Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 30.95% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most contained less CBD than advertised, while 21.43% had significant amounts of THC.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used for the treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy in children under 2—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both are exceptionally rare genetic disorders causing lifelong catastrophic seizures that begin during the first year of life.
Many of these interactions are mild and require no adjustment to treatment. Others may require a drug substitution or the separation of doses by several hours.
The tricky part is calculating the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil. Some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL (or more).
CBD research is growing, too. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health.
In a small 2018 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received CBD along with routine psychiatric care for eight weeks in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Ten of the 11 experienced a decrease in their PTSD symptoms. CBD was generally well tolerated, the researchers write.
1. Offset Anxiety and Depression
Some studies—both preclinical animal and human clinical trials—suggest CBD could be used to help treat people who are dependent on opioids.
In one such study, researchers administered CBD to people with heroin use disorder. Over the course of a week, CBD significantly reduced heroin users’ cue-induced cravings, withdrawal anxiety, resting heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. No serious adverse effects were found.
When introduced topically, CBD oil doesn’t affect the systemic issue as it might if it were introduced directly into the bloodstream. Instead, topical CBD is more localized and treats pain in a certain area. Since it’s more direct, it may have a more pronounced effect.
Notcutt W, Langford R, Davies P, et al. A placebo-controlled, parallel group, randomized withdrawal study of subjects with symptoms of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis who are receiving long-term Sativex (nabiximols). Mult Scler 2012;18(2):219-28. View abstract.
Gaston TE, Ampah SB, Martina Bebin E, et al. Long-term safety and efficacy of highly purified cannabidiol for treatment refractory epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2021;117:107862. View abstract.
CBD can cause some side effects, such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, light headedness, and drowsiness. Signs of liver injury have also been reported with high doses of the prescription form of CBD, called Epidiolex.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Lee CY, Wey SP, Liao MH, et al. A comparative study on cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in murine thymocytes and EL-4 thymoma cells. Int Immunopharmacol 2008;8(5):732-40. View abstract.
Matsuyama SS, Fu TK. In vivo cytogenetic effects of cannabinoids. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1981;1(3):135-40. View abstract.
Ames, F. R. and Cridland, S. Anticonvulsant effect of cannabidiol. S.Afr.Med.J. 1-4-1986;69(1):14. View abstract.
Gurley BJ, Murphy TP, Gul W, Walker LA, ElSohly M. Content versus Label Claims in Cannabidiol (CBD)-Containing Products Obtained from Commercial Outlets in the State of Mississippi. J Diet Suppl. 2020;17(5):599-607. View abstract.