Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Research exploring the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) oil is still at a relatively early stage. However, more and more studies have started to demonstrate CBD’s potential therapeutic effects for a variety of conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound from the cannabis plant. Manufacturers extract CBD from the cannabis plant and dilute it with a carrier oil to produce a CBD oil. Many types of varying strengths are available.

Keep reading to learn more about the research investigating the benefits of CBD oil, which conditions it may help treat, and how effective it is.

a pipette dropping CBD oil into test tubes which does work for treating certain conditionsShare on Pinterest
A person may find CBD oil beneficial for managing certain conditions.

CBD is one of several active compounds in the cannabis plant. Typically, CBD products do not contain the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The absence of THC means that a person will not experience euphoria or a “high.”

Always check labels carefully because some CBD products may contain up to 0.3% of THC.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC here.

Extracting CBD and diluting it with a carrier oil creates the popular health product CBD oil. CBD exists in many other forms, such as topicals, capsules, and gummies.

Much of the research into CBD oil focuses on the active ingredient CBD.

By knowing which conditions CBD can help, a person may consider trying CBD oil to alleviate specific symptoms.

CBD oil may be beneficial for several conditions, including:

  • Anxiety: A 2019 study on Japanese teenagers indicated that taking CBD oil orally can help reduce feelings of social anxiety.
  • Insomnia: According to Current Psychiatry Reports, medium and high dosages of CBD can have a sedating effect. This means CBD oil may help with insomnia and people who have trouble falling asleep.
  • Epilepsy: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the use of Epidolex, which contains CBD to treat people who have two rare and severe types of epilepsy. Research supporting this indicates that CBD oil and CBD have the potential to reduce seizures. A person may wish to discuss this with their doctor.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): One symptom of MS is spasticity, which causes the muscles to feel stiff and may lead to difficulty moving. Research suggests that oral CBD spray may help to reduce spasticity. However, scientists need to conduct further research to confirm this.
  • Chronic pain: An earlier study examining the effects of CBD on pain and inflammation found that it may reduce pain.
  • Acne: CBD may reduce acne. A 2014 study found it can have a positive impact on human sebocytes. These are the cells that cause sebum that may cause spots. Using topical CBD oil may be beneficial.
  • Neuroprotection: One review highlights that oral administration of CBD can have neuroprotective properties against conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about the potential benefits of CBD oil here.

Some people may try CBD oil and find it does not work for them. There are are several reasons why this might happen:

  • The oil is not from a reputable source: A person must purchase their CBD oil from a reputable source. This ensures that it contains the correct amount of cannabinoids and does not contain any other chemicals. Most reputable companies will have COAs (certificate of analysis) on their websites or available upon request. A COA is a document containing third-party laboratory testing results for the CBD they use. This ensures that the product is of the correct potency and does not contain any contaminants, such as pesticides, mold, and traces of metals.
  • Incorrect dosage: The risk of overdose using CBD is extremely low. If the amount a person consumes does not alleviate the problem, they may wish to raise the dosage slightly. One study found that people with bipolar disorder who consumed up to 1,200mg a day for 24 days did not experience any side effects.
  • Increase in tolerance: Similarly, a person may require a higher dosage of CBD oil if they have built up a tolerance to their usual dose. Also, a person may need a higher dose of CBD oil if they use cannabis recreationally.
  • Unsuitable administration method: For some people, their chosen method of administering the CBD oil may not be the best way to optimize treatment. Trying alternative methods may help. A person can take CBD oil orally, sublingually, or topically.
  • Short-term use: In some instances, CBD oil may not work straight away. A person may need to use CBD oil for a while before observing any effects.
  • It is out of date: CBD oil has a shelf life of 1–2 years. Although using old CBD oil is unlikely to make a person sick, it may lose its potency.

For more information on how to shop for CBD products, read our buyers guide to CBD here.

A person thinking about using CBD oil should consider what type is most suitable. There are three types:

  • Full-Spectrum: This means that the product contains all the cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. It also contains trace amounts of THC.
  • Broad-Spectrum: Broad-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids but is THC-free.
  • Isolated CBD: This form of oil is the purest of the three. Products that consist of isolated CBD do not contain any other cannabinoids or cannabis plant compounds.

Learn more about CBD dosages here.

Although CBD oil has many benefits, there are a few risks a person may want to consider before taking it.

There is a lack of research specifically looking at the risks of CBD oil. However, according to the FDA, some risks relating to cannabidiol include:

  • adverse impact on the liver
  • adverse interaction with other medications
  • increase in drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • appetite changes

CBD resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on CBD.

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Research is continually exploring new conditions that CBD might be able to help treat. Some of these include:

CBD oil is a natural remedy that may help alleviate the effects of several conditions.

Read about some of the top available CBD oils here.

However, some people may not want to use CBD oil.

This section looks at other natural alternatives for some of the conditions that CBD oil might help with.

  • Anxiety: According to an article in the Journal of Clinical Trials, chamomile may help reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Insomnia: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) state that although more research is necessary, valerian may be useful for insomnia and sleep disorders.
  • Epilepsy: A review of herbal medicine to treat epilepsy highlights that plants such as Apocynaceae and Caesalpinia bonducella may have benefits. However, the lack of research means that doctors cannot recommend it
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS): A 2018 review found that herbal remedies such as Ginkgo biloba and Nigella sativa are likely to have therapeutic effects in people with MS.
  • Chronic pain: A 2018 review suggests that several plants, such as Acorus calamus, Artemisia dracunculus, and Butea monosperma, may provide some pain relief.
  • Acne: According to an article in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, tea tree oil may be useful in acne.
  • Neuroprotection: A study on rats suggests that Centella asiatica may protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers need to conduct more studies to examine its effect on humans.

CBD oil is a diluted form of CBD, which involves combining CBD with a carrier oil.

Although there is little research exploring CBD oil specifically, the research surrounding it may provide insight into its uses and potential benefits.

If a person feels that CBD oil is not working, they could consider increasing the dosage, checking the product is still in date, or trying another type of CBD oil.

A range of alternative natural products is available for those who do not wish to take CBD oil due to potential risks or personal preference.