What to know about CBD oil and what it can do for your body: Learn about CBD oil’s nutritional components and how it may benefit your health. If you use CBD every day, you'll see some changes — but they may not be exactly what you'd expect. This is everything that happens to your body when using CBD. CBD, the compound derived from cannabis, is both buzzy and baffling. What’s it best used for? How do I take it? And is it even legal? All questions that we wondered. So we reached out to an expert to
What Are the 8 Benefits of Taking CBD Oil Every Day?
Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid — any bioactive compound extracted from cannabis. The benefits of CBD oil include that it is beneficial for pain management, it prevents digestive disorders, it’s useful for mental health, and other benefits.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has gained popularity over the years for its therapeutic effects. It’s an extract of the stem, leaves, and seeds of cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana’s stem has the highest CBD oil concentration of about 1.8%.
Despite the controversy surrounding the use of cannabis and its products, cannabidiol is among the few cannabis extracts with approval for medicinal use. Biotechnological advancements have quickened and eased the testing processes to fast-track its use in drug development.
Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid — any bioactive compound extracted from cannabis. Other phytocannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabigerol (CBG). The plant-based bioactive compounds give cannabidiol its therapeutic properties.
Nutritional components of CBD oil
The primary source of CBD oil is the hemp plant. Besides bioactive compounds, the hemp plant also has nutrients like protein and fiber.
The protein in hemp mainly consists of nonessential acids like arginine and glutamic acid. The oil in hemp’s seeds has essential fatty acids, which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that can reduce inflammation.
PUFAs are also vital in reducing your risk of acquiring chronic diseases like heart and bone-related diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Besides oil, the hemp seed will also provide complex carbohydrates like fiber.
Is CBD oil psychoactive?
A psychoactive compound affects your brain functions, resulting in drastic mood, feeling, and behavior changes. CBD oil is nonpsychoactive, as it lacks THC, the bioactive compound that influences how your brain works.
Is CBD oil legal?
CBD oil is conditionally legal in most countries. Some countries have approved it for medicinal purposes only, whereas others have approved its use in food ingredients to make beverages, chocolates, pastries, breakfast cereals, and vegan delicacies.
CBD oil’s THC levels play a part in its legalization in most countries. The purer the cannabidiol extract, the higher its chances of legalization. CBD oil’s source is another factor that contributes to its legalization.
For instance, the United States passed a bill that only legalized the use of all hemp-derived CBD oils and at the same time made cannabis-derived CBD oils illegal.
What CBD oil forms are commercially available?
Cannabidiol is commercially available in tablets, capsules, gummies, and oil. Topicals like creams, ointments, and lotions may also be CBD oil-infused primarily due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Health benefits of CBD oil
CBD oil intake is not only linked to therapeutic benefits. Scientific studies have shown that the consistent consumption of CBD oil products provides long-term health benefits, primarily by preventing noncommunicable diseases.
1. CBD oil is beneficial for chronic pain management
CBD oil has been used as a pain reliever since ancient times. It’s been proven to be a better and safer option than opioids. Opioids have a lower safety profile since it’s easier for patients to deviate from the recommended dosage.
Opioid dependence continues to be a problem in the medical field, but potent pain relievers like CBD oil significantly contribute to the fight against drug dependence. This is largely thanks to its lack of psychoactive properties.
2. It prevents digestive disorders
Cannabidiol boosts your digestive system to prevent disorders like irritable bowel diseases. Stomach-related conditions can cause discomfort or pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and bloating, among other symptoms.
Cannabidiol aids in relieving stomach-related disorders. Besides assisting in digestive therapy, it promotes a healthy gut system by maintaining proper conditions for gut bacteria to flourish. A healthy gut system generally boosts your overall health.
3. It’s useful for mental health
Clinical trials have confirmed that CBD oil produces a soothing effect that reduces psychotic symptoms. It controls psychotic symptoms like confusion, speech deficiencies, and sudden loss of interest in activities that used to matter to the person.
It also helps reduce symptoms linked to cognitive impairments that may arise as you age. Cognitive impairments will affect your brain’s essential functions, like memory retention, concentration, decision-making, and ability to learn new things.
