The Science of CBD: Side Effects & Benefits, Explained

CBD oil

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of thousands of compounds produced by the cannabis plant, and belongs to the most recognized class called cannabinoids.

Unlike the other popular cannabinoid, THC, CBD does not contain the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the ‘high’ cannabis has become known for.

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Where does CBD oil come from?

CBD oil is extracted and separated from specific strains of the cannabis plant, known as hemp.

The specific strains which are usually chosen are low resin agricultural hemp crops grown from pedigree seed.

The reason why hemp tends to be used over traditional cannabis drug plants is because CBD is the second most abundant compounds in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of what is extracted from the plant.

Overtaking CBD to become the most abundant compound in hemp is THC, which is why some people believe that CBD oil can make you experience the ‘high’ associated with cannabis, but this isn’t the case.

In fact, CBD is completely isolated from THC during the extraction process in order to comply with federal legislation that mandates CBD oil must contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered legal.

Hemp plants are also favored when it comes to CBD oil because they have lower resin levels, which is in line with the prevailing federal law from the 1970’s that states resin from any part of the marijuana plant is strictly out of bounds.

Interestingly, most hemp farmers consider CBD oil a byproduct of industrial hemp that is initially grown for other purposes.

Many will even sell unused hemp biomass to businesses that specifically want to extract CBD oil from leftovers, though a few are now looking to invest in this “dual-purpose” practice of extracting CBD oil themselves.

Brief history of CBD oil

Though the popularity of CBD has vastly increased in the last couple of decades, it is certainly not a new treatment.

In fact, the first use of cannabis-derived medicine can be traced back as far as 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used a cannabis-infused tea to aid with a number of different ailments, including memory, malaria, rheumatism, and gout.

Despite this, medicinal cannabis use failed to gain the attention of researchers until 1839, when Irish physician and medical researcher William B. O’Shaughnessy published a study investigating the plant’s therapeutic effects.

This study was highly controversial, however, and people did not realize the benefits of such investigations until a century later.

At this point, advancements in research and technology were used to reveal the presence of specific compounds within the cannabis plant.

During these investigations, British chemist Robert S. Cahn became the first researcher to discover an individual cannabinoid, reporting the partial structure of cannabinol (CBN), which he later identified as fully formed in 1940.

Despite still-limited understanding of the cannabis plant, American chemist Roger Adams was able to successfully isolate the first cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD).

In 1963, the research into cannabis had another breakthrough when Dr. Raphael Mecholam successfully identified the stereochemistry of CBD.

Mecholam was also responsible for discovering the stereochemistry of THC, which revealed itself as the cannabinoid that created the euphoric effects associated with the plant, dispelling previous concerns about the effects of CBD.

This information led to New Mexico’s passing of the 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, making it the first state to legally recognize the medicinal value of cannabis.

This information also provided researchers with more freedom to conduct studies that helped develop our understanding of the benefits of cannabis.

One such study was conducted by Dr. Mecholam and his team during the 1980s, where they investigated the potential application of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy as a hypnotic.

In this study, Mecholam and his team administered a daily dose of 300mg CBD to a group of 8 subjects.

After just four months of treatment, half of the subjects stopped having seizures altogether, while others exhibited a decrease in the frequency of theirs.

As time has progressed, more research studies have taken place to reveal many other therapeutic applications of CBD, and people’s opinions towards the drug are changing fast.

How is CBD oil different from marijuana?


Many people struggle to understand the differences between marijuana and CBD, with some people even assuming that they are one and the same thing.

This isn’t the case.

But the fact that they’re often used interchangeably and have some similarities could explain why some people fail to decipher the differences.

The biggest similarity between the two is that marijuana and industrial hemp, the compound used to create CBD oil, both come from the same species of plant, known as Cannabis Sativa.

They both contain THC, but they are distinct strains with unique biochemical compositions and uses.

In fact, different parts of the same Cannabis Sativa plant may be labelled as different things.

According to US law, marijuana is the term given to the leaves, lowers and viable seeds of the plant.

