from one person to the next. Common symptoms include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes (a marker of liver inflammation). People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution, ideally under the care of a doctor who can regularly check blood liver enzyme levels.
CBD oil should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A 2018 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics warned women to avoid marijuana during pregnancy due to the potential risks to a baby’s development. Although it is unclear how CBD contributes, CBD is known to pass through the placental barrier.
If you are thinking about using CBD oil to treat a health condition, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is the right option for you.
Since some CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC, you should avoid driving or using heavy machinery when taking CBD oil, particularly when first starting treatment or using a new brand.
CBD oil can interact with certain medications, including some drugs used to treat epilepsy. CBD inhibits an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP450), which certain drugs use for metabolization. By interfering with CYP450, CBD may either increase the toxicity or decrease the effectiveness of these drugs.
Potential drug-drug interactions with CBD include:
- Anti-arrhythmia drugs like quinidine
- Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
- Antifungal drugs like Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Vfend (voriconazole)
- Antipsychotic drugs like Orap (pimozide)
- Atypical antidepressants like Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
- Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and telithromycin
- Migraine medications like Ergomar (ergotamine)
- Opioid painkillers like Duragesic (fentanyl) and alfentanil
- Rifampin-based drugs used to treat tuberculosis
Many of these interactions are mild and require no adjustment to treatment. Others may require a drug substitution or the separation of doses by several hours.
To avoid interactions, advise your doctor and pharmacist about any drugs you are taking, whether they are prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or recreational.
Dosage and Preparation
There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of CBD oil. CBD oil is usually delivered sublingually (under the tongue). Most oils are sold in 30-milliliter (mL) bottles with a dropper cap.
There is currently no known “correct” dose of CBD oil. Depending on who you speak to, the daily dose can range anywhere from 5 mg to 25 mg.
The tricky part is calculating the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil. Some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL (or more).
How to Calculate CBD Dose
To determine an exact dose of CBD, remember that each drop of oil equals 0.05 mL of fluid. This means that a 30-mL bottle of CBD oil will have roughly 600 drops. If the concentration of the tincture is 1,500 mg/mL, one drop would contain 2.5 mg of CBD (1,500 mg ÷ 600 drops = 2.5 mg).
To use CBD oil, place one or more drops under the tongue and hold the dose there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing. Capsules and gummies are easier to dose, although they tend to be more costly. CBD sublingual sprays are used mainly for convenience.
What to Look For
Aficionados of CBD oil will tell you to buy full-spectrum oils over CBD isolates. Unlike isolates, which contain CBD only, full-spectrum oils contain a variety of compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, including proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll. Alternative practitioners believe these compounds offer more substantial health benefits, although there is no clear evidence of this.
Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.
According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 30.95% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most contained less CBD than advertised, while 21.43% had significant amounts of THC.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best CBD oil:
- Buy American. Domestically produced CBD oil tends to be safer because of better growing and refining practices.
- Go organic. Brands certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are less likely to expose you to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Read the product label. Even if you choose a full-spectrum oil, don’t assume that every ingredient on the product label is natural. There may be preservatives, flavorings, or thinning agents that you don’t want or need. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, ask the dispenser what it is or check online.
Are CBD Oil and Hemp Oil the Same?
Not necessarily. Although some people use the terms synonymously, they may also be referring to hemp seed oil, which is primarily used for cooking, food production, and skincare products. CBD oil is made from the leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plant and should contain less than 0.3% THC. Hemp oil is made from the seeds of Cannabis sativa and contains no TCH.
CBD oil is made from cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating extract of marijuana, and is believed to treat pain, anxiety, and seizures.
of full Spectrum CBD Oil
We go over everything you need to know about full-spectrum CBD oil, including what it is, what it contains, and the benefits of choosing our full-spectrum CBD products.
There are many things to consider when choosing a CBD oil product, such as the source, the quality, the purity, and the brand. But one of the most important considerations is whether the product is a full-spectrum CBD oil, or a CBD isolate. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about full-spectrum CBD oil, including what it is, what it contains, and the benefits of choosing our full-spectrum CBD products.
Both full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate contain cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. The difference is that full-spectrum CBD oil also contains several other co-occurring compounds from the cannabis plant, including other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
These compounds are thought to work together to enhance one another’s effects in what is known as the synergistic or entourage effect. The entourage effect describes the cooperative activity of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant to produce an effect that is qualitatively different than that of any one compound.
The simplest example of the entourage effect is the synergy between THC and CBD. People who consume THC and CBD at the same time experience fewer side-effects from the THC than people who use it alone. Full-spectrum cannabis products like Sativex are popular in the medical realm for this reason. A 2011 survey reported that 98% of patients preferred full-spectrum cannabis to THC-only medication.
