CBD Oil Benefits: Pain, Anxiety, Sleep, Cancer, & More

Illustration of CBD Oil bottles in an orange background
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: November 17, 2023

With estimates of hitting $16 billion in the United States by 2025, the CBD industry has caused a real gold rush. Already, CBD oil is added to toothpicks, breath sprays, tampons, and the entire range of beauty products claim to contain CBD nowadays.

According to a survey of 5,000 people, conducted by the Brightfield Group, more than 60% of CBD users have taken it for anxiety.

Insomnia, depression, and chronic pain followed through.

It seems like everybody is hopping on the bandwagon these days, even celebrities. For example, two renowned UFC fighters Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz use it to relieve pain and improve focus as well as post-workout recovery. Kim Kardashian West turned to CBD oil when she was freaking out over having a fourth baby. Martha Stewart gives CBD oil to her dog, so animals partake in the hype too

Are CBD oil benefits really that remarkable?

What’s the fuss all about?

Let’s see what science has to say about it.

CBD Oil Benefits 101: Everything You Need to Know

While infusing CBD into things like tampons and sugar-laced lollipops is an overkill, health supplements such as CBD oil can have a remarkably positive impact on our health, as reported by the continuously growing number of studies.

CBD is promising in a lot of different therapeutic avenues. It also has a well-established safety profile, so it’s no wonder why people are turning to hemp extracts for help.

Let’s explore the most talked about the benefits of CBD oil.

1. CBD Oil for Pain Relief

Cannabis has been used for pain relief since 2900 B.C.

But let’s talk about more recent findings.

The human body contains a major regulatory network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in maintaining a balance between important functions in the body, such as sleep, appetite, immune system response, and pain perception.

The ECS releases its own neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.

Studies have shown that CBD oil may help ease chronic pain by engaging with the endocannabinoid receptors, reducing inflammation, and changing the way the brain perceives pain signals.

Several human studies have linked CBD to positive effects in treating pain related to arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Two studies examining the results of Sativex, an oral spray containing a mix of CBD and THC, have found improvements in pain, muscle spasms, and walking difficulties in the subjects.

2. CBD for Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression are two prevalent mental health problems that can wreak havoc on our health and well-being.

As the World Health Organization reports, depression is the single largest disability-inducing factor worldwide, while anxiety problems score sixth place.

Common anxiety and depression treatments include pharmaceutical antidepressants, which can cause a number of adverse effects, including headaches, drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, addiction, sexual dysfunction, and suicidal thoughts.

CBD oil has shown positive results for both depression and anxiety. In one Brazillian study, 57 participants received oral CBD or placebo 90 minutes before giving a simulated public speech. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD produced the best anti-anxiety effects during the speech.

CBD oil has been studied to safely treat sleeping disorders and anxiety in children suffering from PTSD.

These effects are attributed to CBD’s ability to influence serotonin receptors in the brain, which regulate mood and social behavior.

3. CBD for Symptoms of Cancer & Post-Chemotherapy Side Effects

CBD may help alleviate cancer-related symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting.

People treated with a CBD/THC extract experienced significant relief from pain compared to those who took THC alone.

CBD may also help ease chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting by acting on the brain areas that trigger both processes.

When it comes to cancer alone, CBD has shown the potential to stop the spread of certain types of cancer by blocking the proliferation of cancerous cells.

4. CBD for Acne

Acne affects more than 9% of the global population. This condition is caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria, underlying inflammation, the overproduction of sebum, and genetics.

Based on recent research, CBD oil may help reduce acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to regulate the oily secretion made by sebaceous glands in the skin.

One test-tube study concluded that CBD oil blocked sebaceous gland cells from storing excessive sebum, which led to anti-inflammatory actions and prevented the activation of acne-inducing agents like inflammatory cytokines. Even other skin conditions caused by inflammation and redness such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea can be relieved with CBD.

Despite these promising results, more human studies on the effects of CBD on acne are needed.

5. CBD for Neuroprotection

Scientists believe that CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling mechanisms can improve the symptoms of neurological disorders.

In fact, this trait is one of the most studied when it comes to the potential therapeutic use of CBD. Although this is still a relatively new research area, several studies have already pointed to CBD as an effective treatment for neurological disorders.

For example, Sativex, the aforementioned CBD/THC oral spray, has been proven to be a safe and effective way to ease muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. In one study, Sativex reduced the spasms in 75% of 276 participants

Additionally, CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. CBD may help prevent cognitive decline and slow down the buildup of amyloid plaque — the main contributor to the disease.

6. CBD for Cardiovascular Health

When it comes to CBD oil benefits, cardiovascular health is another quite well-studied area. Recent studies have associated CBD with several positive effects on the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension).

Hypertension is a major risk factor for a variety of health conditions, including metabolic syndrome, atrial fibrillation (AFib), heart attack, or stroke.

