Is CBD Oil Worth the Hype?
You'll find cannabidiol (CBD) at pharmacies, spas, gyms, grocery stores, vet's offices — even gas stations. It can be added to candy, lotion, sprays, oils, and supplements. It's touted to help with sleep issues, seizures, anxiety, nausea, sore muscles, and more. But one substance can't really be expected to cure all that ails us, can it?
Let's take a look at what CBD is — and the mystique around its relationship to marijuana. CBD is derived from either marijuana or hemp plants. Both are cannabis plants; the difference is that legally, hemp must have less than a 0.3 percent concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance in marijuana that causes the high, says Gerald Berkowitz, professor of plant sciences at the University of Connecticut. "CBD that is legal is extracted from hemp and grown under a federal or state program that ensures the hemp is under that 0.3 percent THC," he says. CBD won't get you high. As a point of reference, most medical marijuana is about 20 percent THC.
What’s in a Name?
- CBD: The acronym for cannabidiol, one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant.
- THC: The acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the high.
- Cannabis: The plant genus that both hemp (high in CBD) and marijuana (high in THC) come from. The word may be used to refer to marijuana, CBD, or both.
- Marijuana: A drug made from the leaves and stems of the cannabis plant. It contains more than 100 compounds, including THC.
- Hemp: Legally defined as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp has higher concentrations of CBD than cannabis used for marijuana, and this fast-growing, fibrous plant has been used for centuries to make textiles.
Why Do People Take CBD?
According to a 2021 study in the United Kingdom, most current users take CBD for anxiety (43 percent), sleep issues (43 percent), stress (37 percent), and general well-being (37 percent). But there is not yet solid scientific evidence that CBD helps with any of these — many studies are too small or done on animals. Ask around, though, and you'll hear plenty of anecdotal evidence.
The studies we do have (see Promising Research, below) give us hope and indicate there is good reason to continue the research. An observational study of more than 1,200 people by Dr. Ryan Vandrey, professor of behavioral pharmacology research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, compared cannabis users and nonusers, all of whom had existing diagnosed health issues. The study found a significant number of cannabis users reported better quality of life, improved sleep, lower pain severity, and lower anxiety. And 14 percent of participants reported decreased use of prescription medications. The study authors point out bias related to beliefs about CBD may affect study findings, but conclude that these results warrant the testing of CBD on health conditions through clinical trials.
43% of CBD users in a 2021 study reported taking it for self-perceived anxiety and sleep issues.
Why All the Hype?
The only FDA-approved use of CBD is a drug that treats certain kinds of seizures. But that has little to do with the CBD products flooding the market. For those, there isn't much good science.
Dr. Vandrey attributes the hype to three factors: preclinical research that suggests CBD has therapeutic promise, anecdotal buzz, and the fact that CBD appears to be relatively safe and nontoxic. According to the World Health Organization, there is currently no evidence of public health-related problems associated with using pure CBD.
All told, it's wise to check with your doctor before trying CBD. It may interact with other medicines or health conditions. The FDA advises against using it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is CBD oil healthy?
According to a report from WHO , CBD is safe to take for just about everyone. Studies have shown that CBD oil has benefits ranging from reducing social anxiety to improved rheumatoid arthritis. But is CBD oil healthy for you, and are there any side effects to regular use of CBD tinctures?
How does it work?
CBD has a direct effect on the brain by preventing the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that controls mood, mental function, and pain. This can also help to decrease psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia as well as help to reduce anxiety and depression.
Does CBD oil get me high?
Nope. Cannabis is made of two main compounds: THC and CBD. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound, so it won’t give you the feeling of being “high”, and your mind will not feel altered or sedated in any way. THC is the compound popularly known for its psychoactive effects, especially when it’s consumed from marijuana or cannabis.
THC has a “high” effect or an altered state characterized by increased sensory perception, pleasure, and euphoria. CBD oil does not cause a high like THC. This means that if you’re seeking out CBD oil to get high, you will not experience that.
High concentrations of CBD oil may lead to an uplifting effect, but this isn’t the same as a THC high. Taking high doses of CBD oil might lead to some negative side effects including dizziness and nausea. If you’re interested in taking CBD, always start with a low recommended dose and work your way up, to see how much your body needs.
