Cannabidiol (CBD) is an increasingly popular ingredient for people seeking alternative remedies for various conditions, including chronic pain. CBD comes in the form of oral sprays, as well as edibles and topical products.
Cannabis plants contain compounds called cannabinoids. The two best-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD.
THC can lead to psychological effects and the “high” that people frequently associate with cannabis. CBD, however, does not produce the same psychoactive effects. It might, on the other hand, have numerous potential health benefits.
Various forms of CBD exist, including oils, gummies, topicals, and oral sprays. However, it is important to note that availability may vary from state to state, and that it is currently illegal to sell CBD food products or dietary supplements. People can learn more about the regulation of CBD products here.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects and potential benefits of CBD oral sprays. This article also covers how this form of CBD compares with others that are available.
CBD products are available in many forms, including oral sprays.
Sprays involve a tincture of CBD extract and ethanol alcohol. The alcohol helps extract the cannabinoids. An oral spray dispenses directly into the mouth, either under the tongue or inside the cheek.
Although the research into CBD’s use as a remedy for various conditions is ongoing, studies that support CBD’s purported benefits are currently limited.
The following conditions may benefit from CBD use.
There are anecdotal reports of people who use CBD experiencing anxiety-reducing effects. CBD may also help counteract the anxiety-producing effects linked to high levels of THC.
However, existing studies into the effects of CBD on anxiety involve only small groups of participants. Further research may help clarify the potential link between the two.
Chemotherapy side effects
People undergoing chemotherapy for cancer may experience nausea and vomiting. Doctors usually prescribe antiemetics to counteract these unpleasant side effects.
A 2018 study found that CBD limited a surge of serotonin levels in the interoceptive insular cortex (IIC) of rats that received injections of a nausea-inducing chemical compound.
The IIC region of the human brain is responsible for nausea. Therefore, the findings suggest that it may be possible for scientists to develop a CBD-based antinausea treatment for people receiving chemotherapy treatment.
One 2019 review also suggests that cannabinoids may help prevent other adverse effects associated with chemotherapy, including poor appetite and pain. That said, the evidence in this area is weak.
There is evidence to suggest that cannabinoids may help with pain relief, but few studies exist on CBD specifically.
A 2018 review took into account 48 studies on using cannabinoids and cannabis for the relief of chronic non-cancer-related pain.
The authors suggest that there is moderate evidence pointing to the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids compared with a placebo. However, people using cannabinoids were also more likely to experience adverse effects than those taking the placebo.
A more recent study analyzed the evidence surrounding the benefits and harms of medical cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic non-cancer-related pain. At 2 weeks, there was “moderate evidence” to support the use of cannabinoids in treating this type of pain.
A 2019 review supports the use of a combined THC and CBD oral spray called nabiximols (Sativex) for multiple sclerosis-related pain. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not yet approved this spray for use.
One randomized controlled trial from 2020 suggests a link between topical cannabidiol oil and relief from peripheral neuropathy-related pain. However, the study only looked into topical CBD use, not the use of oral sprays.
Although current evidence does not fully support the use of CBD for relief from chronic pain, new research and clinical trials are on the horizon. For example, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health are funding further research on the subject.
Currently, the FDA have only approved a single drug containing CBD. Epidiolex is a treatment option for severe forms of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Clinical trials found that when people with these conditions take Epidiolex with other seizure drugs, they experience fewer seizures than those taking a placebo in addition to seizure medications.
However, there has been little research into the benefits of CBD for milder, more common forms of epilepsy.
Limited evidence suggests that CBD may help people with substance abuse disorder by curbing compulsive behaviors.
A 2018 animal study found that CBD reduced relapse in rats for 5 months.
One study from 2019 found that CBD may help people with heroin use disorder by reducing cravings and anxiety.
Some studies also suggest that CBD may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder by reducing insomnia and nightmares.
Although this preliminary research is encouraging, more studies are necessary to establish conclusive evidence.
Although CBD oral sprays need longer to take effect than smoking or vaping, they are faster-acting than edible forms of CBD.
Oral sprays can have an unpleasant aftertaste, but some have flavorings to make them more palatable.
When using CBD oral spray, it can be challenging to determine the correct dose. As with any form of cannabinoid, it is best to start small to prevent unpleasant side effects.
Oral sprays such as Epidiolex are standardized to meet formulation and dosage regulations. With these, a person will know exactly how much they are getting with each spray.
However, the effects of oral sprays may last longer and be stronger than with vaping or smoking.
Researchers still have a limited understanding of how CBD affects the human body.
Risks and side effects are possible, even in the case of the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex.
Some potential adverse effects of CBD include:
- liver damage
- drug interactions
- an increased risk of sedation (when a person combines CBD with alcohol or certain medications)
- decreased appetite
- altered alertness
Researchers have yet to answer certain questions about CBD, including the following:
- What are the effects of prolonged exposure?
- Can high doses cause an increase in adverse effects?
- Does CBD hinder or alter brain development?
- Are certain people at higher risk of experiencing adverse effects?
- Is it safe for animals to consume CBD?
Although the FDA have only approved a single CBD-containing medication for severe forms of epilepsy, there are many products that contain CBD.
Many manufacturers, including those of CBD oral sprays, make claims and promises about their products’ therapeutic benefits that the FDA have not yet evaluated.
Therefore, people should use products containing CBD with caution and never use them in place of conventional medical treatments.