What to know about CBD oil

Signs advertising CBD oil have cropped up in various businesses — from pharmacies to mall kiosks — over the last several years. CBD oil manufacturers make various claims on product packaging, but consumers may not know if such claims are trustworthy or best taken with a grain of salt. A better understanding of CBD oil can help consumers curious about this enigmatic product.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is an active ingredient found in the cannabis plant, which is also known as hemp. How much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component, will determine how it affects people.

Companies extract CBD from the cannabis plant and dilute it with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil, according to Healthline. It may be used in oil form, as a pill, in cream, or edibles like gummies.

CBD uses

Researchers continue to explore the uses of CBD to treat a variety of conditions. CBD produces effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but most notably in the brain. They affect mood, thinking, appetite, pain, and movement. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system, affecting pain and inflammation, indicates Medical News Today. Therefore, CBD has been recommended for use in treating pain, and inflammation from arthritis, migraines, sleep disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, seizure disorders, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Other studies have suggested CBD usage could provide relief from withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking or getting off opioids.

While there are some indications CBD will improve these conditions, currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only approves the prescription use of Epidolex, a purified CBD oil, for treating epilepsy.

Side effects of CBD use

While CBD generally is considered safe to use, Harvard Medical School notes that it may cause nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD also may increase blood thinning in the body, as well as compete with other medicines in the body much in the same way grapefruit has similar effects with certain medications. Regular use of CBD in high doses could cause abnormalities in liver-related blood tests.

The legalization of both CBD and marijuana use across the United States and Canada continues to gain momentum, but use of CBD is not necessarily legal in all areas. Also, it is important to determine if CBD will show up in drug test results for those who work for employers with zero tolerance for marijuana use. According to the drug information website Drugs.com, theoretically, CBD should not show up on a drug test. However, because most CBD products are classified as a supplement, CBD is not regulated for safety and purity. This means that contamination of the CBD with THC can and does occur, particularly if CBD is derived from marijuana and not hemp. This may show up on a drug test, depending on the cutoff level of the test and other factors.

The popularity of CBD continues to grow. Individuals considering the use of CBD to treat a health issue are urged to speak with a medical professional prior to using it.