- CBD oil is extracted from hemp and cannabis plants and infused into products such as lotion and groceries.
- Human clinical trials suggest that CBD oil may help relieve anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy.
- CBD can cause side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, irritability and more.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a concentrated extract of hemp and cannabis plants, which is then mixed with other ingredients to create a variety of CBD products such as capsules, tinctures, edibles, creams and vapors.
The supposed health benefits of CBD are many, ranging from cancer treatment to PMS. But, like all folk remedies, most marketing claims have yet to be proven.
Does CBD oil work?
There is some evidence in human clinical trials that large doses of CBD may be helpful in treating anxiety, epilepsy, addiction, inflammation, and psychosis, says Jeffrey Chen, MD, co-founder and CEO of Radicle Science. a healthcare technology company that offers CBD product research and validation services.
In fact, in 2018, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex, a drug derived from CBD, to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
In addition, there have been anecdotal reports of CBD that helps with problems such as pain, sleep disturbances and stress. However, more meaningful human trials are needed to determine how well CBD treats these problems for a large population, Chen says.
How to use CBD
There are many different ways to use CBD. Deciding which method is best for you is greatly reduced to how quickly you want the effects to start.
The amount of time it takes for CBD to reach the bloodstream depends on the mode of consumption, Chen says:
- Inhaling it it is the fastest as it goes from the lungs to the bloodstream, causing the level of CBD in the bloodstream to peak in 30 minutes or less.
- Putting it under the tongue allows it to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This is the second fastest method, after inhalation.
- Swallowing it it requires CBD to pass first through the intestines and then through the liver before reaching the bloodstream, which can take hours.
- Applying it to your skin it often means that it only works topically in this area and does not reach the bloodstream. However, the use of CBD transdermal patches can cause CBD to penetrate the layers of the skin and reach the bloodstream.
“It’s hard to predict how long the effects last because people take different doses and experience different effects of CBD, and some don’t experience any immediate effects,” Chen says.
In terms of dosage, there is no recommended CBD dose established, Chen says.
While most consumer products recommend portions of 5 to 50 milligrams, research studies that have shown benefits typically use several hundred milligrams of pharmaceutical-grade pure CBD a day.
These amounts “are not available, sustainable, or affordable,” says Jordan Tishler, MD, president of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists and founder of Inhale®.
CBD side effects
CBD is generally considered safe and well tolerated. However, it can sometimes cause side effects as it interacts with the central nervous system and various other organs of the body.
CBD side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduction of appetite
If you are considering taking CBD oil or other CBD products, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first, especially if:
- Have underlying medical conditions such as kidney, liver, heart disease, a weakened immune system or epilepsy.
- He takes other medications, as CBD can interact with 139 other drugs. Older adults or people taking multiple medications have a higher risk of experiencing side effects when combining CBD with medications.
Is CBD oil safe?
CBD is generally considered safe, especially in low doses. “While low doses of CBD aren’t particularly effective, they’re not harmful either,” Tishler says.
However, when higher doses are reached, CBD can cause liver toxicity and has been shown to interact dangerously with many medications such as anticoagulants and heart medications, Tishler says.
One of the main concerns of CBD is that most products are sold as supplements, not as medications, so they are not regulated by the FDA and therefore may not have accurate dosing information.
A 2017 study investigated 84 consumer CBD products and found that two-thirds did not correctly indicate the amount of CBD they contained:
- 26% of the products contained less CBD than they claimed
- 42% contained more CBD than they claimed
- 32% had correct dosing information
While there are several CBD oils and products that claim to offer a myriad of health benefits, science has not yet caught up with marketing. To date, CBD has been approved by the FDA only for the treatment of epilepsy in children.
There is not much data in adult humans to show that CBD is a useful drug, Tishler says. He says most studies investigating the effects of CBD have been done on mice and cell cultures, and that the results do not necessarily apply to humans.
Because many of the effects of CBD are unknown, Chen recommends weighing the benefits you observe with the side effects you experience before you decide to take it regularly.