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Does CBD oil have health benefits?

Woman holding dropper with CBD oil in it

You may have read that CBD can help with a range of common ailments – including anxiety, depression, joint pain and sleeplessness – but research into the benefits is only beginning to emerge.

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the main compounds found in Cannabis sativa. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is considered to be a non-psychoactive compound of the plant.  Here’s what a British Nutrition Foundation report found about the health benefits of CBD oil, according to science:

CBD and mood

There are reports in the media that CBD is a stress buster that can help you feel calmer and more relaxed, and that it can help lift your mood. A few small studies suggest that taking a single dose of pure CBD before entering a stressful situation (public speaking or test, say) may help people to feel less anxious. However, we need larger studies to really know if CBD can help alleviate anxiety in everyday life. Animal studies hint that CBD may have anti-depressant effects, but this is yet to be tested scientifically in humans.

CBD and pain

Another reason some take CBD is to relieve common aches and pains. A few small studies have reported that pure CBD can provide pain relief, but this has only been shown in patients who had kidney disease or neurological conditions. For joint pain, animal studies suggest that CBD could be useful for those with arthritis, but we need human studies to confirm this.

CBD for better sleep

Some people take CBD in an attempt to get a better night’s sleep. A handful of studies have found that CBD may help with disturbed sleep but there are issues with the quality of this research, so it’s hard to know if CBD offers any genuine benefit.

Medical conditions

Medicines containing CBD have been developed for treating seizures in children with two rare forms of epilepsy and for relieving muscle stiffness in patients with multiple sclerosis. There is also interest in whether people with schizophrenia or chronic conditions such as Huntington’s disease, and type 2 diabetes, among others, may benefit from CBD treatment. However, it’s still early days for this research.

The verdict?

Some people say that CBD products work for them – whether it’s to get a better night’s sleep or feel more relaxed. However, as it stands, more human studies are needed to understand whether the CBD products available to buy in shops and online offer any genuine benefits.

First published: Aug 2019
Last updated: October 12, 2020

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