CBD oil is an oil made from Cannabidiol, a chemical compound that is found in cannabis, it is sometimes used to treat addiction and epilepsy. It is also used in some countries to help reduce pain in people with multiple sclerosis. CBD is often confused with THC, this is the part of the cannabis plant that is responsible for getting high.
CBD is often thought of as part of the medical marijuana umbrella, and is sometimes marketed as the same thing. You can buy food and drink products that are infused with CBD oil, though these are not nearly as common as THC infused products.
While CBD does come from the cannabis plant (from the resin to be precise), it is not a psychoactive. This means that you will remain perfectly sober while taking it. In fact most cannabis plants are specifically grown to have as little CBD in as possible.
There are 113 cannabinoids that are present in cannabis, some like THC can impair cognition (get you high) while others can counteract this. CBD belongs to the latter group. A 2015 study by Iseger & Bossong demonstrated that CBD works as an anti-psychotic (1).
Cannabidiol is found within the female cannabis plant and has been largely overlooked by medical researchers and recreational growers.
But recently CBD has received a lot more attention, as people look to find ways to get the benefits of smoking marijuana without having to deal with the psychedelic side effects that accompany THC use.
1CBD oil can improve sleep – There is quite a bit of conflicting evidence as to whether CBD can improve sleep. A 1981 study found that insomniacs who took 160mg of CBD reported significantly better sleep than those who took a placebo (2).
There was also less dream recall (those who sleep well rarely remember their dreams the next morning).
A study in 2006 found that CBD increased wakefulness and alertness this could help people who feel drowsy throughout the day (3).
On the other hand, a 1977 study found that wakefulness was decreased in rats who were given cannabidiol (4).
It seems that THC has a sedative effect on the body, while CBD increases alertness. It is posited that a combination of the two could be used to complement each other (5).
Another study in 2014 found that taking CBD led to a significant reduction in REM sleep behavior disorder events in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease (6).
This disorder can affect anyone and involves sleep talking, kicking, punching, and screaming, also known as night terrors.
It seems that when it comes to sleep, CBD can help with certain disorders while having no effect on others. THC helps you to fall asleep, while CBD helps to regulate your sleep, and it seems to help you wake up fresher.
2CBD oil reduces anxiety – There is a lot of evidence to support the notion that cannabis can reduce anxiety and a lot of people who suffer from anxiety self medicate with it. Many people assume that it is the THC that reduces anxiety, but numerous studies have demonstrated that it is CBD that actually helps.
A study in 1982 compared both THC and CBD and found that it was the CBD that led to a reduction in anxiety (7).
A more recent study in 2010 looked at the effects of CBD on people suffering from generalized social anxiety disorder (8).
The study found a significant decrease in subjective anxiety when compared to the placebo.
Another study found CBD was very effective at reducing anxiety in people suffering from social anxiety disorder who were about to perform a simulated public speaking test (9).
It would be beneficial to take CBD rather than THC before speaking in public, so this study could prove very useful.
A case report by Scott Shannon (2016) found that using CBD oil helped to reduce anxiety and to treat insomnia (strengthening the case for it being a good sleep aid) (10).
The study was looking at a ten year old girl who was suffering from PTSD, and it found that using CBD oil helped to improve focus, lower anxiety, and improve sleep. They found CBD was as effective as traditional pharmaceutical medication, but it came without any side effects.
A study on rats found that CBD worked in a similar way to Valium, when reducing anxiety during a test – called the Elevated Plus Maze. But only found it to work at certain dosages (11).
3CBD oil may help prevent short term memory loss – While this may not be seen as a benefit as such, there is evidence that smoking marijuana that is high in CBD rather than in THC will prevent short term memory loss and cognitive impairment (12).
This could be beneficial for people who use marijuana medicinally but don’t enjoy the side effects. This comes back to cannabidiol being an anti-psychotic drug, and demonstrates why it is more suitable for consumption.
4CBD oil may prevent seizures in Epilepsy sufferers – Anti epilepsy drugs have come a long way, and the ones that are currently available have been a huge improvement. But they are still not improving the standard of life for epilepsy sufferers. Because of this, many researchers have started looking at alternatives such as CBD oil (13).
A lot of research has looked at THC and the effects of medical marijuana as a treatment for epilepsy, but understandably not everyone likes the idea of using a psychotropic drug (14).
