A Complete Guide To CBD Oil

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In this article you will learn everything you need to know about CBD Oil; from health benefits to side effects.

In the past year or so, CBD has shown up in almost every kind of product. From shampoo to skincare to soft drinks. CBD is the current must-have ingredient.

One of the most common ways that CBD is sold is as an oil. These oils have several intended uses, most of which target health issues. 

So, is CBD oil the magic ingredient that many claim it to be? To help you understand the potential benefits, and side effects, of this supposed cure-all, here is the complete guide to CBD oil.

What Is CBD Oil?

If you weren’t already sure that CBD oil comes from cannabis, its marketing and advertising will make it clear. A lot of CBD oil is covered in images of the easily-recognizable cannabis leaf. 

CBD oil is developed from a chemical found in cannabis plants. It is one of over 100 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in cannabis plants.

CBD is an abbreviation of cannabidiol. It is very different from the recreational drug most people associated with the cannabis plant. This is another of the 100 compounds in cannabis, called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

As CBD oil originates from the cannabis plant, some people are wary of its legality. In states which have decriminalized cannabis, then CBD oil is usually legal. In other states, the laws vary. Some states acknowledge that products, such as CBD oil, have uses that aren’t associated with recreational THC use. 

But even in some of these states, cultivation of cannabis is still illegal. So while CBD products can be sold, it cannot be produced. Some states allow for the use of cannabis in various products, including THC, but only for medicinal use. So, it’s important to double-check the exact rules of the state you’re in. 

It should also be noted that very few CBD products that claim to have medicinal benefits have been FDA approved. So, in some states CBD products can be legal. But they cannot claim to have any kind of medicinal or therapeutic benefit. 

Only one type of CBD oil has been approved for medicinal use. This is to treat two types of epilepsy. The FDA directly states that any other manufacturer or seller of a CBD product cannot claim that it has medicinal benefits. 

So, there are states where cannabis, and so CBD oil, have been legalized. But there are caveats within this legalization. And so any products which claim to aid the symptoms of an illness should be treated critically.

What is CBD Oil Used For?

CBD oil is mostly used as a pain and stress reliever. CBD oil can help with chronic pain. Or with cramps and other pain associated with menstrual cycles.

Essentially, CBD can help the brain and body to relax. This can potentially help to relieve pain, stress, and some mental illnesses. 

It can also be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Due to the side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs used to treat mental illnesses, some sufferers are seeking out CBD for relief. CBD oil can also be used to treat neurological disorders, such as epilepsy. Studies have also shown that it can help with insomnia.

That said, studies are limited due to the varying legality of cannabis cultivation. Both within the US and across the world. 

How Does it Work?

In the simplest terms, CBD appears to break down a chemical in the brain that affects pain, mood, and mental function. This can cause pain to be relieved. But, as mentioned above, studies into its effectiveness are limited. 

How to Use CBD Oil

There are several different ways to use CBD oil. Similarly to other pain relievers, it’s best when consumed orally. CBD oil usually comes in a small glass bottle with a pipette. The pipette can be used to place two or three drops of the oil under the tongue. You can also add CBD oil to a hot drink, such as tea, or make a tincture. 

Some CBD oils, especially those intended for treating acne, are not safe to consume. These are designed to be applied directly to the skin. CBD oil is often used in soft drinks or foods. You can even find snack bars containing CBD. These won’t always contain CBD oil, but they will have CBD in another form. These can also be pretty expensive. So it’s worth reading the ingredients list to check the content level. Otherwise, you might be paying for something that has a low CBD content level. And so will have a limited effect (if any). 

As some CBD oil cannot be consumed, it’s important to read the instructions thoroughly. And to always buy from a reputable source.

For CBD oil that cannot be consumed, this can be applied directly to the affected area. For example, someone using it for menstrual pain would apply a small amount of oil to the lower abdomen. As studies are limited, the best way to use CBD oil is not exact. So whether it is best applied directly to the skin or consumed in a drink is not yet proven.

Is Cannabidiol safe?

This will depend on the person taking the CBD. As people can respond to the substance differently. (As with any kind of medication or substance.) Currently, there is only CBD oil that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) This is Epidiolex. Which is used to treat two types of epilepsy.

This does not mean that CBD isn’t easily available. Especially in states that have legalized cannabis use. But these have not been approved by the FDA.

In fact, the FDA itself has issued warnings to companies which sell CBD and claim it will have medicinal or therapeutic effects. Due to the varying laws surrounding cannabis use, it is difficult to know which CBD oil products are safe to use. Especially when bought online. As only Epidiolex has been approved by the FDA, all other CBD oils and products should be considered with caution. 