Phytocannabinoids are helpful in the regulation of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Some other neurological disorders that cannabidiol regulates include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorder.
4. CBD oil promotes heart health
It has antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, lowering blood pressure. Oxidative stress is a significant contributor to heart diseases. Heart-related complications may include diabetes, kidney, and liver damage.
5. It relieves chemotherapeutic effects
Chemotherapy is one of the main forms of cancer treatment. Patients typically receive chemotherapy drugs in large doses, and like many drugs, they also have side effects.
Chemotherapy-related side effects tend to be severe and include pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. CBD oil aids in reducing cancer-related symptoms too. Although helpful, CBD oil is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all types of cancer.
6. CBD oil aids in drug and alcohol rehabilitation therapy
It significantly aids the rehabilitation process by reducing drug withdrawal symptoms like cravings. Research has notably found it to reduce alcohol, tobacco, heron, and other stimulant cravings.
7. It promotes bone health
Studies have found that cannabidiol enhances bone regeneration in fractured rats. Due to age, genetics, and other factors, improved bone regeneration processes are essential to replace lost bone mass over time. CBD oil also aids in preventing rheumatoid arthritis.
8. CBD oil boosts overall brain functioning
Phytocannabinoids regulate stress, anxiety, and other factors affecting proper brain development and functioning. Its bioactive compounds also enhance memory retention and other cognitive abilities.
CBD oil intake may result in side effects like diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and appetite changes. An allergic reaction or improper dosage can bring about these symptoms. Talk to your doctor to get a prescription or figure out if CBD oil is right for you. Keep in mind that self-medicating may result in more problems than solutions.
When You Use CBD Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body
CBD is short for cannabidiol and, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it’s “a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp.” But CBD is different than marijuana. “While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major active ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol is also obtained from hemp, which contains only very small amounts of THC,” NLM explained.
CBD comes in many forms, including oils, gummies, and even muscle rubs. That alone can make it hard to decide which product to use, but add in the purported benefits of CBD, and it gets even more confusing. While CBD does contain quite a few health benefits, that doesn’t mean it’s going to cure all your ailments. In fact, if you use CBD every day, you’ll definitely notice some changes within your body, but they might not be exactly what you’re expecting.
You’ll have less pain throughout your body if you use CBD every day
One of the most common reasons why people start to use CBD is to manage their pain. According to a 2017 study, the “utilization of cannabis for pain can be traced back to ancient Chinese texts, dating to 2900 B.C.” Thanks to the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD is able to relieve pain by attaching to the cannabinoid receptors in your body and reducing inflammation.
Of course, that isn’t to say that ingesting CBD in oil, gummies, or even muscle rubs will immediately take your pain away. As Rahul Khare, an emergency medical physician and founder of Innovative Express Care, told HuffPost, “CBD won’t completely take the pain away like a morphine would, but it may decrease it to a point where it makes the pain more tolerable.”
If you use CBD every day, it’s pretty likely that you won’t have as much chronic pain or pain throughout your body, which makes CBD a viable natural alternative to pain relievers for many people.
You won’t have to deal with as much anxiety if you use CBD every day
CBD products are often used in the treatment of anxiety. According to a 2015 study, CBD was able to effectively reduce “anxiety behaviors” common to generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive–compulsive disorder, among others.
As Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician as well as a medical cannabis expert told Health, “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe. It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response.”
If you use CBD every day, you’ll likely find that you are less anxious, which can be seriously important for the 40 million adults who struggle with anxiety in the United States, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Although you shouldn’t look to, CBD to get rid of your anxiety, it can help manage it.
If you use CBD every day, your depression may improve
Depression is “the single largest contributor to global disability,” according to the World Health Organization, and, in 2015, it was estimated that 300 million people were suffering from depression. All hope is not lost, though. Many people have found therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments to be helpful in treating their depression. Others have turned to natural remedies, like St. John’s Wort or SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) supplements.
