• CBD oil derived from cannabis plants may help relieve pain. 
  • According to studies, cannabis may function as a substitute for opioids(1)
  • Besides CBD oil, CBD may work in tinctures, CBD gummies, or as dietary supplements

Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD or cannabidiol is a primary cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and significant concentrations of cannabinoid-based medicines(2). CBD is available in many forms, yet the most common form is CBD oil

CBD oil is a concentrated extract formed from cannabis flowers or leaves dissolved in edible oil(3). The oils commonly used may vary from hemp, olive, or sunflower oil. Organic solvents such as ethanol or harmful solvents, like petroleum-ether, and supercritical fluids, impact the final CBD oil product.

CBD oil may contain terpenes depending on the preparation method used(4). However, terpenes are highly volatile, so there may be a loss of terpenes during the evaporation of solvents.

While there is evidence that CBD oil may work for some medical conditions, there is no evidence that CBD is a cure for any disease(5).

Therefore, despite CBD oil’s rapid growth and use, uncertainties about CBD oil remain. 

Why CBD May Not Work? 

There are various reasons why CBD oil may not work for an individual. 

Due to unofficial regulation standards, the market for cannabidiol may contain fake contaminated CBD products. Therefore, an unaware individual may be purchasing faulty labeled CBD oil products.

In addition, the effects of CBD oil may not be noticeable immediately. For an individual to reap the benefits of CBD oil, it may take commitment and consistency. 

Furthermore, not every individual contains the same genetic makeup. Thus, the response time of CBD oil effects may take longer for various individuals. 

Individuals who are not taking the correct dose of CBD may experience setbacks in experiencing their desired effects.

Individuals who are unsure of the correct CBD oil dosage may consult a doctor for medical advice to help determine which dosage of CBD oil is best. 

An individual consuming CBD oil may need to switch consumption methods. Besides CBD oils, an individual may try standard products such as CBD topical creams, CBD edible gummies, and CBD capsules.

For CBD to work, it depends on an individual’s metabolism and biochemistry since no two individual endocannabinoid systems operate the same way.

What Is CBD Oil Used for?

CBD oil is common in the medical field and workforce due to its medicinal properties for therapeutic use. 

However, individuals may use CBD oil in various aspects of life.

One optional use of CBD oil is to ingest CBD oil with meals. In addition, it is not uncommon for individuals to add a few CBD oil drops to beverages. 

Moreover, CBD oil is a common extra ingredient in skin and wellness products, such as topical CBD pain relief salves and topical creams or lotions to soothe muscle aches. 

The use of CBD oil may assist an individual in feeling mentally relaxed and ease physical discomforts. However, due to the lack of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in most CBD oil products, individuals may not experience drug-like euphoria feelings. 

Potential Health Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil contains potential health benefits for any individual who is a consumer. These benefits include:

CBD for Pain Relief

Individuals may turn to CBD oil as a pain-relieving treatment for medical conditions(6). Medical conditions associated with pain may be inflammatory conditions. Noxious stimuli, which occur during the immune response, cause inflammation.

Sensory neurons, through activation, may cause long-lasting inflammatory pain(7). CBD oil may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, more research is needed to verify the compound’s effects. 

Arthritis pain is another common pain experienced by both humans and animals. 

Regarding arthritis pain, one animal study found that CBD reduced dog’s arthritis-related pain and increased mobility(8). 

CBD may also offer assistance in chronic pain management

One human study reported the benefits of CBD in chronic pain treatment(9). The study assessed the effects of CBD on kidney transplant patients. Two patients reported total pain improvement and no severe side effects

According to a study, multiple sclerosis is one central nervous system disease that affects people worldwide(10). The symptoms of multiple sclerosis frequently include pain, muscle spasticity, fatigue, inflammation, and depression. 

The research showed that CBD may reduce pain and spasticity and improve mobility for individuals with multiple sclerosis.

CBD for Mental Health Disorders

CBD may also have the potential to help relieve the effects of mental health disorders. 

Various studies demonstrate CBD’s possible role as a pharmaceutical agent and its antidepressant properties(11).

