Health Benefits Of CBD Oil


Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a popular natural remedy for numerous ailments and is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It was first used medicinally as early as 750 B.C. and still retains momentum in the health and wellness world. The two most important active compounds in the cannabis plant are the psychoactive cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the non-psychoactive compound CBD, which is deemed to exert significant health benefits.

The cannabis plant can be referred to as either hemp or marijuana, depending on the amounts of THC it contains. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties as it does not activate CB1 receptors in the brain. The euphoric “high” feeling that one may feel from marijuana use is THC activating the CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD shows a low affinity for cannabinoid receptors and it carries out its mechanism of action indirectly, interacting with other molecular targets. THC and CBD are just two of the plant's array of cannabinoids, which consist of over four hundred derivatives.1 This article will highlight the health benefits of CBD oil and how it can be incorporated into your everyday life.

Health benefits of CBD oil

​​CBD are one of the main pharmacologically active phytocannabinoids of Cannabis sativa and exerts a wide spectrum of pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.2,3,4,5 The way CBD is able to produce these beneficial effects has been a topic of interest amongst researchers for years.

Our own biological system is designed to recognise our own ‘endocannabinoids’ through the endocannabinoid system and thus the medical use of CBD oil has been one of the most enticing approaches to pharmacotherapy in recent years. Endocannabinoids weren’t discovered until 1992 but it is a salient molecular system responsible for regulating several bodily functions, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, pain, immune function and metabolism.6,7  An imbalance in endocannabinoid production or in the body’s responsiveness to them can cause the onset of clinical disorders, including cardiovascular, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

Endocannabinoids control some of these functions by regulating nerve cell signalling in the brain. Our brain, muscles and immune cells are able to produce small amounts of endocannabinoids, of which there are two types; anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). These can activate cannabinoid receptors in our body to receive and process signals in our cells.

  • One such receptor is the CB1 receptor, which is predominantly located in the brain and mediates most of the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids
  • The other, CB2 receptor is found mainly in immune cells and is involved in anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities8

However, when endocannabinoids activate CB1 receptors, they do not cause a ‘marijuana high’. One reason for this may be because the body produces a smaller amount of THC compared to marijuana or because enzymes break them down promptly after they carry out their cellular functions.9,10

There is mounting evidence that certain activities may release mood-lifting endocannabinoids. Some research suggests that the relaxed, euphoric feeling you get after exercise, termed the “runner’s high”, stems from the release of endocannabinoids rather than endorphins.11 Through medium-to-high intensity exercise, more CB1 receptors are produced to enhance our body’s sensitivity to circulating endocannabinoids, and can consequently be a protective mechanism against stress.12,13

But what about CBD?

CBD oil has been implicated to be beneficial in many diseases, and recent research suggests that migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS, PTSD and bipolar disease are all linked to low levels of endocannabinoids.1 Other research has shown that people with a defective form of CB1 receptors have increased pain sensitivity such as migraines.14

In addition to this, CBD has the potential to reduce oxidative conditions by preventing the formation of free radicals, which is a molecule capable of damaging cells and other components, such as DNA, lipids and proteins.5 Oxidative modifications are thought to contribute to imbalances in inflammation and other pathological conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease.15,16 The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD deem it a likely candidate to protect against numerous pathological disorders and conditions. These include

  • Pain relief
    Cannabis has been used to treat pain with effects seen as far back as 2900 BC.17

Recent research on CBD products and pain management has been promising, and CBD can serve as an alternative to people who rely on medications such as opioids which are associated with strong side effects. In some conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraine, arthritis and pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). CBD oil has proven effective in improving symptoms.18,19,20

  • Mental health
    CBD oil has shown impactful as a treatment for anxiety and depression; which is characterised by low levels of serotonin. CBD can modulate serotonin 1A receptors and affect how our brain responds to serotonin that is already present in our system. The activation of serotonin 1A can also act as an antioxidant by capturing free radicals.21 In addition, some studies have shown that CBD oil can reduce post-traumatic stress disorder and may be effective for those with social anxiety and other anxiety-related disorder.22,23
  • Neuroprotective
    Several studies have shown CBD to be protective against Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MS.24,25,26,27,28,29 In a 2022 study, researchers found that a defect in a gene that aids the production of endocannabinoids can cause the early onset of Parkinson's disease.30 In addition, CBD has been found to decrease β-amyloid formation in neurones which is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.31
  • Anti-convulsant effects
    CBD has a high affinity for various proteins involved in modulating seizures and in epilepsy, which when active promotes neuronal excitability and consequent seizures. The interaction of CBD with such proteins can dampen these neuronal signals with consequent antiepileptic effects.32,33
  • Cancer-related symptoms
    Taking CBD oil may help reduce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and pain, related to cancer or chemotherapy. One study showed reductions in pain in 177 patients with cancer-related pain when they were supplemented with extracts containing both CBD and THC, compared to THC alone.34 However, findings from studies that focus on cannabis and cannabinoids like CBD on cancer-related nausea, pain and decreased appetite have been mixed.35
  • Heart health
    Research has demonstrated several benefits for heart health with CBD intake, including the ability to lower blood pressure. In one study, the CBD treatment reduced resting blood pressure compared with placebo.36 In another study, repeated CBD treatment maintained low blood pressure levels in response to stress and this group also had less arterial stiffness and improvements in blood flow.37

