What Is CBD Oil?
This cannabis extract may help treat nerve pain, anxiety, and epilepsy
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman’s World, and Natural Health.
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Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles, California.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an extract from hemp plants called Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa . You might be more familiar with cannabis plants because they are grown for marijuana. However, CBD is not the same thing as marijuana.
CBD oil contains CBD that’s mixed with a base (carrier) oil, like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. These are called tinctures. You can get tinctures in different concentrations. The oil can also be put into capsules, gummies, and sprays.
People who support using CBD oil say that it can treat pain and anxiety; can help stimulate appetite and may help manage some types of seizures.
This article goes over what CBD is used for, the possible side effects, and what you should look for if you choose to buy CBD.
CBD vs. Marijuana
CBD is one component (called a cannabinoid ) that’s found in a hemp plant. Marijuana is a separate plant but it’s from the same species that hemp belongs to. Marijuana has CBD and hundreds of other compounds in it.
The main difference between hemp plants and marijuana plants is how much of a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is in them. Hemp is grown to have less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana has more.
THC is what’s responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis—in other words, it’s what makes you feel “high.”
CBD oil generally does not have THC in it; however, a very small (trace) amount might be in products sold in certain states.
What Is CBD Oil Used For?
We’re not sure exactly how CBD works. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have a strong connection with the molecules in the brain that THC binds to create psychoactive effects. These are called cannabinoid receptors.
Instead, CBD works on other receptors, like the opioid receptors that help control pain. It also affects glycine receptors that control a brain chemical called serotonin which helps control your mood.
People that support the use of CBD claim that CBD oil can treat a variety of health problems, including:
- Chronic pain
- Drug use and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Poor appetite
As CBD has gained popularity, researchers have been trying to study it more. Still, there has not been a lot of clinical research to look for evidence in support of these health claims.
CBD is not a safe option for everyone. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to try it for managing a health condition.
A 2015 review of research that was published in the journal Neurotherapeutics suggested that CBD might help treat anxiety disorders.
The study authors reported that CBD had previously shown powerful anxiety-relieving effects in animal research—and the results were kind of surprising.
In most of the studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) improved some symptoms of anxiety, while higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) had almost no effect.
The way that CBD acts in the brain could explain why this happens. In low doses, CBD might act the same as the surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor that “turns up” their signaling.
However, at higher doses, too much activity at this receptor site could produce the opposite effect.
There have not been many trials to look at CBD’s anxiety-relieving effects in humans. However, one was a 2019 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry.
For the study, 57 men took either CBD oil or a sugar pill with no CBD in it (placebo) before a public-speaking event.
The researchers assessed the participants’ anxiety levels using measures like blood pressure and heart rate. The researchers also used a reliable test for mood states called the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).
The men who took 300 mg of CBD oil reported less anxiety than the men who were given a placebo; however, the men who took 100 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil did not experience the same effects.
CBD oil might help people with substance use disorder, according to a 2015 review published in the journal Substance Abuse.
The review looked at the findings from 14 published studies. Nine of the studies looked at the effects of CBD on animals, and five studies looked at the effects on humans.
The researchers reported that CBD showed promise for treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant use disorders.
However, the effects of CBD were quite different depending on the substance. For example, CBD without THC did not decrease withdrawal symptoms related to opioid use.
On the other hand, it did reduce drug-seeking behaviors in people using cocaine, methamphetamine, and other similar drugs.
Some experts suggest that CBD could help treat cannabis and nicotine dependence, but more research is needed to provide this theory.
High Blood Pressure
A 2017 study found that CBD oil may reduce the risk of heart disease because it can lower high blood pressure in some people.
For the study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. The men who took CBD had lower blood pressure before and after experiencing stressors like exercise or extreme cold.
The study also looked at the amount of blood remaining in the heart after a heartbeat (stroke volume).
The stroke volume in the men who took CBD was lower than in was in the placebo group, meaning their hearts were pumping more efficiently.
The study suggested that CBD oil could be a complementary therapy for people with high blood pressure that is affected by stress and anxiety.
However, there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat high blood pressure on its own or prevent it in people at risk. While stress can complicate high blood pressure, it does not cause it.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD oral solution called Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in children under the age of 2: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are very rare genetic disorders that cause lifelong seizures starting in the first year of life.
