CBD oil has been going viral lately – partly due to the growing legalisation of cannabis across the United States and partly due to the range of CBD benefits that have been emerging as a result of new research.
CBD oil information is sometimes contradictory or tells of benefits that sound unbelievable, making it hard to know who to trust.
Well, there’s no need to worry, because in this easy-to-read yet detailed guide, we will take you through:
- What is CBD oil? Including the history of cannabinoids
- A list of CBD benefits
- The risks and side effects of CBD
By the end of this article, you will be super-knowledgeable about CBD and whether it has any potential benefits for you personally.
What's in this Guide?
What is CBD oil?
Before you even begin to understand why CBD oil is so popular and has the benefits it does, you should be well informed.
Thankfully, we’ve put together a quick video to run through all the basics in less than 5 minutes:
Cannabinoids have been used for thousands of years
Despite research being fairly new, cannabis and hemp plants have been used as medicines and treatments by doctors, physicians and healers for thousands of years.
However, due to the plant being banned in the first half of the 20th Century, modern science fell behind and it became controversial.
Only in the last 3 or 4 decades has it begun to catch up, with a change of popular opinion among the general public spurring new studies into CBD oil benefits and uses.
If you’ve never looked into the science of cannabis or hemp plants, this can be pretty confusing.
You’ve just spent years being told that it’s an illegal drug with no redeeming features, now morning television is trying to sell it to you with a huge list of benefits?
CBD is not the same as THC
This is the most important thing to get your head around first because people often get confused regarding the difference and this is something you definitely don’t want to happen.
Plenty of people wonder what CBD stands for, and how it differs from illegal cannabis use.
We’re here to clear that up:
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains at least 113 different cannabinoids, all of which have different effects, but the two most well-known, and the two that take up the highest percentages of the plant are THC and CBD.
So, what are they?
THC, also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive chemical that is found in cannabis. This is the specific part of the plant for which recreational smokers use and addicts crave marijuana. It creates a feeling of being “high” along with all of the other famous cannabis side effects such as feelings of “the munchies” or general euphoric happiness.
THC is also available in many store-bought products such as brownies and candy, but only in places where cannabis consumption has been legalised – this is because consuming these products is equivalent to smoking cannabis and will result in psychoactive effects.
CBD is another cannabinoid also known as Cannabidiol which constitutes up to 40% of the plant’s overall contents.
CBD has no psychoactive effects whatsoever and is legal to be used even in states and countries where THC and cannabis are illegal.
In 2018, the World Health Organization recommended this remain the case and stated that “ the substance was not found to have psychoactive properties, and presents no potential for abuse or dependence.”
It is important to be aware of this because many people hear about the potential health benefits of CBD oil but don’t ever try it simply because they are worried of being “under the influence of drugs” or even addicted, two things that are entirely impossible with CBD.
Of course, it’s important you be aware of THC and its effects for the same reason, after all, accidentally buying and consuming THC instead of CBD would likely be the beginning of a very interesting story!
This is your first lesson:
Always make sure the CBD oil you’re buying is actually labelled as CBD oil.
There are plenty of other names out there such as pot oil, marijuana oil, cannabis oil, etc, but a lot of these contain THC, and some of them don’t even have any CBD at all.
So now you know the difference, let’s take a deeper look at CBD:
CBD oil contains cannabidiol as the active ingredient
It’s exactly what it sounds like, an oil containing CBD or cannabidiol as the active ingredient.
In fact, there can actually be tiny traces of THC in CBD oil and it is only illegal if the THC present represents over 0.2% of the overall liquid volume.
This is because:
- This is a small enough amount that it won’t really have any effects and so is nothing to worry about.
- Separating THC and CBD from the cannabis plant is difficult and it’s not always manageable to remove 100% of the THC.
There are more expensive CBD oils that guarantee zero THC content available though, so look out for those if you are concerned.
Hemp seed oil is often used as a base for the CBD oil, but alone hemp seed oil does not have any health benefits.
It is, however, a highly nutritious cooking oil rich in omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
So now that you’re aware of what CBD oil actually is, it’s time to take a look at what people have been using it for:
What is CBD Oil Good For?
Many businesses and media outlets are treating CBD oil as if it’s some kind of miracle cure for everything, so you can’t be blamed for wondering, “what is CBD oil good for?”.
In fact, many of the world’s leading scientists are scrambling to answer that question right now, and it’s likely CBD benefits & uses will continue to be discovered for a long, long time.
But what CBD benefits do we know of right now?
CBD is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions.
Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments such as:
- Muscle spasms
Certainly not a list to shake a stick at!
Let’s go a bit deeper into each section of the CBD benefits list and look at some academic sources to see how well CBD really works when treating them.
What are the Main CBD Benefits?
While research into CBD and the health benefits of hemp oil are still at its early stages and studies need to be more numerous, evidence suggests CBD benefits are wide and varied already.
Here are some of the illnesses and sicknesses that have been shown to have symptoms improved by CBD use, along with some other benefits:
Sleep disorders and insomnia
When first hearing about CBD oil and it’s range of benefits, many wonder whether it will make you sleep – and not necessarily because they want it to.
“Does CBD oil make you tired?” is a commonly asked question, and it’s understandable why this is the case.
After all, since smoking cannabis is known for making users sleepy and lethargic, people worry that using CBD might produce such effects for them and make it difficult to go about their daily routine.
Luckily, those sleep-inducing effects from cannabis do come from THC, not CBD, so this is nothing to worry about.
But if this is the case, how can CBD possibly help with insomnia and other sleep disorders?
The answer is:
In many ways, it could be argued that stress relief is behind the majority of CBD’s benefits.
The fact remains that today’s culture means stress is constantly increasing among the population, and insomnia is in an equally concerning situation.
Scientists have found that when CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and CNS (central nervous system), the brain reacts to stressful stimulus in more healthy and manageable ways, which has a direct result on sleep.
So there you have it, CBD is a natural sleep aid that can combat insomnia but DOES NOT make you drowsy or affect your alertness throughout the day.
How amazing is that?!
- Read more: Our guide to using CBD for sleep
CBD oil is a natural antidepressant. This is probably the single most assured benefit of CBD oil as there are dozens of studies that are in agreement over this. It has even been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms and other mood disorders.
Most pharmaceutical antidepressants affect serotonin directly, but the endocannabinoid system works in very similar ways to both the serotonin and dopamine systems. It has even been suggested that CBD supplements can increase serotonin levels, although this is still debated.
Either way, CBD oil helps with depression and the best CBD oil to use for depression is generally a no-frills, pure, natural CBD tincture, giving you a natural and drowsiness-free way to regain control of your life.
Even though research is in the fairly early stages when it comes to using CBD oil for anxiety, there is already a surprising amount of evidence pointing to a beneficial outcome.
Anxiety is somewhat the topic of the moment and is becoming more and more common by the day, with a 2017 World Health Organisation study finding that over 300 million people (4.4% of the global population) suffer from the condition.
Anxiety is defined by a feeling of dread or anticipation, and CBD has been shown to improve relaxation among users, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it can help with anxiety and help calm those worries.
It can also be a great alternative if you struggle with the side effects of psychiatric medication or your anxiety is mild enough that you won’t be prescribed such drugs.
Another major point here is sleep. We will talk about this a bit more specifically in a moment, but anxiety sufferers often have real issues sleeping, and since CBD can both calm their anxiety and aids a natural, restful sleep, it creates a wonderfully effective one-two punch that can be life-changing for people living with anxiety.
A 2016 study found strong signs that CBD is a highly effective treatment for both anxiety, and the insomnia that often comes with it.
- Read more: Our in-depth guide to CBD oil and anxiety
CBD for pain management has been found to be particularly helpful. This shouldn’t be surprising considering evidence of cannabis’s use for pain relief goes back 10,000 years.
Modern scientific research has discovered that CBD is in fact, a highly effective pain reliever for a huge variety of types of pain.
In fact, it’s estimated that pain relief is the most common global cause of use of both CBD and medical cannabis.
Another huge benefit that comes with using CBD as a pain reliever is that it has no meaningful interactions with opioids, meaning it won’t impact the effects of regular painkillers and can be taken alongside them.
CBD can also be applied topically in the case of external localised pain. CBD is available in a range of ointments, salves, tinctures and lotions for this purpose.
- Read more: Using CBD for pain relief
CBD has also been suggested to help reduce blood pressure and prevent heightened blood pressure as a result of stress.
Cannabis has been studied in the hopes of finding an effective treatment for blood pressure for a long time, and while many results were positive, others went the other way which meant no reliable conclusions could be made.