It is also the most widely consumed form, for recreational and medicinal purposes, containing between 3% and 20% of THC.

Hemp, on the other hand, includes the stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of Cannabis Sativa.

The industrial hemp created to create CBD oil in the US tends to be specifically bred to have few flowering sites, reducing the amount of THC dramatically.

These also produce less seed and half the fiber compared to marijuana, which has a higher THC level, making it the perfect option for hemp-derived CBD oil.

This reduction in THC leaves room for higher concentrations of CBD, eliminating the euphoric feeling in exchange for increased health benefits.

It is also a federal requirement that CBD oil must contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered legal, which is why hemp is a far more popular option for CBD oil than marijuana.

Who uses CBD Oil?

CBD oil use

Everywhere across the U.S, and in many countries across the world, hemp-derived CBD oil can be used by everyone, for any reason.

In a research study into cannabidiol (CBD) users, it was found that 62% of 2,409 people used CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression.

One of the other common uses of CBD oil, especially in a medicalized sense, is to treat epilepsy.

One famous case of CBD oil use involves Charlotte Figi, a young girl from Colorado who was born in 2006 with a form of chronic epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.

This syndrome is extremely rare and has devastating consequences for those inflicted by it. In Charlotte’s case, she lost the ability to walk, talk and eat by the age of four, and was experiencing as many as three hundred seizures a week.

After trying every option provided to them by modern medicine, Charlotte’s parents made the brave but reluctant decision to turn to cannabis to treat their daughters illness when she was just 5 years old.

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The results for this were almost instantaneous, with Charlotte’s seizures stopping almost instantly after she had consumed a small dose of CBD oil extracted from a high-CBD cannabis strain.

Today, Charlotte experiences just 2 or 3 seizures a month, a huge decrease to the amount she used to have, and experiences a relatively normal life.

Charlotte’s case was one of the first to detail the true impact that CBD oil could have on humans. This notable example (and the media coverage the case received) was key in developing further research about the impact CBD oil could have not only on those suffering from epilepsy, but for those with a whole host of physical and mental health ailments.

Nowadays, the reasons people use CBD are extremely varied. We’ve covered some of the most popular ones, backed up by scientific research, further down in this article.

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Is CBD Oil Safe?

CBD oil use

CBD is considered to be safe to consume for most people due to its significant benefits and lack of serious side effects.

This has been reported in various different studies, including one from 2019 that aimed to extend a comprehensive survey performed in 2011.

The main finding of the study in question confirms the favorable safety profile of CBD in humans.

They mainly looked at studies focusing on the treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders, and found that side effects were mild and temporary, with a lack of life threatening side effects to report.

In fact, it was theorized that CBD’s safety profile could improve patients’ compliance and adherence to treatment due to the lack of these serious side effects.

Though this is mostly positive, there is little research on the impact on how CBD interacts with a number of different drugs.

For this reason, it is recommended that those already on pharmaceutical drugs consult a medical specialist before introducing CBD into their medical regime.

How does CBD oil work?

The human body contains its own endocannabinoid system, which naturally produces certain cannabinoids on its own.

This system also contains two receptors for additional cannabinoids, called the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

The CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but most of them can be found in the brain.

Those found in the brain are crucial for supporting several body activities, including coordination and movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, and memories.

These receptors are attached to be THC.

The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are more commonly found in the immune system and primarily affect inflammation and pain.

At one point, researchers believed that CBD attached to these two pain receptors due to the similarity in functions of CBD oil and these receptors on the body.

Further research has shown, however, that CBD’s role instead triggers the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

What is CBD oil used for?

There are dozens of known use-cases for CBD oil, and many more to be discovered in the future as the popularity of CBD oil (and the size of the CBD market) continues to grow. Below, we will focus primarily of know uses cases that have been backed by scientific, peer-reviewed, medical literature on the topic.

CBD Oil And Pain

CBD oil use

In a study dedicated to understanding cannabidiol users and their habits, many patients reported pain as being one of the top reasons for using the chemical compound.

