CBD oil is gaining popularity as an alternative therapy for various conditions. While research into its effects is ongoing, some studies have revealed potential benefits and side effects.
Before you decide to talk with your doctor about adding it to your supplement regimen, it can be helpful to better understand how this oil works, what the potential side effects are, and how it might interact with other medications you are taking.
In this article, we will look at what the science says about CBD oil’s side effects and possible health benefits.
CBD Oil Benefits
There is a reason that CBD oil has been gaining such popularity lately. Studies have shown that it may be able to help with various medical conditions, from anxiety and inflammation to chronic pain and diabetic complications.
Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. You should always seek the counsel of your attorney for all legal matters as laws and regulations change constantly.
Since becoming legal in 2018, CBD oil has become available in various forms, including tinctures, capsules, and edibles. Here are some of the potential benefits you may experience when taking CBD oil:
Treat Certain Forms of Epilepsy
One of the most notable benefits of CBD oil is its ability to help treat certain forms of epilepsy, including Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. The FDA has approved the CBD drug Epidiolex to treat these two conditions.
During clinical trials of Epidiolex, "A reduction in drop seizures was observed within 4 weeks of initiating treatment with EPIDIOLEX, and the effect remained generally consistent over the 14-week treatment period."
It's not exactly known how CBD helps reduce seizures in these two forms of epilepsy, but research on animals suggests that it comes from reducing neuron excitability on certain receptors in the brain.
A benefit of using CBD oil that most people are familiar with is its ability to reduce pain. Studies have shown that it can help reduce various types of pain, from central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis to the treatment of pain for cancer patients who don't respond to opioid therapy.
An article from Shafik Boyaji, MD from Harvard Health notes that Health Canada has approved a combination medication including both THC and CBD for the treatment of pain. Although the FDA hasn't approved CBD as a treatment for pain, many supplements and products containing CBD are being marketed as effective pain relievers.
A study done in 2021 seems to agree with this claim. Out of 253 participants, "the majority responded that these products have helped their pain (59.0%) and allowed them to reduce their pain medications (67.6%), including opioids (53.7%)."
Lessen Arthritis Symptoms
Another CBD oil side effect and benefit is in helping alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Most people who deal with arthritis, suffer from pain, stiffness, and loss of motion.
CBD oil helps by reducing inflammation and pain as we just mentioned above. A study done in 2022 on the effects of CBD as a treatment for arthritis and joint pain found that "CBD use was associated with improvements in pain (83%), physical function (66%), and sleep quality (66%)."
A CBD-based drug approved in the United Kingdom called Sativex has also shown great results for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The study noted that "in comparison with placebo, the CBM produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, and quality of sleep."
Offset Anxiety & Depression
CBD oil has also been known to help people suffering from anxiety and depression. CBD oil works by binding to the body's serotonin receptors, which helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
A study published in 2020 found that "CBD was associated with a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to placebo." The same study notes that CBD also produced greater reductions in discomfort for both groups when compared to the placebo.
Although more research needs to be done to better understand its effects on different genders and various anxiety disorders, the results of this study are promising for those suffering from anxiety and depression.
Reduce PTSD Symptoms
Another benefit of CBD oil is its ability to help reduce PTSD symptoms. PTSD refers to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is a set of symptoms that can develop after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.
People who have PTSD often experience a range of symptoms including but not limited to flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and depression.
One study from 2020 found that CBD "was associated with a reduction in overall PTSD symptoms and improved QOL (quality of life)." The same study notes that there were no adverse side effects reported by the majority of the participants.
Protect Against Neurological Disease
As well as helping with anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms, CBD oil can also help protect against neurological diseases. This is due to its ability to help reduce inflammation and protect nerve cells from damage.
A study published in 2021 found that CBD "can be considered a promising bioactive substance from plant sources for the effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and neurological cancers."
The article also mentions that CBD is so effective because of its wide range of pharmacological activities. It functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has neuroprotective properties.
This makes it effective for treating a wide range of neurological diseases.
Treat Opioid Addiction
Another pretty promising CBD oil side effect and benefit is as a treatment for opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is when someone becomes physically and psychologically dependent on opioids and struggles to stop taking them.
One study published in 2019 found that "Acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues."
The initial study was done to test the effects on individuals suffering from Heroin Use Disorder, but other studies have noted that CBD reduced cravings for several other substances, including cigarettes and marijuana.
This has led other researchers to start clinical trials to test the effectiveness of CBD to reduce cravings for those suffering from Opioid Use Disorder.
Alleviate ALS Symptoms
Another benefit of CBD oil is a reduction in symptoms caused by ALS. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by the gradual loss of nerve cells which leads to muscle weakness, paralysis, and often death.
One study from 2019 found that a THC and CBD combination treatment "may serve as a valuable addition in the spectrum of symptomatic therapy in ALS." 91% of the participants of the study were reasonably satisfied to very satisfied with the medication's ability to help treat and prevent spasticity caused by ALS.
More research needs to be done before CBD would be considered a main treatment for ALS or a replacement for current treatments, but it's definitely being recognized as a valuable addition and option for those suffering from ALS.
Reduce Diabetic Complications
The last CBD oil benefit worth noting is its ability to help reduce complications caused by diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition caused when the body can't produce or properly use insulin.
People suffering from diabetes often have to deal with a range of complications such as damage to their eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves.
One study from 2008 found that CBD "may have significant therapeutic benefits against diabetic complications and atherosclerosis." In the study, CBD was noted to reduce the risk of high glucose-induced complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and damage to the blood vessels of the retinas.
Although more research needs to be done on CBD oil's effect on diabetes itself, it can help to reduce the risk of further complications caused by this disease.
CBD Oil Side Effects
Generally, CBD oil is considered safe and well-tolerated. A study done in 2020 noted that "the majority of existing data suggest it is safe, well tolerated, has few adverse effects, and demonstrates no potential for abuse or dependence in humans. "
However, some people report experiencing mild adverse reactions when taking it in high doses. Common CBD oil side effects may include:
- dry mouth
- reduced appetite
- low blood pressure
It's important to note that CBD oil can interact with certain types of medications. Medications broken down by the body and the liver as well as sedatives are at moderate risk for interactions to occur. You can read through a full list of medications to be cautious with on WebMD.
WebMD also mentions that you'll want to be careful if you have glaucoma, liver disease, or Parkinson's disease because CBD oil can increase the risk of side effects in those cases. Speak with your doctor to see if CBD oil is right for you before starting a regimen.
Conclusion to CBD Oil Side Effects & Benefits: What the Science Says
So there you have a breakdown of CBD oil side effects and benefits. Overall it is a natural and effective way to help a number of both physical and mental health conditions.
As it gains in popularity, more and more research is being done to further understand the power and potential of CBD oil. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this natural remedy.It's important that you consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil to make sure it is right for you as well as to discuss any potential side effects or drug interactions.