According to Healthline, using CBD every day could also be potentially effective in helping people who are struggling with depression, due to “CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.” One study from 2010 found that CBD had “antidepressant-like effects,” on mice.
While CBD shouldn’t be taken in place of prescription antidepressants prescribed by a doctor, using it in some form on a daily basis could definitely help with depression symptoms and make managing the disorder that much easier.
Your risk for epileptic seizures will decrease if you use CBD every day
Although certain other uses for CBD (like pain management and anxiety) may receive more attention, CBD is also used to treat epilepsy. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the government “approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution” in order to help treat people who have seizures because of two serious kinds of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Research has also shown that CBD may be effective in treating Angelman syndrome, a congenital disorder that is particularly resistant to traditional epilepsy medication. “There is an unmet need for better treatments for kids with Angelman syndrome to help them live fuller lives and to aid their families and caregivers,” Ben Philpot, a cell biology and physiology professor and associate director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Neuroscience Center, revealed (via ScienceDaily). “Our results show CBD could help the medical community safely meet this need.”
The fact that placing a CBD gummy or oil under your tongue could potentially help with seizures is pretty amazing. It’s also pretty amazing that the FDA saw the merit in CBD to help with serious diseases.
Using CBD every day will help with nausea, even from chemo
Although useful in treating cancer, chemotherapy tends to make people feel awful and causes a lot of stomach issues. Fortunately, according to Healthline, CBD may “help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer.”
In fact, a 2010 study discovered that “orally administered synthetic cannabinoids (nabilone and dronabinol)” were actually better than “dopamine receptor antagonists” in fighting and inhibiting chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. That’s a huge discovery for cancer patients across the world who now get the chance to not be so sick to their stomachs as they fight back against the disease.
If you use CBD every day, even if you aren’t undergoing chemotherapy, you could keep nausea at bay.
You could reduce your risk of certain cancers if you use CBD every day
While there is still, sadly, no known cure for cancer, there are so many scientific advances being made in the field every day. Still, there is an astonishingly high number of cancer patients in the United States alone. According to the American Cancer Society, “there will be an estimated 1.8 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,520 cancer deaths in the United States” in 2020 alone. That makes any cancer prevention tactic seriously important. And, as it turns out, using CBD every day may just help reduce your risk for certain cancers.
According to a study from the California Pacific Medical Center, CBD is “the first nontoxic exogenous agent” that has the ability to monumentally “decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells,” which decreases how aggressive a tumor can be.
In short, CBD “induced cell death in human breast cancer cells,” as Healthline explained. This doesn’t mean that CBD will stop people from getting cancer, but it may just reduce the risk of certain cancers, so that’s just another reason to use it every day.
Your skin will glow if you use CBD every day
One of the most common yet frustrating conditions that many adults struggle with is acne. What might start out for teenagers as little pimples can quickly turn in to hormonal or cystic acne with seemingly no end in sight. While there are a lot of topical and oral treatments for adult acne, everyone is different. Some people desiring a more natural approach to treating acne may find that using CBD every day is the way to go.
One 2014 study uncovered that, due to all the “lipostatic, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects” CBD has, it has the potential to be used as a treatment for acne. According to the International Dermal Institute, “between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin.” For a lot of those people, it could be a good decision to try CBD. Now, that isn’t to say that using CBD orally or topically will always heal acne breakouts, but it has been proven to help because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
You’ll experience fewer digestive issues if you use CBD every day
It’s not exactly uncommon to feel stomach pain or discomfort, as most adults will suffer from some kind of digestive problem at some point in their lives. But, according to Fox News, “74 percent of Americans are living with digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.” That means there are a lot of people who currently struggle with digestive issues, and using CBD products every day may actually be able to help with that. A lot of times, digestive issues could be a sign that something more serious is going on within your body, so you’ll definitely want to consult your doctor. Still, CBD can help with the symptoms.
In fact, a 2017 study stated the positive impact CBD had “on [gastrointestinal] motility, inflammation and immunity,” as well as “intestinal and gastric acid secretion,” and even “appetite control.” CBD can help with a whole host of digestive issues so if you, like 74 percent of Americans, are struggling with stomach issues, you may want to consider using CBD on the daily.