CBD oil comes from Cannabis and has served medical purposes for many years. People are using CBD oil to help reduce sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain. The strongest scientific studies show CBD is used to treat childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In these cases, CBD helped to reduce the number of seizures.
Proponents say that CBD oil can be used to treat a wide range of health problems including acne, anorexia, Parkinson’s disease, muscle spasms, insomnia, high blood pressure, glaucoma, epilepsy, drug addiction, and withdrawal, depression, and chronic pain.
Safety and Side Effects
When taken orally and in the right doses, CBD oil is perfectly safe. Doses of 300mg daily can be taken orally for a maximum of 6 months. Doses of 1200-1500mg daily can be administered orally for a period of up to 4 weeks. Some side effects of CBD include drowsiness, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and dry mouth.
Like many products, however, CBD oil may be unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it might be contaminated with other ingredients during production that could be harmful to the infant or fetus. If you’re breast-feeding or pregnant, stay on the safe side and avoid consuming CBD oil.
CBD oil is safe for children, but the right dosage should always be administered. The most common dosage for children is 10mg/kg daily. CBD oil is approved for children who are above 2 years.
One other health consideration to take is for people suffering from liver disease, who should only use lower doses of CBD oil compared to healthy patients.
Is CBD oil good for your skin?
Skincare can be an overwhelming and complicated journey for many people who suffer from skin issues. If you venture into the skincare side of social media, you’ll see people swear by hundreds of different products that all seem to do the same thing! You may even see skincare routines with 30 steps that seem like they take way too much time and effort that you simply do not have. It’s difficult to know which products your skincare routine should include, and it’s even harder to stay on top of the constantly changing skincare trends.
That being said, one skincare product that has popped up more in the last few years has been CBD oil. It’s even gone beyond skincare — you can find CBD oil in almost any product you can think of. Some people use it to sleep better, while others use it to treat health issues — both mental and physical. Many people are also using it for topical use, and it has become more frequently used in skincare.
Right now, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Is CBD oil good for your skin?” As the CBD skincare industry skyrockets into success, it’s become clear that CBD oil definitely has some great benefits for your skin. Here are a few reasons to jump on the CBD trend with your skincare.
CBD oil fights against acne
If you’ve struggled with consistent acne throughout your entire teenage and adult life, then you’re probably ready to try just about anything. Acne can wreck self-confidence and affect your day-to-day life more than you may realize. When you feel terrible on the outside, it will take a toll on the rest of you as well. CBD oil may be the answer.
Acne can be caused by an overproduction of sebum which when mixed with dirt and oil will clog the pores on your face. CBD oil has been found to regulate the production of sebum, which results in clearing up acne caused by too much of it. It has also been found to have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can reduce acne from dirt and other pollutants that collect on the skin.
CBD oil had anti-aging benefits
The skincare industry makes a lot of money off of people trying to prevent aging. Skin can be so susceptible to different signs that come with aging because it’s the largest organ on your body and it can be put through a lot as you live your life. CBD oil contains the fatty acids Omega-6 and Omega-3 which help stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen helps your skin retain water, and keeping your skin hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent signs of aging.
The antioxidants in CBD oil help with fine lines and wrinkles while also protecting against damage that can be caused by pollution and the sun. Since it reduces inflammation and keeps the skin hydrated, the skin will look more youthful and brighter.
CBD oil helps regulate both oily and dry skin
Oils can seem counterintuitive to put on your face, especially if your skin is already oily — it may just seem like you’re adding gasoline to a fire! However, CBD oil is very moisturizing, which is the key to fighting both oily and dry skin. The oil interacts with the glands that regulate oil production in your skin, which is why it can either help your skin stop producing too much oil or help it produce more if your skin is dry.
It can also heal the already dry and damaged areas of your skin. CBD oil has been found to help with rough patches and cracks in the driest of skin. Having a balanced production of oil is one of the best ways to get your skin looking great because it will even out the skin tone and make you glow!