One study evaluated whether CBD could influence mood, anxiety, and stress(12). The participants of the study were a crossover of men and women. Participants reported significantly diminished anxiety as a result of CBD use. The study concluded that CBD may have impacted the individual’s physiological responses. 

Many individuals are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is the fear of social situations which cause embarrassment or humiliation.

A study investigated the effects of CBD on patients with social anxiety disorder(13). The results hypothesized that repeated CBD administration had an impact on teenagers with social anxiety disorder. The results showed that CBD could be an option to treat social anxiety. 

Another study assessed the efficacy of cannabidiol in patients with schizophrenia(14).

Random clinical trials used CBD oil treatment versus placebos in schizophrenia patients as monotherapy or add-on therapy. However, the primary outcome showed no statistically significant difference in overall efficiency. 

CBD and Cancer Symptoms

CBD oil may be a promising treatment for cancer symptoms, yet there is no conclusive evidence.

Studies show that CBD oil may be promising for cancer treatment because it lacks the psychomimetic properties of delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol(15). Although, neither CBD nor THC are efficacious and reduce cancer cell viability. 

Psychotomimetic properties refer to drugs that produce psychoactive or mind-altering effects on the user. 

One study tested the validity of the entourage effect with CBD oil using a cancer cell viability model(16). The results concluded that pure CBD was more potent in reducing cancer cell viability as the most potent oil tested.

CBD and Neuroprotection  

The neuroprotective properties of CBD are of interest in numerous neurodegenerative disorders.

Research studies show that CBD may have an inhibitory effect on the inactivation of endocannabinoids within the endocannabinoid system(17). However, investigations into brain damage indicate that CBD does normalize glutamate homeostasis. 

Researchers hypothesized that CBD may be capable of restoring the balance between oxidative events and anti-oxidant mechanisms. The possibility is under investigation. 

Nevertheless, peripheral neuropathy significantly impacts patients’ lives(18). Therapies often fail to improve pain.  

A four-week control trial examined the use of a topical CBD oil to manage neuropathic pain(19). There was a significant reduction in intense itchy sensations and sharp pain in cold sensations compared to the placebo group. 

The findings of this study demonstrate that CBD oil may achieve significant improvement in pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy(20)

CBD and Heart Health

Studies suggest that CBD may benefit the cardiovascular system of both animals and humans(21)

Research shows that CBD causes acute and time-dependent vasorelaxation in human mesenteric arteries(22).

CBD treatment may protect against ischemia-reperfusion damage in the heart and against cardiomyopathy, which is associated with diabetes(23).

Moreover, CBD may reduce the cardiovascular response to models of stress applied systemically or intracranially when inhibited by 5HT1A, a receptor antagonist(24).

Additionally, CBD may influence the survival and the death of white blood cells(25).

Another study aimed to explore the influence of acute CBD injection on human heart rate variability. From the study, CBD treatment did not show any effect on heart rate or resting blood pressure. However, the compound may decrease individuals’ cardiovascular response to different types of stress(26).

Other Potential Benefits of CBD: Evidence of CBD in Treating Epilepsy

Cannabidiol has been of particular interest as a form of treatment for epilepsy(27)

Evidence shows that a pure form of CBD may serve as an anti-seizure treatment for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which are two rare types of childhood epilepsy. 

Charlotte, a five-year-old girl in the United States, was diagnosed with SCN1A-confirmed Dravet syndrome and had 50 generalized tonic-clonic seizures each day(28). Studies showed her seizures decreased by more than 90% after three months of treatment with a high-CBD-strain cannabis extract. 

Another research showed that 75 patients in the United States, 89% with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and 23% with Dravet syndrome, reported seizure reduction(29)

A retrospective study containing 108 children with epilepsy in the US reported that adding CBD oil over six months resulted in a 50% seizure reduction in patients, with 10% seizure-free(30)

An oil-based, highly refined liquid formulation of CBD (Epidiolex) derived from Cannabis sativa in 2018 is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome(31).