Generally speaking, a lot of CBD oil products are safe. This is mainly because they have a relatively low CBD content level. But, if the product has not been approved by the FDA, this does mean that it can have unknown side effects. 

As mentioned above, the limited number of studies into the effects of CBD, both positive and negative, mean that declaring a product “safe” is subjective. That said, the FDA website does have a huge amount of information. So you can easily research a specific product.

Possible Cannabidiol Health Benefits

A lot of people claim that CBD has a huge number of health benefits. Some studies have shown this to be true. And many have been talking about the health benefits of CBD, and other substances in cannabis, for an incredibly long time.

This is one of the reasons why cannabis has been legalized in some countries and US states. But it is still a widely restricted substance. So, as mentioned before, there are limited studies which prove any of the claims.

Here are just some of the possible health benefits of CBD.

Allergies Or Asthma

CBD oil cannot be claimed to cure allergies and asthma. But some studies have shown that it can ease the symptoms of asthma and some allergies.

More specifically, it can help to reduce airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). This is an increased sensitivity and reactivity in the airways. This is one of the primary symptoms of asthma. And is the one which most people will be aware of.

CBD can help to ease AHR due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. CBD can potentially reduce the hyperresponsiveness in the lungs of asthma sufferers and some allergic reactions. This essentially stops the lungs from reacting too sensitively to various stimuli. This can reduce the symptoms of asthma, such as coughing.

Alzheimer’s Disease

As with almost every claim around the benefits of CBD, proof of its effects are limited. But a study has shown that, in mice, the introduction of CBD reduced some of the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

CBD cannot be used to cure Alzheimer’s. But there is evidence which shows it reduces some of the cognitive impairments. And so CBD can potentially be used to treat symptoms of the disease.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

As already mentioned, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. But this is useful for other illnesses as well as allergies and asthma. For example, when applied directly to the skin, CBD oil can help to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis

Anxiety and Depression

One of the most common uses of CBD is to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. CBD cannot be claimed to cure either mental illness. Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders. And has a severe impact on the lives of those who suffer from it.

Several studies have been conducted into the effects of regularly ingesting a CBD tablet. (CBD oil can sometimes be administered in tablet form.) The majority of the participants in these studies reported an overall reduction in symptoms of their anxiety. As well as an overall improvement in their quality of life. 

Studies have also shown that CBD can have antidepressant effects. Many who take CBD claim that it has a varying effect on mood. 

Arthritis and Joint Pain

CBD can be used to treat arthritis and joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. As well as its ability to relieve pain. CBD can be ingested or applied directly to the affected areas. This can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.


Some proponents of CBD claim that regularly ingesting CBD (or other compounds found in cannabis) can cure cancer. There is no proof for this. 

However, CBD has been regularly used by cancer sufferers to relieve symptoms. Specifically it has been used to reduce the intense pain associated with most cancers. Some studies have even shown that CBD can help to slow the growth of tumors.

Cluster and Other Headaches

CBD can be used to treat headaches due to its pain relieving properties. CBD oil can be rubbed on the forehead to relieve the pain and pressure associated with headaches. CBD can potentially directly work within the brain to prevent the breakdown of the chemical in the brain that affects pain. So CBD can be a way of directly easing headaches.

Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders

As already mentioned, the only CBD oil to be FDA approved is designed to treat two kinds of epilepsy. This is a very good affirmation that CBD can be used to treat epilepsy. The effectiveness of CBD on epilepsy is primarily due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. CBD has also been shown to be neuroprotective. This means that it can help with the preservation of neuronal structure and/or function.

Lung Conditions

THC is the cannabis compound that most people associate with cannabis. And is most commonly smoked. This is not good for lung conditions. (And is very widely illegal.) But, CBD oil can be used to help ease the symptoms of lung conditions. This is due to its potential to reduce sensitivity in the lungs.


Migraines are often considered to be similar to headaches. But they are far more intense. And can have a direct impact on a person’s quality of life. CBD can be used to reduce the pain of migraines. As well as the nausea often associated with them.

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can also help to alleviate migraines. CBD has also been shown to be potentially anti-convulsive. However, there is still limited research into this.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Along with cancer, MS is one of the most common illnesses that CBD (and other cannabis compounds) have been purported to help. CBD cannot be claimed to cure MS. But many claim that it can help to ease the symptoms of the illness.