CBD oil can be a great skincare option for a variety of different reasons, so it’s worth trying out in your skincare routine. It can become exhausting to keep adding product after product to your regimen, but with CBD oil you can cut out all the excessive parts of your skincare routine that are not doing anything for you anyways!
CBD Oil: Facts You Should Know
Since 2018, one product has exploded onto the market in the United States more than any other, advertising itself as an antidote to sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, pain, and even acne. From tinctures to infused lotions and dog treats, cannabidiol (CBD) has made its way into hundreds of products that claim to enhance wellbeing. But is the hype real? And should you try CBD for yourself?
Although there is plenty of information out there, navigating it can be confusing. As with any new treatment option, you need to do a careful risk-benefit analysis before diving in.
Considering using CBD oil? Here’s what you need to know.
CBD won’t get you “high.”
Many people assume that CBD oil and marijuana are the same thing, but that’s not quite accurate. The Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or marijuana, has hundreds of different compounds in it. The two most well-known are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. While THC has psychoactive properties (the “high” feeling that marijuana is well-known for), CBD does not.
There are risks to using CBD.
While excitement over this potentially beneficial treatment is growing, there are a few reasons why you should exercise caution when considering it:
- The clinical evidence is still in its infancy. While there are many anecdotal reports of CBD’s positive effect on everything from insomnia to pain to HIV, the scientific evidence doesn’t yet match the hype. The most promising evidence is for the use of CBD to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy. In fact, the evidence is so strong in this area, that in 2018 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever CBD-derived medication to help with this condition.
- CBD is not regulated in the United States in any instance other than one particular epilepsy medication. Without regulation, there is no way to ensure that a product is marketed accurately or that its contents have been measured and dosed appropriately. Many products that claim to contain only CBD actually have higher-than-advertised amounts of THC in them, which can cause unwanted psychoactive effects.
- CBD can cause reactions with other medications. The World Health Organization states that although “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.” Most experts agree that CBD can interfere with other medications, so it’s important to consult a healthcare provider before trying the oil out yourself.
- The legality of CBD in the United States is. complicated. After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which allowed the non-THC version of the Cannabis sativa plant – hemp – to be used in agriculture, the doors opened for a flood of CBD products made from hemp to enter the market. The laws change constantly, but in general, it is only federally legal to sell CBD products in the United States if a number of restrictions are met, though many states have individual laws stating otherwise. The legality is so complicated that the FDA has taken a backseat to enforcing the federal law – but the organization does firmly state that it is illegal to sell or purchase CBD that is marketed as a dietary supplement or has been added to food.
While there are many anecdotal reports of CBD’s positive effect on everything from insomnia to pain to HIV, the scientific evidence doesn’t yet match the hype.
There might also be benefits to using CBD.
Most experts agree that there needs to be more research on the impact of CBD oil on health conditions, because many of the current studies don’t use a placebo, have mixed results, or are solely based on animal research. However, many also argue that even though the studies are early, they are promising, and that CBD is generally safe. A 2015 systematic review found moderate evidence for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain, but low-quality evidence to support its effect on nausea, vomiting, weight gain in HIV, sleep disorders, or Tourette’s.
The best course of action, then, might be to wait as the body of research grows and the legality and regulations around CBD are streamlined before trying CBD oil to manage a health condition.
Want to use CBD oil now? Do this first.
But if you really want to try it now, here is what the Mayo Clinic’s Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils recommends:
- Talk to a healthcare provider first, before you make any decisions. If your provider doesn’t have knowledge of CBD products, ask if they know another provider who does.
- Use products from Europe, where CBD is better regulated and products have an even stricter requirement for maximum THC levels.
- Read labels and fine print carefully. Clinicians recommend using products that are labeled certified organic by the USDA, and whose ingredients are not simply “hemp seed oil.” Also take some time to peruse the company’s website, including their standards section and whether they have an independent adverse reporting program. If these things aren’t listed, skip it. Another helpful guideline is Mayo’s checklist for finding a high-quality product.
Grinspoon, P. (2018 August 24). Cannabidiol (CBD) – what we know and what we don’t. Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
Harrison, VJ, Bauer, B, Mauch, K. (2019). Clinicians’ guide to cannabidiol and hemp oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings; 94(9), 1840-1851.