What is CBD Oil?

Is it just me or is CBD oil every where now?? I see it offered at my local smoothie bar, in my beauty magazines, and tons of local shops opening just to sell the stuff! I’ve seen claims that CBD oil can help all things from anxiety to acne. Is this the new coconut oil? Is it legal?? Because CBD oil is technically from a plant it may be considered a “nutritional supplement” I thought it would be best to be up on the research for what this stuff actually is and how/if it works. Read on if you’re curious too!

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What is it? 

Cannabidiol oil (or CBD) is made from extracting cannabidiol from the cannabis plant, which includes both hemp and marijuana. The cannabidiol extract is then dissolving and diluting it in an edible oil- like coconut, hemp, etc. CBD is not the psychoactive component of the plant; that’s THC. CBD is a different part of the plant that is more associated with regulating certain functions in the human body (more on that later). It is a very important distinction that CBD oil will not give you a “high.” 

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Is it Legal? 

The legality of this is not well-defined. CBD oil from hemp plants is legal in every state. However, CBD oil from marijuana is complicated. Each state has different laws regarding this type of CBD oil. Some states allow you to buy it only if you have permission for medical marijuana purchase while other states allow it for anyone to purchase.  I encourage you to check your state’s current law if desiring to purchase.  

What does it do?

Like all trendy superfoods/ supplements, CBD oil claims to cure all! Haha not really, but it seems like it! A big claim is for pain relief. There is actually a good bit of science behind this because our bodies have an endocannabinoid response system with their own cannabidiol receptors. Our bodies make their own endocannabinoids that help regulate the body’s temperature, mood, memory and many other functions. One specific endocannaboid is anandamide. This is considered the body’s natural “bliss” regulator because it helps regulate memory, motivation, pain, and appetite. CBD plays a part in this system, by (possibly) promoting uptake of the body’s endocannaboids, thus decreasing pain. However fascinating this is, it is very important to note that CBD’s role in this system has not been studied well yet, so don’t take this to be 100% true. 

Following that rationale, CBD oil has also been thought to help decrease anxiety, depression and cancer-related nausea and vomiting. CBD oil may also play a role in decreasing inflammation in the body which is why you may see that it can help with cancer, certain neurological disorders (MS and epilepsy), and lower blood pressure. 

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Is this actually true??

I want to keep re-iterating that these are all just claims for now. The good news is that there is a lot of research out there in the initial stages of investigating how CBD oil affects all of these symptoms. Research has to start somewhere in order to build to reliable human studies which can be repeated so practioners can safely recommend this as a treatment. HOWEVER, CBD oil isn’t quiet there yet. A lot of the research studies that I was finding in articles were not the kinds that I would be using to take as the truth. There were a lot of rat studies, test-tube studies, or studies without a control group (which means the researchers don’t know the results of not taking CBD oil is). This is a start, but we need more research. 

Is CBD oil safe?

I didn’t really find too much information that CBD oil is unsafe to use (which is good!). Some studies did suggest that CBD oil could actually harm the liver and could decrease the effect of epilepsy medication- so that’s not good. And of course there’s always the threat of not knowing the long-term effects of use. So who knows what this will actually do to your body in the long term.

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So should I add this to my smoothie or what?! 

I mean sure? WHO (world health organization) conducted a systematic review (meaning they reviewed a bunch of research) and made a formal statement that there is no harm associated with use of pure CBD oil. So that’s good news! However, the bad part is that who know if what you’re getting is actually pure. This substance is not currently regulated by anything right now, so who knows what you’re getting when you buy this stuff. It’s not considered a medicine, so the FDA doesn’t regulate it. It may be considered a nutritional supplement (because it’s from a plant) so that means it probably won’t ever be regulated by anyone because no supplements are. Research suggests that you can actually only absorb 20% of the oil orally, so if you’re not even receiving pure oil, then you may not be absorbing much of anything. 

There also isn’t really enough research yet to determine the amount that is needed to consume/ apply for symptom relief so who knows how much you actually need. Experts are suggesting to just start at a low dose and work your way up.  

My official opinion on CBD oil is that it’s probably not going to hurt you, but I don’t really know if it’ll help you either. If you’re in a lot of pain and are spending you’re last penny on CBD oil, I would say it’s not worth it because you don’t know if it actually works. However, this doesn’t mean it won’t work either. A lot of these trendy supplements have very different effects on everyone, so it could work for you but not work for your friend, and vice versa. If you are extremely interested in trying it, I would strongly encourage you to do your own research and find a distributor that offers the most pure product and even find an MD or registered dietitian that can help you through the process!

 

Bottom Line

There is some exciting research about CBD oil, so I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it at all! It could work for you! But it’s definitely not a cure-all that you may be expecting. 

 

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