Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

Everything you need to know about CBD oil


12th Jun 2019 Wellbeing

Everything you need to know about CBD oil

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD oil, is a popular natural remedy used to treat many common ailments.

Often confused with cannabis/marijuana, CBD causes none of the psychoactive sensations usually associated with those products despite being derived from the same family line.

This quality makes CBD a tremendously appealing option for people who are in need of pain relief, but would rather avoid taking expensive pharmaceutical drugs. 

CBD oils have become increasingly popular with the general public, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to some companies making unsubstantiated health claims for the product. Read on as we take an in-depth look into CBD oil.

How is CBD oil made?

CBD oil can be extracted in three different ways – CO2 method, ethanol method or oil method.

The CO2 method involves pushing carbon dioxide through the plant at high pressures and low temperatures, thus extracting it in its purest form.

This process is widely thought to be the safest as it cleanly extracts CBD, removing substances like chlorophyll and leaving no unwanted residues.

The ethanol method extracts the oil using high-grain alcohol, but this process destroys some of the beneficial natural oils.

The oil method has grown in popularity in recent times and involves extraction using a carrier oil such as olive oil.

The rise in popularity of this method is largely due to the added benefits of the nutrients in the oil used and the fact that it is free from other residues.

Can CBD oil reduce anxiety and depression?

Research has shown that anxiety and depression are amongst the top 10 contributors to disability around the world.

Both conditions are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, although these can cause numerous side effects such as headaches, agitation and insomnia.

Studies have found that CBD oil has had a positive effect on people living with the disorders, with the product showing an ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin.

This is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour, and a lack of serotonin is known to be a major contributory factor in both anxiety and depression.

CBD oil has also been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children who have suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Does CBD oil help to reduce pain?

Scientists have discovered that certain components of marijuana, including CBD oil, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects.

CBD oil can help to reduce chronic pain and inflammation by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity and interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain.

Researchers have found that the best CBD oil on the market is often an effective treatment for the symptoms of arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

A study in the European Journal of Pain used CBD oil to treat rats with arthritis and noted a significant drop in inflammation and signs of pain.

Similarly, it has been reported that short-term use of CBD oil helps to reduce the levels of spasticity a person with multiple sclerosis feels.

Can CBD oil cure cancer?

CBD oil can help to alleviate the symptoms related to cancer and the side effects related to cancer treatment, such as pain, nausea and vomiting.

Some medications fail to offer patients relief from cancer-related pain, but studies have shown that CBD oil can provide a significant reduction in pain.

It has also been found to reduce nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of chemotherapy treatment.

Studies have also CBD to be capable of inducing death in human breast cancer cells and inhibiting the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.

While these are certainly positive developments as things stand, more human studies are need before informed conclusions can be made in relation to CBD oil’s effectiveness as a cancer treatment.

Will CBD oil improve my heart?

Studies have shown that CBD has the ability to lower high blood pressure in addition to providing other benefits for the heart and circulatory system.

Researchers believe that the anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

A 2017 study found that doses of CBD helped lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 10 male subjects when compared to a placebo.

There have also been numerous animal studies that have shown CBD’s stress-reducing properties can help to decrease the inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease.

CBD oil may be useful in indirectly helping recovery from strokes, with one study showing that it reduces tissue damage in animals that suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Can CBD oil help recovery from strenuous activity?

Many top athletes extol the virtues of CBD oil, using it as a natural means of recovering from intense training or participating in their chosen activity.

CBD oil helps to relax sore muscles and settles the mind and body, thus making sure that athletes recover quickly and can handle the stresses of high-class sport.

Feelings of nausea, tiredness and soreness are amongst the side effects of intensive activities and using traditional medication is sometimes inadvisable.

Many painkillers such as ibuprofen have side effects of their own, particularly if they are used frequently.

Using CBD oil is a more powerful and natural alternative to these types of drugs and can certainly help with recovery from strenuous activity.

Is CBD oil FDA approved?

The FDA approved the use of CBD (Epidiolex) as a treatment for two rare conditions characterised by epileptic seizures in 2018.

Doctors in the United States can prescribe Epidiolex to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a condition involves different types of seizures and appears between the ages of three and five years.

It can also be prescribed to treat Dravet syndrome (DS), a rare genetic condition that appears in the first year of life and involves frequent, fever-related seizures.

The FDA instructed doctors not to prescribe Epidiolex to children younger than two-years-old, and dosages above that age must be determined by body weight.

It is expected that more FDA approvals will follow for CBD oil when further research has been completed on specific conditions. In other countries, such as the UK, CBD is 100% legal and available to buy as a food/health supplement. Companies such as Blessed CBD are proving popular with UK consumers for their highly effective, and top-rated UK CBD oil products.

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


This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit