CBD Oil: Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
The Uses and Benefits of CBD Oil
Cannabidiol, commonly known by its short-form CBD, is one of the above hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is known for its immense health benefits for the human body and for pets as well.
One of the important reasons why CBD is preferred over a hundred other cannabinoids is that it does not create high feelings, unlike other cannabinoids. For example, the second most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis plants is THC i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol.
Although THC also has a myriad of health benefits to offer, it has a mind-altering capability. It can get you psychologically high. That is the reason; those who want to avoid the stoned feeling and still benefit from this natural compound rely on CBD.
Difference Between Marijuana and CBD
A lot of confusion surrounds the CBD market, especially when it comes to understanding the common terminology. Before you decide to join the tribe of CBD consumers, it is important that you get yourself acquainted with the basic terms. Here is a brief introduction of all you need to know about CBD. To know more in-depth about what is CBD, what is hemp, and how they differ from THC or marijuana, refer to this detailed resource.
Cannabis is a broad genre of plants which can further be divided into three species;
- Cannabis Sativa
- Cannabis Indica
- Cannabis Ruderalis
The marijuana plant may belong to either of the first two species i.e. Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica. It is a cannabis plant that is rich in CBD among other cannabinoids. However, despite being rich in CBD, marijuana is not the top source of CBD in most parts of the world. This is because it is also high in THC. Because of this high THC content, the cultivation of marijuana is prohibited in most states of the US. This is because it has the potential to be abused as a drug source.
The hemp plant belongs to the Cannabis Sativa species. Hemp is also rich in CBD. Moreover, it contains minimal to no strains of THC; the psychoactive cannabinoid. Since CBD alone does not give you a stoned feeling, hemp is being used comparatively widely to extract CBD. The CBD extracted from hemp is devoid of THC and hence is not psychoactive. This makes hemp an ideal source f CBD for those who want to avoid the mind-altering effect of cannabinoids while still being able to reap its benefits against ailments.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is being consumed in a variety of forms. You will see CBD-based gummies, vape juices, cereals, chocolates, creams, lotions, bath salts, and much more in the market. However, the most popular form in which CBD is consumed is CBD oil. It is also the main ingredient in most CBD-based products.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant. Then it is diluted with a carrier oil e.g. hemp seed oil or coconut oil.
How to Use CBD Oil
One of the best things about CBD oil supplements is that they can be used in a variety of ways. The method of administering most suitable for you however depends upon a number of factors. For example;
- What is your specific reason to use CBD oil?
- Do you want immediate relief or are you looking for long-term health benefits?
- Which part of the body needs to be targeted?
- Are you allergic to a specific food?
- Do you want to avoid preservatives strictly?
Besides, some people might prefer adding CBD oil to food rather than taking it as capsules. So, your taste preferences also matter.
Moreover, different modes of administration take a different span of time to start showing effects. Besides, CBD oil taken through one mode may give long-lasting results as compared to that taken through the other mode.
CBD oil can be consumed mixed with topicals, vaped through the e-cigarettes, or taken in an edible form mixed with foods or in the form of capsules. It is being used widely to get relief from chronic pain, treat inflammation, epilepsy, anxiety, and a number of other disorders.
Read here to find more about how to use CBD and what would be an appropriate dose for you
Is CBD Oil a Drug?
As mentioned earlier, CBD itself is non-psychoactive. It does not create a high. This implies naturally that it should not show positively in a drug test as it does not fall on the list of controlled substances. However, things here are a bit complicated here.
While you might be using a purely legal CBD oil-based product, you may still test positive on a drug test. To understand why CBD oil gives a positive result and how it can be avoided, it is imperative to know about three different types of CBD-based products available in the market;
- Full-spectrum hemp oil
- Broad-spectrum hemp oil
- CBD isolate
Although all three of them contain CBD, they are different in the composition of other ingredients. The full-spectrum hemp oil contains all the cannabinoids found in hemp along with the terpenes. This means, it also contains the legally allowed concentration of THC i.e. 0.3%. Although, when THC is 0.3 or below, it is neither illegal nor psychoactive, it still gives a positive result for a drug test. This can be problematic for those who are required to take a drug test as a professional requirement etc.
Broad-spectrum hemp oil contains CBD and other compounds found in the hemp plant but is devoid of THC. Whereas CBD isolate is solely the CBD oil and doesn’t contain anything else.
