Cannabidiol (CBD): Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is regarded as an effective anti-seizure medication. CBD is one of 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants and is one of the most prevalent active ingredients of cannabis (x).

Several CBD products can be extracted from the stems and stalks of industrial hemp plants. They are plants with low amounts of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which qualifies them as “industrial” (x). The common form of CBD is oil, but can also come as a vaporized liquid, an oil-based capsule and an extract. Manufacturers also infuse CBD into products like beauty products, as well as food and drinks.

High-CBD cannabis oil is non-psychoactive and possibly more beneficial than high-THC cannabis oil. And though more research is needed, CBD is believed to treat diabetes, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

CBD use, however, poses some risk. It can cause side effects like fatigue, loss of appetite, dry mouth and drowsiness and also interact with medications like blood thinners. Additionally, the printed purity and dosage of CBD may be unreliable, according to a recent study. The study demonstrated that more than a quarter of the CBD products purchased online contained less CBD than indicated (x).

Types of CBD Oil Products

The demand for CBD has skyrocketed, and many products are being sold online or at local health food stores. There are many forms of CBD, and their applications vary. The following are the most common forms of CBD.

Capsules and Sprays

Taking capsules or pills is an appropriate way to use CBD, although you will be limited to the packaged dose. Just like other capsules, you have to take CBD capsules with water. The spray is another product that allows people to use CBD internally. However, the concentration of CBD in sprays is normally lower. Individuals should find the right dosage on the label.

Vape Oil

CBD vape oil helps in vaping CBD. A vape pen or an e-cigarette can be used, but may have side effects if the chemicals are heated to extreme temperatures. Dabbing of the cannabis compound can also be done by use of CBD waxes. A dabbing pen is used to heat small amounts of the wax. However, it is not recommended for beginners due to its high CBD concentration.

Powders and Edibles

Powders allow users to use cannabidiol internally. You can mix the powder with smoothies, water, tea or juice. Edibles are becoming increasingly popular. They include gums, candies, chocolate and coffees. They are a satisfying method of using CBD, but make it harder for users to determine the exact measure of the CBD they are ingesting.

Topical Solutions

Topical CBD products include lip balms, lotions and salves. They play a role in maintaining joint, muscle and skin health. They work when the skin absorbs them. Cannabinoid can also be delivered directly to the bloodstream by using CBD patches for topical delivery of the medication.

Pure CBD Oil

CBD oil is extracted directly from the seeds, flowers and stalks of the hemp plant. Because it is unprocessed, CBD oil contains all the natural compounds found in the plant like cannabinoids and other essential oils, making it very effective.

Tinctures and Concentrates

CBD in the form of tinctures is popular because users can easily measure the amount of cannabidiol they are ingesting. Tinctures can be very effective when using CBD oil. A dropper is used to place drops of the oil under the tongue. Concentrates are similar to tinctures, but they contain higher doses of CBD. They are not ideal for a beginner due to their high potency.

Benefits of CBD

Relieves Pain and Inflammation

People have used marijuana as a pain reliever since 2900 BC (x). Scientists have recently discovered that components of marijuana, including CBD, have pain-relieving effects. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a specialized system in the human body responsible for regulating functions like immune response, sleep, pain and appetite (x). According to studies, CBD can help minimize chronic pain by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation (x).

Helps Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are mental health disorders that could disastrously affect an individual’s well-being. The World Health Organization ranks depression as the largest contributor to disability in the world, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth (x). CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for depression and anxiety (x). Researchers have reported cases where there was a safe treatment of insomnia and anxiety in young children with post-trauma stress disorder (x).

Helps Stimulate Appetite

A healthy appetite is crucial for a healthy body, especially if the body is healing. On the other hand, some illnesses can reduce appetite to the point of hindering the body from healing itself. The National Cancer Institute affirms that CBD helps in stimulating the appetite. CBDs stimulate appetite by attaching to cannabinoid receptors in the human body — receptors that many believe help in regulating feeding behavior (x).