Considering that there is quite a lot of evidence that cannabis has many negative effects on developing brains, there is still some debate about whether young children should be using it, but as this 2014 study points out, the side effects are mild, while epileptic seizures produce a much larger effect (15).
An Israeli study on 74 patients (ages 1 to 18 years old) found that CBD treatment led to a significant reduction in seizure frequency (16).
In fact 26% of the patients reported a 75-100% reduction in seizures while taking CBD. The study also noted improvements in “behavior and alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep”. Not everyone was helped though, 5 of the 74 patients reacted very badly to it, and were withdrawn from the study.
While a lot of people would still rather take anti epilepsy drugs, that is not always possible. There are many sufferers who have treatment-resistant epilepsy, as such most methods don’t work. A study in 2015 found that cannabidiol helped to reduce seizure frequency in patients who were treatment resistant (17).
5CBD oil works as an anti-psychotic – CBD has been shown to work as an antagonist to the psychotropic effects of THC, because of this a lot of studies are looking at it as an anti-psychotic, it may also be used to treat psychiatric disorders such as depression, and anxiety. It may also be effective at treating psychosis (18).
A study in 2015 found CBD to be “an effective, safe and well-tolerated antipsychotic compound” though cautions that larger scale studies are needed in the future (19).
6CBD oil protects your brain – One of the scariest things about diabetes is loss of vision. This is where the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breaks down. If left untreated it can lead to blindness.
One of the theories as to how this occurs is that neurotoxicity is to blame. A couple of studies have found that cannabidiol can help treat blood-retinal barrier breakdown, by working as a neuroprotective (20, 21). CBD may also protect the brain against neurological damage from strokes.
7CBD oil suppresses inflammation in the brain – Both THC and CBD have been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain (called neuroinflammation). This may mean that they can be used as immunosuppressants and as an anti-inflammatory (22).
8CBD may help lower cholesterol – There is a lot of conflicting evidence regarding CBD and cholesterol. Some studies have found it to reduce cholesterol, while others have seen a small increase or no difference. Some studies have found it to reduce HDL (good) cholesterol, while others have seen it reduce total cholesterol.
A study in 2013 found that taking cannabidiol led to a significant drop in cholesterol levels and in triglycerides in rats (23).
Obviously, a lot more studies are required before we can say whether CBD is effective at reducing cholesterol or not, but there are definitely some good signs.
9CBD oil can help fight certain cancers – There has been lots of research looking at the effects of cannabis on certain cancers, with particular interest in CBD. A study in 2014 found that cannabidiol led to an inhibition of colon cancer cell growth (24).
This does not mean that CBD “cures” cancer, nor does it mean that it prevents cancer, just that it can slow down colon cancer cell growth.
One study found that non-THC cannabinoids can inhibit prostate carcinoma growth, while another found that CBD may help treat breast cancer (25, 26). There definitely seems to be some good evidence supporting the use of CBD in the fight against cancer, with a lot of studies supporting this. But it is early days, and there is definitely a need for more evidence.
10CBD oil can help prevent nausea and vomiting – In 2002 a study found that CBD could suppress nausea in rats (27).
A further study in 2012 found that CBD suppresses nausea and vomiting by “indirect activation of the somatodendritic 5-HT1A autoreceptors in the DRN” (28).
DRN stands for dorsal raphe nucleus, which is found in your brainstem. The 5-HT1A autoreceptors are responsible for reducing anxiety, reducing depression, and prevention of nausea and vomiting.
11CBD oil may help suppress your appetite – CBD oil became very popular recently when articles started popping up calling it a weight loss supplement. Anyone with experience of marijuana might be surprised to think of it as an appetite suppressant. In fact, medical marijuana has been used to help AIDS sufferers to put on weight, because it is such a powerful appetite stimulant (29).
But as you’ve probably noticed, CBD seems to work completely differently to THC and in fact seems to be a pretty effective appetite suppressant. There doesn’t seem to be too much reliable evidence that CBD is anything more than a mild appetite suppressant though, and it certainly isn’t a miracle fat loss supplement.
1CBD oil can cause tiredness. A review of cannabidiol found that the most common side effects of taking it were tiredness (possibly due to wakeful sleep), diarrhea, and changes in appetite (a lack of appetite rather than an increase). Other than that, the study found it to have virtually no other side effects (32).
The study does mention the need for more clinical trials though.
