What are the health benefits of CBD Oil?
Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm Last updated on Oct 29, 2019.
Many manufacturers of CBD Oil (cannabidiol) products claim CBD is effective at relieving anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, improving sleep, or has other health benefits. A CBD product (Epidolex) has been FDA approved to treat epilepsy.
However, there are very few well-conducted trials to back up these claims, apart from the use of CBD in two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. Most trials that have been published have used either marijuana, a combination of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or only involved animals. Very few have been conducted on CBD alone.
Over 200 different substances (called cannabinoids) can be extracted from the Cannabis plant; CBD and THC are just two of these substances. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties and will not give you a “high”. There is no evidence it has any abuse or dependence potential and to date there is no evidence that it is associated with any serious side effects, according to the World Health Organization.
The main reason there are few trials to back up the perceived health benefits of CBD is that previous laws lumped marijuana and hemp together in the same basket. However, in December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements for CBD, which allowed for more research into CBD and trials are now underway investigating its benefits for Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety. The government’s position on CBD remains confusing, despite all 50 states legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction.
In summary, the only proven health benefit for CBD current is for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (two forms of epilepsy). Other possible health benefits for CBD (these require further investigating) include relieving:
- Arthritis pain
- Inflammatory pain
- Muscle-spasticity in multiple sclerosis
- Nausea and vomiting associated with cancer
- Nerve-related pain
- Sleep disorders.
Side effects of CBD may include nausea, tiredness and irritability, and it may interact with some medications, such as warfarin.
Because CBD is currently marketed as a supplement, it is not regulated for safety and purity. Which means you cannot be sure if the product you are buying does contain CBD at the dosage listed, or if it contains any other (unlisted) ingredients. Also, because research into CBD is scarce, nobody really knows the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any medical condition.