7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (with Side Effects)

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Gourav Das is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. He's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle.

Cannabidiol is a well-known natural remedy used for many common ailments.

Cannabidiol better known as CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or plant of marijuana.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid present in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” which is usually associated with marijuana. However, CBD is not psychoactive unlike THC.

This quality makes CBD an attractive option for people who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without experiencing the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.

The process of extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil, CBD oil is made.

CBD oil is obtaining momentum in world of health and wellness, with some scientific studies confirming it may help in easing the symptoms of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety.

Following are the seven health benefits of CBD oil that are supported by scientific evidence.

Pain Relief

Marijuana has been used in treating pain as far back as 2900 B.C.

More lately, scientists have discovered that marijuana has certain components, including CBD, which are responsible for the pain-relieving effects.

A specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system contained in the human body, which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and response of immune system.

Endocannabinoids are produced by the body, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.

Studies have shown that CBD may help in decreasing chronic pain by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.

For example, a study in rats found that CBD injections decreased the pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that CBD with oral treatment significantly decreased sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.

A combination of CBD and THC is effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis has been found in many human studies.

An oral spray called Sativex, which is a mixture of THC and CBD, is approved in various countries for treating pain related to multiple sclerosis.

One study of around 45 people with multiple sclerosis examined the effects of using Sativex for one month. Improvements in pain, walking, and muscle spasms were experienced by the participants. Still, the study excluded any control group and placebo effects which cannot be ruled out.

Another research found that Sativex improved pain significantly during movement, pain at rest and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

CBD, especially with a mixture THC, may be effective in decreasing pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Decrease in Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders that can have damaging impacts on health and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, the single largest contributor to disability worldwide is depression, while ranked sixth are anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression are generally treated with pharmaceutical drugs, with  a number of side effects that can be caused including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache.

Medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may steer to substance abuse.

As a treatment for both depression and anxiety CBD oil has shown promising results, leading many who live with these disorders to become interested in this natural approach.

In a Brazilian study, out of 57 men, some received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before they were undergone a simulated public speaking test. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at remarkably reducing anxiety during the test.

The placebo, a 150-mg dose of CBD, and a 600-mg dose of CBD had less effect to no effect on anxiety.

CBD oil has also been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety with post-traumatic stress disorder in children.

In several animal studies CBD has shown effects similar to antidepressant

These qualities are connected to ability of CBD to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

Depression in both human and animal studies, using CBD has shown decreased anxiety and depression.

Cancer-Related Symptoms Alleviated

CBD may help decrease symptoms which are related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain.

One study focused at the effects of CBD and THC in around 170 people with pain related to cancer that did not experience relief from pain medication.

Treatment with an extract containing both of the compounds experienced a remarkable decrease in pain compared to those who received only THC extract.

To reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, CBD might also be helpful, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those having cancer.

Though there are drugs that help with these distressing symptoms, they are sometimes ineffective, leading some people to seek alternatives.

A research of people undergoing chemotherapy found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered through mouth spray decreased chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone.

Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells.

Another study showed that CBD is reluctant to the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.

However, these researches are test-tube and animal studies, so they can only recommend what might work in people. Before any conclusions can be made more studies in humans are to be needed.

Though CBD has been shown to help decrease symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment, and may also have cancer-fighting properties, to assess its efficacy and safety more research is required.

Acne reduction

More than 9% of the population is affected by acne which is a common skin condition.

Acne can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, bacteria, underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily emission made by sebaceous glands in the skin.

Based on current scientific studies, due to the anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production CBD might help in treating acne.

One test-tube research found that CBD oil helps in preventing sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, exerted anti-inflammatory actions and averted the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines.

Another study had findings which were similar, which concluded that CBD may be an efficient and safe way for treating acne, in part to its remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities.

Although these outcomes are promising, the effects of CBD on acne are needed to be explored in human studies.