Logically, you should be able to get a negative result for a drug test if you use broad-spectrum hemp oil products or CBD isolate. However, even that isn’t the case always.
Another problem here is that most of the CBD products available in the market might not be labeled correctly. This also includes CBD isolate and broad-spectrum hemp oil. Since FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products, there is no guarantee that you are getting what you paid for. Deceitful labeling is a big issue in the CBD market and it can lead to disappointment.
So, what should you do in order to avoid a positive result in a drug test while you are using a CBD product?
One of the safest strategies here would be to go or only that CBD product that has been analyzed. i.e. the product should come with a Certificate of Analysis. COA represents the percentage of THC and it can be regarded as authentic. Go for the one which says 0% THC.
Besides, instead of ordering CBD oil online, you should prefer buying it at a CBD dispensary. The products sold in dispensaries are more likely to comply with the quality tests than those sold elsewhere. So, a dispensary would be a relatively dependable place to buy CBD oil that mentions 0% THC on the label.
Moreover, if you know that you’d have to undergo a drug test soon, you can even skip the CBD supplements for a week if possible. This way, you can totally eliminate the risk.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Whether or not it is legal to possess CBD-based products or cultivate hemp or marijuana is another daunting issue. When it comes to the legality of CBD oil and other CBD-based products, one of the decisive factors is where does the CBD comes from. Whether it is being extracted from marijuana or hemp?
The cultivation of marijuana and extraction of CBD from it for sale is illegal on the federal level. On the other hand, hemp cultivation and the sale of CBD products derived from it is legal on the federal level. It was illegal since 1937, however, the Farm Bill passed in 2019 changed its status and hemp cultivation is now legal. Moreover, in federal law, the CBD derived from hemp can also be sold commercially.
The important thing to note here is that the federal law differentiates between hemp and marijuana on the basis of THC content. It recognizes hemp as a plant that contains 0.3% or lower THC. If the THC content is above 0.3% you are referring to marijuana which is illegal federally. Secondly, if the CBD-based products (even those derived from hemp) are being sold as food or dietary supplements, their interstate sale is prohibited by the FDA.
However, this is not the end of the story. Where marijuana cultivation is prohibited on the federal level, it is allowed in some states to grow it and extract CBD from it along with other compounds. Similarly, although hemp is legal federally, its growth and extraction of CBD from it for a commercial purpose are restricted under some state laws.
Every state has its own laws regarding hemp and CBD. These must be followed when it comes to possession of CBD products derived from hemp. So, if you are considering using CBD oil, be sure to check the local laws about its possession even if you are purchasing CBD oil online. This is especially more important when you are traveling, as the laws vary from one state to the other.
To further complicate the things, even the states which legalize hemp and CBD oil may have some conditions and partial restriction in place. They may allow CBD oil to be used in one form while prohibiting it in other forms. Besides, there are some states which are still in the process of evolving solid laws related to CBD. Their stance on it is still indecisive.
If you are planning to purchase CBD oil and are unsure about its legal status in your state, refer to the chart given here. It shows the legal status of hemp and CBD in all 50 states of the USA along with the conditions that a state may impose.
How CBD Works?
CBD works by affecting our endocannabinoid system i.e. ECS. It is a system that has receptors throughout our body. CB1receptors are located in the nervous system while CB2 receptors are distributed throughout the immune system. The functions that these receptors control in our body are innumerable. These receptors release body’s own cannabinoids which control our moods, sleep cycle, they control anxiety, cardiovascular functions, the overall functioning of the nervous system, and many more.
One of the best things about CBD is that, unlike other phytocannabinoids, it does not alter our ECS system. Rather it stimulates the system to produce its own cannabinoids. Moreover, it helps increase the life span of the cannabinoids and prevents their early death. So they have more time to regulate the body’s homeostasis. Refer to this resource in order to understand more in-depth how CBD works in our body.
CBD Oil Benefits
Recent years have seen an unprecedented and yet unequivocal increase in the use of CBD products. It is estimated that by 2026, the CBD market would have flourished so much that its volume will cross a total of $89 billion around the world. This is because CBD oil has shown promising results in treating a huge myriad of conditions in the human body.