These symptoms include fatigue, pain, muscle stiffness, depression, and mobility issues. However, as with other potential benefits, more research is needed.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A potential benefit of CBD that is not as commonly mentioned is reducing nausea. This is primarily due to the way in which CBD interacts with serotonin. Studies on animals have shown the CBD can also prevent vomiting. Even when introduced to a substance that would otherwise have an emetic effect.

Pain Relief

Pain relief is by far the most commonly talked about benefit of CBD. CBD has been shown to reduce pain. And many people claim that it has huge benefits for those who suffer from chronic pain. This reduction in pain can also lead to an improved quality of life. While the pain relieving effects of CBD are rarely refuted, claims should be critically considered. Especially when given as advertising. A lot of CBD products will claim to reduce pain. But will not have been approved by the FDA. Nor appropriately studied.  There is scientific evidence which can be seen to support the benefits of CBD. But there is not yet enough evidence to support the claims of, largely unregulated, products currently on the market. 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Research has not yet been conducted into the benefits of CBD on long-term sufferers of PD. And research into its effects on PD is still relatively new. But there have been signs that CBD can help reduce the symptoms of PD.

One of the main symptoms that can be reduced is pain. Some small studies have shown that CBD can possibly ease muscle movements. This can potentially ease the tremors commonly experienced by people with PD. 

A relatively unknown complication of PD is psychosis. This can manifest in several ways. Most commonly as hallucinations. A small study has shown evidence that CBD has the potential to reduce psychosis in people with PD.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is another illness for which sufferers have been claiming for years that CBD can help. This has led to studies which have shown evidence that CBD can reduce activity in the amygdala.

This is the part of the brain that responds to threats with fear. One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is a fear response to situations the sufferer has experienced. This can be during flashbacks and/or nightmares.

Sleep Disorders

Studies have shown that regularly ingesting CBD can help to reduce symptoms of sleep disorders. The most commonly discussed of which is insomnia. Evidence shows that CBD can help sufferers to fall asleep and to stay asleep. These are two separate issues which people with sleep disorders can experience.

Other Benefits

As well as reducing the symptoms of specific illnesses and diseases, research has also shown other benefits to regular CBD treatment. Most of these will have a benefit to overall health and wellbeing. As well as improving overall quality of life.

Quitting Smoking

Despite its association with a well-known addictive drug, CBD itself is not addictive. In fact, evidence has shown that CBD can even help to alleviate drug addiction. One of these addictions is to tobacco. 

In 2013, a study was conducted which asked smokers to use an inhaler whenever they felt the urge to smoke. Some of the participants were given inhalers with CBD and others a placebo. The study showed that there was no decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked by those in the placebo group. Whereas there was a marked decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked by those in the CBD group. 

A 2018 study also showed that these effects were sustainable. And ingesting CBD could also help to reduce tobacco cravings in smokers who are trying to quit.

Type 1 Diabetes

CBD is not yet approved to treat anything other than epilepsy. But studies have shown that it can potentially be used to treat Type 1 Diabetes. As with many other potential benefits of CBD, not enough research has been conducted to prove the effectiveness.

But, ongoing research has shown evidence that CBD can help to control blood sugar levels. This, in combination with its effects on inflammation and nerve pain, can potentially make it a useful treatment for Type 1 Diabetes. 


There are a huge number of products which claim to help reduce the appearance and severity of acne. But, people have very different skin types. And can also react differently to certain substances. Depending on the sensitivity of the skin.

Acne can also be caused by several different factors. So it is difficult to make an exact statement regarding the effect CBD can have on reducing its appearance.

One of the causes of acne is an overproduction of sebum. CBD has been shown to reduce the production of sebum. This means that CBD can help to prevent acne from developing.

Acne and other blemishes can often appear as large, swollen red lumps. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can potentially help to ease these. This can help reduce the size and swelling of acne. As well as the pain often accompanied by these lumps.

Possible Side Effects From Using CBD

Despite its potentially huge range of benefits, the use of CBD does have some side effects. Many different medications can cause a wide range of side effects. As can other “natural” remedies. And people will respond differently to different medicines. 

Here are the potential side effects most commonly associated with the use of CBD.

Interactions With Other Medication

One of the main problems with CBD is that it can potentially interact negatively with other medications. This is a concern for people with chronic conditions or other illnesses that require a lot of medicating. This means that, while CBD can potentially have a positive effect on people with specific conditions, it can potentially cause negative reactions as they will likely be taking other medications. 

So, CBD might be beneficial by itself. But it might not be enough to risk potential the interactions with other medications for other symptoms. 

One of the main potential negative interactions is with blood thinners. CBD can raise the level of the blood thinner Coumadin. So it is not recommended to be used in combination with blood thinners.