A large proportion of those taking it for this reason said it worked “very well by itself”, with just a small proportion reporting that it hadn’t worked for them.

Those who received relief from using CBD might be benefiting from the studies into whether CBD oil can be used as a form of pain relief.

In one 2017 study published in the journal Pain, scientists investigated topical CBD gel and found that it helped to prevent the development of joint pain in rats with osteoarthritis.

A similar 2016 study found that CBD could also be used to help with pain in arthritis patients due to a reduction of pro-inflammatory biomarkers.

It is thought that lower doses of CBD oil are most effective for pain patients, with professionals recommending you don’t exceed a dosage of 5-10 mg per day when using CBD for this purpose.

CBD Oil For Depression and Anxiety

CBD use

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses people suffer with in the modern world, but this doesn’t make them any less difficult to deal with.

Research over the last decade has suggested, however, that CBD can be used in order to treat the two conditions.

An interesting medical review from 2014 showing results from a variety of studies suggests that CBD acts as an antidepressant and antianxiety compound.

A similar 2018 review built on this, noted that many studies have shown the anti-stress and antidepressant activity of CBD oil in animal trials.

These studies also found that the CBD compound worked without activating the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors directly, which promisingly indicates there is less risk of CBD becoming addictive.

CBD Oil To Quit Smoking

CBD oil uses

As research into CBD and the endocannabinoid system grows, there has been an increased understanding of the effect said system has on nicotine addiction.

In a double-blind study of 24 smokers who wished to stop smoking, it was found that those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by ~40% during treatment, while those on the placebo saw no differences.

Follow up information with these participants also showed that there was some level of maintenance, suggesting that CBD could be effective for helping people stopping smoking in the long-term, even after people stop using it.

CBD Oil And Epilepsy

CBD oil use

In 2018, following extensive clinical research trials, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD oil medication, for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastuat syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Some people had already been using this treatment prior to the legislation, however, including Charlotte, a young girl from Colorado with Dravet syndrome who we mentioned at the start of this article.

After using CBD oil for a matter of weeks, Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week to just two or three a month. Her quality of life also improved, allowing her to live a mostly  normal life.

Charlotte’s case isn’t a one-off, however, with one study into children with Dravet syndrome finding significant improvements in their patients.

This study involved giving patients between 7-16mg/kg of CBD a day, and resulted in a reduction in EEG spike activity, and a median motor seizure reduction of 70.6%.

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Another study into patients with Lennox-Gastuat syndrome found that 40% of those who had CBD presented with a drop in seizure frequency of more than 50%.

And a recent study showed that CBD oil is equally beneficial in treating dogs who suffer from epilepsy.

CBD Oil and Alzheimer’s

CBD oil

Alzheimer’s is a condition that has been ruining lives for generations, yet nobody has been able to find a cure up until this point.

Some researchers believe that CBD could, at the very least, treat the condition, and may even lead to a cure at some point in the near future.

The first major clinical trial into this possibility started in February of 2019 in the UK.

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Funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and led by researchers at King’s College London, it includes 60 patients between 55 and 90 years old.

Throughout the duration of this study, participants will be monitored to see if there is any change in aggression or agitation in these patients through the use of CBD.

Other than this, there was another study published in 2014 (this conducted on animals).

This study involved injecting CBD daily for eight months into Alzheimer’s Disease transgenic mice within a control group.

The outcome of this study proved that CBD reduced cognitive deficits, reduced social withdrawal, and increased facial recognition.

This is thought to be due to the effects CBD had on neuroinflammation, cholesterol levels, and diet nutrient retention.

Although further tests need to be conducted to determine whether the results are the same in humans, the results show a positive start.

CBD Oil And Parkinson’s Disease

CBD use

When it comes to the links between Parkinson’s Disease and CBD, many studies have revealed interesting benefits in recent years.

One study, that took place in the University of Louisville, Kentucky, discovered that CBD acts as an “inverse agonist” on CPR6 receptors found predominantly in the basal ganglia region of the brain.