Although the research is mostly in the early stages regarding the treatment of many health conditions, the results so far show an even brighter future for this wonderful natural compound. Some o the conditions against which CBD oil is gaining momentum include the following;
- Chronic pain, e.g. that resulting from arthritis
- Degeneration of nerve cells
- Seizures resulting from epilepsy,
- Skin inflammation
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Sleep disorders
However, it is important to note that, FDA has so far approved the use of CBD in just one medicine which is used to treat seizures resulting from two rare forms of epilepsy. It is used to treat the seizures as a result of Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastrault syndrome.
Other than that, the use of CBD for any other health condition has not been officially backed by the FDA. But the scientific research does back its use against a number of above-listed health problems.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Seniors
Moreover, when it comes to the benefits of CBD oil, even the seniors can benefit a lot from what it has to offer. It has been found effective against a number of degenerative problems accompanying old age. Especially when it comes to using CBD oil for pain, one of the most common health problems of seniors i.e. arthritis can be effectively treated with CBD oil. It helps relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Moreover, it is found effective against osteoporosis, sleep disorders, and nerve cell degeneration in seniors. To find more about what scientific research has to say about CBD oil for seniors, read here.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Pets
It’s not just the humans who are benefitting from CBD. You will see a whole range of products based on CBD oil for dogs. Moreover, CBD oil for cats also works the same way as it does for humans. In fact, CBD works for all mammals in the same way. You can use it for your cats, dogs, fish, birds, and other pets. It even has some benefits backed by scientific research for rats.
Some of the commonly treated conditions in pets through CBD oil include the following;
- It helps treat seizures resulting from epilepsy in pets. CBD is a strong anticonvulsant. It is preferable to conventional anti-epileptic drugs because the latter cause a number of side effects.
- It helps treat anxiety and restlessness in pets. Pets can get anxious and show signs of restlessness due to a number of reasons. For example, separation anxiety, certain phobias, traveling, etc. can cause anxiety in pets. Although the way it reduces stress still needs thorough research, it does help ease the symptoms.
- Moreover, CBD helps against cancer in pets. It also improves the overall health of the nervous system and is very effective against pain and inflammation resulting from an injury or other conditions.
To know more in-depth about the scientific research about the efficacy of CBD oil for pets, and how you can boil down to the most suited CBD oil supplement for your pet, read here.
CBD Oil Side Effects
Just like any other alternative medicine, CBD oil has its own set of risks associated with its continuous use. While it might work perfectly well for some, it may result in mild to serious side effects in others.
Moreover, in some cases, CBD oil might interfere with other medications and produce adverse effects. If you are already taking some medicines, I recommended that you consult your doctor before starting your CBD regimen.
Although, in most cases, long term side effects are not experienced, in some people, CBD oil might cause the following side effects;
- In some people, the initial use of CBD oil might cause laziness. They may feel a bit fatigued and low on energy.
- CBD oral sprays may cause dryness in the mouth.
- For those who are prone to gastrointestinal problems, CBD may result in an upset stomach. Moreover, it may cause diarrhea.
- CBD is found to lower blood pressure in some cases.
- Hallucinations and dizziness are among other common side effects of CBD in some people.
The occurrence and severity of side effects also have to do with the dosage in many cases. It is important that you start off with a lower dosage so that your body may get used to this newly introduced natural compound. In most cases, the dosage is decided through the hit and miss process. Since every person’s body behaves differently to different supplements, what is the most appropriate dose for one might be too strong for the other.
Besides, like every other new supplement, CBD oil should also be used with a gap, especially in the beginning. Once you have taken the first dose, wait for a couple of days to watch if it causes any side effects. If it does, consult a physician or reduce the dose.
There is still room for more extensive research when it comes to measuring the side effects of CBD oil. One of the reasons why there hasn’t been enough research on CBD so far is the issue of legality. CBD-based products are not completely legal throughout the USA or globally. This hampers the research process.
Although the restrictions on CBD oil in various parts of the world hampers thorough research on its benefits, the initial research has shown a promising future for this compound. Being a natural compound, it has lower risks of long-term side effects as compared to conventional medicine.
However, it is important that you have an in-depth knowledge of how various CBD oil-based supplements work. Moreover, it works differently for different people. Hence it is highly recommended that you consult a physician before using any CBD product, especially if you are already taking other medicines.