Other than for these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness for treating seizures is not known. Even with Epidiolex, it’s not clear if the anti-seizure effects are from CBD or another factor.
However, there is some evidence that CBD interacts with seizure medicines like Onfi (clobazam) and raises their concentration in the blood. That said, more research is needed to understand the link.
Possible Side Effects
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can cause side effects. The specific side effects a person has and how bad they are varies from one person to the next and from one type of CBD to another.
Some common side effects people report from using CBD include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes, which is a marker of liver inflammation.
People with liver disease should talk to their healthcare provider before taking CBD oil. They may need to have their liver enzymes checked regularly if they are using CBD.
Can You Use CBD If You’re Pregnant?
You should not use CBD oil if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though the effects of CBD are not fully understood, it does pass through the placenta.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) further states that pregnant people should not use marijuana because of the potential risks to a developing fetus.
Do not drive or use heavy machinery when taking CBD oil—especially when you first start using it or switch to a new brand. Remember that some products do contain THC, even in small amounts.
CBD oil can interact with medications, including many that are used to treat epilepsy. One of the reasons for this has to do with how your body breaks down (metabolizes) drugs.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) is an enzyme your body uses to break down some drugs. CBD oil can block CYP450. That means that taking CBD oil with these drugs could make them have a stronger effect than you need or make them not work at all.
Drugs that could potentially interact with CBD include:
- Anti-arrhythmia drugs like quinidine
- Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
- Antifungal drugs like Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Vfend (voriconazole)
- Antipsychotic drugs like Orap (pimozide)
- Atypical antidepressants like Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
- Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and telithromycin
- Migraine medicine like Ergomar (ergotamine)
- Opioid painkillers like Duragesic (fentanyl) and alfentanil
- Rifampin-based drugs used to treat tuberculosis
Always tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the medicines you take, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, or recreational drugs.
The interactions between these medications and CBD are often mild and you might not have to change your treatment.
However, in some cases, you might have to change medications or space out your doses to avoid a reaction. That said, never change or stop medication without talking to your provider.
Dosage and Preparation
There are no guidelines for using CBD oil. Each product works a bit differently, depending on the form.
For example, putting the oil under your tongue can produce effects more quickly than swallowing a capsule that needs to be digested.
Here are a few ways that you can take CBD oil:
- Placing one or more drops under your tongue and holding it there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing. You can also use a spray that is spritz in your mouth/under your tongue.
- Taking a capsule or chewing a gummy
There’s no “correct” dose of CBD oil. How much you take and the form you choose will depend on your needs and what you hope to get for effects. The average dose range is from 5 mg to 25 mg.
Most oils come in 30-milliliter (mL) bottles and include a dropper cap to help you measure.
That said, it’s hard to figure out the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil. Some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL or more.
How to Calculate CBD Dose
To determine an exact dose of CBD, remember that each drop of oil equals 0.05 mL of fluid. This means that a 30-mL bottle of CBD oil will have about 600 drops in it.
If the concentration of the tincture is 1,500 mg per mL, one drop would have 2.5 mg of CBD in it. The math to figure that out looks like this: 1,500 mg ÷ 600 drops = 2.5 mg
What to Look For
CBD oil comes in different forms: isolates, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum.
- Isolates contain only CBD
- Broad-spectrum oils nearly all of the components of the plan (e.g., proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll), but does not have THC oils have all the compounds including THC (up to 0.3%)
Alternative medicine practitioners believe that the compounds provide more health benefits, but the is a lack of evidence to support these claims.
Remember that CBD oils are unregulated. There’s no guarantee that a product is what it claims to be on its packaging. You also can’t know for sure that it’s safe and effective.
A 2017 study reported that only 31% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most had less CBD in them than was advertised, and 21% had significant amounts of THC.
If you are interested in buying CBD products, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Buy American: Domestically produced CBD oil might be a safer option than those that have been imported.
- Go organic: Brands certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are less likely to expose you to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Read the product label: Even if you choose a full-spectrum oil, don’t assume that every ingredient on the product label is natural. CBD products can also have preservatives, flavorings, or thinning agents in them. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, ask the dispenser what it is or check online.
Hemp plants can be grown for different purposes. Some species are made for marijuana but others are used to make CBD products.
