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CBD Oil: 11 Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Legal Indications & More

CBD oil is the compound found in the plant Cannabis sativa which is known to play an important role in the treatment of many diseases like tetanus, nausea vomiting associated with chemotherapy, increase appetite in AIDs patients, and in many other convulsive diseases, and also in many mental diseases.

Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Cannabis plants contain naturally occurring THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD cannabidiol. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and it does not create any form of intoxication and ‘high’ effect associated with marijuana.

It is a very popular natural remedy used for many common illnesses. CBD oil is a low tetrahydrocannabinol product formed by extracting the CBD from the cannabis plant derived from the hemp plants then diluting it with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil and coconut oil.

Possible health benefits of the CBD include pain relief, inflammation reduction, in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, depression, many heart diseases, depression, acne, for symptoms, and pain relief in those with cancer [1, 2].

It is not legal to include or label CBD as a dietary product. It can only be included in cosmetic products if it contains THC less than 0.3%.

What does CBD do? Health Benefits of CBD oil

CBD can improve sleep disorders, anxiety, widespread muscular pain caused by fatigue, sleep, mood, and memory issue, muscular spasticity related to potentially disabling disease of the spinal cord and brain (central nervous system). But the most of the benefits of CBD seen are in the treatment of anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders.

Many people report good responses when they use CBD in anxiety; CBD is a good anxiolytic agent because it has fewer side effects than other medications used in anxiety.

Many studies revealed that CBD oil is also a natural and effective treatment to lower high blood pressure by decreasing systolic pressure and stroke volume. It also supports heart health because of its anxiety regulating properties which are responsible for the decrease in high blood pressure.

Here are 10 health benefits of CBD oil which are the followings

1- CBD oil for Anti-Epileptic Therapy:

Cannabis has been used in the treatment of seizures. Many researchers have shown the anti-epileptic effects of CBD oil. Many studies and preclinical and clinical evidence shows that CBD oil can be used to decrease seizures effectively, particularly in patients with treatment resistance epilepsy [3].

CBD-based drugs for example Epidiolex approved for the treatment of rare and severe epilepsy by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [4].

2- CBD Oil May Relieve Pain:

Studies have reported that in 2900 BC, the Chinese used cannabis to relieve pain. They also used cannabis with wine to anesthetize patients during surgical procedures. Rarely, Cannabis is the first drug used by patients to reduce pain [5].

Many studies show the beneficial effects of cannabis in relieving pain especially in patients with malignant diseases. In a study performed to assess the effectiveness of cannabis, out of 18 trials, 15 shows the significant pain-relieving effect of cannabis [6].

If CBD is used with THC, it may produce a beneficial effect in reducing pain associated with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, lower back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, cancers related pain, chronic pain

3- CBD Oil May Reduce Acne:

CBD oils can be used in the treatment of acne because of their ability to reduce sebum production and due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies show that CBD oil is very beneficial in the treatment of acne because it is a highly effective sebostatic agent. It reduces the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous gland. CBD oil is effective in the treatment of acne due to its anti-inflammatory effect and it can also suppress the proliferation of sebocytes (anti-proliferative agents) [7, 8, 9].

CBD oil is also effective for the treatment of other skin diseases like pruritus, allergic and atopic contact dermatitis and skin cancers, systemic sclerosis, etc.

4- CBD Oil Good for Heart Health:

Because of the ability to decrease high blood pressure and prevent heart damage, CBD is very beneficial for the heart and the circulatory system. Many studies suggest that CBP can be used in the treatment of various heart diseases for example heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.  CBD prevents various heart diseases because CBD reduces the heart rate and blood pressure in stressful conditions and increases cerebral blood flow [10, 11, 12].

Many studies performed on animals show that because of its powerful stress reducing and anti-oxidant properties, CBD may help to reduce the cell death and inflammation associated with heart diseases. It also reduces oxidative stress and also prevents heart damage in diabetic patients with heart diseases [13].

5- CBD Oil May Help Diabetes Prevention:

Many studies show that the use of cannabis can reduce the risk of diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels [14].

Inflammation and oxidative stress play an important role in the development of diabetes and complications associated with diabetes such as retinopathy, diabetic foot, neuropathy, and cardiovascular diseases associated with diabetes. Due to the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant and powerful stress reducing properties of CBD, it prevents the development of diabetes [15].