Aids in Reducing Chemotherapy Side Effects and May Contain Anticancer Properties

CBD may also help to reduce chemotherapy-related side effects like nausea and vomiting for individuals with cancer (x). It can help minimize cancer-related symptoms and pain (x) and, though more research is needed, CBD may inhibit the progression of aggressive breast cancer cells (x).

May Treat Epilepsy

CBD can help calm childhood epilepsy. It contains anti-seizure properties that have been successful in treating drug-resistant children who suffer from neurological disorders like epilepsy (x).

Sleep Aid

CBD can work like a charm for individuals who have insomnia. CBD and THC products should be used together to help the body and mind relax. This induces low energy levels and lowers the heart rate to help clear the head for a sounder sleep.

Other Benefits

Reduces Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is responsible for some health disorders. Oxidative stress occurs when the body faces free radicals, but fails to keep up with neutralizing or oxidizing them. This is where CBD comes in. According to a 2010 study, CBD can act as an antioxidant while another study found CBD to contain neuroprotective abilities. This means that CBD can minimize neurological damage that may result from free radicals (x).

Improves Heart Health

If you take CBD oil while maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, it can help maintain good heart health. CBD oil reduces blockages in the arteries and also reduces the stress that can result from cardiovascular responses. It can even reduce blood pressure as well as reduce cholesterol (x).

Helps Reduce Acne

You can use CBD to help treat acne that could be as a result of inflammation or overworked sebaceous glands in the body. A study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that CBD could help lower the manufacture of sebum that causes acne (x).

Cannabidiol Benefits

Effects of CBD

Though CBD is considered safe, it can cause effects or reactions that may be good for some, but harmful to others (x):

Could Cause Antidepressant-Like Effects

Cannabidiol has relevant therapeutic potential in some neuropsychiatric disorders like depression. On the other hand, CBD treatment may have significant antidepressant-like effects in some individuals (x, x).

Helps Decrease Blood Pressure

CBD can lower stress and anxiety and also allow the blood vessels to relax. If you put these benefits together, they can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases in individuals (x).

Acts on Brain’s Receptors for Serotonin

Serotonin receptors are responsible for manufacturing and releasing hormones like cortisol, which controls reactions and metabolism to stress, and oxytocin (this affects social behavior). Serotonin also affects an individual’s appetite, mood and cognition. CBD deals with disorders like anxiety, schizophrenia, pain and depression by enhancing the activation of serotonin 1A receptors (x).

According to some evidence, cannabidiol may help individuals quit smoking and better cope with drug withdrawals. According to a study published in Addictive Behaviors (x), smokers who used inhalers with CBD smoked fewer cigarettes than usual and did not have any further cravings for nicotine. CBD could also be a promising treatment for individuals with opioid addiction disorders, according to a study published in Neurotherapeutics (x). Though there is not enough research, several findings show that CBD can help reduce or prevent withdrawal symptoms (x).

Dangerous Side Effects

Dry Mouth

This is a familiar sensation for cannabis smokers. After smoking, there is a feeling of a cotton ball residing within the mouth, but you can clear this by drinking juice or water. Dry mouth happens because cannabis lowers saliva production or secretion. Cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system are found within the salivary glands. In turn, CBD interacts with these receptors, leading to the inhibition of saliva production and this causes dry mouth (x).


Though it is a minor side effect, users could experience diarrhea if they take high amounts of CBD. Individuals can avoid diarrhea by lowering their dosage of CBD (x).


CBD oil can lead to a slight drop in blood pressure, causing an initial feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. Though CBD is a natural sleep remedy, it can also bring about a feeling of tiredness. This feeling of tiredness can last for up to six hours depending on the mode of ingestion (x).

The Bottom Line

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. It is a natural supplement that has many benefits required for a healthy body. It is an effective anti-seizure medication and is available in many forms. You can use products that provide CBD as a capsule, tincture, topical solution, concentrate, patch, wax and edible. CBD can be an option for managing insomnia, chronic pain and anxiety, although more research is required. However, before you take CBD, consult your physician to know if cannabidiol is right for you.

Author: James D