Recent studies into CBD however, have been much more consistently positive, to the point that researchers began to wonder if the previous varied results with cannabis were caused by the differing amounts of CBD present in different cannabis plants.
There have also been claims that the negative results on blood pressure with cannabis were more of a result of the act of smoking itself, than the cannabis substance.
Whichever one you believe, CBD thankfully has much more consistently positive results.
A 2017 study into the matter by the Journal of Clinical Investigation concluded with the statement: “we found that resting blood pressure was lower after subjects had taken CBD and that CBD blunted the blood pressure response to stress, particularly in the pre- and post-stress periods”.
While further studies will surely take place, this is extremely promising for obvious reasons. We don’t recommend using CBD as your main blood pressure treatment right now, and eating healthy and exercising regularly will always be the best preventative measure.
However, if you’re looking for a safe home remedy to manage your blood pressure and stress symptoms from home, you are very unlikely to do better than taking CBD oil.
CBD’s use for treating inflammation is an incredibly interesting one as there are so many medical issues out there that are caused by different forms of inflammation, that it opens up a wide new world of potential CBD benefits and uses.
Skin conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s and many more diseases and illnesses can be caused or exacerbated by inflammation, meaning if CBD can reliably reduce inflammation, it can potentially have beneficial results for dozens, if not hundreds of other issues.
Once again, more research is needed, however, as it seems that THC and CBD have slightly different results when treating inflammation, and it’s possible that each can be used to treat slightly different forms of inflammation.
For example, one study looked into the effects of cannabis itself on inflammation and found that it was 2000% as effective as aspirin and 200% as effective as hydrocortisone when used to treat inflammation.
It’s a shame this study was into the plant as a whole, as it’s hard to ascertain whether these benefits came from the THC, the CBD or a combination of both.
Part of the reason for this is likely because the two different cannabinoids get absorbed through different receptors in the body, with CBD being suggested to be more effective specifically for muscular inflammation and inflammation in the digestive system.
Acne is one of the most prevalent skin conditions around today, and skincare companies are constantly coming up with new treatments and new products in the fight against it.
Acne is caused when the hair follicles and pores become blocked with grease, dead skin cells or bacteria.
There are many things that can make your acne worse, such as stress, hormones, bad diet and more.
So how could CBD help with this?
Well, we have already talked a little about CBD’s effects on stress and blood pressure, which can only be a benefit – but it’s the inflammation again that really makes the difference.
CBD can fight inflammation in your pores, which has been suggested to decrease the visible signs of acne.
We will give more information on the best ways to take CBD for different complaints a bit further down – but all you need to know for now is, genuine peer-reviewed academic studies have found that CBD not only “exerts universal anti-inflammatory actions” but also “decreases proliferation of human sebocytes” and decreases oil production.
This means that, especially when used in addition to an effective acne preventing skincare regime, CBD can help relieve acne symptoms both immediately and in the long term, which is pretty exciting news for long-term sufferers!
Weight loss and obesity
How can CBD help lose weight?
This might be the most surprising one so far, since most people associate cannabis with the munchies and eating way too much sugar.
However, a Korean study in 2016 found some crazy results when testing CBD on premature fat cells.
Basically, they found that the application of CBD to the type of fatty tissue that usually stores energy (white adipose tissue) converted it to brown adipose tissue, the type of fatty tissue that burns energy.
This has even been seen to help prevent diabetes and treat various blood disorders due to improved glucose tolerance.
So, there’s still no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise if you need to lose weight, but it seems CBD could help you along the way!
Hopefully, you’re starting to get the picture in regards to the myriad of benefits CBD can offer your body.
But what about the mind?
I have to preface this by saying that if you believe you are suffering from mental health issues, you should contact a medical professional as soon as possible and never attempt to self medicate for such a serious problem.
With that said, if you are already diagnosed and being treated, CBD has been shown to have some surprising antipsychotic effects and is thought to be beneficial for psychosis, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, and several other psychiatric conditions.
While evidence of this is only in the early stages, there have been a fair few good quality studies and it will be interesting to see where this goes in the coming years.
Even it’s relaxation-inducing and anxiety-fighting qualities can be an incredible help to people suffering from psychosis.
Substance abuse and addiction
A compound from a mostly illegal, addictive drug, being used to treat people who are addicted to other addictive, illegal drugs?
What is this nonsense?
You could be completely forgiven for thinking this way, but scientists disagree.
