Everything you need to know about CBD oil
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PHD
People take or apply cannabidiol to treat a variety of symptoms, but its use is controversial. There is some confusion about what it is and how it affects the human body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) may have some health benefits, and it may also pose risks.
This article will explain what CBD is, its possible health benefits, how to use it, potential risks, and issues surrounding its legality in the United States.
In June 2018, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the prescription useTrusted Source of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating two types of epilepsy.
What is CBD oil?
CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant. Researchers have been looking at the possible therapeutic uses of CBD.
CBD oils are oils that contain concentrations of CBD. The concentrations and the uses of these oils vary.
Is CBD marijuana?
Share on PinterestCBD oil may have a number of health benefits.
Until recently, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active constituent of marijuana.
Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, and these compounds have different effects.
THC creates a mind-altering “high” when a person smokes it or uses it in cooking. This is because THC breaks down when we apply heat and introduce it into the body.
CBD is different. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it.
However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body, and some research suggests that it has medical benefits.
Where does CBD come from?
CBD comes from the cannabis plant. People refer to cannabis plants as either hemp or marijuana, depending on their level of THC. Hemp plants that are legal under the Farm Bill must contain less than 0.3% THC.
Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to contain high levels of THC and other compounds that interested them, often because the compounds produced a smell or had another effect on the plant’s flowers.
However, hemp farmers have rarely modified the plant. These hemp plants are used to create CBD oil.
How CBD works
All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors.
The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It also has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain.
The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
Researchers once believed that CBD attached to these CB2 receptors, but it now appears that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor.
Instead, it seems to direct the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
CBD may benefit a person’s health in a variety of ways.
Natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties
People tend to use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve stiffness and pain, including chronic pain.
Some people believe that CBD offers a more natural alternative.
Authors of a studyTrusted Source published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats.
The researchers suggested that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could provide a new treatment for chronic pain.
Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals
Some promising evidence suggests that CBD use may help people to quit smoking.
A pilot studyTrusted Source published in Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used inhalers containing CBD smoked fewer cigarettes than usual and had no further cravings for nicotine.
A similar review,Trusted Source published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising treatment for people with opioid addiction disorders.
The researchers noted that CBD reduced some symptoms associated with substance use disorders. These included anxiety, mood-related symptoms, pain, and insomnia.
More research is necessary, but these findings suggest that CBD may help to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms.
After researching the safety and effectiveness of CBD oil for treating epilepsy, the FDA approved the use of CBD (Epidiolex) as a therapyTrusted Source for two rare conditions characterized by epileptic seizures in 2018.
In the U.S., a doctor can prescribe Epidiolex to treat:
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a condition that appears between the ages of 3 and 5 years and involves different kinds of seizures