This is one of the reasons why CBD products must be treated with caution. As most are not FDA approved, their potential negative side effects are not yet fully known. And so cannot be fully communicated to the consumer.

Fatigue and Drowsiness

One of the most common side effects of CBD (and other cannabis compounds) is fatigue and drowsiness. This is also a common side effect of pain medication. And other medications for mental disorders.

But, as there is little research into the benefits of CBD, there is also little research into its potential negative side effects.

Mood Changes and Irritability

CBD oil can be potentially useful to treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. But a common side effect of using CBD is varying moods. This can be mood drops and irritability. It can even cause symptoms of depression and anxiety.

So using CBD oil can be a double-edged sword. This is one of the reasons why more research is needed for the benefits of CBD. As there is currently such a limited number of studies, the benefits and side effects cannot be fully understood. Especially in regard to their effects on different people.

Male Fertility

The effects of CBD on male fertility are not yet fully understood. But there have been a range of studies which show a detrimental effect on male fertility from THC. Overall, studies have shown that cannabis can stunt the production of testosterone. Which can affect sperm production. But, as with all potential benefits and side effects, more research is needed.


Use During Pregnancy

There are a lot of substances that can be potentially dangerous to use during pregnancy. And CBD is one that is not worth the risk.

Research into the effects of CBD has not been completely conclusive. But evidence shows that the chemicals in cannabis can be passed onto the fetus. So, it is best for pregnant people not to take any kind of cannabis, including CBD.

Regular Use in Teenagers

Teenagers are a group that are often associated with cannabis. But this is mostly THC. Some parents are turning to CBD to help children and teenagers. Especially those who experience high levels of stress. Or have mental disorders that cause a high degree of stress or volatility. 

But, as has been mentioned many times in this article, not much evidence is yet available. CBD oil has only been approved for use on two types of epilepsy.

There is no evidence to show how CBD might affect a young person whose brain and body are still developing. So any use by parents or teenagers for other illnesses or issues is done at potentially great risk.

Blood Pressure

Some evidence suggests that regular use of CBD can help to reduce high blood pressure. This is due to its relaxing effect. But this does mean that people with low blood pressure should be wary of CBD. As it may make the problem worse.

There is also potential concern on how CBD will interact with blood pressure medication. This is due to limited research and evidence.


CBD oil is often taken orally. But some people cannot digest the oil easily. This can cause dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting. So any use of CBD oil should be cautious. Especially as one of the potential benefits of the oil is reducing nausea and vomiting.

Liver Damage

A 2019 study showed that ingesting high levels of CBD can have a detrimental effect on the liver. This is because the liver works to remove toxins from the body. Excessive use of CBD can, potentially, cause liver toxicity.

This study looked into the effects of consuming high levels of CBD in 8-week old mice. The mice mostly tolerated the CBD. But those which ingested extremely high levels showed signs of liver toxicity.

As with other side effects, a lot more research is necessary. But the current evidence suggests a need for caution in regularly consuming CBD. Especially in high doses.

As has been mentioned before, there is limited research due to the wide illegality of cannabis. Even CBD which does not produce a “high”. This means that knowledge of safe dosage is not yet available. Nor is there much evidence which shows the long-term effects of regularly taking CBD.


Overall, CBD oil can be used to treat and temper a wide range of symptoms. But it cannot be described as the magical cure-all that some manufacturers claim it to be. CBD oil is widely available. But anything that has not been approved by the FDA should be treated with caution.

If restrictions on cannabis were not so strict, there would be more studies into the benefits of CBD oil. These studies would also show any other potential unknown side effects. So those who claim that CBD simply needs greater research to prove its effectiveness are only half right.

It’s also important to check the CBD content levels of any oil. As some will be too low to have any kind of impact. But the manufacturers will still likely claim that it will have amazing benefits. So as well as the instructions, it’s important to check the ingredients list. And develop a greater understanding of the intensity and measurements of CBD.

While there have been studies into the benefits of CBD oil, a lot of its proponents have only anecdotal evidence. This cannot be entirely disregarded. But all unproven claims should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

Claims that CBD oil can help ease pain, inflammation, and even reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s have the support of evidence produced through scientific research. But those who claim that CBD oil can cure cancer or reduce Alzheimer’s entirely should be disregarded. 

These claims are dangerous. And can lead people down a route where they completely disregard mainstream medicine. Some herbal and alternative medicines can be helpful. And mainstream medicine is not always perfect. But it’s important to listen to your doctor. And follow the advice of experts.