If you use CBD every day, you could notice a change to your sleeping habits
Not getting enough sleep, or having poor sleep quality can be quite detrimental to your health. In fact, a lack of sleep can actually hurt your immune system and, if you’re already sick, it can make it harder to get better, according to the Mayo Clinic. Obviously, sleep is important, but a lot of adults aren’t getting enough. According to a report by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (via ScienceDaily), “one in four Americans develop insomnia each year.” But, could using CBD every day really help you sleep better? Well, it depends on how much you take.
Ethan Russo, neurologist, scientist, and the director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, told HuffPost that while CBD may make you sleepy, it’s usually because of other compounds in the product. “At extreme doses, CBD may be sleep-inducing, but it’s a misconception that it does that at low or moderate doses,” Russo explained. “Some preparations of CBD are often associated with high levels of another compound called myrcene and that is sedating, but this creates a misconception that CBD is sedating.”
You can lower your blood pressure if you use CBD every day
Having high blood pressure may be common, but it’s also no joke and something that needs to be taken seriously. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to disability, a poor quality of life, or even a fatal heart attack or stroke.” Thankfully, using CBD every day could help. Of course, if you already have high blood pressure, you shouldn’t stop your medication in favor of CBD.
According to Healthline, “the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.” In fact, a study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom found that just one dose of CBD “[reduced] blood pressure in healthy volunteers.” If you use CBD every day, you could start to see your blood pressure lower, along with a myriad of other health benefits that are too important to pass up.
Using CBD every day can reduce your risk for diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that plagues America and is seriously dangerous if not treated properly. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million Americans already either have diabetes or prediabetes. Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation. While using CBD every day won’t necessarily cure diabetes, it could reduce your risk for the disease.
A study from the Hadassah University Hospital found that “CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1-associated cytokine production,” which results “in a decreased incidence of diabetes possibly through an immunomodulatory mechanism shifting the immune response from Th1 to Th2 dominance.” Basically, CBD literally reduced the instances of diabetes in the mice from the study. Of course, this was an animal study and not a human study, but it’s still important to note that CBD has the potential to prevent diabetes.
You might lose weight if you use CBD every day
While you could assume that CBD, like cannabis, would bring on the munchies, that isn’t exactly the case. Of course, everyone responds to CBD differently, but it turns out that using CBD products every day could reduce your weight. As stress can oftentimes lead to weight gain, according to Verywell Mind, and CBD reduces stress, CBD may, in turn, have the potential to aid in weight loss.
However, one 2017 study found inconsistent results. As the study revealed, “10 [participants] showed decreased weight and 12 had gained weight.” Per the study, those changes could be because CBD had a small impact or that weight and appetite are such “complex endpoints influenced by multiple factors such as diet and genetic predisposition.” Although diet pills (unfortunately) exist, there’s no such thing as a magic weight loss pill — and there shouldn’t be, but, believe it or not, using CBD every day might just help you realistically reach your weight loss goals.
If you use CBD every day, make sure it’s of good quality
Just like any supplements that aren’t being watched by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s very important to be careful when purchasing CBD products. “Because of the non-FDA approval, anyone can open up a CBD store and process it and try to sell it for a profit, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Rahul Khare, an emergency medical physician and founder of Innovative Express Care, told HuffPost. So, don’t just go into a gas station and by some CBD oil or gummies.
Your best bet is to find a CBD brand that does third-party quality and assurance testing, according to Health. But, if that’s a little too confusing or, let’s be honest, too much work, Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals, advises going to a natural grocery store.”Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you,” he told Health. Not all CBD products are created equal so, even if you use the subpar stuff every day, you won’t get all the benefits CBD has to offer.
You won’t get high if you use CBD every day
Because CBD is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, many people are under the false assumption that you’ll get high if you use CBD every day. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. CBD is completely different from marijuana, and most CBD products don’t contain THC, either.
“CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert at cannabisMD, told Health. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.” Yes, CBD can relax you, but not in the same way smoking a joint would relax you. Of course, if you want to be extra certain that CBD won’t get you high, make sure you purchase it from a trusted source and that it’s third-party tested to contain no THC.
The fact is: Using CBD every day isn’t going to change your life, but it could just help with a lot of health issues you’re facing, and could even prevent some down the line.
An Expert Answers All Your Questions About CBD
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From gummies to pills to beauty creams, CBD is everywhere: Americans spent more than $360 million (opens in new tab) on products with this cannabis compound in 2017. And devotees claim it boosts health and has all the bliss-out benefits of weed, minus the paranoia. But how much do you really know about it? We’ll be honest, what it is (and isn’t) and what is does and how it works is complex—and had us more than a little confused before we started working on this project. So we asked an expert, Alex Capano, chief science officer for Ananda Hemp (opens in new tab) , a Kentucky-based health and wellness brand specializing in CBD products—a woman who spends all day every day studying CBD—to breakdown everything we might possibly want to know about the plant derivative. That way, you can feel confident adding it to your medicine cabinet (and nightstand, and handbag) ASAP.
Click a question below to jump to its answer:
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
Though they’re both found in a cannabis plant—meaning either hemp or marijuana—using CBD (full name: cannabidiol) is a far cry from smoking weed. Like THC (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (opens in new tab) ), CBD is a cannabinoid—a molecule that helps the functioning of our endocannabinoid system, which regulates our mood, sleep cycle, inflammation, immune response, and more. But unlike THC, CBD isn’t intoxicating. “In other words, CBD can’t get you high,” says Alex Capano, chief science officer for Ananda Hemp, a Kentucky-based health and wellness brand specializing in CBD products.
“They both are relatively safe, but CBD is arguably safer for several reasons,” she says. For one, it won’t affect your motor skills or cognition, so you can use CBD and still drive your car or get through a day at the office without causing coworkers to raise an eyebrow. Also, while the THC in a joint, vape pen, or gummy might leave you feeling paranoid, CBD is actually an anxiolytic (meaning it nixes anxiety) and anti-psychotic.
Both THC and CBD come with potential therapeutic benefits (read: can help ease your aches) but they work in different ways. THC decreases the perception of pain, while CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory. Also, CBD alone can treat severe epilepsy. THC, for its part, is better at alleviating chemotherapy-induced anorexia or HIV-associated cachexia, explains Capano, because it increases appetite (hello, munchies). As she puts it: “CBD can help with nausea, but it’s not going to make you eat a bag of Doritos.”
Is CBD legal?
Yes and no. Legality is a complex topic because it depends on where your CBD product comes from, says Capano: “CBD is legal at the federal level only if it’s derived from U.S.-grown hemp that has a license and permit under the Farm Bill; if yours is flown in from overseas or is derived from the marijuana plant, it’s technically not federally legal,” she explains. (A cannabis plant is either hemp or marijuana, depending on how much THC is in it. Hemp has 0.3 percent THC or less by weight (opens in new tab) when harvested, while marijuana has more than 0.3 percent THC by weight and is still federally illegal.)
Making it more complicated: Some states have restricted CBD sales, so even if your product was derived from federally legal hemp, it’s legality where you live does vary by state. There’s a chance, Capano says, that you might run into law enforcement who’s not up-to-date on the bill and arrest you for possessing it—but it’s unlikely.
How do I use CBD?
There are tons of CBD products on the market, from lotions you rub on to capsules you swallow and tinctures you drop under your tongue. All these are made similarly: By extracting CBD, or cannabidiol, from a cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier, such as coconut oil, explains Capano. The way you choose to use it is totally a matter of preference and might require some experimentation.
You can’t OD on CBD, but dosage is personal. “More does not necessarily mean better,” warns Capano. “The response dose curve looks like a bell, so you want to hit the top of the bell without going over.” When figuring out your optimal dose, add a bit more every three days or so and see how you respond. If you get to a point where you don’t feel any extra benefit (or feel worse), you’ve gone too far; dial it back a bit the next day.