6- Anti-Tumor Effects of CBD Oil :

In various animals and test tube studies, CBD showed anti-tumor activity in various cancer types. CBD has been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. It also enhances the action of first line agents used in cancer treatment [16].

CBD shows the anti-tumor effects by inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels, new cells, and their migrations and proliferation and by promoting cell suicide; programmed cell death. The anti-cancer effects of CBD depend on the drug dose and type of cancer [17].

7- Anti-psychotic effects:

Many research suggests that CBD shows a strong anti-psychotic effects. CBD lowers the risk of developing psychosis and may help people with several mental disorders for example schizophrenia etc., it is well tolerated and safe treatment for schizophrenic patients.
Several studies have also shown the anxiolytic properties of CBD [18, 19, 20].

8- Support for Cancer Patients:

 Many types of research support the efficiency of CBD oil in treating some symptoms related to cancer treatment for example nausea, pain, etc., CBD demonstrated the anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the spread of many types of cancers for example breast cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. It also inhibits the spread of cancer, invasion, abnormal cell division, and formation of new blood vessels. It promotes apoptosis (cell suicide) in the cancerous cells. CBD also enhances the activity of first line agents commonly used in cancer treatment.  It also reduces nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients. Many of the patients also reported that CBD oil help to reduce pain and discomfort [21].

CBD also plays an important role in the management of brain cancer which is one of the most serious types of cancer. The anti-tumor effects of CBD depending on the type of cancer, cell type, and cell cycle arrest [22].

9- Anti-depressant Effect:

In animal models, CBD shows effective anti-depressant effects. It also promotes both sustained and rapid anti-depressant effects in animal models.  CBD promotes cellular and molecular changes in the brain region related to depression [23].

Many studies suggested that a 300 mg dose of CBD oil is very effective to reduce anxiety and depression. CBD oil has also been used in the treatment of insomnia and depression and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorders [24].

10- Neuroprotective Properties:

The neuroprotective properties of CBD are based on the combination of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. In fact, CBD combined with delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is already a disease-modifying therapy in patients with Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and neonatal ischemia.

The administration of CBD insult also reduces the immediate brain damage by regulating cerebral blood flow impairment and brain metabolic disorders and preventing the appearance of brain edema and seizures after the Hypoxia Ischemia. These neuroprotective effects are not only free from side effects but also linked with some beneficial influence on heart and blood supply. The neuroprotective properties were found with CBD alone or may combine with Δ9-THC [25].

Several studies show the potential effectiveness of CBD oil in treating several other neurological diseases for example seizure activity and complex childhood epilepsy disorders [26].

Many researches show that CBD oil may improve the quality of life and quality of sleep in the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease [27].

In animals and test tube studies, CBD oil was also shown to decrease inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and also reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps to prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps to prevent memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease [28].

11- Substance Abuse Treatment:

CBD has a potential beneficial effect in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. CBD has also been shown to reduce heroin-seeking behavior and morphine dependence. Out of the 14 studies 5 were conducted on humans and 9 were conducted on animals. A limited number of preclinical data suggests that it may be beneficial in the treatment of tobacco and cannabis addiction in humans and some studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on cocaine and opioid addiction. Several therapeutic properties of CBD could indirectly be useful in the treatment of many addiction diseases, such as its protective effect on neurotoxicity and stress vulnerability [29].

Side Effects of CBD Oil:

Although CBD oil is safe and well-tolerated it may cause harm to some patients so, it is very important to consider the side effects of CBD oil before using it. Because it can cause many severe side effects. To avoid potentially harmful effects of CBD oil and to ensure safety one should discuss it with his/her doctor before using CBD oil. CBD oil can cause lethargy, drowsiness, diarrhea, fatigue, feeling of unhealthy, and change in appetite and weight. It can also cause sleeping difficulty, liver toxicity.

  • Some of the side effects of CBD oil improves when you stopped the use of CBD oil or reduce the use of CBD oil.

Gastrointestinal Effects:
Gastrointestinal distress, most commonly experienced as decreased appetite and/or diarrhea.

