With a forecasted revenue of over 20 billion by 2024, the CBD market is booming. 1 But what exactly is CBD and how effective is it? We look at 9 proven or possible health benefits of CBD oil.
Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties and will not give you a “high”. There is no evidence it has any abuse or dependence potential and to date, there is no evidence that it is associated with any serious side effects, according to the World Health Organization.
Animal studies have shown some effect of CBD at relieving depression, possibly related to its strong anti-stress effect after either acute or repeated administration. 16
An observational study of CBD treatment reported an improvement in self-reported quality of life measures for people with non-cancer-related pain but there was no statistically significant improvement in those with cancer-related pain or with neurological symptoms. 8
In June 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex (a plant-based formulation of CBD) to treat seizures for people 2 years of age and older with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which are two rare forms of epilepsy.
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes (a marker of liver inflammation). People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution, ideally under the care of a doctor who can regularly check blood liver enzyme levels.
Medical marijuana is frequently prescribed to people with intractable (treatment-resistant) pain, including those with terminal cancer. There is some evidence that CBD contributes to this benefit.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
CBD oil comes as full-spectrum oils or in forms that contain CBD isolates. Unlike isolates, which contain CBD only, full-spectrum oils contain a variety of compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, including proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll. Alternative practitioners believe these compounds offer more substantial health benefits, although there is no clear evidence of this.
Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.
Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles, California.
The findings suggest that CBD oil may be a suitable complementary therapy for people whose hypertension is complicated by stress and anxiety. However, there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat hypertension on its own or prevent hypertension in people at risk. While stress is known to complicate high blood pressure, it cannot cause hypertension.