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Some studies indicate CBD—and other cannabinoids—may have an anticoagulant effect by suppressing production of blood platelets, which is an obvious concern for anyone with a bleeding disorder. Another issue is how CBD interacts with other medications, which is uncertain and needs more study.

Unlike THC, CBD does not get you “stoned.” Some report that CBD’s effects include both physical and mental relaxation, reduced soreness and inflammation, and improved focus. However, some users say they don’t feel anything.

CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and added to oils, creams and balms, liquids for vaping, pills and even candies like mints and gummies.

Is CBD safe?

In most states, CBD is legal as long as it is extracted from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant and it contains no THC (the 2018 federal farm bill legalized cultivation of hemp). You can check the laws in your state at the website of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

More broadly, general safety is a gray area when it comes to CBD oil. Production of CBD oil products is unregulated, so it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting. The US Food and Drug Administration tested several brands of CBD oil and says that “many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain.” Other research has found some CBD products contained levels of THC that could cause intoxication. In an exhaustive report on CBD oil, Consumer Reports magazine says it may be safer to buy CBD in states where medical and recreational use of cannabis is legal, as standards are likely to be stricter in these locations. Another tip is to look for CBD from producers who post the results of third-party testing of their products.

Last October, a New York Times headline asked a question many people across the country have had on their minds: “Why Is CBD Everywhere?” CBD oil, scientifically known as cannabidiol oil, has been heavily marketed as a cure-all for everything from inflammation and chronic pain to anxiety and insomnia. For people with bleeding disorders, CBD oil may seem appealing to try. But what is it exactly, and how much evidence is there that it actually works?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. Another cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that makes you high.

However, it also notes that this research is still in the early stages, and that more studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn on whether CBD is effective.

But so far, Professor Sumnall points out, CBD products in shops are marketed as food supplements, not medicines, so none of them have gone through this process.

What CBD products are available?

Many of these can be easily picked up from reputable high street stores, such as Holland & Barrett or Boots.

Professor Sumnall argues that while it could be effective for some people, in some of these cases the results could be caused by the placebo effect (where the patient’s belief in a treatment makes them feel better). The placebo effect can be powerful, but Professor Sumnall warns that if people try CBD oil instead of speaking to their doctor, it could cause a problem.

Inflammation is part of the process that leads to many diseases, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, and there is some evidence that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have suggested that CBD can have a protective effect on the heart: this has been proven in rats after a heart attack and in mice with some of the heart damage associated with diabetes. But because these studies are often based on findings in a lab or in animals, not in humans, we cannot yet be confident that CBD will benefit the human heart.