CBD oil is probably the most prevalent out of all CBD-based products available on the market — and for a good reason. It is well-known for its numerous wellness properties, including alleviating pain, reducing blood pressure, and addressing symptoms of mental health illnesses. Moreover, many people claim that it helped them deal with other severe issues, such as insomnia, cancer-related symptoms, and neurological disorders.
While these advantages may seem overstated for marketing purposes at first glance, enough clinical trials and research prove CBD’s effectiveness in treating specific health issues and aiding in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Nevertheless, if you are still on the fence about whether CBD oil is worth your attention, keep reading. Below, we discuss CBD in detail, paying close attention to its most frequently claimed properties and their actual use.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
First of all, to fully understand where CBD’s sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects come from, it is vital to learn how this substance is extracted from the cannabis plant. Here is a short step-by-step description of this process:
- The cannabis plant is planted. Typically, CBD dietary supplements are made from the hemp plant, as it contains less than 0.3% THC and much more CBD than the marijuana plant.
- After the plant is fully grown, it is harvested. This step usually takes place around October.
- CBD is extracted from dried hemp flowers. These flowers can be from, for example, the cannabis sativa plant. The most frequently used extraction methods are ethanol extraction, CO2 extraction, and oil extraction.
- Once CBD is extracted, manufacturers mix it with other ingredients, including carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil.
- The finished product is lab tested and packaged.
Is CBD Legal?
Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, concerns about its exact legal status are unavoidable. Knowing the difference between hemp and marijuana will also help you understand how the law regulates CBD. Under the Farm Bill 2018, hemp-derived CBD products have become federally legal.
However, federal legality does not necessarily guarantee its legal status in every state, as each state can have its own regulations that may restrict or even ban CBD-based products. So, it is still a good idea to check the specifics of your local laws before purchasing CBD oil in your area.
In addition, it is important to note that marijuana-derived CBD products don’t meet all legal regulations, as their THC content is often too high. However, in states where recreational marijuana is legal (not to confuse it with state medical marijuana laws), the list of cannabis-derived products expands to include marijuana-derived CBD.
How Does CBD Work?
Before we can move to the most significant benefits of using CBD, it is essential to understand how CBD works, i.e., interacts with our bodies.
The human body contains a system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). As Harvard Health Blog mentions, it consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes to produce them. These receptors are located throughout the body but are most concentrated in the brain and central nervous system. When activated by cannabinoids and endocannabinoids, they send signals to other cells and molecules to regulate overall bodily functions and responses.
The ECS plays an essential role in:
- relaxing muscles,
- controlling inflammation and pain,
- regulating immune response,
- stabilizing moods,
- reducing stress,
- regulating appetite.
CBD interacts with the ECS in two ways: by mimicking naturally occurring compounds (endocannabinoids) or activating receptors. CBD’s interaction with endocannabinoids and their receptors helps produce many beneficial effects:
- provides pain relief,
- reduces inflammation,
- improves mood,
- helps with sleeping disorders,
- relieves anxiety,
- promotes heart health,
- prevents cancer cell growth
In addition to delivering these benefits, CBD also has antipsychotic properties and can make you feel more relaxed. It’s important to note that CBD’s benefits rely heavily on your own body chemistry and how your body responds to the compound.
Based on this understanding, it’s easy to see why CBD has received so much hype over the past few years, especially as more studies are being conducted into its potential benefits. However, keep in mind that everyone is different, so while some people may experience little to no positive effects at all, others will experience its benefits tremendously.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Although more research is still needed, the current results are encouraging, proving that CBD has some serious potential in the healthcare industry. Here are some of the most prominent health benefits of CBD Oil:
Natural Pain Relief
CBD has powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great natural treatment for joint pain and inflammation. According to the study supported by the American Cancer Society, transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. It exerts an anti-inflammatory effect without evident high brain center psychoactive effects.
Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggested that cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain – the latter is a type of chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system.
In addition, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology suggests that taking CBD oil may help improve the mobility of people with multiple sclerosis – the most common demyelinating disease characterized by damaged insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. CBD could relieve some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, such as pain, muscle spasticity, fatigue, inflammation, and even mental disorders like depression.
