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CBD Oil: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects

7 min read

By Olivia DiPede

  • CBD oil is a natural remedy used to relieve symptoms of many common ailments.
  • CBD oil has many potential benefits including relief of pain, mental health symptoms, and cancer symptoms, among others.
  • It’s important to consult a medical professional before starting any medication or natural remedy, including CBD oil.

CBD, formerly known as Cannabidiol, has been a major buzzword in the health space in recent years. Though it is derived from cannabis, the same plants grown for marijuana, CBD oil is not the same. CBD oil a natural remedy that can be used to relieve many common ailments, such as chronic pain and anxiety. It’s also been used to treat a variety of skin conditions, prevent seizures and assist in sleep disorders.

While there are many benefits to CBD oil, it’s important to be educated on the uses and side effects before giving it a try. It’s also best to consult a medical professional before incorporating CBD oil into your routine. Follow along for everything you should know about CBD oil, including its uses, benefits and side effects.

What is CBD Oil?

According to Medical News Today, CBD is one of many cannabinoids (compounds) in the cannabis plant. The two main compounds in marijuana are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, which have different effects. THC is the compound that has a psychological and mind-altering effect.

CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive and does not change a person’s mind when in use. It does have significant effects in the body, however, which is why it has become popular to use as a natural remedy with medical benefits. To make CBD oil, the cannabidiol is mixed with a base (carrier) oil such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil.

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Is CBD Oil Legal?

CBD products that are derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws, according to Very Well Health. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, according to Medical News Today.

CBD products that are derived from cannabis, however, are illegal on the federal level but may be legal under some state laws. Be sure to check the laws in your state before trying CBD, as well as the laws of anywhere you travel.

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Types of CBD

Aside from CBD oil, there are other forms of CBD that can be used for medicinal purposes. Medical News Today explains that a few different forms of CBD include: capsules, creams, salves, edibles, drinks, and CBD flower for inhalation.

It’s important to note that CBD can have a different effect depending on whether the person is inhaling it or taking it orally. Side effects of using CBD can also vary depending on the form that is consumed. The recommended dosage of CBD depends on the individual and a variety of factors such as body weight, the concentration of the product and the reason for using.


CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil

A common point of confusion is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil. According to Dr. Josh Axe, both hemp and cannabis come from the Cannabis sativa species, but it’s the amount of THC present in the plant that makes them different.

Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp seeds of the hemp plant and contains very little or no THC. Cannabis, on the other hand, has THC levels above 0.3-percent, usually between 5 to 35-percent. Due its low THC levels, you can use hemp oil without mind-altering effects.


May Relieve Pain

There are many conventional methods available to relieve pain and inflammation, but CBD is a natural alternative that may be worth trying. In 2018, a study revealed that CBD reduces pain by preventing the release of compounds that trigger inflammation in the body.

Research suggests that CBD may be effective for varying types of pain, including nerve pain and back pain. When combined with THC, it can also be effective to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis. Additionally, some research suggests that CBD may relieve symptoms of rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia.

May Reduce Mental Health Symptoms

CBD may also reduce symptoms related to some mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Medical News Today explains that while THC is known to trigger feelings of anxiousness or paranoia, CBD may do the opposite and reduce anxiety.

A 2015 review revealed that CBD may help reduce anxiety-related behaviors in people with PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. CBD may also help with short-term anxiety, such as in the anticipation of a fearful event. Researchers conducted a study on those with a public speaking event and participants who used CBD beforehand reported lower anxiety and discomfort.

May Relieve Cancer Symptoms

CBD oil has been used to relieve cancer symptoms and side effects related to cancer treatment, such as pain and nausea. This topic is still being researched, but an older study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from medication. Those who were treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain, according to Healthline. 

Findings from studies researching the effects of CBD on cancer patients is still being conducted, and it’s important to consult a medical professional to ensure this is a safe and effective relief option.


May Benefit Heart Health

Some research has found that CBD may benefit the heart and the circulatory system. Healthline explains that studies have found that CBD oil may have the ability to lower high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for a number of health conditions including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome.

In one study, a group of nine healthy men were treated with 600 mg of CBD oil. The result was a reduced resting blood pressure in the CBD treatment group in comparison to the placebo. The same study put the men through stress tests that would typically increase blood pressure. The group of men that had the dose of CBD experienced a smaller blood pressure increase than a normal response to these tests.

May Have Neuroprotective Properties

Researchers have studied CBD’s ability to provide benefits for those with neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and MS. This is one of most studied uses of CBD, and while it is still relatively new, the results have been promising, according to Healthline. 

In one study, a combination of THC and CBD was used to reduce muscle spasticity in individuals with MS. The result was that it reduced spasms in 75% of 276 people with MS whose symptoms were resistant to medications. CBD has also been researched in its effectiveness on the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to improve quality of life and sleep. Additionally, CBD has been studied in its treatment of several seizure disorders.


Other Potential Benefits

Research on CBD and its benefits is still new, but there are many medical benefits of usage for a variety of ailments. Aside from those mentioned above, CBD is also being studied for its antipsychotic effects in those with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions that cause psychosis. CBD may also help to relieve anxiety and depression for those who have a dependence on certain substances.

Recent studies have researched how a combination of CBD and THC may even help to extend the life of those with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. More research is needed, but CBD may also help improve sleep in individuals who suffer with certain sleep disorders.


Side Effects of CBD Oil

While CBD oil does have many benefits, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. Some adverse reactions noted in studies include diarrhea, changes in appetite and weight, and fatigue, according to Healthline. Some other side effects reported in childhood epilepsy studies include abnormal liver function test results, drowsiness, sedation, and pneumonia.

It’s recommend to consult a medical professional if you are taking other medication to assess safety and avoid harmful interactions. CBD may interact with several medications, including pain medications, seizure medications, antidepressants and diabetes medications.

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Who Should Avoid CBD Oil

It’s important to consult a doctor or medical professional before starting any medication or natural remedy, including CBD oil. There are a few instances where your healthcare practitioner may advise you against using CBD oil, according to Very Well Health. 

One instance is if you have liver disease, because CBD oil may increase liver enzymes, which is a marker of liver inflammation. Another instance if is you have eye issues, because CBD oil may cause eye-related side effects such as worsening the symptoms of glaucoma or causing dry eyes. Lastly, CBD oil is not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing. The effects of CBD are not fully understood, but it does pass through the placenta, which may cause potential risks to a developing fetus.


Olivia loves all things beauty, fitness and health. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, visiting Sephora and creating content for her personal lifestyle blog. She loves to travel to new countries, read thriller novels and spend time with her family.

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