While there are no signs that CBD can help an active drug addict quit their problem, there is a lot of evidence that regular CBD use after quitting drugs or overcoming an alcohol addiction can work wonders for preventing relapses.
Scientists in the study linked found that a week-long period of CBD treatment not only decreased “addict” traits like anxiety and impulsiveness, but it had a preventative effect on the subjects relapsing for the next 20 weeks – despite CBD only staying in the body for 3 days after use!
With addiction being such a growing issue around the world, and rehab clinics constantly looking for new and effective ways to speed up recovery and combat relapses, CBD might just be the future of dependency treatments.
Migraines and headaches
Migraines are much worse than a typical headache. They can be seriously debilitating, effect your vision, and last for up to 3 days.
Studies on CBD for migraines have been extremely slow and low in volume, possibly due to the combination of the obstacle of cannabis legalisation, combined with the fact migraines aren’t considered as serious as many other issues on this list.
This is a shame because many people suffer life-changing consequences of serious migraines, and the results of cannabis and CBD on migraines has been strongly suggested for a long time, with many recreational smokers claiming they have had their migraine symptoms cured for life.
The best way to take CBD to treat migraines is by taking drops orally or vaping with an e-liquid that contains CBD oil. It is uncertain how much of the beneficial effects come from CBD’s effects on the brain receptors, and how much comes from its generally painkilling effects, but all that matters for you is that it works.
- Read more: CBD Oil for Migraines
Bone diseases & broken bones
Research studies from 2015 have found that regular CBD use can strengthen bones and speed up the healing of fractures.
Cannabidiol oil can be extremely useful during healing periods, and has been shown to increase the thickness and volume of bones once healing is complete.
It has also been suggested that CBD can have therapeutic benefits for spinal injuries, decreasing the loss of minerals caused by such trauma.
If you find yourself off work for a while with a broken leg or similar bone damage, CBD drops alongside your GP-advised treatments, might just get you back to being yourself at your best more quickly!
Skin smoothing & anti aging
We have already discussed cannabidiol’s surprising uses for acne treatment, but what about general cosmetic skincare?
Many of the benefits we mentioned in that section still apply here, such as cleaning out of pores and reduced oil secretion.
There are a huge variety of lotions, salves and creams beginning to appear, but the most important thing to be 100% sure of is that they actually contain all natural CBD in a significant amount, as some of these products are just regular skincare creams trying to make money off CBD’s trending name.
It’s not just about acne though, with CBD seemingly displaying strong anti-aging benefits.
CBD oil smooths out rough skin cells when applied, and has impressive moisturising qualities.
Since it also fights inflammation, this offers a gentle and natural boost to your skincare routine that really can’t be ignored.
CBD Oil Side Effects
After singing all these praises for all these CBD benefits, it’s time to look at some of the possible negatives. While it’s a natural substance with no major risks to worry about, there are still some minor side effects of CBD oil that are worth being aware of.
These do not show themselves in the vast majority of CBD users, which is why they are usually not worth your concern, but if you do consistently experience these side effects when using CBD oil in a way that negatively affects your life or negates the positives of the CBD, it is best to see your GP for advice or avoid using CBD altogether.
Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms people have experienced:
- Dry Mouth
- Appetite Changes
- Mood Changes
Some of these are barely worth paying attention to, for example diarrhoea can happen early on as a result of consuming a new substance your stomach isn’t used to, and disappear soon after.
The same goes for constipation, and dry mouth is easily solved by keeping yourself hydrated.
If you experience these consistently over a period of time however, it may be that CBD doesn’t agree with you and you should stop using it immediately.
In a similar way, some of the other side effects such as mood changes and dizziness definitely should be watched with a careful eye – after all, studies are still young and we can’t be 100% sure how CBD affects everyone, just how it affects most normal people.
If you are concerned about any of the side effects you’re experiencing when using CBD, discontinue use and contact a GP as soon as possible.
Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
While allergic reactions to CBD are even rarer than side effects, it is important to remember that marijuana is a plant which contains pollen.
While none of this pollen should make it into your CBD oil, and very few people are allergic to marijuana pollen, you should still be careful the very first time using CBD oil and use as tiny an amount as possible.
If you are allergic to CBD or cannabis and consume CBD oil, the symptoms are typical of other allergies and can include:
- Coughing or Wheezing
- Itchy or Running Eyes
- Difficulty Breathing
- Itchy Throat
This is generally not a major problem and you should be able to solve it yourself by taking antihistamines and avoiding CBD in the future.