This connects to the cerebral cortex and brainstem, which is responsible for driving functions in our bodies that include movement, learning and emotion.

Potentially, this could mean that CBD responds within the receptors to provide therapeutic effects against the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Another study from University of Colorado demonstrated that CBD can be used to help Parkinson’s patients with controlling tremors or sleeping difficulties.

CBD Oil And Multiple Sclerosis

CBD oil

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, and symptoms commonly include pain, muscle spasticity, fatigue, inflammation and depression.

Although there have been developments with regards to treatment options for this condition, none of them halt or cure the symptoms, which is why many people are now searching for alternative therapies like CBD.

In terms of Multiple Sclerosis, studies have reported various positive effects from using CBD.

This evidence shows that CBD may reduce the negative psychotropic effect, memory impairment, and stimulate appetite while also reducing anxiety.

The American Academy of Neurology also report that taking CBD in pill or spray form can help to treat certain MS symptoms, including spasticity and spasms.

They can also lessen central pain and may reduce the frequency of urination.


CBD oil

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that leads to the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.

It is considered to be 100% fatal, and there are currently few treatments to improve the quality of life of patients.

Despite this current outcome, many researchers are looking to understand how the endocannabinoid system can potentially be a cure or treatment option for those suffering from various neurological diseases, including ALS.

One 2004 study with just 13 participants reported that using cannabis containing CBD can be moderately effective in reducing symptoms associated with the condition, such as appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, and drooling.

The same study did, on the other hand, say CBD was ineffective when it comes to reducing difficulties with speech or swallowing, though a larger sample size would be required to confirm this preliminary finding.

One more recent exciting study released in 2016 did report findings that 2.5mg of CBD mixed with 2.7mg of THC, had been found to be effective in delaying ALS progression in the early stages of the disease, although the efficiency reduced as the disease developed.

CBD Oil And Acne

CBD use for acne

Acne is the most common skin condition humans experience, with 80 percent of people experiencing it at some point in their lives.

This is caused by sebum, which protects our skin from the outside world but can also mix with dead skin cells, dirt and other pollutants and become trapped inside a pore, which then becomes acne.

In a 2014 study, it was found that CBD prevent human sebocytes, the cells that create sebum, from creating too much of the oily chemical.

The study also found that CBD triggered an anti-inflammatory reaction, preventing inflammatory cytokines that trigger acne from activating.

Many retailers are already jumping on the wagon to capitalize on these findings. Sephora recently released its line of cosmetics and skincare products that include CBD oil. And the overall CBD product market is expected to reach 20 billion by 2024.

CBD Oil And Cancer

CBD oil

Though some people may report anecdotal stories about how CBD oil effectively treated or even cured their cancer, there isn’t much evidence that supports this hypothesis.

In fact, the only concrete study that suggests anything of the kind is one from 2013, which shows that CBD oil can be used to inhibit cancer cell migration, adhesion and invasion.

Other studies into CBD oil and cancer suggest that the chemical compound can instead be used throughout someone’s cancer journey to help manage some of the related symptoms.

This includes things like a decreased appetite, nausea, and pain relief, which occur during painful cancer treatments.

CBD Oil And Diabetes

CBD oil

Diabetes is an increasingly common chronic condition putting a big strain on the U.S healthcare system.  

Recent research has revealed CBD could help people manage their condition from home, or prevent it from occurring altogether.

One five-year study into the prevention abilities found that people who used CBD on a regular basis had fasting insulin levels that were 16 percent lower than participants who had never used cannabis.

The anti-inflammatory properties in CBD are also thought to be responsible for reducing insulin resistance, a key cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

There’s also hope for sufferers of Type 1 diabetes.

This condition is characterized by the destruction of pancreatic β cells from the immune system which leads to a lifelong dependency on insulin, and a burden on a patient’s health.

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In one recent study it’s been found that CBD can be used to delay β cell damage in Type 1 Diabetes patients, giving them a higher quality of life for longer.