With a tincture, Capano recommends starting with 10mg of active cannabinoids (this should be on the label). In some products, 10mg is a few drops; in others, it’s a whole milliliter. Put the oil under your tongue and hold it there (no swallowing!) until it absorbs. If taking orally (e.g., popping a pill), you’re going to need more, says Capano, because you lose a bit of the active ingredients to something called first-pass-metabolism by the liver. A pill with 15 or 20 mg of CBD might be comparable to 10 mg of a tincture. “Also, keep in mind that oral ingestion results in a delayed onset,” she says, “so wait an hour or two before adding anymore, especially if there’s THC in there.”
For oils, creams, and other topical treatments—which are a great option for eczema, burns, or other skin conditions—“dosage depends on the concentration of the product, but generally just apply a small amount, as needed,” suggests Capano. Topicals also can help with headaches or migraines if you apply it at onset. And if getting your CBD with a vaporizer, start small. “You need less from a vaporizer and will have a very rapid onset,” she says. For this reason, she recommends trying just 2.5 mg at first.
Whenever you’re starting out with a new product, the best time to try it is right before bed—just in case it makes you drowsy, says Capano. Even if it doesn’t, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
Can I vape CBD?
Yes, and it may be your best bet if you’re hoping to achieve quick pain relief. Of all the options for taking CBD, vaping has the most rapid onset; you’ll feel its effects within minutes, says Capano. “Some people use CBD daily for prevention of a migraine, but if they feel one coming on, vaping might be a good way to get an almost-immediate CBD delivery to abort a migraine quickly,” she says.
One caveat: Most vaporizers use either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin (PG or VG). Those are added ingredients used as carrier oils, and unfortunately we don’t know yet whether they’re safe to vaporize, warns Capano. If immediate pain relief isn’t a priority, another option, like a tincture, cream, or capsule (which take longer to set in), might be the safer way to go.
How much CBD should I use?
Like Capano explained above, the perfect dose varies from person to person. It also depends on a few things—the first being whether you’re using an isolate or full-spectrum product. Isolate products are pure CBD while full-spectrum products contain multiple cannabidinoids and oils, vitamins, and more natural compounds. “With full-spectrum products, you need a lower dose—and that might prevent drug interactions and will be easier on your liver,” says Capano.
Your ideal dosage also varies based on how you’re taking it—you’ll need less from a tincture than a capsule, for instance, because tinctures have a greater bioavailability (meaning more gets into your bloodstream and causes an effect).
But as a general rule? “Start low and go slow,” recommends Capano. “More isn’t always better, it’s like a bell.” Start with 10 mg worth of active ingredient a couple hours before bed. Each day, you can increase the amount slightly and take note of how you feel; dial it back when you don’t feel any extra benefit (or even feel a little worse) from additional milligrams. The sweet spot will likely be between 10 and 40 mg a day.
What are the side effects of CBD?
Unlike smoking a joint, using CBD won’t leave you with a giggling fit or the munchies. It can, however, make you sleepy. “The most common side effect is drowsiness, so don’t take it for the first time and get behind the wheel or head into a big presentation,” advises Capano. Wait to see how your body responds, just in case. In some cases, CBD can exacerbate heartburn or lead to mild allergic reactions, such as hives (though this is likely a reaction to the carrier oil added to the CBD, says Capano). Using CBD can also cause diarrhea or change in appetite or weight, according to a recent German study.
All that being said, if you’re taking CBD for a condition like anxiety or epilepsy, the potential drawbacks are generally milder or less of a nuisance than the side effects you might expect from traditional medical treatments.
The real concern when it comes to side effects, says Capano, is whether or not the CBD in your medicine cabinet is legitimate. You first need to find out if it’s even real CBD, as synthetic can be dangerous. Then look into how the plants are grown, how the product is manufactured, and what quality-assurance tests the brand conducts to ensure safety and the elimination of pesticides, chemicals, microbes, and molds. “It’s an unregulated industry, and there’s a lot of great branding and marketing out there, but unfortunately transparency is rare and not knowing what you’re getting is common,” warns Capano. “Usually that risk just means wasting your money, but it could be harmful, if there are dangerous chemicals in there, for example.” Contact the company with these questions; any reputable brand will be willing to provide customers with all these details.
