• Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis substance that may potentially treat pain, anxiety, neurological disorders, and cancer-related symptoms(1).
  • The three types of CBD oil are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates. Full-spectrum contains all cannabis compounds. Broad-spectrum is the same as full-spectrum, except it does not have THC. Meanwhile, CBD isolates are just pure cannabidiol.
  • A 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report declared that CBD has a good safety profile overall. They also mentioned that the compound had minimal adverse reactions in human subjects(2).
  • It is vital to visit a doctor, especially one familiar with cannabis, before deciding to take any CBD product. Never attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat.

CBD: What It Is and How It Works

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, in the Cannabis sativa plant(3)

Compared to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another active cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive, which means that it does not cause mind-altering effects when consumed. This quality makes cannabidiol an interesting option for people seeking relief from various ailments.  

Researchers believe that CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits are due to how it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors, together with the naturally occurring cannabinoids and enzymes, comprise the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS regulates various bodily functions, such as the human body’s immune system response and energy(4).

Endocannabinoids are transmitters attached to cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are widely distributed throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems(5)

Endocannabinoids are primarily mediated by the CB1 and CB2 receptors(6). These receptors allow endocannabinoids to fulfill their roles in the body.

Potential Health Benefits of CBD

CBD has been found to exert a wide range of therapeutic properties. It is said to have neuroprotective, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, analgesic, antioxidant, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, and antiemetic properties(7).

These are some of the potential health benefits of CBD oil.

Pain Management

Cannabidiol has especially gained popularity as a promising treatment for chronic pain related to numerous conditions. One study suggested that the compound may provide pain relief for specific pain issues while improving an individual’s quality of life(8).

Studies reveal that cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, help reduce chronic pain by modulating endocannabinoid system receptors(9). Researchers learned that these cannabinoids affect conditions such as multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain.

Multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system disease that attacks the protective covering of nerve fibers, which may result in spastic pain among many other problems.

Neuropathic pain is pain caused by disease or damage to the nervous system. It may result from long-standing diabetes, stroke, or other conditions. 

Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that Sativex, a spray containing THC and CBD, can treat some forms of pain and rheumatoid arthritis(10)

Alleviation of Anxiety and Depression

Two prevalent mental health disorders that can affect health drastically are anxiety and depression(11).

Based on a World Health Organization (WHO) report, the number of individuals with mental disorders is increasing globally(12). The 2017 WHO report estimated that more than 300 million people suffer from depression, which is approximately 5% of the world population.

Depression and anxiety are often treated using pharmaceutical drugs, such as antidepressants. These medications have been found to cause several side effects, including insomnia, drowsiness, restlessness, sexual disorders, nausea, and diarrhea(13).

Some medications, especially those with opioids, may also cause addiction and eventually lead to substance abuse(14).

Some researchers suggested that CBD oil may be a promising treatment for psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression(15).

In 2019, Brazilian researchers administered either oral CBD or placebo to more than 50 healthy men before undergoing a public speaking test. The experts learned that those who took 300 mg of CBD had significantly reduced anxiety during the speech simulation(16).

These findings confirmed the anxiolytic-like effects of CBD, similar to the results found in previous animal studies. CBD was also found to interact with serotonin receptors, neurotransmitters implicated in anxiety and depression(17).

In another study, a ten-year-old patient suffering from anxiety and sleep disorders was given CBD oil to help with her well-being. The patient took CBD supplements for five months, who reportedly experienced a gradual increase in quality and quantity of sleep(18).

CBD may help reduce cancer-related symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment.

A study in 2010 analyzed 177 human subjects who were experiencing cancer-related pain(19). These individuals have not found relief even after using pain management medications. 

The subjects were given extracts containing either CBD and THC, THC alone, or placebo.

The patients who took the combination that included CBD and THC experienced significant pain reduction compared to those provided only THC and placebo.

The researchers of the study concluded that CBD and THC, when combined, are effective in relieving cancer-related pain.

A study showed that patients undergoing chemotherapy experienced reduced nausea and vomiting after consuming CBD and THC(20)

CBD may also lessen nausea and vomiting after cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy(21).

Potential Neuroprotective Properties

The ability of CBD to affect the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems could potentially benefit people with neurological problems.

One of the most studied psychiatry areas on the use of CBD is in treating neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia(22)

Although research in this area is entirely new, a few studies have started showing promising reports concerning the compound.

Sativex, which contains both CBD and THC, may be an effective treatment option for patients with moderate to severe multiple sclerosis spasticity. 

In a study, researchers found that most patients experienced relief from the condition after taking Sativex for a month(23).

In another study, two hundred fourteen patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were given CBD(24). The individuals reportedly experienced fewer motor seizures after several weeks of treatment. 

The findings led researchers to believe that cannabidiol may help reduce seizure frequency in people with epilepsy.

Another study has shown that CBD may improve the overall quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease(25).