CBD Oil And Insomnia / Sleep Conditions

CBD use for insomnia

Due to the negative impact of pharmaceutical drugs in the battle for a good night’s sleep, many researchers have turned to exploring ways they can improve sleep by targeting the endocannabinoid system.

As the primary homeostatic regulatory of the human body, it plays a big part in the sleep-wake cycle and related circadian processes.

One study that used a clinical application of CBD for sleep complaints found that, after a month of using CBD, 48 out of 57 patients saw an improvement in their sleep scores.

Another study investigated the effects of CBD on insomnia based on data gathered from more than 400 volunteers using a mobile app to record their quality of sleep day after day. Interesting, researchers found that CBD significantly reduced insomnia symptoms, even more so than the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.

CBD Oil And Lupus

CBD oil

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which results in the immune system being unable to differentiate between healthy parts of your body and germs.

This leads to the immune system attacking the healthy parts, leading to a myriad of symptoms including joint pain, appetite loss, and fever.

Many of those diagnosed will be on pharmaceutical medications to manage their symptoms that have extreme side effects, but could CBD be a better option?

Though there are few studies that point towards lupus in particular, one 2018 study has shown that the pain relief properties in CBD oil are helpful for those suffering from chronic pain, a common side effect of lupus.

Another promising study has shown that CBD may play a crucial role in regulating the immune system as it encourages the CB2 receptor—commonly found in the immune system—to work harder.

CBD Oil And Crohn’s Disease

CBD oil

Crohn’s disease is a debilitating condition characterized by relapses and inflammation in any part of the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatments for this condition include a variety of different drugs, including steroids, antibiotics, immune modifies and biologic therapies.

A recent study presented at the 2018 United European Gastroenterology annual meeting suggests that CBD oil can be used to significantly improve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the quality of life to sufferers.

In this study in particular, 65% of individuals experienced clinical remission after just 8 weeks of CBD treatment.

Despite the fact that CBD oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this does not appear to be what led the participants in this study into remission.

Lead researcher Timna Naftali said they were unsure why this was the case, but said, “there are very good [reasons] to believe that the endocannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target in Crohn’s disease.”

This research group does plan on exploring the effect of CBD oil on Crohn’s disease in future clinical trials in order to understand why CBD oil provides temporary symptom relief for some people with Crohn’s disease.

CBD Oil And Glaucoma

CBD oil

Glaucoma is the biggest reason for blindness of people in the United States, and people have been looking into potential treatments for the condition for several decades.

This 1971 study, one of the first of its kind, found ingestion of CBD lowered intraocular pressure by 25-30 percent.

Another study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology seemed to support this, saying cannabinoids like CBD had the potential to become a useful treatment for glaucoma due to their neuroprotective properties.

This study also said that they could effectively reduce intraocular pressure.

Newer American studies, including this 2018 one, from a team of researchers in Indiana, say this may not be the case.

They tested an eyedrop in rats that contained CBD and found that it raise intraocular pressure by 18 percent for at least four hours after the drops were instilled.

The same study suggests that the cannabinoid that may successfully treat glaucoma by lowering intraocular pressure is THC, a compound which is illegal under the American Federal law (for now!)

CBD For Huntington’s Disease

CBD oil

Research into CBD as a potential treatment option for Huntington’s Disease dates back several decades, as early as 1991.

In an early study, which involved 15 neuroleptic-free patients with Huntington’s Disease, researchers provided patients 700mg/kg day of CBD for 6 weeks.

The outcome of this study found that CBD was neither symptomatically effective or toxic, and the results were the same as the placebo group used to conduct this study.

In a later 2011 study investigating the neuroprotective effects in rat models of Huntington’s disease, the results were more positive.

This led to preclinical evidence that supports a CBD and THC mix as a neuroprotective agent capable of delaying disease progression in Huntington’s Disease.

By 2015, a CBD/THC combination was approved as a treatment option for specific symptoms of neurological diseases in certain countries, including Canada, Spain, New Zealand and the UK.

CBD Oil And Cardiovascular Disease

CBD oil use

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US, responsible for nearly 1 in 4 deaths annually.

