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Is CBD Oil Good for Your Health? Get the Answers to Your Top Questions

Sharon Palmer

Cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana and hemp, has gained enormous popularity recently for treating a variety of health conditions. But is their any truth to back up these claims? We’re answering your top questions on CBD oil, from its safety and health benefits to recommendations for including it in your lifestyle.  

Is CBD oil really a “miracle” cure? From reducing pain and inflammation to treating conditions like acne and anxiety, CBD oil seems to “cure” all sorts of ailments, according to the media headlines and online vendors. Indeed, researchers have investigated some of the proposed health benefits of CBD oil in both animals and humans. But does that mean the current claims are valid, or are they just hype? Read on to find out more about your top questions on this controversial oil, which has gained so much attention recently.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a natural, non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in two kinds of Cannabis sativa plants: hemp and marijuana. CBD comes from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. Unlike THC, a compound found in marijuana, CBD does not have psychoactive effects on perception and behavior.

CBD oil consists of an oil derived mainly from hemp, or a CBD extract from hemp flowers. Hemp oil, on the other hand, contains very small amounts of CBD (about 0.0025%) since hemp oil is usually made from hemp seeds, which are low in CBD. Look for the presence of CBD on the label, if you’re looking to consume CBD oil. However, recent studies have found that many products are being mislabeled, containing little CBD. So, don’t trust the labels on all products.

Is CBD Safe?

Research has shown that CBD is generally safe and does not cause intoxication, even in high doses. A 2017 WHO report found that CBD has a good safety profile and is well tolerated. A 6-week clinical trial showed that an average daily dose of 700 mg of CBD led to a blood level of 6-11 ng/mL, which is the most realistic amount of CBD given to patients. One study also found that a single dose of 600 mg of CBD led to lower anxiety and average CBD blood concentrations of 4.7-17 ng/mL. An extensive review found that chronic use of up to 1500 mg per day of CBD has repeatedly been shown to be safe and well tolerated in humans.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

While research has indicated CBD is generally safe, some have reported nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, weight changes, and irritability as a result of CBD use. If you do try CBD oil and experience negative side effects, stop taking it and see your doctor. CBD oil should be used as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.

Some research has found serious drug interactions with CBD, such as with warfarin, a blood-thinning medication used to treat blood clots. In addition, CBD may block enzymes that metabolize many medicines, including statins, calcium channel blockers, and antidepressants. As with any supplement, it’s important to discuss it with your health care professional before you start taking it.

Is CBD Legal?

With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law, industrial hemp (and its cannabinoid derivatives) is now legalized as an agricultural product and is no longer considered a federally controlled substance. Hemp is defined as any part of cannabis with a THC level less than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. This means that farmers can now plant and grow hemp, and can even apply for insurance and federal grants, along with researchers.

Now with the Farm Bill passed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is searching for ways to legalize the sale of CBD oil and other cannabis compounds in foods and beverages, which could allow companies hoping to sell these types of products across state lines. The FDA is also devising a regulatory framework for allowing companies to lawfully market CBD-containing products and to ensure the laws are predictable and efficient. What remains in question is how the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which controls scheduling of substances, will respond to this legalization.

The sale of hemp products is expected to rise with the recent passing of the Farm Bill, especially hemp extracts high in CBD. In fact, companies have really cashed in on selling CBD products. Hemp-derived CBD products can be purchased as labeled dietary supplements online and over the counter. However, cannabis-derived CBD products can only be bought by qualifying patients in states with medial cannabis laws or by customers in states with recreational cannabis laws.

The FDA also recently approved Epidiolex®, the first cannabis-derived CBD pharmaceutical drug, to treat two serious forms of childhood epilepsy. This approval shows that the FDA may be open to a gradual introduction of other CBD-containing products.

Are there Health Benefits for CBD?

CBD in hemp has in fact been researched for its effect on a number of health conditions, including arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and inflammation.

Several studies have shown that CBD-based therapies may help reduce the number of seizures and improve sleep patterns, mood and alertness. One study showed that medical CBD oil given to five children with epilepsy helped to decrease their rate of seizures and improve their communication, motor skills and sleep. Additionally, the FDA recently approved a pure CBD product, Epidiolx®, to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. This is the first FDA-approved pharmaceutical drug derived from Cannabis, as well as the first FDA-approved drug for patients with Dravet syndrome.

CBD may also help reduce anxiety and depression. In a randomized controlled trial, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo an hour and a half before a public speaking test. Those who were treated with CBD beforehand had significantly lower anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in speech performance than those in the placebo group.