Other potential benefits include

CBD has been studied for its role in treating several health issues other than those outlined above. Though further research is required, CBD has demonstrated efficacy in the following:

  • Antipsychotic effects – schizophrenia and other mental health conditions by reducing symptoms of psychosis38
  • Extended life expectancy of those with glioblastoma39
  • Improvements in sleep40

Uses of CBD oil

Whilst CBD oil is available in the United Kingdom as a food supplement, there are a couple of cannabis-based products available on prescription as medical cannabis. Specialist doctors may prescribe medical cannabis for the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis – if other treatments are unsuccessful
  • Side effects from chemotherapy – including sickness or vomiting, if other medications have not helped

CBD oil is one of the most common types of CBD products, however, CBD can be taken in many forms, as follows

  1. In beauty products. CBD-enriched moisturisers, serums and facial oils can soothe and protect the skin. It is also an antioxidant to help protect our skin from free radical damage caused by oxidative stress
  2. In capsules. If you do not like the taste of CBD oil, taking CBD in capsule form may be a good alternative
  3. CBD gummies. This option may be particularly good for travelling and is also flavourful
  4. CBD oral sprays. It is administered onto the tongue and the CBD will enter your bloodstream faster than capsules and edibles as they don’t have to pass through the digestive system

Taking CBD as a capsule, gummy or sprayed on may be more consistent in dosing than oil as each dose is premeasured. However, unlike CBD oils, capsules and gummies are subject to additional breakdown in your digestive tract through the first pass effect which may impact the potency.41

Side effects and other concerns

Though CBD is generally well-tolerated and is considered safe, it may cause notable side effects.42,43 These include:

  • Fatigue/drowsiness
  • Digestive issues such as diarrhoea and decreased appetite
  • Changes in mood such as irritability and agitation
  • Liver failure

Furthermore, CBD can alter the effects of other drugs such as blood thinners (warfarin), several medications for seizures (diazepam, clobazam, lamotrigine), antidepressants, and thyroid medication (levothyroxine). If you are considering taking CBD oil, consult a healthcare professional to avoid potentially harmful side effects.44


With CBD many ensembles, the ideal dosages vary depending on both the form and usage. A 2017 study stated that there is not one unanimous dosage one should take, as different people respond to different amounts of CBD.42 Also, whilst a capsule of CBD has a specific dosage, oral solutions depend on the intended consumption volume. For example, a CBD solution containing 25 mg per millilitre (ml) can supply 125 mg if you take a teaspoon, which is roughly 5 ml.

Most human studies use doses between 20-1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. The amount of CBD you should take depends on

  • Your body weight
  • The condition you’re treating
  • Your individual body chemistry
  • The concentration of CBD in each capsule, drop or gummy

There are a lot of variables that go into deciding what the right dosage should be. Before taking CBD, ensure to talk to your doctor about the appropriate dosage and any potential risks. It is especially important to stick to the recommended dose if you’re taking a prescription medication that contains CBD, such as Epidolex, a type of seizure medication, which was approved for use in the NHS in 2022. Sativex is also a cannabis-based medication used for MS patients, and researchers are now exploring its potential in treating cancer and cancer-related symptoms in a large phase 2 clinical trial.45

Furthermore, if you want to improve the efficacy of CBD, consuming it with certain foods may improve its bioavailability − the rate and degree that a substance is absorbed and travels to the bloodstream. Some of the best foods to eat with CBD oil are medium-chain and long-chain fatty acids.46 These fatty acids ‘attach’ to the cannabinoids before they reach the liver where they get metabolised together, ready for your body to put to work instantly.


Whilst research into CBD therapy is still budding, the potential of CBD has shown promise for treating numerous ailments and enhancing our overall wellness. The effectiveness of CBD in treating anxiety disorders, seizures, and cancer-related symptoms has prompted its research for the treatment of other mental health disorders and heart function. Although CBD is generally considered safe, it can potentially cause adverse effects and interact with certain medications; therefore, seeking medical advice prior to taking CBD is recommended.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sabah Bharde

PhD student in Neurophysiology – Queen Mary, University of London

Sabah completed her undergraduate studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, attaining a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, followed by an MRes degree in Pharmacology at King’s College London. After her MRes, Sabah joined the lab of Dr Shafaq Sikandar, where she studies the peripheral mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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