Though pharmaceutical interventions are usually prescribed to help manage the disease, research studies suggest CBD oil may be a helpful alternative.

One of the big factors of  this disease is inflammation of blood vessels, which restricts blood flow, leading to high blood pressure.

However, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, one study has found that this can be used in order to alleviate high blood pressure.

The same study reveals that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can also be used to prevent blockages in vital pathways, thus reducing the possibility of a stroke or heart attack.

Another study has found that CBD can also be used to reduce the cardiovascular response to different types of stress.

This will make it easier for patients suffering from cardiovascular disease to regulate their heart rate and decrease their risk of a sudden cardiac event.

In addition, a 2013 study discovered that CBD induced vasorelaxation, otherwise known as relaxation of the tissues of the blood vessels, thus confirming that CBD oil consumption is recommended for patients with high blood pressure.

CBD Oil And Muscle Spasms

CBD oil

Muscle spasms are extremely common on chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, but they can also occur due to overuse and muscle fatigue, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities.

One study has found that the use of oral cannabinoids can improve muscle spasms in the short term.

This is thought to be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD which trigger a response in the CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, which trigger a response in the immune system.

CBD is also thought to deactivate the inflammatory proteins.

Though the study itself focused on sufferers of MS, it’s understood that CBD can also help muscle spasms caused by other things, such as over exercising.

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CBD oil use

Although PTSD can be treated using ordinary pharmaceutical medications and certain specialist therapies, these avenues are often expensive and have limited success rates.

Recent studies have revealed that CBD may be a good alternative science backs this hypothesis up.

One study says that CBD can be used to improve the endocannabinoid system mediation of essential functions, including memory and retrieval, helping someone to reprocess the traumatic event in a healthy way.

This study argues that CBD works by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body to prompt the system to produce neurotransmitters that promote happiness, pleasure, and memory.

Another study shows that PTSD sufferers have much lower levels of a neurotransmitter produced naturally by the endocrine system that operates as a natural antidepressant than other people.

The lack of endocannabinoids like anandamides can induce the PTSD symptoms such as anxiety and fear as people are left unable to turn off traumatic memories.

When PTSD patients take CBD, it can trigger the production of these endocannabinoids that will help someone cope with their trauma.

CBD Oil And Obesity

CBD oil

In recent years, researchers have begun to investigate the potential impact of the endocannabinoid system in obesity.

After realizing that CB1 receptors became more widespread in obese people, especially fatty tissues, many began to theorize a link between the activation of these receptors and obesity.

A 2018 study found that although CBD doesn’t deactivate CB1 receptors, it may influence other molecules to block them, which may help to reduce appetite and prevent overeating in some people.

This is supported by an animal study of rats in 2012, which found that exposure to CBD could be helpful for appetite suppression, though there have been no direct studies to prove this effect is the same in humans.

CBD Oil And Anorexia


Anorexia is a compulsion-based disorder that involves an overwhelming desire to lose weight, and can result in a reduced appetite as a result of the body surviving in starvation mode for so long.

To help regulate an appetite during anorexia recovery, CBD can be used to regulate appetite.

A study also found that CBD oil can be used by the body to turn food into burnable energy, slowing the rate of weight gain, making it easier for people with anorexia to come around to the idea of recovery before it shows on their body.

Anorexia is known for being a mental illness with one of the highest mortality rate, one in five people attempting suicide. This can become worse during recovery, and though therapy may help, CBD may be used in conjunction with a care plan to provide antidepressant care without as many side effects.

CBD Oil For Asthma

CBD oil

Although asthma isn’t considered a debilitating condition, it affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world and can have a serious impact on someone’s quality of life.

There have been many studies over the course of the last couple of decades that suggest CBD oil could helps patients with asthma.

One 2019 study evaluated the effects of cannabidiol in remodelling the mechanisms of CB1 and CB2. The study found that CBD can decrease airway hyperresponsiveness.

The study also found that large doses were able to reduce static lung elastance.