How to use CBD oil to relieve pain: It’s best to take the CBD oil sublingually. Take a few drops of CBD oil or tincture, place them under your tongue, and allow CBD to sink in for 1 to 2 minutes before swallowing. You can also apply CBD-based topicals directly to affected areas to reduce pain and inflammation.
Helps You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most frequently reported health benefits of using CBD is the sleep-inducing properties that help you fall asleep faster and sleep for longer, generally improving your sleep quality. Preliminary research suggests that CBD can have a calming effect on the nervous system and also alter mood by affecting serotonin levels.
While CBD has shown an indirect impact on sleep by relieving chronic pain or anxiety that might be the primary reasons for one’s sleep issues, research suggests it can also help cope with sleeping disturbances such as insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive sleep daytime sleepiness disorder.
For example, the initial results of a limited study suggest that CBD may be a possible treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder, most common in older patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, as it helped manage its symptoms.
As of today, different studies suggest that different doses of CBD can have either a sedating or wake-inducing effect, meaning that further research is needed to determine precise dosages to achieve specific results. Now, it’s best to start taking CBD oil slowly and observe how your body reacts to it, gradually increasing the dosage to determine what amount of CBD works best for you.
How to use CBD oil to get a good night’s sleep: The easiest way to use CBD oil to help you sleep is to take the supplement sublingually – just 1 or 2 drops of the CBD oil under your tongue before bedtime should be enough to help you sleep. You can also apply a CBD-based topical or lotion directly to the affected area if you have trouble sleeping due to stiffness or soreness. Another popular method is having a couple of CBD gummies or softgels (CBD oil in capsules) before bed.
Stress and Anxiety Management
As you probably know, anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States. CBD has powerful anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties, which help treat certain anxiety disorders, making it an effective natural treatment for anxiety. The compound can also help with mild to moderate depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Furthermore, a preliminary study indicates that a single dose of CBD can reduce the anxiety-enhancing effect provoked by the simulated public speaking test in patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD), indicating that this cannabinoid inhibits the fear of speaking in public, one of the main symptoms of the disorder.
In addition to that, CBD is also known to:
- reduce feelings of stress, fear, and uncertainty
- help relieve symptoms of panic disorder, such as feelings of panic, restlessness, irritability, and tension,
- reduce obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms,
- reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia associated with it,
- help relieve symptoms of schizophrenia,
- help strengthen the immune system.
How to use CBD oil to reduce anxiety: Adding 1 or 2 drops of CBD oil under your tongue should be enough to help you relax and unwind – without making you feel intoxicated, drowsy, sleepy, or experiencing any withdrawal symptoms, as is commonly associated with THC-based products.
Helps Fight Cancer
CBD has been shown to prevent the development of new cancer cells in animal studies and reduce or slow cancer cell growth. According to a study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, CBD treatment helped decrease cancer growth markers. Other studies also suggested that CBD may indirectly cause cancer cells to die by reducing their ability to reproduce.
While CBD is not an established cancer treatment, it is possible that using the compound may aid in fighting different types of cancer. For example, according to the research conducted at California Pacific Medical Center, cannabidiol can be considered as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells, meaning that it can be used to potentially create more potent and efficacious drugs and could also provide a therapeutic strategy for the effective treatment of additional aggressive cancers.
Additionally, CBD could help you manage the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and cancer-related pain. Furthermore, as mentioned above, CBD may help with insomnia and other sleep disturbances – and one of the biggest challenges for people with cancer is sleeping, especially those undergoing chemotherapy.
Helps with Epilepsy and Seizures
Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures with symptoms like dizziness, alterations in senses, and in severe forms – unresponsiveness and uncontrollable muscle spasms, and limb movements. Experimental evidence indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) induces anxiolytic and antiepileptic effects by activating 5-HT1A receptors. As an anticonvulsant, it has also been found to reduce the frequency of seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy.
A trial of cannabidiol for drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet Syndrome found that CBD significantly reduced the incidence of epileptic seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome – a rare and difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy. Furthermore, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one CBD-based epilepsy medication to treat rare forms of epilepsy, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, for people 1 and older.