CBD may also be a treatment option for chronic pain. In a study of 47 people with multiple sclerosis, those treated with cannabis-based medicine called Sativex had an improvement in muscle spasticity, walking, pain, and other related symptoms. Sativex contained a 1:1 fixed ratio of THC and CBD. Another study that examined the effects of Sativex found that the CBD-based therapy significantly improved pain on movement, pain at rest, and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis. Cannabis, in general, has also been linked with reduced nausea, and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, reduced muscle contractions in those with multiple sclerosis, and reduced chronic pain for sufferers.

What About the Hype on CBD?

It’s important to note that, while there are some studies showing positive effects of CBD, the overall body of science on CBD is still scant. And many claims made for CBD have not been verified by science. Additionally, a common misconception is that CBD gives you the same “high” as marijuana. However, CBD is not a psychoactive compound and does not lead to the euphoric effects that THC from marijuana provides.

Nutrition Composition of CBD Oil

1 tablespoon (15 mL) of CBD oil from hemp contains:

  • 125 calories
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 9 g monounsaturated fat
  • 11 g polyunsaturated fat

CBD oil contains a variety of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. It is also a source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and triglyceride levels, lowering risk of heart disease.

CBD has become increasingly popular in the media, with claims ranging from reducing pain and inflammation to treating conditions such as insomnia and cancer. Some claims have been researched, while others lack evidence documenting long-term health effects.

Where Can You Buy CBD Oil?

CBD from hemp can be found online or in health food stores. It is found as a powder, oil, cream, spray, or gel. It is also available as capsules and supplements. Certain foods, such as chocolates and gummies, can also contain CBD.

How Do You Use CBD Oil?

CBD oil can be used by adding it (see dosage on bottle) to your morning smoothie, tea, or coffee, or mixing it in with homemade energy balls, acai bowls, or oatmeal. CBD has a light, nutty flavor that can also be used in salads, dips, soups or other dishes that use vegetable oil. You can also blend it in your favorite sauce or salad dressing. However, one of the most common ways to use it is to simply drop it directly on your tongue.

What is the Bottom Line on CBD?

Although CBD oil seems to be safe, some people do report side effects. And though there are some benefits reported, the media and CBD vendors have largely over-hyped the potential benefits of this plant oil. If you choose to try it, you can incorporate into your diet in numerous ways, such as in your morning coffee or smoothie, an afternoon snack, or a cup of tea before sleep. Don’t trust labels of CBD, which are often untruthful. Remember, CBD is just a supplement for a healthy diet and lifestyle—it is not a magic bullet.

Check out some other blogs on this topic:

Dirt Report: Hemp Seeds
Do Turmeric and Hemp Prevent Cancer?
Cannabis in Foods

Written on May 8, 2019 by Mireille Najjar, Dietetic Intern, and Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

Note: This blog does not specifically condone or disparage any CBD products. I have not profited from any of the products mentioned in this blog.


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14 thoughts on “Is CBD Oil Good for Your Health? Get the Answers to Your Top Questions

  1. Wonderful blog about CBD! Thanks for sharing the advantage of CBD oil. I have learned here including arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and inflammation. The information is very useful for me.

  2. Awesome blog on CBD. The oil obtained from the cannabis plant is cannabidiol (CBD). Possible health advantages include reducing pain and inflammation. Thanks for this article very helpful.

  3. CBD oil Australia is known for its pain relief. Thanks for sharing the other benefits of using CBD oil products. I’ve learned here that it can also improve sleep and reduces stress.

  4. Cbd has side effect when it have large amount of THC in it but if it have less amount of thc in it then it work as a medicine. Many studies show that it helps people with chronic pain and find relief after using it. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. CBD oil is helpful 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 vary helpful in many health problem also like body pain, anxiety, depression and many more. I really got to know new things thanx for sharing this informative blog.

  5. I was also curious about CBD edibles when my doctor in Vancouver recommended me, but after consuming edibles (which is very safe) now i am feeling that my anxiety issues are reduced by 70 to 80 %, which is the best result.

  6. It works always, last month my family relative has anxiety issue, he suffered a lot, then he started using cbd oil and medibles by edibles. It starts working within a week. It could be a great medicine if legalized in all countries. But only in a good manner instead of addiction.

  7. It’s interesting to know that there are back-up studies that prove how effective CBD is when it comes to controlling seizures caused by epilepsy. I guess this also proves how safe it is for other people’s use, even for older people. I hope that buying CBD products can provide stress relief for me and my husband who are both sleep-deprived.

  8. I love your article about CBD. It’s super detailed and very helpful. Will share with my followers. Big thank you for putting this together. Much much appreciated!

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