Both outcomes were accompanied by decreases in the collagen fibre content in the airway and alveolar septa, as well as the expression of markets associated with inflammation in the bronchoalveolar fluid.

Furthermore, people with asthma are also more likely to suffer from upper respiratory tract infections which can aggravate their condition further. A recent study has shown CBD can prevent this condition, as it is antibacterial and protects against staphylococci and streptococci.

CBD Oil For Bipolar People

CBD oil

With previous misconceptions about whether CBD was psychoactive or not, there was a reluctance to view CBD as an effective treatment for the Bipolar condition.

In 2005, a literature review took place after reports suggested that some patients were using CBD to alleviate symptoms of mania and depression, calling for controlled trials testing this cannabinoid to take place.

It wasn’t until 2010 when we saw results from one of these studies, with a pilot study of two women providing preliminary data that suggests CBD may not be positively impact manic episodes of bipolar patients.  

Though this may seem disheartening, not everyone would agree.

In fact, there have been a lot of studies which suggest CBD oil contains the same antipsychotic qualities as conventional bipolar treatment options.

This controversy in the medical community has led some scientists to refer to CBD oil as an ‘atypical’ antipsychotic as it works similarly to a conventional antipsychotic medication without the same serious, long-term side effects.

CBD Oil For Lung Cancer

CBD oil

Despite new pharmaceutical drugs coming onto the market all the time, lung cancer continues to be associated with a very poor prognosis.

In patients with lung cancer, it is not uncommon for them to show only partial response to treatment, with relapse being common during follow-up appointments.

Despite this, there is anecdotal experience indicating that cannabidiol (CBD) might have led to a shocking response in one patient with lung cancer.

This patient, in his early 80’s at time of diagnosis, started taking 200mg of CBD in September 2017.

In this case, the data may indicate that CBD led to a partial tumour response in a patient with proven lung cancer, though these results are based on one person’s experience and have not been verified through a larger scale clinical trial.

CBD Oil For Leukemia

Although Leukemia typically responds well with combination chemotherapy, with a remission state after 5 years of 94% in children and 30-40% in adults, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Despite this, new research published in the International Journal of Oncology found that CBD was proved to have anti-cancer effects on their own.

When paired with conventional chemotherapy drugs, however, the cannabinoid became even more beneficial.

It was found that patients who were administered CBD after undergoing chemotherapy had their cancerous cells killed off more effectively.

Over time, this could aid with full remission and help fight the consequences of cancer treatment at the same time.

Side Effects & Risks

CBD oil

Though CBD is generally considered safe, some people may experience some negative side effects. The most common ones include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Change In Appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea

This 2017 study, which focused on CBD oil for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders, reinforced the narrative that CBD oil is safe for human consumption.

When compared with other drugs used to treat these—and other similar conditions—the side effects are far milder, and have less long term effects on patients.

This study did identify the lack of research into how CBD oil interacts with other drugs, however.

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For this reason, we recommend always consulting your doctor before trying CBD oil if you are currently taking any pharmaceutical drugs to avoid putting yourself at undue risk of harm. You may also be interested in reading this previous article we published on the same topic.

How To Use CBD Oil


Unlike other medications, CBD oil doesn’t come with a recommended daily allowance (RDA) or universal dose for all people.

This is because everyone is different, with variables such as weight, diet, metabolism, genetics, and environment having an impact on how you react to CBD oil and how much you may need to ingest.

With that being said, it is often recommended that you start with a smaller dosage and build up slowly until you begin to feel relief from your health symptoms.

To start with, many patients begin taking taking 25mg of CBD twice a day, increasing this by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until they feel CBD works for them. But, as always, is best to consult your doctor and NOT self-medicate.

There are some studies which suggest optimal amounts for people suffering from certain conditions. For those with difficult to treat, chronic pain, 2.5-20mg of oral CBD is said to have most effect, according to one study.

In patients with schizophrenia, advice is more vague, with one research study finding anywhere from 40-128 mg of oral CBD oil daily effective for treating the condition.

