CBD oil benefits for chronic pain, stress, sleep, anxiety and more

Are you searching for a natural way to manage chronic pain, stress, anxiety, or sleep disturbances? Many have turned to CBD oil as a potential remedy amidst growing interest and evolving research. 

This guide clarifies how CBD oil works, its legal status, its types, and its interaction with the body. We’re here to provide the crucial information needed to decide if CBD oil could benefit your health regimen

Our goal is to empower you with knowledge to help you make an informed choice about incorporating CBD oil into your wellness routine.

What is CBD oil and its types?

Among the roughly 540 active ingredients in the cannabis plant, Cannabidiol (CBD) is a prominent compound.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is harvested primarily from hemp plants, defined by their low THC content — specifically, less than 0.3% [1]. 

Types of CBD oil

Full-spectrum CBD

This type of oil is rich in CBD, alongside a spectrum of other cannabinoids, including traces of THC (under 0.3%), terpenes, and flavonoids found in the original plant [2]. 

The presence of these compounds creates a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” which enhances the therapeutic effects of CBD. 

Broad-spectrum CBD

Much like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum oils contain various cannabinoids and terpenes but with one key difference — all THC has been removed [3]. 

This option is ideal for those who wish to avoid THC altogether but still want the entourage effect benefits.

CBD isolate

For pure CBD without any additional cannabis plant compounds, CBD isolate is the go-to option. Often synthetically produced, this form ensures a THC-free experience, focusing solely on the potential benefits of CBD [4].

How does CBD oil work?

CBD engages with multiple receptor systems, making it a “multi-target” compound. This broad interaction spectrum offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, vital in addressing various health concerns.

One of the most crucial aspects of CBD’s appeal is its lack of intoxicating effects, a stark contrast to THC, the compound known for producing a “high.” 

CBD’s interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is fundamentally different from THC’s. While THC binds directly with cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), CBD’s approach is more indirect. 

It influences the body to use its cannabinoids more effectively rather than binding tightly to these receptors. This mechanism is why CBD doesn’t produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC. 

Furthermore, CBD can modulate THC’s effects, potentially reducing its psychoactivity. This balancing act is particularly beneficial for users needing the therapeutic effects of cannabis without the intense high.

CBD’s ability to interact with a wide array of biological pathways yet not intoxicate positions it as a compelling choice for those looking to support their health without compromising clarity and function [5]. 

What are the true benefits of CBD oil?
Photograph: christening/Envato

What are the true benefits of CBD oil?

1. Relieves chronic pain

CBD oil has become popular for its ability to relieve chronic pain by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates pain, mood, and immune function.

Its efficacy in pain management can be traced to its ability to enhance ECS function. 

By influencing receptors in the body and increasing endocannabinoid production, CBD oil helps modulate pain perception and inflammation, offering a natural pain relief option without the psychoactive effects of THC.

Recent studies underscore CBD oil’s potential in chronic pain relief. A study published in 2021 highlighted CBD’s effectiveness in reducing chronic pain, noting pain reduction ranging from 42% to 66% with CBD alone [6]. 

Another study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology observed significant pain reduction in participants using CBD oil, suggesting its role as a complementary treatment for chronic pain conditions [7].

These findings, while promising, point to the need for further research to fully understand CBD oil’s pain management capabilities and optimal dosing. 

Nonetheless, the current evidence supports CBD oil as a viable option for those who want to manage chronic pain naturally. 

2. Improves mood, stress, and anxiety levels

The mechanism by which CBD oil reduces stress and anxiety is its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, particularly its ability to affect serotonin receptors.

Serotonin has a crucial role in mood regulation, and CBD’s action on these receptors can mimic the effects of anti-anxiety medications but with fewer side effects.

In a 2019 study published online in The Permanente Journal, 72 adults experiencing anxiety and poor sleep were observed [8]. 

The research found that anxiety levels significantly dropped within the first month for 79.2% (57 patients) and sustained this decrease throughout the study, while sleep quality initially improved for 66.7% (48 patients) but showed variability over time [8]. 

Notably, CBD was well tolerated among nearly all participants, with only three reporting adverse effects [8].

Research supports CBD’s potential to treat various anxiety disorders with acute dosing, highlighting its broad pharmacological benefits and the need for further study on long-term effects [9].

Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD oil is useful for stress and anxiety. However, it’s essential to approach its use cautiously, considering factors like dosage, product quality, and individual health conditions.

3. Reduces insomnia symptoms 

CBD oil can possibly improve sleep by addressing the root causes of sleep disturbances like anxiety, stress, and pain.

By interacting with the body’s ECS, CBD oil calms the nervous system, facilitating an easier transition to sleep and maintaining prolonged sleep duration. 

This mechanism is crucial for those whose sleep issues stem from conditions like anxiety or chronic pain.

Research across 34 studies shows CBD oil, especially when balanced with THC, significantly enhances sleep quality in individuals with insomnia, though more objective, insomnia-focused research is needed [10].

If you’re considering CBD oil for sleep disorders, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the correct dosage and to ensure it fits seamlessly into your health regimen. 