Unlike marijuana, CBD oil does not “get you high.” Instead, it may help relieve stress, anxiety, drug withdrawals, and nerve pain.
While there are many claims about the health benefits of using CBD oil, the evidence is lacking. A lot of studies were done with animals, not humans.
If you want to try CBD oil, you should learn about the different dosages and preparations first.
You should also know that the products are not regulated, which means you can’t know for sure that a product will work and be safe.
Before you use CBD oil, talk to your provider. If you take certain medications or have a health condition, you may not be able to use these products.
Frequently Asked Questions
It would be hard to overdose on CBD oil. Research has shown that human tolerance for CBD is very high. One study reported the toxic dose would be about 20,000 mg taken at one time.
It depends on where you live, the type of product, how it was sourced (e.g., is it from hemp or marijuana), and its intended purpose (medical or recreational). In many states, you must be 18 or 21 to buy CBD oil. Check your state’s laws.
Not necessarily. While the names are sometimes used interchangeably, hemp oil can also refer to hemp seed oil, which is used for cooking, food production, and skincare products.
CBD oil is made from the leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plant. It should contain less than 0.3% THC.
Hemp oil is made from the seeds of Cannabis sativa and does not have TCH in it.
What is CBD Oil Good For? Your Questions Answered.
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Discover’s top CBD Oils This Year:
CBD is here to stay. In fact, over the last few years, the popularity of CBD products has only continued to grow. CBD is an effective alternative treatment for some of the most common ailments, including pain, poor sleep, stress, anxiety, and even depression.
What’s great about CBD is that it can be infused into all different types of products. Today, you’ll find CBD-infused gummies, capsules, and edible options such as gummies. Oils and tinctures are also popular, offering the power of CBD in just a few drops.
Interested in trying CBD but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of what CBD is and what the cannabinoid can be used for. We’ll also discuss some of the top CBD products on the market.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that is extracted from hemp. CBD has no psychoactive properties, which means it won’t get you high or cause you to feel mentally altered in any way. Instead, the cannabinoid is best known for its therapeutic benefits, including the ability to calm the mind and body.
When ingested, CBD reacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system spans throughout the body and helps to regulate key bodily functions. Research has found that ECS plays a role in many physiological functions, including:
● Immune system response
By interacting with the ECS, CBD is able to promote healthy responses to stress, reduce inflammation, and offer a host of other benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Taking CBD Oil?
One of the quickest and most convenient ways to use CBD is in oil form. All you have to do is place a few drops under your tongue. This method offers quick results that can last for up to a few hours. CBD oil can also be mixed into food or your favorite drink, such as a smoothie.
Here are some of the top benefits that CBD oil offers.
Natural Pain Relief
One of the most widely sought therapeutic benefits that CBD offers is relief from aches and pains, including chronic pain caused by underlying health conditions. For those who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even neuropathic pain, CBD may be an effective all-natural alternative for living a pain-free life.
More often than not, people use over-the-counter options, such as NSAIDs to treat their pain. Others require stronger treatments, such as prescription painkillers in order to get through the day.
The problem with these conventional options is that they pose all sorts of health risks and negative side effects, including the risk of substance abuse and addiction. There’s a reason why the U.S. continues to struggle with its opioid epidemic.
CBD on the other hand, has a very low risk of minor side effects, such as dry mouth or appetite changes. CBD also has no addictive properties, so the risk of a negative experience is all but zero.
Reduced Anxiety & Depression
Did you know that over 300 million people suffer from depression and/or anxiety? While most mental health conditions are treated using prescription medications, such as SSRIs, CBD may be a promising alternative option.
Research has found that CBD may reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. A 2014 study found that CBD has positive interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that impacts one’s emotional state, happiness, and overall wellbeing.
Balanced serotonin levels are often the most critical component in helping those who suffer from depression. Imbalanced serotonin levels have also been linked to an increased risk of anxiety disorders, including social and general anxiety.
Lowered Stress Levels
Life is stressful but having high levels of stress on a constant basis can take a toll on your physical, mental, and social health. While there are many ways to relieve stress, one of the most effective options is CBD oil.