Of course, the cannabinoids and terpenes in full-spectrum CBD products also have effects on their own, regardless of their synergistic effects together. This means that full-spectrum products open you up to a whole host of potential benefits from cannabinoids, terpenes, and their combined effect with CBD.
What Is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?
Full-spectrum CBD oil is a CBD product which contains CBD and other compounds from the cannabis plant.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are active compounds found in the cannabis plant. They bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. The compound THC is a cannabinoid known for causing the euphoric marijuana high.
While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are at least 113 other cannabinoids in the plant. These include CBN (cannabinol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBG (cannabigerol), among others. These compounds occur in lower concentrations than THC and CBD.
These minor cannabinoids have their own effects on the body, but they are also thought to work together to produce synergistic effects. In other words, scientists believe compounds like CBD may be more effective when combined with the other co-occurring compounds in the cannabis plant, rather than as an isolate.
CBN is formed when THCA (the inactive form of THC) breaks down over time. It is found in higher concentrations in older batches of marijuana. CBN appears to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects. It is also thought to be one of the most sedative cannabinoids.
Like CBD, CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects. It may be useful in treating acne.
CBG is a precursor molecule for many other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. Like CBD, CBG appears to increase levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide in the body. It has antibacterial effects, and may act as a neuroprotective.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are scented molecules found in cannabis and other plants. They are responsible for the different aromas in cannabis products, and they also contribute to the effects of the plant. Many terpenes have effects of their own — such as pain relief, antibacterial, sedation, and anti-anxiety effects — and they also play a part in the entourage effect. Terpenes are major components of essential oils.
A 2011 review article by Dr. Ethan Russo reported that several terpenes were synergistic with CBD. These include limonene, linalool, pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene. The author also suggests three scenarios where cannabinoid-terpene synergy may improve outcomes, including the treatment of acne, the treatment of MRSA, and in several psychiatric illnesses. Here, we’ll go over a few of the most common terpenes found in full-spectrum CBD oils and their effects as described in this article.
Limonene has a lemony, fresh scent and is common in the cannabis plant. It appears to have anti-anxiety, anti-acne, and immunostimulant properties.
Pinene smells like pine trees, and is responsible for the earthy, sharp undertones in the cannabis plant. It is reported to have anti-inflammatory and bronchodilating effects.
Myrcene has a warm, earthy, orangey flavour. It is commonly found in mangoes and hops as well as in cannabis. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative properties. Dr. Kymron DeCesare, chief research officer at Steep Hill Labs, explains that “myrcene is the major ingredient responsible for ‘flipping’ the normal energetic effect of THC into a couch-lock effect.” This is an example of the entourage effect — specifically, the combined effect of a terpene and cannabinoid.
Caryophyllene has a peppery, spicy scent and is found in black peppercorns. It is thought to have anti-malarial effects and cell-protecting effects. It is not reported to have major synergies with CBD, but in addition to having its own effects, it may work alongside the other compounds in full-spectrum oil.
What Are The Benefits Of Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?
There are a number of potential benefits to choosing a full-spectrum CBD oil compared to an isolate.
Benefit 1: Full-spectrum CBD oil is closer to what nature intended.
The cannabis plant evolved with hundreds of compounds that work together to produce a variety of effects. It makes sense that the benefits might be most pronounced when these compounds are used together, rather than isolating a single compound.
Choosing a full-spectrum oil is a great way to get the benefits of whole plant medicine without having to use THC or deal with smoking or vaporizing the cannabis plant.
Benefit 2: Full-spectrum CBD oil is a richer sensory experience.
Full-spectrum oil contains a number of cannabinoids and terpenes that contribute to a pleasant flavour experience. From the sharp taste of pinene to earthy, warm myrcene, terpenes add a wonderful, subtle richness to the experience. Of course, some people may prefer a tasteless CBD isolate, but we believe full-spectrum is the absolute best way to experience CBD.
Benefit 3: You may experience enhanced effects.
A large body of evidence suggests that CBD may work better in the context of a full-spectrum CBD oil. Several terpenes are thought to have synergistic interactions with CBD, and there is also evidence that minor cannabinoids work alongside CBD, as well. If you are using CBD for health benefits, it stands to reason that full-spectrum oil will work better.
One of the most important considerations is whether the product is a full-spectrum CBD oil, or a CBD isolate. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about full-spectrum CBD oil, including what it is, what it contains, and the benefits of choosing our full-spectrum CBD products