CBD Oil: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & UK Laws

Cannabidiol or CBD is an oil derived by refining the cannabis plant's compounds through a process called the supercritical CO2 extraction (there are other extraction methods too). This method creates a new compound that has been refined of its THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content, which is the psychoactive component of conventional marijuana (it’s the chemical ingredient that makes you “high”).

 

Since CBD is not psychoactive, it is not addictive. However, it is also not always regulated by law. Those who are looking for pain or stress-relief supplements often turn to CBD as an alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals (the industry has grown tremendously over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing). Though CBD oil cannot cure cancer, as some advertisers would like to claim, it can be beneficial for those with chronic pain conditions, neurological disorders, skin conditions, substance abuse problems, and even some of the side effects related to chemotherapy.

Refer to consumer reports, third-party lab testing in the industry, and online reviews to find a CBD oil product that is properly extracted, vegan-friendly, comes from a full/broad spectrum of only organic ingredients, contains no fertilizers or chemical additives, and has a brand with a reputation for partnering with the scientific community to produce quality, well-tested products.

Looking for CBD products? For the best CBD oil in the UK, we highly recommend Blessed CBD

They offer CBD oils, CBD creams and CBD gummies - and have been voted the best UK-based CBD brand by the likes of us, VentureBeat, HerbMighty, Discover Magazine, Observer, Express, Daily Record and Manchester Evening News.

Let's talk about the benefits of CBD oil.

Once you find a trusted brand and a product with a dosage that works for you, you can start taking advantage of these 7 health benefits of using CBD oil and its derived products. 

While there are few federal standards for testing these hemp plant products and more lab testing is required to verify these benefits on a scientific level, research will increase as the industry grows. The testing that has been done and the anecdotal evidence of those that swear by these products give us a list of benefits that you can expect when using the best CBD products.

1. Pain relief

The pain-relieving properties of marijuana, and CBD by extension, are well-known. This plant has been used for this purpose for centuries, as well as for regulating sleep and immune system function, both of which play a supplemental role in reducing pain.

CBD may interact with the neurotransmitters that produce pain, allowing inflammation to decrease as your body de-escalates its immune response. 

Those who suffer from chronic pain conditions know that their body’s nervous system can remain over-active even after the inciting incident that started the pain has healed and gone away. This is how chronic pain starts.

By blocking these signals, CBD oil could reduce nerve pain, as well as normalize autoimmune function due to a calmer nervous system. Everything from sclerosis to arthritis can be treated with CBD oil this way. 

Anyone suffering from these or other chronic pain conditions should consider CBD oil (preferably one that is full-spectrum - which allows you to unlock the entourage effect) as a part of their recovery or pain management plan.

2. Treating anxiety or depression

Anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression knows that stress can cause or exacerbate chronic pain conditions. CBD’s ability to alleviate anxiety is a benefit not only to your mental well-being in terms of eliminating stress but also in terms of doubling up on its pain-relieving quality.

Anxiety disorders are prevalent in the developed world and are a leading cause of disability cases, sexual dysfunction disorders, and sleeping conditions. The addictive and sometimes harmful nature of pharmaceuticals designed to alleviate these conditions has led many people to seek out natural alternatives such as CBD hemp oil/cannabis oil for managing depression.

CBD oil is one such alternative, with many treatment studies showing that a moderate dose of CBD oil via a dropper was effective in producing calming effects comparable to antidepressants. Serotonin – the chemical responsible for keeping your mood up – is affected by the bonding of CBD compounds to your neurotransmitters.

This is why many people are turning to CBD tinctures as an alternative to pharmaceutical depression solutions.

3. Neurological benefits

The benefits to your immune and pain signaling systems already discussed imply that CBD oil’s effect on your brain may extend to more general benefits, including those dealing with various neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

CBD-based sprays with terpenes/flavonoids and a range of cannabinoids have been shown to reduce spasms in multiple sclerosis sufferers during clinical trials. These people experienced reduced pain in conjunction with the reduced frequency of spasms. All patients had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis that was resistant to pain-relieving medications.

While there have been some side effects reported in people who suffer from neurological disorders related to CBD treatment (these have included fatigue and even convulsions), the potential to reduce seizure activity and normalize the stress response systems of people suffering from neurological disorders should not be ignored as a selling point for continued research into CBD oil benefits.

As always, consult your doctor before trying a new supplement, particularly if you suffer from a neurological condition.

4. May benefit heart health

Chronically high blood pressure has been linked to heart and circulatory malfunction and eventual failure. It is both a symptom and a cause of type 2 diabetes, which comes with its own physical and neurological dysfunctions.

CBD has been linked to reducing blood pressure, which directly benefits heart health and reduces the user’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

Studies involving 600mg doses of full spectrum CBD oil found to perform significantly better than placebo at reducing resting blood pressure and restoring normal body rhythms.

This may be an indirect result of the stress-relieving properties of CBD or a direct effect of the compounds themselves. Regardless, the inflammation associated with an out of control stress response negatively impacts heart health and CBD could be a step on the road to repairing that damage.

Its antioxidant properties and its ability to reduce anxiety may curb heart disease and prevent diabetes, though more studies on this benefit have to be conducted over longer periods to know for sure what benefits CBD can have for your heart and to what extent.

5. Cancer-related symptom management

There is little truth to some advertisers’ claim that CBD oil can cure or prevent cancer in the human body, except as much as reducing stress could affect your body’s immune response. What CBD can do for those suffering from cancer however is to reduce their symptoms, mainly those related to the side effects of intense chemotherapy treatment.