This most important thing to remember is to keep an eye on your symptoms, and either reduce or completely stop taking CBD oil if you begin to experience adverse effects.

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Is CBD Legal?

CBD oil


The Agriculture Improvement Act 2018, otherwise known as the farm bill, was signed into law by Donald Trump on 20th December 2018.

In theory, this removed hemp from Schedule | Controlled Substances and made it an ordinary agricultural commodity.

This means that CBD oil derived from hemp has been legalized, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC.

Despite this, however, there are several destinations in the U.S where you can still be arrested for having CBD.

This includes Florida, where a 69 year old woman on holiday with her family at Disney World was arrested after security finds her CBD oil.

Although the bottle was marked as containing zero THC and had been recommend by the woman’s doctor to deal with her arthritis, she was held in custody for 12 hours before being released on a $2,000 bail.

Though the charges were later dropped, this was distressing and was unfortunately not an isolated case.

There have also been an influx of arrests for hemp derived CBD oil in other parts of the country, like Texas, where a 22 year old college student from Collin County was detained after officers discovered a bottle of hemp CBD during a random bag check.

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection responded when asked about these arrests by saying, “CBD is a controlled substance under U.S. Federal law. Travellers found in possession of controlled substances at U.S ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties, or denied entry.”

Attorney John Miller, who represents one of those arrested at the Texas airport, disagrees.

He says, “Federal law is very clear. And when Customs official pulls someone over for this, he or she is acting in the wrong.”

Regardless of the arguments, it’s clear that CBD is not treated the same in every state, with Florida and Texas providing just two examples.

We suggest you do your research before traveling anywhere with hemp CBD to avoid situations like those we have reported on have experienced. However, in light of the controversy, TSA issued a new policy in late May 2019 allowing certain types of CBD oils (with exceptions!) at all US-based airports.

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CBD oil

Despite being just one of the many different cannabinoids discovered in the cannabis sativa plant, it is difficult to deny the powerful properties the CBD chemical compound possesses.

The compound itself is mainly derived from hemp cannabis to avoid breaking Federal U.S law, also ensuring that there is little of the psychoactive ingredient THC.

This is the drug that limited availability of CBD for a long time, due to concerns over whether CBD would create the same euphoric effect of its fellow cannabinoid.

As previously mentioned, these misconceptions highly stunted the CBD market, and meant that any studies into the chemical compound were extremely limited — and controversial.

Thankfully, these misconceptions disappeared over time as more people opened themselves up to the health benefits of the drug, and many were pushed into being more open after the Farm Bill was passed in 2018.

These drastic changes have created a large market for CBD, with large vendors across many industries looking to invest in products as varied as edibles to oils to skincare products over the course of the next five years.

This growth has led to predictions from predictive marketing intelligence agencies that suggest we could see a 55% per annum growth in the CBD market over the next five years.

It isn’t only the financial and business experts who will benefit from these changes to the law and a soaring CBD market, however. Ordinary people will benefit by having access to more in-depth, impartial studies into the true effects of CBD oil from researchers both nationally and around the globe.

This could lead to an increase in people using CBD oil to treat a whole host of physical and mental health conditions, from lupus and acne to depression and anxiety, once the understanding that CBD is truly safe and has very few side effects.

Over the course of next decade, we may see more understanding about how CBD can be used too, and how different uses influence different conditions.

In our research, CBD oil was one of the more popular options to treat health conditions, but edibles and CBD vapes are also growing in popularity.

Overall, CBD can be summarized as a chemical compound with plenty of health benefits and very few side effects—none of which have been found to be life threatening.

Despite these vast advancements in the CBD industry in such a short period of time, it’s important to remember that many law enforcement officials still need educating about the impact and the legislation surrounding the cannabinoid.

This should hopefully reduce the number of people being arrested in states like Florida and Texas for carrying natural health supplements, and further decrease the stigma surrounded what is truly a drug to be celebrated.

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Marina Turea

Marina has been calling Chicago home since 2007. She's a world traveler and an avid reader.

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