2CBD oil may also cause diarrhea and weight loss. Just because there is a lack of dangerous common side effects, it does not mean that CBD is safe for everyone to use. As we saw in the Israeli study on epileptic children, out of 74 patients, only 5 suffered adverse side effects, but those 5 patients were severely affected by diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue etc (33).
Chances are that you will be absolutely fine taking CBD, but be sensible with it, and stick to the recommended dosage.
2.5-15mg per day is optimal for general health, you can use between 2.5 and 20mg. If you are suffering from sleep disorders an intake of 40mg-160mg is ideal. You should experiment with the dosages to suit your needs.
In some studies you’ll see doses that are 10x as high as other studies (34).
Remember that a 100kg person and a 60kg person will be able to tolerate different doses, 40mg is only 0.4mg/kg for a 100kg person, while it is 1.5mg/kg for a 60kg person.
Always start at the lower end of the range, and work your way up slowly. If you begin to experience headaches, an upset stomach, or bad sleep then you should consider lowering the dose. If you are not noticing any changes then slightly increase the dose.
Luckily, the side effects of taking CBD are so minor that you have some room to experiment with doses. This is not true for medical marijuana as THC has some more serious side effects.
Does CBD oil get you high? CBD oil won’t get you high because it has been specifically produced to minimize THC count (the stuff that gets you high) while maximizing CBD count (the stuff that actually prevents you getting high).
Does CBD oil help you sleep? CBD oil may help reduce anxiety, which is a major cause of insomnia. CBD induces alertness, but also appears to help increase overall sleep time at night.
How long do the effects of CBD oil last? The effects of orally administered CBD-rich cannabis oil can last for four hours or more.
How long does it take to feel the effects of CBD oil? The onset of effects is much slower than inhalation, usually around 30-90 minutes.
Does CBD oil thin your blood? Not directly, but it may increase the effectiveness of blood thinners if used in conjunction.
Does CBD oil make you hungry? CBD does not cause the same increase in appetite as THC because it does not bind directly at the CB1 receptor.
Does CBD oil cure cancer? No.
Does CBD oil expire? Yes it does. The best way to prevent and slow this down when it comes to a CBD oil is to store it in a cool, dark place. As such, the most common place to store CBD is in a fridge in between use.
Does CBD oil have THC? Though CBD does not contain THC, it is important to know a CBD product, such as tinctures, oils, edibles, etc., may contain some THC due to both compounds being present in the cannabis plant.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that makes up the female cannabis plant. Other than THC it is the most commonly studied cannabinoid. It differs from THC in several ways, most notably CBD is not a psychoactive substance. In fact CBD tends to limit the effects of THC, and as such is often considered as an anti-psychotic substance.
There are many benefits to using CBD, some of them are well supported by scientific evidence, while others are less so. This does not mean that they are false claims, just that more research is required before science can give a definitive answer.
CBD appears to prevent short term memory loss in marijuana smokers, it may help improve sleep quality, it definitely seems to reduce seizures in epileptics, and is being considered as an alternative to current medical practice.
CBD may also work as a neuroprotective, prevent temporary vision loss in Diabetics, it might also lower total cholesterol, suppress inflammation, and fight different cancers. It can help prevent vomiting and feelings of nausea.
It also can suppress appetite, though whether this makes It an effective diet pill or not is up for debate. There is also evidence that CBD can help fight osteoporosis, arthritis, and may reduce arterial plaque to prevent atherosclerosis.
While CBD has a lot of potential benefits, it is seen as a controversial drug. Even though it is not a psychotropic drug, it is still classed as medical marijuana. As such it is illegal in many states in America, and many countries around the world.
The UK, Japan, and the Netherlands allow it as a non-prescription drug, but in countries such as Australia, Canada (though this is set to change in 2018), China, France, Germany, and Russia it is still illegal (35).
This looks set to change in the future in some countries, Canada will allow non-prescription use of CBD in 2018, and other countries are starting to wake up to the fact that CBD is very different to medical marijuana. With more countries using it, scientific research on the benefits of cannabidiol will increase heavily, and we will have a much greater understanding of this incredible drug.
For now though, please be aware that CBD oil may be illegal in your area. This can put you in legal difficulties, but also this means that the product that you are buying has not been verified by an independent lab. This means that it could contain anything, and could very well be full of THC. So be careful about where you are getting your supply from.