CBD Hemp Oil: Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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CBD hemp oil has a huge range of potential health benefits and uses, including reducing pain, soothing anxiety, fighting chronic diseases, improving mood, eliminating depression, preventing inflammatory arthritis, protecting the immune system, balancing the metabolism, aiding sleep disorders, and healing the skin, among others. CBD oil can also be used in many different ways and has a variety of applications for natural health.

It may have side effects such as low blood pressure, lightheadedness, fatigue, dry mouth, and slowed motor functions. However, these side effects have been found to be mild according to various studies. Use of CBD oil is recommended if you live in a country or region where the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana is legal.

What is CBD Hemp Oil?

CBD hemp oil is the product derived from the hemp plant, which is high in CBD (cannabidiol) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This oil has received a large amount of attention in recent years, due to the growing wave of marijuana legislation and debate in many countries, including the United States. While cannabis and smoking marijuana (which often has a high level of the psychotropic compound THC) is still illegal in many places, as more is being learned about CBD, and its potential effects on health, it is becoming more and more accepted as a legal and safe remedy for a wide variety of health conditions. Since it has a minimal amount of the psychotropic compound THC, use of this oil does not result in a traditional “high”, so its effects are generally considered therapeutic, not mind-altering.

There are more than 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with THC being the primary one, followed by CBD. However, in the hemp plant, which is a different strain of the species Cannabis sativa, CBD is the main active ingredient, and THC is barely present, making its use and legality more widespread. The reason that CBD is such an effective form of support for human health is due to the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system. This regulatory structure of the body has millions of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which react not only to plant-derived cannabinoids (such as hemp and marijuana) but also to natural cannabinoids produced within our body. When hemp oil is used and processed by the body, it is effectively boosting the function of the endocannabinoid system, helping our body regulate itself in many different ways.

Not only does true CBD hemp oil contain high levels of cannabidiol, but it also contains various vitamins, nutrients, minerals, volatile acids, and antioxidants that will further supplement your health.

A bottle of cannabis oil with medicinal cannabis

CBD oil helps relieve stress. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

CBD Hemp Oil Benefits

CBD hemp oil has become very popular with people suffering from various health issues including such as chronic pain and inflammation, arthritis, sleep disorders, anxiety, stress, and skin conditions among others.

Relieves Pain

Researchers at the Department of Pharmacognosy, The School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK, basis the study conducted on mice found that CBD oil has analgesic properties and may relieve chronic pain of all kinds. It can disrupt the activity of pain receptors in the body and instead cause a release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – “feel good” compounds that can ease discomfort and pain.

When it comes to inflammation, an animal study by M Lodzki, et al. suggests that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory potential and may benefit those with advanced cases of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, joint disorders, and pervasive muscle pain.

Another 2016 mice study suggests that CBD has the potential to provide relief from arthritis pain-related inflammation and behavior. Various studies also suggest the anti-inflammatory effects in case of acute pancreatitis, acute lung injury, inflammatory bowel diseases. However, further studies and research are needed to support these benefits

Relieves Nausea

CBD oil can cure vomiting and nausea. The non-psychotropic components of this oil activate certain autoreceptors, which causes antiemetic/anti-nausea effects in the body.

Reduces Anxiety

CBD hemp oil is well known to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as prevent depressive episodes by increasing the levels of “positive” hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. Although some people claim that marijuana makes them “paranoid” or anxious, that is largely due to the psychotropic THC found in cannabis.

Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease says that CBD has a potential as a preventive measure against symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This presents yet another exciting development for medical researchers, given the persistent challenges to finding effective solutions for this condition.

Anticancer Potential

Another major reason why CBD oil has been positively received in some parts of the medical community is its apparent effect on cancer and tumor growth. A study done by the researchers of the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, University of Rostock, Germany recommends the use of CBD oil (even direct injection into tumors) to eliminate or reduce the size of the tumors. The antioxidants in CBD hemp oil also provide anti-mutagenic properties and lower users’ risk of cancer.

Anti-psychotic

Studies performed on animals and humans have found that CBD oil has anti-psychotic properties too. The research supports the idea that this oil could be a possible therapeutic option in treating psychosis such as schizophrenia.

Promotes Good Sleep

There is a strong sedative quality to CBD hemp oil, making it a popular remedy for people with insomnia, sleeplessness, interrupted sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless leg disorder, and other night-time issues. Dr. Scott Shannon, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA, published a report in the Permanete Journal, in which he recommended either inhaling a small amount of CBD oil, applying it to one’s chest, or even putting a few drops on one’s pillow to help get a good night’s sleep.