Studies show that CBD may be able to regulate blood pressure in humans. For example, a single dose of 600 mg CBD oil may result in reduced resting blood pressure. More interestingly, people put under stressful situations may also experience a smaller rise in blood pressure than normal.

CBD has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so its ability to reduce cell damage can also prove beneficial for cardiovascular health.

7. CBD for Weight Loss & Metabolism

As you can see, there are many health benefits of using CBD oil, but could CBD actually help you lose extra weight and speed up your metabolism?

Again, researchers are optimistic. CBD can promote a process called “fat browning,” which converts white fat cells to brown fat cells. White fat is known as the “bad” fat that you begin to store when the body burns fewer calories than it receives. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, are known for their ability to fuel the body with energy more efficiently. With more brown fat cells in the body, you may be able to burn off more calories as a result.

CBD may also suppress appetite by acting as an indirect antagonist of the CB1 receptor in the brain.

Other Possible Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD has been researched for its number of health benefits other than those we highlighted above. Although more studies are needed to make definite statements about these benefits, CBD is thought to ease the following health problems:

  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse
  • Attention deficits
  • Compromised immune functioning
  • Metabolic issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Migraines
  • Tumors

With so many potential benefits, it’s natural to wonder if CBD can also have an adverse effect on our health.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol chemistry structure and magnifying glass focusing on a hemp bud

CBD stands for cannabidiol, the second major chemical in the cannabis Sativa plant. Around a decade ago, people were more absorbed by its more famous cousin, THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana plants that triggers the “high” feeling. Today, it looks like these two compounds are going neck in neck when it comes to their popularity.

As CBD makes a buzz in the market, together with THC, many have given rise to a whole litany of misconceptions about this cannabinoid, making people afraid to even try it. It is best to deeply understand what CBD is and what it can do so you can distinguish the truth from those makeup stories roaming around the internet and reap the benefits of CBD.

CBD and THC are just two of the plant’s 100+ cannabinoids. While THC is responsible for the psychoactive buzz in cannabis, CBD doesn’t induce intoxication. In fact, it can block some of THC’s intoxicating effects by acting on specific sites of the receptors to which THC tries to bind.

CBD is being studied in several important areas of medicine, including psychological disorders, neurodegeneration, addiction, epilepsy, autoimmune conditions, and cancer.

The majority of evidence supporting the health benefits comes from animal studies or smaller human trials. To date, only one clinical study has been completed with regards to Cannabidiol. The study also led to the approval of the first anti-seizure CBD-based drug by the FDA — Epidiolex.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a concentrated extract from the whole cannabis plant. As such, it contains not only CBD but also an array of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

CBD oil can be extracted from two types of cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana.

Marijuana typically contains high concentrations of THC, so cannabis oils derived from this type of cannabis can get the user high. They’re also illegal on the federal level. If you want to purchase marijuana-derived CBD oil, you need to live in a place that allows marijuana for medical and recreational use.

Hemp, on the other hand, contains only a trace amount of THC — usually up to 0.3% — which isn’t enough to produce intoxicating effects. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states and can be sold over the counter along with other health supplements. You can easily find CBD hemp oil in your local pharmacy, vape store, health retail center, as well as online.

Now that you understand the difference between the two sources of CBD oil, let’s talk about the benefits of CBD backed by scientific evidence.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using CBD Oil? Is CBD Safe?

As written earlier, CBD has a well-established safety profile. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg CBD daily is well-tolerated in humans. That being said, some people may experience adverse reactions to CBD oil.

The side effects of CBD observed in studies include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea

CBD can also interact with many prescription and OTC medications. Before you start using any CBD product, consult your doctor to ensure you stay safe during supplementation, and avoid potentially dangerous interactions.

This is particularly true for medications or supplements that have a “grapefruit warning” on the container. CBD uses the same mechanisms as grapefruit, interfering with a group of enzymes that are responsible for metabolizing drugs.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil Benefits

Researchers have been extensively studying the health benefits of CBD oil for the past several years. CBD has been highlighted as an effective alternative to conventional treatment options for a wide range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, inflammation, and neurological conditions.

Research on the potential health benefits of CBD oil is still inconclusive, so the aforementioned benefits still call for large-scale human trials — but that should come with time. In the meantime, scientists are discovering new therapeutic effects of CBD.

There’s still much to learn about CBD and other cannabinoids. Cannabis is a very complex plant, with over 400 active chemicals inside them. Nevertheless, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful treatment for many health concerns.

CBD products are widely available across the United States. You can look for CBD oil somewhere near you or check for a reliable online supplier to save time and money. You’ll find CBD in many different forms online, from gummies to tinctures, vapes, concentrates, creams, and pet products.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

Nicky Delapena · June 12, 2024

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