Cancer treatment procedures can cause chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, and many other related functional problems. Drugs created to address these symptoms come with their own side effects and can often do more harm than good.

This is why evidence to suggest that CBD may help with these symptoms could be a significant leap forward for the acceptability of testing and refinement in the CBD supplement industry. Those who suffer from nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy have experienced reduced symptoms through a combination of high CBD content and THC oral spray.

Some studies have also shown that the highest quality CBD can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, such as in one conducted on mice and published in 2007. However, additional testing must be done to determine the full possibilities of this aspect of CBD use.

This is undoubtedly where the claims that CBD oil can cure cancer have come from. Regardless of how effectively it is determined to inhibit cancer itself, it has been shown in many critical trials to reduce symptoms related to aggressive chemotherapy, which will no doubt come as a relief for those suffering from the adverse side effects of both the disease and the treatment.

6. May reduce acne and skin conditions

CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation benefits the skin as well. Though inflammation plays only one part in developing acne, which also has genetic and bacterial determinants, reducing it can also reduce the body’s production of sebum, the oil made by the upper layers of the skin that can become trapped and cause your skin to break out.

Inflammatory processes that encourage acne can be prevented using CBD oil, according to many studies. By reducing sebum production through inflammation-blockers, CBD could be more effective at treating acne than many over the counter creams and medications by addressing the inflammatory cause of the outbreak rather than simply addressing the symptoms.

This improvement in inflammation response could benefit those with psoriasis as well. Since CBD oil can improve the endocannabinoid system for better regulation of your mood, pain response, and immune system, these things can help your body regulate the process of skin cell multiplication that causes psoriasis. As inflammation is the basis of most chronic illnesses, CBD’s ability to regulate it has far-reaching effects on the body processes that it could improve.

These benefits are not limited to disease recovery. Thanks to the cannabinoid receptors in our body, CBD oil and the various phytocannabinoids could also counteract the effects of aging on your skin, including wrinkling, dullness, and redness.

The reason is that CBD contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which help your skin produce more collagen, reduce water loss, and effectively slow the look of aging by keeping your skin hydrated.

7. Substance abuse treatment

Reducing anxiety and stress through CBD oil has additional benefits besides lower blood pressure and better mood. By positively affecting the body’s stress response, CBD can also reduce stress-related drug cues. This reduces the chance of a relapse since depression and anxiety are major causes of increased cravings for behaviors associated with mood-altering desires.

Drug context and stress-related desire can be better managed with CBD, which reduces cravings overall and allows you to avoid relapses.

One thing you may be concerned about is CBD oil as a drug in itself, transferring your previous addiction behavior onto a new substance. This is why it’s important to find reputable CBD oil companies that use the right extraction process so that there are no traces of THC in the product you choose. As the psychotropic element, THC could become addictive and negatively impact CBD’s ability to help you escape your addiction cycle.

Third-party testing (some leading brands even send you the lab results if you email them) is a must for anyone looking for a CBD oil product. This need increases if substance abuse recovery is part of your reason for buying it. 

More research has to be done on the effects of CBD oil on those suffering from substance addiction since only week-long interventions have been explored so far. If long-term studies are done in the future, this benefit will become clearer.

Does CBD have side effects?

Despite the general lack of regulated testing, THC-free (or of concentration less than 0.2%) CBD oil is considered generally safe and non-addictive. Despite this fact, there are a few side effects to watch out for, particularly in higher doses.

Diarrhea, appetite changes, weight gain and loss, and fatigue were all reported in some studies. If you notice mood or appetite changes, it could be a sign that the drug is having adverse effects on you.

There are also a few contraindications for using CBD oil tinctures. Those who take medications that list a grapefruit warning risk the same adverse effects with CBD, since both affect the same metabolic markers that determine how a drug passes through your system.

Other antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs could interact with CBD oil, either resulting in toxicity or in reduced effectiveness for a drug that you need. This is why it’s important to always consult your doctor before trying a new supplement, as you never know how CBD could interact with your medical condition.

Additionally, those with fatty livers may experience increased liver inflammation when taking CBD oil. Some of these side effects were only seen in animal tests on extremely high doses of CBD. However, until more testing is done, it’s best to consult your doctor and start on lower doses first.

CBD oil in the UK: takeaway

CBD oil and its derived products (CBG, etc) do not have many federally-accepted health benefits because of the lack of widespread official testing on the substance in long-term studies. However, both in limited studies and in anecdotal evidence, CBD oil has been proven to have major benefits for chronic pain and depression suffers.

These include supporting your body’s mental response to pain by binding to neurotransmitters that inhibit it. CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory effects can reduce stress and depression, improve symptoms associated with chemotherapy, eliminate acne, and in some limited studies has been shown to possibly even slow the growth of cancerous cells. By lowering blood pressure, it can improve your heart function. With less stress, you may be less susceptible to a substance abuse relapse.

Regardless of your intended use for CBD oil, you must find a reputable source for your supplement with records of their testing procedures. By using the most well-extracted, organic, and chemical-free supplements, you can experience their full effects with as few of the side effects as possible. CBD brand comparison websites such as BuyCBD.co.uk are great for reading reviews of the top-rated CBD companies in the UK.

As more studies are conducted on the pain and stress-relieving properties of Hemp CBD oil, you will see both more reputable products and more knockoffs. Selectivity will be more important than ever so that you get the most potent supplement with the most powerful benefits.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.