CBD may have effects which are beneficial on acne due to its anti-inflammatory qualities and its ability to control the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands.

Neuroprotective Properties

Researchers believe that the ability of CBD to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems may prove beneficial for those with neurological disorders.

In fact, one of the most researched uses for CBD is in treating the neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though research is relatively new in this area, several studies have shown promising outcomes.

Sativex which is an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC has proven to be a safe and effective way to decrease muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.

One study found that Sativex decreased spasms in 75% of around 280 people with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity which was resistant to medications.

CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity as found in one study in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder, compared to a placebo.

However, it’s critical to note that adverse reactions were experienced in some of the people in both of these studies associated with CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever and fatigue.

CBD has even been studied for its potential effectiveness in the treatment of several other neurological diseases.

For example, treatment with CBD improved quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease has been shown in several studies.

Additionally, CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease which is shown in animal and test-tube studies.

In one of the long-term study, mice were genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease were given CBD by researchers, finding that it helped prevent cognitive decline.

Though at this time research is bounded, symptoms are eased by CBD related to epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. CBD was also shown to decrease the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in test-tube and animal studies.

Benefit Heart Health

CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure is linked in recent researches.

A number of health conditions, including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome can have higher risks connected to high blood pressure.

Studies indicate that CBD might be able to help with high blood pressure.

Nine healthy men were treated in a study with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo.

The same study to normally increase blood pressure also gave the men stress tests. Surprisingly, the single dose of CBD led the men in experiencing a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to these tests.

Researchers have recommended that the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

In addition, several animal studies have indicated that CBD may help reduce the inflammation and cell death which is associated with heart disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.

For example, a study found that treatment with CBD decreased the oxidative stress and prevented damage of heart in diabetic mice with heart disease.

Though more human researches are needed, CBD may benefit heart health in several ways, including by reducing blood pressure and preventing heart damage.

Other Potential Benefits

CBD for its role in treating a number of health issues has been studied other than those outlined above.

CBD is thought to provide the following health benefits, although more studies are needed:

  • Studies suggest that CBD may help people with antipsychotic effects such as schizophrenia and other mental disorders by reducing psychotic symptoms.
  • Treatment for substance abuse by CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. CBD has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior in rats (37).
  • CBD has demonstrated anti-tumor effects in test-tube and animal studies. In animals, it has been demonstrated to prevent the spread of breast, prostate, brain, colon and lung cancer.
  • Treatment with CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56% and significantly reduced inflammation tested in diabetic mice.

Some studies recommend that CBD may help with diabetes, substance abuse, mental disorders and certain types of cancers. However, more research in humans is required.

Side Effects

Though CBD is in general well tolerated and considered safe but it may cause adverse reactions in some people.

Side effects which are noted include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Fatigue

Several medications are interacted with CBD. Discussion with the doctor needs to be done before starting the use of CBD oil to ensure safety and avoidance of potentially harmful interactions.

This is especially vital if taking medications or supplements that come with a “grapefruit warning.” Grapefruit and CBD both interfere with cytochromes P450 (CYPs), a group of enzymes that are important to drug metabolism.

A study carried out on mice showed that CBD-rich cannabis extracts have the possibility to cause liver toxicity. However, some of the mice in the research were fed forcefully with extremely large doses of the extract.

Although CBD is considered to be safe but may cause adverse reactions like diarrhea and fatigue in some people. It may also interfere with certain medications.

The Bottom Line

CBD oil has been researched for its possible role in easing symptoms of many health issues which are common, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease.

For cancer related, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief.

Research on the possible health benefits of CBD oil is in progress, so new therapeutic uses for this natural remedy are sure to be discovered.

Though the efficacy and safety of CBD are much to be learned about, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment for many health issues.

Products can be purchased online if interested to trying, such as including gummies, oils, and lotions.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but under some state laws they are illegal. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but under some state laws it is legal. Check the state’s laws and those if travelling anywhere. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be labeled inaccurately.

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