Various studies have found that CBD works to reduce anxiety and stress by changing the brain’s reaction to anxiety. One study even found that CBD may change blood flow patterns in the regions of the brain that are associated with anxiety and stress.
When you’re less stressed and worried, you’ll find that life is much more enjoyable. Waking up feeling focused and energized instead of worn down and tired can make such a difference in your health and happiness.
A few drops of CBD oil can take the edge off after a long, stressful day.
Sleep disturbances impact millions of people each night. Whether racing thoughts or aches and pains keep you up at night, CBD can help. Because CBD quells many of the underlying factors that cause poor sleep, it’s a great supplement to take in order to sleep better at night.
There are even CBD oil products on the market that are infused with calming, sleep-inducing ingredients such as melatonin, valerian root, HTP-5, and tryptophan.
When you get the sleep that your mind and body need, you’ll be more productive, more energetic, and healthier.
These benefits only scratch the surface. While there is still much more to learn about CBD, existing research has uncovered all sorts of positive side effects. Aside from those discussed above, some of the other benefits that CBD may offer includes:
● Eliminates and prevents acne
● Reduces blood pressure
● Protects the brain
● Potential treatment for drug addiction
● May help to fight cancer
It’s important to note that everyone reacts differently to CBD. In order to get the best results possible, it’s crucial to find a product that contains high quality CBD while also figuring out the dose that best meets your needs.
If you’re interested in trying CBD to ease pain or to keep your anxiety at bay, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn about some of the best CBD oils on the market.
Must-Try CBD Oils
Penguin is another top-rated company in the CBD industry. In fact, the brand has been rated #1 by Rolling Stone . Penguin offers some of the best CBD oil on the market, which is made with premium broad-spectrum CBD extract. All of their CBD is harvested from Oregon-grown hemp that’s cultivated using rich soil along with safe, sensible farming practices.
Penguin CBD oil not only contains refined CBD extract, but other quality ingredients such as MCT oil, hemp oil, terpenes, and natural flavor. Oil is available in palate-pleasing flavors, including Citrus, Mint, Strawberry, and Cookies & Cream.
With CBD oil from Penguin, you can embrace the cool, chill life of a penguin.
2. Verma Farms
When it comes to CBD oil or any other CBD product, Verma Farms offers the best of the best. While they may be most known for their Hawaii-inspired gummies, Verma Farms also sells delicious CBD oil that is made with all natural, high-quality ingredients.
All Verma Farms products are made using broad spectrum CBD extract that comes from pure, pesticide-free, non-GMO hemp. What’s great about this brand’s CBD oil is that it’s available in a variety of flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for watermelon, mango, strawberry, or mint, you’ll find just the oil for you at Verma Farms.
3. R+R Medicinals
R+R Medicinals is one of the fastest growing CBD brands in the United States, and has finally brought what everyone has been looking for: USDA Organic, reasonably priced, high performance products. Their employee and veteran-owned company truly has the customer at heart – there is always a live person there to answer questions or help any customer with questions! They’re truly doing it right in a sea of other brands.
What we love about R+R Medicinals
R+R Medicinals CBD caught our #2 spot as it clearly shows they are doing the right things to create customer confidence and loyalty to their brand. All full-battery COAs are available on their site, where many other brands only post potency results. It’s a lot of info, but you can really get down to see their safety with no detected pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and more.
20% off your first purchase with code: RRWORKS20 , 15% off all subscriptions!
4. Extract Labs
Another must-try is from Extract Labs, an award-winning, Boulder, Colorado-based full-service hemp extraction lab, that has CBD Tinctures that do not contain any artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers. The brand delivers a tincture that is as close to nature as it can be. The only ingredients in their bottles are Coconut oil and non-GMO hemp grown with organic standards in the Colorado sun, extracted with carbon dioxide. Worried you won’t like a flavor? Try all of Extract Labs CBD tincture options—original, lemon, and raspberry—in a convenient sampler pack, the Core CBD Starter Pack.
CBD oil offers all sorts of therapeutic benefits that can be life changing for some people. While the cannabinoid is best known for its pain-relieving side effects, it also offers other benefits, including better sleep, clear skin, and lowered stress and anxiety.
No matter the benefits that you seek, the best experience comes from buying high-quality CBD oil. Buy from the brands above if you’re looking for CBD oil that is pure and potent.