In four adjunctive-therapy trials, CBD administered in doses of 10 or 20 milligrams a day was superior in reducing drop seizures in patients with LGS and DS(32)

Another study administered a survey on medical marijuana use to patients in an epilepsy clinic in Oregon to see if medicinal marijuana use could improve seizures(33). The most common selected cannabis strains were high CBD. 

Despite these studies, an individual hoping to use CBD oil as a form of treatment for epilepsy should contact a medical doctor to find out whether Epidiolex would be a safe treatment option. 

Is CBD Safe?

State laws on the use of Epidiolex vary. While individuals are studying CBD as a treatment for multiple conditions, research supporting the drug is limited(34).

CBD also has risks. CBD may have side effects such as diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, and reduced appetite(35).

The unreliability and purity of CBD products are another cause for concern(36).

Potential Interactions With Other Medications

An individual who takes CBD with other medications may increase the risk of toxicity and have similar side effects(37). 

CBD may interfere with the enzymes of other drugs leading to too much or not enough of the drug in the body(38). This action may lead to the medication not working.

Any individual considering taking CBD with other medications should consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Ongoing Research About the Effectiveness of CBD

Various research on the effectiveness of CBD is still ongoing.

For example, an analysis of an animal study revealed that patients taking prescribed oral solutions of CBD tested positive for COVID-19 at lower rates(39). 

However, the potential for CBD to treat patients exposed to COVID-19 does not precede the health guidelines of defense(40)

The results of this analysis offer CBD as a potential new therapeutic drug(41).  However, clinical trials are still necessary to determine if CBD may be effective as a prophylactic treatment for SARS-CoV-2.

In another study, investigators propose a placebo-controlled study in which 100% THC-free CBD may be compared to a placebo(42)

The researchers hoped to examine the neurometabolic and neurophysiological effects of CBD and the behavioral effects of CBD on measures of working memory and response inhibition(43). Participants recruited need to take encapsulated, THC-free CBD. This study has an estimated end date of December 31, 2022. 

Other Considerations About CBD

Navigating the use of CBD products within the health system environment is important to understanding and complying with the current legal landscape(44). 

On a federal level, cannabis or marijuana has been under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) due to the high potential for abuse related to the THC component. 

However, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp containing less than 0.3% THC from the CSA(45).

Multiple states may differ in regulations, and CBD products available to individuals may not meet the legal requirements of the location(46). 

In addition, CBD product labeling may not accurately reflect the product’s CBD and THC content(47).

Non-FDA-approved CBD products may contain ingredients that may lead to unknown risks(48).

If CBD is from hemp, it is legal. However, if CBD is from marijuana, it is illegal. However, depending on which state an individual may live in, any cannabis product may be illegal.

The bottom line is that individuals who are planning on utilizing CBD oil for various purposes may consult a doctor or a healthcare provider before consumption.

  1. Exploring the use of cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs in a convenience sample
  2. Cannabidiol use and effectiveness: real-world evidence from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic
  3. The Trouble with CBD Oil
  4. Ibid.
  5. CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?
  6. Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay
  10. Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis
  11. Cannabidiol and mental health: possibilities, uncertainties, and controversies for addiction treatment
  12. Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study
  13. Anxiolytic Effects of Repeated Cannabidiol Treatment in Teenagers With Social Anxiety Disorders
  14. The role of cannabidiol oil in schizophrenia treatment. a systematic review and meta-analysis
  15. Cannabidiol and Other Phytocannabinoids as Cancer Therapeutics
  16. Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil Does Not Display an Entourage Effect in Reducing Cancer Cell Viability in vitro
  17. Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?
  18. The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Epilepsy and cannabidiol: a guide to treatment
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Pharmacological and Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol for Epilepsy
  32. Ibid.
  33. Marijuana use among patients with epilepsy at a tertiary care center
  34. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  35. Ibid.
  36. Ibid.
  37. CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution
  38. Ibid.
  39. Researchers recommend clinical trials for CBD to prevent COVID-19 based on promising animal data
  40. Ibid.
  41. Ibid.
  42. Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on the Brain (CBD)
  43. Ibid.
  44. CBD: Considerations for Use Within the Health System
  45. Ibid.
  46. Ibid.
  47. Ibid.
  48. Ibid.


CBD Clinicals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more