4. Enhances skin health

CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory qualities are particularly beneficial for acne sufferers. It helps regulate sebum production, a common culprit behind acne outbreaks, and soothes inflammation, reducing redness and swelling [11]. 

For those battling eczema and psoriasis, CBD oil’s moisturizing benefits and its ability to reduce inflammation can relieve dryness, itchiness, and irritation, promoting healing and comfort [12].

Beyond addressing specific skin conditions, CBD oil contributes to overall skin health. Its antioxidant properties combat free radicals, protecting skin from environmental stressors that accelerate aging. 

As you consider adding CBD oil to your skincare regimen, prioritize products from reputable sources to ensure purity and potency. Remember, a patch test is wise to gauge skin sensitivity before full application.

5. Helps with neurodegenerative disorders

CBD oil offers hope for those with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS), demonstrating significant therapeutic potential. 

For epilepsy, its ability to reduce seizures led to FDA approval of Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication, confirming its efficacy [13]. 

MS sufferers find relief from symptoms like muscle stiffness and pain through CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects [14]. 

6. Reduces blood pressure

CBD oil is increasingly recognized for its potential benefits in heart health, particularly in lowering blood pressure and stabilizing heart rate. 

Its anti-anxiety properties help soothe the nervous system, potentially reducing stress-induced blood pressure spikes. 

Additionally, its antioxidant capabilities combat oxidative stress, a significant risk factor for heart disease. 

Studies show CBD can reduce blood pressure in stressful situations and improve arterial health, but doesn’t change daily blood pressure levels with continued use [15].

Consulting with a healthcare provider is essential for anyone considering CBD oil for cardiovascular wellness to ensure it complements existing treatments and aligns with your overall health plan. 

With ongoing research, CBD oil continues to show promise as a supportive tool for maintaining heart health.

Reduces blood pressure

How do you use CBD oil?

CBD oil can be consumed orally, applied topically, or inhaled, catering to different needs and preferences. 

For new users, start with a low dosage and gradually increase it to allow your body to adapt and minimize potential side effects. This titration approach helps identify the most effective dose for your health goals.

When selecting CBD oil products, prioritize quality. Look for products with clear labels showing concentration and third-party testing by accredited laboratories, ensuring purity and potency. 

Additionally, opt for organic and non-GMO CBD oil to guarantee the absence of harmful additives.

Recent guidelines suggest beginning with a dose as low as 5mg twice daily, adjusting as needed based on personal response [16]. 

Following the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is no longer a controlled substance at the federal level as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis and is defined as Cannabis sativa L. plants [17].

This legislation represents a significant shift in the cultivation and marketing of hemp-derived products, including CBD oil.

However, this change does not alter the FDA’s authority over cannabis and cannabis-derived products. 

The FDA continues to regulate these products under the FD&C Act and the Public Health Service Act, treating them with the same scrutiny as any other regulated product. 

This regulatory stance means that while hemp-derived CBD oil may be legally produced and sold, its safety, efficacy, and marketing claims remain subject to FDA evaluation and enforcement [17]. 

Consumers should be aware that aside from Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication for certain seizures, no CBD products have received FDA approval. 

This underscores the importance of exercising caution and conducting thorough research when considering CBD oil for therapeutic use, highlighting the ongoing need for regulatory clarity and consumer education in the evolving landscape of cannabis-derived products.

In closing

Exploring the vast potential of CBD oil across various health and wellness areas reveals its versatility and efficacy. 

From managing chronic pain, stress, and sleep disorders to supporting heart health and mental well-being, CBD oil offers a natural alternative or complement to traditional treatments. 

As you consider incorporating CBD oil into your regimen, remember the importance of consulting healthcare professionals, starting with low dosages and choosing high-quality products. 

With ongoing research and personal due diligence, CBD oil can be a valuable addition to your wellness journey, offering benefits tailored to your unique health needs.

FAQs

What is just CBD oil used for?

CBD oil is primarily used for its potential health benefits, including relieving pain, reducing anxiety and stress, improving sleep, and supporting overall wellness. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to promote balance and well-being.

Does CBD oil have a high effect?

No, CBD oil does not produce a “high” effect. It contains cannabidiol, which interacts with the body without the psychoactive effects associated with THC, the compound in cannabis responsible for the high sensation.

Is CBD oil safe?

CBD oil is generally considered safe for most people, with few reported side effects, such as fatigue and changes in appetite. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before use, especially if taking other medications.

Does CBD oil affect the liver?

Some studies suggest high doses of CBD oil may impact liver enzymes and cause liver inflammation. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects, emphasizing the importance of moderation and consulting healthcare professionals before use.

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hemp-cbd-vs-cannabis-cbd
[2] https://www.forbes.com/health/cbd/full-spectrum-cbd/
[3] https://www.forbes.com/health/cbd/broad-spectrum-cbd/ 
[4] https://www.forbes.com/health/cbd/cbd-isolate/
[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589004220304880
[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1524904223001935
[7] https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/pharmacology/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00561/full
[8] https://www.thepermanentejournal.org/doi/full/10.7812/TPP/18-041
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36149724/
[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736837/
[12] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11101-023-09860-5
[13] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9148011/
[15] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332223001750
[16] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327518
[17] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd

Photograph: christening/Envato
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