CBD (or Cannabidiol) has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years and is fast becoming renowned across the world for its positive and wide-ranging health and wellbeing benefits.
Whether it’s for physical ailments such as arthritis or joint pain, migraines or allergies, or for its powerful mental health effects in helping to treat anxiety and depression – both anecdotally and, in some cases, scientifically – CBD is proving for many to be an ever-increasingly affordable and effective solution to a whole host of twenty-first century ailments.
If you’ve ever had questions about CBD, what it is, how it’s made and what the benefits of CBD Oil are, read on to find out more.
What Is CBD Oil And How Does It Work?
Cannabidiol is an oil that comes from the cannabis sativa plant (also referred to as hemp or marijuana) and contains a wide-range of compounds that have been proven to be effective, therapeutic treatments. Now before you start imagining a bunch of hippies lighting up a spliff and getting high, it’s worth noting that many of the compounds found in the cannabis plant aren’t actually psychoactive (they don’t change your state of mind) with cannabidiol being one of them.
This makes CBD an appealing option for those looking for symptomatic relief of common ailments without the mind-altering effects. CBD oil is made by only extracting the cannabidiol from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut oil. The mind-altering compound THC (the part of the plant that can be used to get high) is left out of the process.
Some of the many symptoms CBD oil has been shown to potentially help relieve include:
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety and depression
- Migraines, cluster and other headaches
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Allergies or asthma
- Lung conditions
- Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
All cannabinoids produce effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, of which the body produces two types – CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found throughout the body, especially in the brain, and coordinate movement, pain, emotion, thinking, mood, memories, appetite and other functions.
CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and affect inflammation and pain.
CBD stimulates these receptors so the body starts to produce its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids
Are CBD Oil And Hemp Oil The Same?
Whilst you may hear CBD oil sometimes referred to as hemp oil, they are actually quite different.
CBD oil uses the leaves, stalks and flowers of the Cannabis Sativa, or hemp, plant in its production, which contain a higher level of CBD – known for its numerous potential health benefits.
Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the plant. The seeds themselves don’t contain CBD but they do provide many rich nutrients, fatty acids and bioactive compounds that can also provide antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-cancer health benefits including relieving constipation, cardiovascular health, improving skin conditions and various beneficial effects on immune and gastrointestinal health. Other uses of hemp include the manufacturing of clothes and fibres.
It’s therefore useful to know the difference between hemp and CBD oil so you can make an informed choice about which is the most appropriate product for your needs.
Is CBD Oil Legal And Safe?
The subject of legality can get tricky depending on where you live. In the UK and Europe for instance, the use of CBD for medical purposes is completely legal providing it contains less that 0.2% of THC.
In the USA it’s a little more complicated. Hemp and hemp-derived products are now legal under the ‘Farm Bill’ providing their THC content is under 0.3%, but the FDA hasn’t yet approved non-prescription products which means that possessing CBD products made from marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. However, 47 of the 50 states consider CBD products derived from the hemp plant as legal to possess but with strict regulations and restrictions around their use in food and beverages. It’s therefore worth checking the laws in your state to be sure.
If you live anywhere else in the world the rules surrounding CBD oil are diverse with some countries allowing its use, others restricting it, and some forbidding it completely, so it’s worth checking the laws within your country first before purchasing or importing.
In terms of the safety of CBD oil, it is generally considered to be safe to use however there could be risks and side effects in the same way there are with any therapy or medication.
It’s always a good idea to speak to a medical professional before using CBD to help work out whether it will have any negative effects such as interacting with any other medication or supplements you may be on, or adversely affecting mental alertness, mood or gastrointestinal health.
The Benefits Of CBD Oil
The benefits of using CBD oil, whether orally or topically, depending on preference and what you are intending to treat are numerous. Here are the main ones:
- Pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects
Some people see CBD as a better, more natural alternative to pain relief, and there is growing evidence that CBD could provide a new, effective treatment for chronic pain. A study in 2018 showed CBD reduced inflammation by preventing the release of compounds that trigger swelling, whilst another study in 2019 showed it significantly reduced inflammatory skin disease and scarring when applied as an ointment to the skin.
- Musculo-skeletal health and arthritis
CBD oil is growing in popularity as a non-opioid option for managing musculoskeletal pain, including arthritis, as a result of its positive anti-inflammatory effects. Over last few years, CBD has created huge waves in this area as its benefits begin to be explored more thoroughly and research continues to impress experts and consumers. As mentioned above, CBD interacts with our CB1 and CB2 receptors to help relieve symptoms.
- Epilepsy and other neurological disorders
There has been years of research into the safe and effective use of CBD in treating epilepsy. In 2018 for instance, the FDA in America and MHRA in the UK approved the use of Epidyolex, a purified form of CBD, for treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – rare forms of epilepsy that are difficult to control with other forms of medication – in people over three-years-old.
Researchers are beginning to understand how CBD prevents seizures without the sedating effects that can be found in medication. There aren’t currently any drugs available that target the endocannabinoid system as CBD can.
Research has also suggested that CBD may also be able to treat complications related to epilepsy such as neurodegeneration, psychiatric diseases and neuronal injury.
A study undertaken in 2012 discovered that CBD may produce similar effects to those of some anti-psychotic drugs and may also provide safe and effective treatment for those with schizophrenia.
- Anxiety disorders
People with chronic anxiety have often been advised to avoid cannabis because the THC element can trigger or worsen feelings or anxiousness and paranoia. CBD however may help reduce it, especially those suffering from PTSD, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety, according to a 2015 review. This is based on CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s seratonin receptors – a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour.
Currently some treatments have adverse effects and some people stop using them for this reason. There is however, no evidence to confirm that CBD has significant negative effects.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
There have been a lot of studies into the effects of CBD on Alzheimer’s Disease, with some suggesting it might help to slow down the onset and progression of the disease. A study in 2014 using rodents showed that CBD might help people retain the ability to recognise familiar faces – a common symptom of the disease. More research is being done to understand effective dosages.
- Smoking and drug withdrawal
There have been numerous studies into the use of CBD and giving up smoking. A study in 2013, a review in 2015 and a further study in 2018, found that smokers who used an inhaler containing CBD smoked fewer cigarettes than previously and stopped craving nicotine.
The research acknowledged that CBD reduced some associated symptoms linked to substance use disorders including anxiety, pain, insomnia and mood-related symptoms.
- Type 1 diabetes
Diabetes occurs if the body’s immune system attacks pancreatic cells leading to inflammation. Research undertaken in 2016 uncovered evidence to suggest that CBD could help ease this inflammation and protect against, or delay, the onset of type 1 diabetes. In 2018, further studies undertaken on rodents showed that CBD was found to have a neuroprotective effect on rats with diabetes, helping to preserve memory and reduce nerve inflammation
CBD has also been found to have a positive effect on Acne by helping to lower the production of sebum in the skin that causes it – in part due to its anti-inflammatory effect. By applying CBD topically (as an ointment) CBD may also help reduce psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. It’s increasingly becoming a more common ingredient in skin creams and ointments.
- Fighting cancer
In a review carried out in 2012, scientists discovered evidence that CBD might help to prevent the spread of certain types of cancer due to the compound helping to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their demise.
A further review undertaken last year (2020) discusses adding CBD to chemotherapy treatments to improve the response of the immune system to the treatment. Various other types of research continue to look into how CBD might also help prevent the growth of cancer cells, improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy, as well as reduce its side-effects, and reduce anxiety.
CBD Oil And Muscle Recovery
Many people claim that CBD can aid in muscle recovery. No matter how often you workout, soreness can happen to us all due to the microscopic damage caused to our muscle fibres by resistance training. Those muscles become inflamed, triggering the body’s response to repair, and causing soreness and stiffness.
In addition, according to a 2018 review of 132 separate studies, CBD can help reduce inflammation and improve pain and mobility in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). According the review’s authors, it is “anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-emetic, anti-psychotic and neuroprotective” when rubbed into the muscles as an ointment or taken orally.
So, in terms of using it for post-workout soreness, how much should you take? High doses of around 1500 mg per day have been shown to be well-tolerated by humans, although you shouldn’t need that much. A well-regarded rule of thumb is between one to six milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight depending on pain levels. Alternatively, try starting with five to 10 mg per day and increase by a further five to 10 mg daily until you feel relief.
How To Use CBD Oil – What’s Best For Me?
There are multiple ways you can use CBD oil which, it should be noted, are not the same as smoking cannabis. These include:
- Mixing into food and drink
- Swallowing capsules
- Spraying under the tongue
- Topical use such as massaging onto the skin as an ointment
- Taking with a dropper or pipette
Recommended dosages vary from person to person and depend on factors including weight, product concentration and the reason you have for taking CBD. It really does all depend on how you choose to administer the product, based on the symptoms, and the specific product itself. It’s always a good idea to get advice from a health professional around dosage depending on what you are using it for. Of course if you’re being prescribed CBD for epilepsy then you should follow your doctor’s instructions.
As an example, the following table gives you some idea as to the method of administration and dosage levels that researchers have used in studies around CBD’s therapeutic effects on various medical conditions.
|Anxiety||300 - 600 mg||Oral|
|Bowel Disease||5 mg twice a day||Sublingual (drops)|
|Type 2 Diabetes||100 mg twice a day||Oral|
|Pain due to cancer||50 - 600 mg a day||Oral|
|Parkinson's Disease||75 - 300 mg a day||Oral|
|Huntington's Disease||Up to 12 sprays a day||Sativex nasal spray|
Quality Is Important
If you’re thinking about trying CBD then it’s really important to make sure the product is high-quality and comes from a reliable source. When looking at which CBD product to buy, there are a few things you should look out for, including:
- It’s produced using naturally grown hemp
The hemp or cannabis sativa plant is a ‘hyperaccumulator’ meaning that it easily absorbs everything from the soil in which it grows. Safe CBD oils are sourced from areas where governments require farmers to be certified and where fields are regularly tested for dangerous substances. Look for oils that have been tested by an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited lab to make sure it doesn’t contain pesticides, bacteria, fungus, heavy metals or any other foreign matter.
