Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.
Because CBD supplements come in so many different forms—such as oils, gummies, tinctures, and vapors—the amount that’s actually absorbed can vary drastically. This, combined with each person, will ultimately affect which (if any) CBD side effects you might experience.
She adds, “[Another difference is that] CBD is derived from hemp and has been classified as a legal substance. Hemp has <0.3% THC. Conversely, cannabis plants such as marijuana are grown to have much higher levels of THC and are still illegal according to the FDA, although individual states vary as to their use.”
Are There Any Benefits Associated With Using CBD?
CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.
It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
CBD benefits include the following:
Instead, CBD is thought to influence other receptors, including opioid receptors that regulate pain and glycine receptors involved in the regulation of the “feel-good” hormone and neurotransmitter serotonin.
CBD oil contains CBD mixed with an inert carrier oil, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil. The bottled oil, called a tincture, is sold in various concentrations. There are also CBD capsules, CBD gummies, and under-the-tongue CBD sprays.
In an analysis of 14 published studies (nine involving animals and five involving humans), scientists with the University of Montreal concluded that CBD showed promise in treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant addiction.
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can trigger side effects. Severity and type can vary from one person to the next.
Scientists believe that CBD reduces nerve pain by binding to glycine receptors in the brain that regulate the speed at which nerve signals pass between nerve cells.
Studies are ongoing, but there is evidence that CBD may be effective in reducing anxiety, chronic (long-term) pain like back pain, and insomnia or trouble sleeping.
Studies found evidence, although not high-quality, that cannabis-based medicines reduced long-term nerve (chronic neuropathic) pain. All but two studies used a plant-based THC/CBD mouth spray (the other two used synthetic oral THC).
What Are the Medical Uses of CBD?
Early research on CBD for the treatment of insomnia suggests that it may be effective. Additional studies are needed.
Other oral forms of CBD are edible gummies and capsules. Topical CBD may also be a lotion, cream, or balm.
The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) found significant evidence that cannabis was an effective treatment for long-term (chronic) pain. However, much of the research was done outside of the U.S. And the forms of cannabis studied in the U.S. were not the same as those commonly used.