How long is CBD in my system?
As a general rule, CBD should be out of your system in less than a week after you stop using it. But it varies from person to person, and the longer and more frequently you’ve taken it, the longer it’ll take to get out of your body. Here’s why: It’s lipophilic, meaning it dissolves in fats and compounds in your body over time, says Capano. That’s a good thing when you’re looking to prevent pain or alleviate anxiety, as the compounded levels boost the health benefits, says Capano. But yes, it will make the CBD take longer to leave your system if you decide to stop using it.
Can I take CBD every day?
Not only can you, but for the best effects, in most cases you actually should take CBD on a daily basis. “You can’t overdose on CBD, and it’s lipophilic (or fat soluble), which means it compounds in your body over time, adding to potential health benefits,” says Capano.
Still, “less is more,” she says, because CBD is metabolized through the same pathway in your liver as many common prescription and OTC meds. For that reason, Capano recommends sticking with full-spectrum products (which contain multiple cannabidinoids and oils, vitamins, and more natural compounds) as opposed to isolate products, which are pure CBD. “With full-spectrum products, you need a lower dose—and that might prevent drug interactions,” she explains. (Drug interactions are pretty uncommon, especially at low doses, but can occur with some commonly used ones, such as SSRIs and blood thinners.) Plus, with smaller doses, you’ll avoid stressing out your liver.
“There’s some evidence out there that CBD can adversely affect a damaged liver, and there’s other evidence that shows it can be helpful—it seems to depend on the underlying cause of liver damage,” Capano adds. If you already have liver issues, talk with your doc, keep a close eye on your dosage, and be sure to monitor hepatic enzymes every three months.
What drugs should I not combine with CBD?
The bad news: Your body metabolizes CBD through a pathway in your liver known as CYP 450, where enzymes break up potentially harmful compounds—and it’s the same pathway in your liver that metabolizes most common prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, says Capano.
The good news: You likely aren’t taking a high enough dose of CBD that it will cause an adverse reaction with any other medications you might be taking. To lower your risk even more, make sure the CBD you’re using is a full-spectrum product rather than an isolate, so you can get the same benefits at a lower dose. Also, opt for a product that’s not oral, as capsules involve a first pass through the liver that tinctures and other products don’t.
“Most people using full-spectrum CBD are taking no more than 40 to 60 mg a day, and we haven’t demonstrated drug interactions at those levels,” says Capano; you’d likely need to use upwards of 20 mg per kilogram of your bodyweight before seeing interactions. But talk with your doctor before combining CBD with any drugs you’re already on, especially if you take blood thinners or antidepressants, advises Capano.
How long does CBD take to work?
How fast your CBD takes effect totally depends on what form you’re using. Need to kick an acute ache, like a migraine, ASAP? Try vaping, suggests Capano. Vaporizing CBD has the fastest delivery—you should feel the effects set in within mere minutes.
If your needs are not quite so urgent, you might opt for a tincture; you’ll still feel the effects soon—usually within 20 minutes to an hour—since the liquid quickly absorbs into your bloodstream after you drop it under your tongue. This usage allows the CBD to bypass a first pass through your liver that capsules require before you feel their effects.
If you use CBD daily for preventative reasons and don’t need quick relief, an oral product might be for you. They take the longest to onset (read: at least an hour or two), but, says Capano, “they’re a good option for people who don’t like the taste of tinctures and want the convenience of capsules.”
Will CBD help my skin?
You bet. CBD can help clear up and calm down your skin in a few ways. For one, it works by relieving stress, which happens whether you take CBD orally or topically, says Capano: “We know that mood, especially stress, can influence skin irritation—so this is kind of a one-two punch.”
It also helps cell turnover, which can improve acne prone skin and brighten your complexion. Plus, because of its potent inflammatory properties, CBD can even lessen overactive sebum production and breakouts, and can reduce the frequency and severity of eczema and psoriasis flares.