- The oil is extracted using safe solvents (such as supercritical CO2)
The best CBD oils use safe solvents to extract the right compounds to ensure the CBD is free from any residues or additives. Try and avoid CBD oils made using chemicals such as butane, pentane, propane, or hexane.
- The price isn’t so low as to be ‘too good to be true’
High quality CBD oils aren’t cheap to produce so if the price is too low it’s a sign it could be made with inferior or contaminated raw materials, or it may not contain much CBD at all. You don’t have to try and buy the most expensive, but do aim for reasonably priced products and look for positive customer reviews.
- The product label displays the amount of CBD
Any good quality CBD oil made by a reputable company will display how much CBD you’re getting on the label. Look for either concentration or the total milligrams in the bottle – higher numbers mean more potency. An effective CBD oil will contain between 250 – 1000mg per 10ml bottle. Don’t go for anything less unless you want to waste your money.
- It contains less that 0.2% THC
Sub-standard processing could boost levels of this psychoactive element (the part that gets you high) which means poorer quality and less efficacy. It could also make it illegal where you live.
Also, look out for:
- Independent test results – has the company had its products verified by an independent testing facility? Good companies will make these easy to find;
- It’s made from whole-plant extracts, not CBD isolates;
- It doesn’t contain outrageous medical claims.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, you can purchase many products online depending on your ailment and your preferred method of treatment including gummies, oils, and lotions. Knowing where to look and which supplier to trust, not just for quality and safety but also for good customer service, can be a bit of a minefield to say the least.
Having read this far however, you now know what to look for and you’re armed with all the information you need to choose wisely. To help you further however, I’ve listed three of my top recommended CBD suppliers, all of which are trusted, regulated and verified with much positive customer feedback, below.
1. Absolute Nature CBD – USA
Absolute Nature is an award-winning CBD supplier who promotes ‘nature-perfected’ products using only 100% natural CBD that is third-party tested and not extracted using chemicals or synthetics. They’re really transparent and they publish their third-party lab reports clearly on their website.
- They also have a whole education centre on everything to do with CBD – the science behind it, how to use it for different ailments, tips and advice, and a really comprehensive FAQ section.
They offer a whole range of products including oils, soft gels, gummies, hemp flower, wellness and immunity, and even CBD oils for pets, and they’re currently offering up to 50% in their biggest sale to date.
2. Goat Grass – USA & UK
Goat Grass pride themselves on offering a healthy, all-natural alternative to health and wellness products, backed up with their industry standard guarantee for product quality, safety and consistency. Selling predominately to the US and UK markets, all their products are organically grown, lab tested, gluten free and suitable for vegans. Like Absolute Nature, they also do their own range for pets and offer oil drops, capsules and topical ointments.
Quote CBD10LIFE to get10% off your first order
3. CBDFX – UK and Europe
CBDFX supplies to the UK and Europe and is another great website providing high quality CBD with a pure, single-pass CO2 extraction method from some of the best hemp plants in the world – guaranteeing safety and quality for maximum benefit. Products include oils, edibles, topicals and gummies, and their lab reports are publicly available. They’re currently offering up to 25% off for three items or more.
Quote CBD25LIFE for 25% off
The Final Word
The reasons and benefits for taking CBD oil are gathering more strength and legitimacy, with its popularity in the health and wellness sector continuing to expand quickly. Indeed, some analysts predict its value will hit $2 billion by 2022.
CBD has many purported benefits based on both anecdotal and factual evidence and research continues at pace to back up these claims further. Whether you’re looking to relieve muscular pain, arthritis, or recover from workouts faster; help treat insomnia, improve your mental health and wellbeing or treat seizures; there are a wealth of safe and effective CBD products on the market today for you to try. Be sure to follow the advice and make sure what you are buying is good quality and, as ever, it’s always good to get medical advice first.
Have you tried CBD oil to treat any conditions, whether prescribed by a doctor or over the counter? How did you get on and has it had a positive impact on your health and wellbeing? Or maybe you’ve stumbled across this article wanting to know more before you try it for yourself? Whatever your reason, comment below and let’s start a conversation around the use of CBD to help others make an informed decision about whether CBD oil is the right choice for them. And if you have any questions for me, I’ll be happy to help you out!
Just so you know…
As an affiliate, I may earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases made through the links on this page.