Cannabis Oil is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.
Better known as CBD, it is one of more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa (1Trusted Source).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, which means it causes the sensation of getting high that’s often associated with cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of cannabis or other side effects related to some pharmaceutical drugs.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. CBD can be found in a variety of products online and in stores, including dietary supplements, bath soaks, drinks, and food.
It continues to gain momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies finding that it may ease symptoms of conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety. But is it the right choice for you?
This article covers 6 evidence-backed health benefits of CBD, as well as potential side effects and safety concerns related to CBD products.
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Cannabis has been used to treat pain as far back as 2900 B.C. (2Trusted Source).
More recently, scientists have discovered that certain components of cannabis, including CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects.
The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, pain sensation, and immune system response (3Trusted Source).
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters (4Trusted Source).
Some research suggests that CBD may be effective for certain types of pain, including nerve pain and back pain, when used on its own. However, it seems to be most effective when combined with THC (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Several human studies have found that a combination of CBD and THC is effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis.
An oral spray called Sativex (nabiximols), which is a 1:1 combination of THC and CBD, is approved in several countries to treat pain related to MS.
A study that included 47 people with MS examined the effects of taking Sativex for a month. The participants experienced improvements in pain, walking ability, and muscle spasms (7Trusted Source).
Still, the study didn’t include a control group, so placebo effects cannot be ruled out (7Trusted Source).
In one review, researchers noted that Sativex may benefit those with MS-associated neuropathic pain and chronic severe neuropathic pain. The review also found that Sativex may help relieve anxiety and stress, which are major drivers of chronic pain (8Trusted Source).
Additionally, some research suggests that CBD may relieve symptoms of rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia.
A study that included survey data from 2,701 people with fibromyalgia found that those who used CBD for pain relief generally reported slight to significant improvement in symptoms (9Trusted Source).
And according to preclinical evidence from rodent studies, CBD may have beneficial effects on pain and inflammation related to arthritis, but human studies are lacking (10Trusted Source).
Although researchers are cautiously optimistic that CBD may be helpful in the treatment of some types of pain, especially when combined with THC, more high-quality studies are needed to determine its effectiveness in pain management.
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Some research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of a number of health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome (24Trusted Source).
Studies indicate that CBD may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
In a small study, 9 healthy men were treated with 600 mg of CBD oil. The CBD treatment reduced resting blood pressure compared with placebo (25Trusted Source).
In the same study, the men also took part in stress tests that normally increase blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to experience a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to these tests (25Trusted Source).
Another study that included 26 healthy men found that treatment with 600 mg of CBD for 7 days led to significant reductions in blood pressure in the short term compared with a placebo group. However, the effect was lost after 7 days (26Trusted Source).
The CBD group maintained lower blood pressure levels in response to stress compared with the placebo group after repeated doses over time.
The researchers also found that the CBD group had reduced arterial stiffness and improved blood flow through their arteries after repeated CBD dosing compared to the placebo group (26Trusted Source).
Overall, these findings are encouraging, but we need more studies on the potential benefits of CBD treatment on heart health.