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What are the side effects of CBD oil?

by Prity Kumari
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CBD or cannabidiol oil, is a naturally-occurring chemical product derived from the cannabis or marijuana plant. It is non-psychoactive, means it doesn’t cause any “high” effect or any kind of intoxication, even if taken from the marijuana plant. However, another cannabinoid, known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found abundantly in the marijuana plant is psychoactive.

CBD oil can be mixed with creams or gels and directly rubbed onto the skin or taken orally in the form of capsules. The form in which CBD oil is used depends largely upon what it’s being used for.

The use of cannabidiol oil is under controversy as it is taken as a recreational use of marijuana. However, with growing awareness about the CBD healing properties, cannabis oil uses and potential health benefits offered by CBD oil, it’s in more demand. There is growing evidence that CBD oil has natural healing properties including pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. But, CBD oil is not legalized in every state and it also poses some risks. It’s always recommended to speak to a healthcare practitioner before using CBD oil. Read further to know about how CBD work, what are the health benefits of CBD oil, and cannabis oil side effects. [2, 3]

How Does CBD Work?

The effects of CBD (cannabidiol) can be seen in the body when it interacts with cannabinoid receptors, which form a part of the endocannabinoid system. The body consists of two cannabinoid receptors- CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are particularly found in the brain but can be present all over the body. When cannabinoids interact with these receptors, they can help manage chronic pain, coordinate movement, and improve mood, emotions, appetite, thinking, and other functions. CB2 receptors are typically found in the immune system. Their interaction with cannabidiol can help reduce pain and inflammation.

CBD does not interact by getting attached to the receptors rather it stimulates the receptors so that the body synthesizes its cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.  [3]

The Benefits of Using CBD oil:

Research on CBD oil is still going on. However, studies suggest some uses of CBD oil in the health sector, because of CBD healing properties or possible health benefits.

  1. Treatment for Epilepsy syndromes (Anti-seizure): It has been in news earlier that CBD oil can help treat epileptic seizures. In 2018, Epidolex was the first FDA-approved CBD drug to treat two common forms of epilepsy- Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in patients at least 2 years old.
  2. Relief from Anxiety and Depression: The widespread use of CBD oils is major because of CBD’s calming ability. Researchers believe it can help people manage anxiety by improving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, decreasing heart rate, reducing stress, and inducing sleep in cases of insomnia.
  3. Alleviation of symptoms of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disease wherein the nerve cells of the spinal cord and brain start to deteriorate causing loss of muscle control. As per the 2019 study, it has been that muscle stiffness and tightness can be treated in ALS patients with the entourage effect of CBD oil with THC.
  4. Treatment for Opioid Addiction: People who are highly dependent upon the use of opioids can lessen their cravings for the same, reduce their withdrawal anxiety, lower their salivary cortisol levels, and reduce their resting heart rate by using CBD oil. The psychiatric and medical symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and pain that are caused by Opioid addiction can all be alleviated by the use of CBD oil.
  5. Protection against Neurological disease (Neuroprotective): CBD oil can help reduce inflammation or pain that leads to worsening neurodegenerative symptoms. Researchers think that CBD oil use can help in the treatment of Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.
  6. Inhibition of symptoms of Arthritis: Arthritis symptoms include joint stiffness, pain, and loss of motion caused by the deterioration of the tissues in and around the joints. After clinical studies, it was seen that CBD oil can significantly improve pain, swelling, and quality of sleep in patients suffering from Arthritis.
  7. Ease Diabetic Complications: Various test studies on human cells concludes that CBD oil can help lessen the effects of high glucose levels on other body cells, which usually precedes the development of diabetes and its complications. The CBD could reduce the levels of resistin (the protein that regulates blood sugar levels by causing insulin resistance) and increase levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (the hormone that ensures enough release of insulin from digested food).
  8. Treatment for acne (anti-acne): The effect of CBD oil on CB2 receptors may reduce overall inflammation in turn, thus helping in inflammatory acne management.
  9. Pain relief: The effect of CBD oil on CB1 receptors in the brain may help manage pain. CBD oil can alleviate arthritic pain, chronic unmanageable pain, Multiple sclerosis pain, pain caused by spinal cord injuries, and muscle pain. [2, 4]

What Are the Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil?

Depending upon the form of medicinal cannabis one uses, it’s possible to experience some side effects. This is usually in the case of CBD products that are not cleared by the FDA for use or not taken in the right dosage. The probable CBD oil side effects that can develop in people include:

  • Mood or behavioral changes, including withdrawal symptoms like irritability, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of appetite and other gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea
  • Liver damage
  • Tiredness, reduced alertness, and dizziness
  • Interactions with alcohol and other drugs
  • Reduced male fertility
  • Feeling high or sick
  • Hallucinations
  • Weakness
  • Low blood pressure.  [1, 3]

Medicinal cannabis (CBD oil) treatment

Medical cannabis is a broad term for any cannabis-based medication that is used to alleviate symptom(s) of a particular condition. Based on scientific evidence, medicinal cannabis is found to be a suitable treatment option for concerns such as:

  • Chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea
  • Severe muscular spasms, stiffness, and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea, Pain, Vomiting, and Cachexia (as a part of palliative care)
  • Some kinds of epilepsies with severe seizures
  • Some types of long-term, non-cancer-based pain.  [1]


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  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/medical-cannabis/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-oil-benefits
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221
  4. https://www.forbes.com/health/body/cbd-oil-benefits/

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