Cardiovascular Health

CBD may provide health benefits for the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, with its potential to lower blood pressure(26). High blood pressure has long been considered a critical risk factor for various heart diseases and mortality(27).

In one human study, healthy male volunteers were given either a single dose of 600 mg of CBD oil or placebo. The researchers learned that after cannabidiol intake, the participants’ resting blood pressure was lower than that of individuals who took the placebo(28).

The study also subjected the men to stress tests that typically increased blood pressure. Researchers observed that a dose of CBD resulted in the subjects experiencing a reduced blood pressure increase than usual in response to the tests(29).

The study suggests that the properties of CBD may have therapeutic effects that could potentially improve heart health. More studies are needed to determine any clear benefits of CBD for cardiovascular health. 

Reduced Acne 

Acne is a prevalent skin disorder that affects more than nine percent of the worldwide population(30). The condition may be caused by bacteria, genetics, and the overproduction of sebum(31), the oily substances produced by the skin.

According to a study, CBD effectively prevented sebaceous glands from secreting excessive sebum(32). It also revealed that the compound exerted anti-inflammatory actions, preventing the activation of acne-causing agents.

However, in this study, CBD was administered only to cultured human sebocytes. It did not include human subjects with the said skin condition.

Collectively, the study results suggested that the compound may be a potential therapeutic agent for acne.

Types of CBD Oil

There are three types of CBD oil: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates.

Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other substances naturally found in cannabis. The distinct aromas and flavors of cannabis plants are because of the terpenes they contain, while flavonoids are responsible for the colors.

Combining all of these components results in a synergy called “the entourage effect.” The concept behind this effect is that all cannabis compounds work better when they are taken together, rather than individually(33).

Since cannabidiol is not the only component of cannabis with potential therapeutic benefits, some users may want to choose full-spectrum CBD.

Meanwhile, people who are allergic to THC or do not wish to consume the psychoactive compound can purchase broad-spectrum CBD. This cannabidiol variant does not contain THC.

Lastly, CBD isolates are made of only pure CBD. CBD isolates are for people who do not want to take the other cannabis components except for cannabidiol.

Choosing the Best CBD Oil Products

As cannabidiol grows in popularity, users should ensure that the CBD products they purchase are high-quality and come from trusted sources.

Below are several aspects to note when searching for premium CBD oil.

  1. High-quality CBD oil is extracted using a supercritical CO2 method.

Top-quality CBD oils are extracted using supercritical CO2. This method ensures that the extract is free of additives and additional chemicals.

It is best to avoid CBD tinctures made using chemicals, like hexane, pentane, butane, and propane. These substances can leave toxic contaminants behind after extraction.

  1. Hemp grown in areas that require soil tests is ideal.

Hemp is a plant that readily absorbs minerals from the soil where it is planted. While it can absorb the nutrients in the soil, it can also take in petroleum, lead, and toxic substances.

High-quality CBD oil is grown in areas where the local government requires its farmers to have their fields tested frequently for toxic substances.

Moreover, the CBD oil should be tested by accredited third-party laboratories to ensure that the product does not contain heavy metals, microorganisms, residual solvents, or pesticides.

  1. The product label should indicate the CBD amount that the product contains.

Reliable brands inform users about the amount of CBD they can get from their product labels. Pay close attention to the concentration or the total number of milligrams in each bottle. A higher number means a more potent tincture.

Users should check product lab reports to confirm the amount of cannabidiol present in the product.

  1. Reputable CBD brands publish lab results on their website.

Before purchasing any CBD product, ensure that the company has its CBD product tested by third-party labs. A trustworthy company makes the lab test results of their CBD products readily available to the public.

The certificate of analysis (COA) should be found on the brand’s website or as a code embedded in each product package. 

Most reputable companies are proud of their products and make their reports easy for consumers to find. Viewing and verifying these lab reports are vital in ensuring that the CBD products contain the substance as advertised.

  1. CBD tinctures containing less than 0.3% THC are non-psychoactive.

CBD tinctures made from hemp plants may have traces of THC but not enough to get a person “high.” However, substandard manufacturing processes can result in higher THC levels, causing psychoactive effects upon consumption.

A mislabeled CBD product is a sign of bad quality. It could also mean that the item is illegal for consumption. 

Users should check the labels and test results of CBD products before purchasing.

CBD Dosage

The amount of CBD one should take depends on a few factors, such as weight, medical condition, body chemistry, and the concentration of the CBD product.

It is essential to consult a doctor to find the appropriate dosage. A physician can also advise whether CBD use is appropriate or not for a person with a specific health condition.

Some experts believe that starting with a smaller dosage is best for beginners(34). Users should then gradually increase their intake, depending on the observed effects.

It is advisable to keep a diary of CBD intake and assess if a medical condition’s symptoms have improved. Taking note of these facts can be very helpful when consulting a doctor concerning cannabis use.