You can even use it in place of hand sanitizer in a pinch. CBD is naturally antimicrobial and can help kill some nasty germs. Ananda Hemp’s oil has shown 99.9 percent antimicrobial effectiveness against staph and MRSA in tests. How well a CBD product kills germs does depend on how concentrated it is, so check with the manufacturer before relying on it. Also, keep in mind that CBD has only been shown to protect against gram positive bacteria, such as staph and strep—not against gram negative bacteria, like E. coli, notes Capano. So you shouldn’t rely on it for keeping you totally bug-free. “It’s better than nothing, but CBD isn’t a substitute for hand soap,” she says.
Can CBD lower my anxiety?
Nixing your nerves is one of the top reasons people are turning to CBD products (along with lessening pain and help sleeping). There’s still research to be done on how exactly it works to calm anxiety, but one thing we do know is that it blocks an enzyme called FAAH, which works to lower a fatty-acid neurotransmitter called anandamide, explains Capano.
For the non-scientists among us, by blocking FAAH, CBD can help increase your level of anandamide. And that’s a big deal when you’re looking for a mood boost. This neurotransmitter (the same one that leads to the elusive runner’s high) is named after the Sanskrit word for joy, bliss, or happiness. Basically, says Capano, “CBD makes our natural bliss molecule work better for us.”
Bonus: If CBD is easing your aches or increasing your ZZZs, that might in turn leave you feeling even more relaxed.
Does CBD relieve pain?
Get ready to kiss that nagging knee or back pain goodbye. Along with improvements in sleep and mood, chronic aches are the main reason people are turning to CBD. That’s because cannabidiol is an anti-inflammatory agent. In other words, it helps reduce the inflammation causing the pain, rather than reducing your perception of pain. “Percocet will just make you feel like you don’t have pain while CBD will get at the root cause,” explains Capano. CBD also helps nix pain because it’s an antioxidant itself, increases our own natural antioxidants, and works on serotonin receptors.
While all that combines to mean CBD has magical pain-slashing properties for certain aches, it’s not ideal for every kind. It’s a great, effective therapeutic option for chronic pain and pain prevention (e.g. frequent headaches, ongoing back pain that’s lasted more than a week), says Capano. “But if you have an acute injury, like a broken bone, CBD is not going to be a substitute for morphine in the hospital; those really strong narcotic painkillers have their place.”
That said, if you’re dealing with chronic pain and are already on medication for it, talk with your doctor about combining those traditional meds with CBD. More than 50 percent of long-term opioid users who added CBD to their treatment were able to reduce their opioid use and 90 percent of them had better quality of life within two months, according to research Capano recently conducted, which is pending publication. “We know that CBD is effective with pain and it’s safe to use with opioids—plus, it can help with withdrawal symptoms as you lower opioid use,” she says. “There’s pretty good data that CBD can be a treatment for substance abuse disorders. We should be motivated to use something that’s safer and doesn’t have the risk of dependency or overdose.”
Where can I buy CBD?
If you’re in a big city, you’ve likely seen CBD all over—from chic pop-up shops to your corner bodega. If you’re in a small town, you can probably find it in a brick-and-mortar shop too, as lots of small, independent pharmacies are carrying CBD products now. But if you do have trouble tracking it down in person, you can easily order online and have it shipped to any state (since U.S.-grown CBD is legal nationwide per the Farm Bill). But keep in mind: “There are so many online retailers, you have to do your homework,” says Capano.
To make sure you’re getting a legit product, research the brand before purchasing from it and find out where it sources its CBD. If you can find a company that’s vertically integrated—meaning they have control over the growth of their plants—that’s ideal, notes Capano. (It’s not essential, though, and might be difficult to find a vertically integrated brand, as only a handful of companies in the U.S. are.)
You should also ask if the brand does third-party testing, what level of actives are in the product, whether it contains any microbial contaminants or pesticides. Not only should any reputable company make this info readily available, but they also should include a batch number with every product, so you can see a lab analysis. Don’t be afraid to push for all these details, says Capano: “The more we demand transparency that as consumers, the better the industry will get.”
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