A clinical trial of 25-50 mg/kg/day CBD for 12 weeks in 162 participants of treatment resistant epilepsy, the severe adverse effects were:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • GI intolerance
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain [30]

Changes in Behavior:
Changes in mood, most commonly experienced as agitation and irritability, changes in alertness.
The most common adverse effects are insomnia, sleep disorder and poor-quality sleep, fatigue, malaise, and asthenia.

  • Sedation,
  • Somnolence,
  • Fatigue,
  • Lethargy,
  • Malaise
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Convulsions
  • Changes in Concentrations
  • Gait Disturbance
  • Sedation
  • Ataxia
  • Abnormal Behavior [31]

The potential harms caused by CBD even before you become aware of it, are followings

  • CBD can cause liver failure
  • If CBD is used with alcohol or with other drugs those used to treat drowsiness, sleep disorders, anxiety, panic stress which cause serious injuries; slow the brain activity
  • Reproductive Effects:
    Studies of animals exposed to CBD reported the serious reproductive effects for example damage to fertility of males and female offspring who have been exposed to CBD, it can cause male reproductive toxicity.
  • Many studies show that high dose of CBD to pregnant women i.e. 150 and 250 mg/kg/day oral CBD caused decreased growth, change in behavior or decreased activity of brain. It also caused delayed sexual maturation [32].

Respiratory Effects:
Studies show that 25-50 mg/kg/day CBD for 12 weeks In 162 patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy cause serious side effects of upper respiratory tract infection, pneumonia, it can cause viral, fungal and pneumonia infections [33].

Effects on Heart:

High dose of CBD can cause heart failure, abnormal low respiratory rate, shallow breathing, and decreased heart rate [34].

Neurological Effects:

In 1981, researchers investigated the acute cannabinoid toxicity following 150, 200, 225, 250, or 300 mg/kg intravenous (IV) CBD for 9 days in Rhesus monkey. At all doses tremors were observed and central nervous system (CNS) inhibition (sedation, depression, and the state of being extremely weak (prostration) was obvious within 30 minutes [35].

Is CBD legal?

Whether CBD is legal or not depends upon where you live. In some states, it is legal for both medical and recreational use. In some other states, it is legal only for medical use, and in some states, it is not legal at all. Currently, CBD products are considered as supplements, which are not FDA-regulated, and it is illegal for companies to form therapeutic or health claims about the products in their marketing.

 So according to FDA, it is not legal to include or label CBD as a dietary product. It can only be included in cosmetic products if it contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) less than 0.3%.

The FDA has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug product called Epidiolex, used to treat seizures associated with Dravet syndrome (DS), Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in one year of age and older people. The most important thing to consider is that whether CBD is legal or not is depend on where you live, you'll need to consult your state health department website or professionals in your community [36].


CBD is found to play an important role in the treatment of many diseases like tetanus, nausea vomiting associated with chemotherapy, increase appetite in AIDs patients and in the treatments of symptoms related to cancer and in many other convulsive diseases, and also in many mental diseases Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

CBD has many health benefits most of the benefits of CBD seen are in the treatment of anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders. 

Care must be taken to use only CBD oil to treat any anxiety-related conditions, as any traces of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol can increase anxiety and have the reverse of the desired effect.

It also supports heart health because of its anxiety regulating properties which are responsible for the decrease in high blood pressure.

CBD may have beneficial effects in the treatment of substance abuse, may have neuroprotective infected-tumor effects, anti-depressant effects. 

CBD is unsafe to use it in pregnancy as it may be harmful to the fetus or infant. So, during pregnancy, one should avoid the use of CBD.

People with liver disorders may need a lower dose of CBD as compared to healthy people. It is not legal to include or label CBD as a dietary product. It can only be included in cosmetic products if it contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) less than 0.3%.

Some early studies suggest that taking high doses of CBD might make tremors and muscle movement worse in some people with Parkinson's disease.

Although CBD is safe and well tolerated but It is very important to consider the side effects of CBD oil before using it because it can be harmful to some patients. It can cause liver toxicity, diarrhea, fatigue, sleeping difficulty, liver toxicity. So, precautions must be taken by the patient before using CBD.

Abdur Rashid
Medically Reviewed By Abdur Rashid
MSC Public Health, MCSP, MHCPC
BSC (Hon) Physiotherapy
Consultant Neuro-spinal & Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist


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