Boosts Immune System

The majority of cannabinoids have been proven to have positive effects on the body’s immune system, particularly CBD oil, as it can help regulate overactive immune systems. This means less susceptibility to allergens, and a possible application for autoimmune diseases, which are some of the most difficult-to-treat medical conditions.

Controls Appetite

CBD oil is also known to control the appetite. This is largely due to the release of certain hormones in the body that control hunger and satiety. By optimizing the levels of these hormones based on the actual needs of your body, you can establish a healthy appetite, particularly following surgery, extended illness or injury.

Skin Care

Improving the appearance of the skin, especially reducing the signs and symptoms of acne and eczema, are the great benefits of regular CBD oil use. Topical application is quite popular for this, whether in a diluted or undiluted form, depending on the severity of the skin affliction. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of the oil can also soothe redness, itchiness, and swollen areas of the skin.

Controls Diabetes

A study published in the Autoimmunity journal shows that cannabidiol present in CBD oil can control diabetes and lower the level of insulin. Although a lot more research needs to be done in this area of study, initial studies have laid the foundation for the use of CBD oil to lower the risk of diabetics.

Promotes Heart Health

CBD oil is highly beneficial for the cardiovascular system too. It enhances the vaso-relaxation of the arteries, protecting it against the vascular damage caused by inflammation in a high glucose environment. However, deeper studies need to be made in order to fully explore its dosage and effects on cardiovascular health.

Reduces Drug Relapses

The non-psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol, has therapeutic uses in giving relief from psychiatric disorders. It is used to fight alcoholism and cocaine addiction, which means it reduces alcohol and drug relapses. More research on this required.

Uses of CBD Oil

CBD hemp oil has a number of uses and comes in many forms including capsules, tinctures, sublingual supplements, liquid oil, oil as a paste, sprays, salves, creams and in edible forms, such as candies or sweets. You can also inhale CBD oil from vapor-releasing pens, similar to the technology for e-cigarettes. This variety also provides a lot of controlled flexibility in terms of concentration, making CBD hemp oil useful and desirable for people of all ages, economic means, and personal needs.

Side Effects

There are a number of possible side effects to using CBD oil, such as fatigue, dry mouth, lightheadedness, hypotension, and impaired motor functions. However, when used in moderate amounts, most people do not experience these side effects, and none of them are known for being fatal or particularly dangerous. More than 20,000 studies have been done in the past 15 years on cannabis, hemp, and cannabinoids, and the results have been overwhelmingly supportive of the therapeutic potential and viability of CBD oil. That being said, some people should be cautious before using this powerful oil.

  • Blood Pressure: One of the notable soothing benefits of CBD oil is its effect on blood pressure, helping protect heart health and promote calmness in the body. However, if you are already taking medication for hypertension, combining this with CBD oil can potentially cause dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Appropriate Use: Since sedation, fatigue, and lightheadedness are known effects of CBD hemp oil, particularly when consumed in large amounts, it is important that you do not use heavy machinery or attempt to drive while under the effects of this therapeutic oil.
  • Motor Functions: The sluggishness that many people associate with being “high” can be a side effect of concentrated CBD oil use, resulting in motor function impairment. This effect is temporary and passes in a matter of hours.
  • Weight Gain: Appetite stimulation, or at least regulation, is a side effect of CBD oil. So, if you are already struggling with obesity, be sure to monitor your intake of food to prevent overeating, snacking between meals and additional weight gain.
  • Oil Quality: The most dangerous aspect of CBD oil is potentially using low-quality oil or CBD oil that hasn’t been properly produced. With thousands of small businesses getting involved in the medicinal marijuana industry, it is more important than ever to research brands and pay attention to consumer reports concerning these oils.
  • Pregnancy: Research on the use of CBD oil during pregnancy is unfortunately lacking, but most experts do not recommend it. Other anecdotal reports support its use, particularly for aching muscles and anxiety or depression. Before using this oil – or any essential oil – while pregnant, always speak to a doctor about your particular condition.

Word of Caution

While you are using any CBD or hemp derived products, it is important to check your state’s laws and guidelines for the same. Hemp-derived CBD products are illegal in the US on a federal level, but still legal in many states. If you are travelling, then make sure you comply with that city/state’s laws regarding the consumption and use of CBD. Remember that most CBD products are not FDA-approved and therefore may be sold illegally or with wrong labeling. Check with your doctor if you have a serious or chronic condition.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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