Promotes Heart Health
CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties may reduce risk factors that lead to heart disease and related conditions like stroke. For example, high blood pressure, which is frequently raised under stress, is the primary risk factor for hypertensive heart disease – CBD is known to relieve stress and, therefore, CBD may lower blood pressure. Animal studies have also found that CBD may benefit heart health by improving vasorelaxation, which is important for better blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Helps Treat Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia commonly appears in older adults and is a term used to describe the overall deterioration of their cognitive functions. Research suggests that high concentrations of CBD oil could help manage some of the symptoms of dementia, which include agitation, sleep disturbances, disrupted motor function, and anxiety.
A study conducted in 2019 suggests that CBD oil may be used to treat and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease – a form of dementia that gets worse over time – as well as help manage its mental symptoms, like loss of sleep, anxiety, and depression. What’s more, CBD is certified as generally safe by World Health Organization as it has little to no side effects.
CBD has also been proven to help relieve Parkinson’s disease symptoms – a central nervous system disorder that affects motor (movement) functions, causing symptoms like slow movements, shaking, stiffness, and walking difficulties. It can develop into a condition called Parkinson’s disease dementia, characterized by neurological symptoms like memory loss, shortened attention span, and general difficulty in thinking and reasoning. Thus, medical cannabis and THC are not recommended to avoid impairing thinking even more, making CBD a safer option.
Additional Uses of CBD Oil
As you can see, CBD us most frequently used to treat pain, relieve anxiety and stress, as well as reduce inflammation – health benefits that have also been reported by Harvard Medical School. They, in turn, have a set of additional benefits, like lower high blood pressure, improved sleep quality, support for the immune system, or multiple sclerosis treatment.
However, there are even more, maybe less obvious uses of CBD oil, you should know about:
Over the past several years, CBD has also become a popular ingredient in beauty products, but do not confuse it with products containing hemp seed oil – although it also comes from the cannabis plant, it has little to no CBD content. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that cannabidiol exerts anti-inflammatory effects and has the potential as a promising therapeutic agent for treating acne vulgaris.
You can either look for CBD-based skincare products, such as creams, serums, emulsions, face masks, etc., or make some home remedies, for example, by combining CBD oil with your daily moisturizer. However, when purchasing the best CBD oil beauty products, ensure they have third-party lab certifications and are transparent about their CBD sources and manufacturing process.
Helps Overcome Substance Abuse
CBD has been shown to reduce drug-seeking behavior, i.e., CBD can lessen one’s cravings for alcohol or drugs – a limited number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may also have therapeutic properties and be effective at reducing cravings for stimulants – including cocaine, amphetamines, and nicotine – by preventing their reuptake, while some preliminary data suggest that it may be beneficial in cannabis and tobacco addiction.
A more recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that CBD may also reduce cravings in people with heroin drug addiction. In addition to that, CBD also has neuroprotective properties, helping you manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including chronic anxiety, insomnia, and headache. Thus, CBD products can potentially provide an alternative, safer substance abuse treatment that doesn’t cause further addictions.
CBD for Pets
CBD may also be beneficial for cats and dogs, helping to deal with some common health conditions in pets, such as skin allergies and relieve cancer pain and osteoarthritis-related pain, as well as cope with behavioral issues – for example, separation anxiety in dogs. It can also work as an appetite stimulant, provide anti-nausea effects, and help control seizures in epileptic dogs.
However, it is essential to realize that these conclusions are based primarily on anecdotal evidence from pet owners, and more research is needed in this field. Before giving your pet CBD oil, it would be best to discuss its use and dosage with a veterinarian first.
As you can see, although cannabidiol is a pretty popular research subject, more clinical studies are needed to determine CBD dosages for the most efficient results. Its anti-inflammatory, sedating, and anxiolytic properties, among many others, can help you create an effective self-care routine and contribute to improved overall well-being.
As for now, CBD oil remains one of the hottest wellness trends and may actually be an effective natural remedy to relieve pain, manage stress and anxiety levels, improve the quality of sleep, and help to cope with various health conditions or their symptoms.