CBD tinctures provide an easy way to consume cannabidiol, especially for beginners. These products come with a dropper that allows users to administer the oil under their tongue. Users are advised to hold the substance for thirty to ninety seconds before swallowing.

Another convenient way of taking the compound is by eating CBD gummies. These edibles are ideal for travelers, as the products can be taken at any time.

Applying CBD on the skin through topicals is also another way of administering the compound.


Are CBD Oils and Hemp Oils the Same?

Hempseed oil, or hemp oil, is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Extracting the oil requires the seeds to be pressed, processed, and refined before being bottled. Hemp oil contains omega fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.

Although cannabidiol oil is also obtained from hemp, the oil is extracted from the leaves, flowers, stalks, and stems of the plant.

There are several methods of extracting CBD, with carbon dioxide and ethanol being the most popular.

Differences Between Hemp and CBD Oils

  • Hemp oil can only be obtained from industrial hemp, while CBD can be acquired through different cannabis varieties.
  • Reputable CBD brands provide COAs for their CBD oil products, containing details regarding active ingredients and composition. A COA is not required for hemp oil.
  • CBD oil can legally have up to 0.3% THC, while hemp oil does not contain the psychoactive compound.
  • Some states may have specific laws concerning the manufacture and distribution of CBD. Hemp oil has none of these restrictions.
  • Hemp oil has long been used in beauty products, while CBD is a relatively new extract in all industries.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers in the United States can now cultivate industrial hemp plants for limited purposes(35). Farms can now grow industrial hemp, while CBD brands can transfer hemp-derived goods across state lines.

There are no more restrictions on the sale, possession, and transportation of these hemp derivatives. However, CBD products must be produced in a way that is approved by law.

For instance, hemp extracts should not contain more than 0.3 % of THC. Cannabis plants that contain more than this amount are not protected under the legislation.

Is CBD Safe to Use?

In a 2018 report, the WHO analyzed several studies concerning cannabidiol and found that the compound has a good safety profile overall(36). The organization also mentioned that CBD was generally well-tolerated among human subjects with minimal adverse reactions.

However, the document stated that there could be potential drug interactions between CBD and other medications. Such interactions are risks that consumers need to be aware of when using cannabidiol.

One study concluded that CBD has a complex pharmacokinetic profile. The compound should be treated like any other medication with the possibility of interacting with other drugs and medical conditions(37).

The study’s researchers suggest that medical CBD users should be assessed for potential drug-drug interactions. Healthcare providers should know of these possibilities when prescribing CBD to patients considering complementary therapies. CBD comes in various forms and not all may be appropriate for everyone. 

Are There Disadvantages In Using CBD?

Although cannabidiol could potentially be used in treating a wide range of medical conditions, it also has disadvantages.

Note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, which is currently used in the treatment of epilepsy(38)

Since there is no proper regulation from the FDA, the quality of CBD products varies widely. CBD manufacturers have been found to mislabel their goods, containing more or less of the compound than advertised(39).

The lack of regulation could also mean that some CBD products may contain THC, the component responsible for the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana

Even if the product is said to have trace amounts of THC, it could still be enough for a person to be tested positive in a drug test.

However, CBD rarely appears in a drug test since most employers screen for the psychoactive THC instead.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemical substances that can be obtained from the cannabis Sativa plant. The most popular among these compounds is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. The second most abundant substance of cannabis is cannabidiol.

Researchers observed that cannabinoids exert their effects by engaging cannabinoid receptors in the body(40). The two primary types of receptors are the CB1 and CB2.

These receptors can be found in various areas of the body, including the nervous system.

What is the Difference Between THC and CBD?

There is a distinct difference between THC and CBD.

THC is known for its psychoactive effects when consumed, and is often associated with marijuana use. High levels of THC in the body may cause hallucinations, paranoid thoughts, and panic attacks(41).

Meanwhile, CBD was found to be non-intoxicating. Researchers learned that cannabidiol counteracts the mind-altering effects of THC when consumed(42).

However, one study found that a combination of both cannabinoids was able to provide subjects with better pain management than THC alone(43).


CBD is a substance extracted from cannabis plants and is believed to have beneficial effects due to its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties

CBD does not have psychoactive effects upon consumption, unlike THC, making it an appealing choice for those seeking additional or alternative treatment for their medical conditions.

Some of CBD oil‘s potential health benefits include pain management, social anxiety relief, alleviating cancer-related symptoms, and neuroprotection. CBD is also believed to help enhance cardiovascular health and reduce acne growth.

The World Health Organization mentioned that CBD has an excellent overall safety profile and is generally well-tolerated among human subjects. However, cannabidiol is treated like any other medication since it could interact with other drugs and medical conditions.

Users should look for CBD that has been extracted using CO2, is grown in areas requiring soil tests, has precisely the ingredients labeled, and contains less than 0.3% THC

More importantly, before trying CBD for wellness or any reason, one should consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.

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