In more extreme cases however, an allergy may lead to anaphylaxis, which is life threatening.
If you use CBD oil and experience a swollen mouth or tongue, swollen and itchy rashes, difficulty breathing, and/or vomiting, you should call an ambulance immediately.
While these side effects are incredibly rare, they can lead to death or coma, so don’t waste any time.
How to Use CBD Oil
Hopefully we’ve covered CBD, it’s benefits and risks in enough depth now that you know whether or not you want to try using it.
If you do, your next question is probably – how do I use CBD oil?
Unfortunately, doctors can only recommend taking CBD, they can’t directly prescribe it, because doses are variable for different people and haven’t been settled on yet.
Luckily, MayoClinic have assembled this dosage chart based on years of research, studies, and hard work. As of now, this is the most reliable dosage scale to go by:
Appetite Issues in Cancer Patients
1mg of CBD taken orally each day for 6 weeks. Improved effects when combined with 2.5mg THC.
Up top 20mg of CBD taken orally per day
200-300mg of CBD taken orally per day
Huntington’s Disease Related Movement Issues
10mg of CBD per KG of body weight, taken orally daily for 6 weeks
40mg-160mg of CBD taken orally can help provide a restful and natural sleep
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Sufferers often use CBD sprays which are required to be used up to 48 times per day, providing up to 120mg of CBD or a THC/CBD combination daily for up to 15 weeks.
From 40 to 1,280 of CBD taken orally per day
A single dosage of 20-40mg of CBD
Luckily, there are no signs whatsoever that it’s possible to overdose on CBD, so while taking too much or too little can impact the effectiveness, there is little other reason to be concerned about how much you take.
For the uses listed above, CBD oil drops are the most common form of taking CBD. But there are plenty of other options for specific requirements.
CBD Vape Juice
There are plenty of CBD rich e-liquids available on the market. If you already vape, this can provide a convenient and enjoyable way to take CBD.
CBD oil vape cartridges also rarely contain nicotine, meaning they aren’t addictive and can be enjoyed even by non-smokers/vapers.
However, nicotine options are available for those vaping CBD to stop smoking.
Vaping CBD oil has also been found to be an effective way to aid the quitting of marijuana smoking, reducing the stress, anxiety and insomnia that often come with withdrawal, but without any of the psychoactive or addictive effects experienced when using the cannabis plant as a whole.
CBD capsules are generally just CBD oil in a pill, and are available in a variety of doses.
If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil or the other delivery methods listed here, this can be the easiest and quickest way to take a good dose.
CBD gummies are very popular for adults suffering from mental illness, insomnia, or pain. They put a nice dose of CBD into an appealing and easy to ingest candy.
Be careful and check the dosage though, you don’t want to treat them as normal gummy bears and eat the whole packet!
CBD sprays are another way to make taking CBD regularly as easy as possible. These are more popular with people with serious issues like cancer, epilepsy, or severe chronic pain. This is because the sprays can be easily carried around and used regularly throughout the day, allowing you to maintain a constant dose.
They also come in a variety of flavours which can make the regular use of CBD oil more attractive and enjoyable.
CBD Oil Drops & Tinctures
Arguably the most simple and versatile of CBD products, CBD tinctures are simply a small container of CBD oil with a dropper on top.
This allows you to drop CBD on your tongue whenever you want to take some, but it can also be used to add CBD drops to food, drinks and the like, allowing you to fit CBD around your life easily and effectively.
A recent example of this is the number of people cooking with CBD oil, to help them incorporate it into their daily routine in a more natural way. One of the most popular ways is putting it into daily treats like CBD cakes!
Lack of Regulations around CBD
This remains the biggest obstacle to the wide scale use of CBD as a medicine product.
With most countries outlawing cannabis and cannabinoid ingredients entirely, some allowing medical use for cannabis and some allowing CBD but not THC, it can be very difficult for effective CBD studies to be carried out on any kind of large scale.
Because of this, it is currently treated as a novel food as opposed to a medicine or health product and will continue to be until more studies finally prove the benefits undeniably for good.
At Evopure we are working tirelessly towards this goal and as such have been motivated to create some of the purest, most natural and most research-backed CBD products in the world, in the hope of spreading the news to as many people as possible.
If you are curious about what CBD can do for you, check out our shop.