The medical benefits of cannabinoids have been studied extensively; and cannabinoids and CBD oil have been linked in various studies to reducing chronic pain, treating epilepsy and arthritis, and acting as an anti-inflammatory, among other potential medical benefits. “Typically people [come] to us to use CBD oil to reduce anxiety, reduce muscle spasms, seizures, reduce nerve pain, and inflammation,” Cargile says. It’s also “known to be an antioxidant, [which] is really important in skincare,” she notes, pointing out that antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are often added to lotions. Indeed, antioxidants work to protect the body and skin from damage (like broken-down collagen) caused by free radicals, molecules produced when your body breaks down foods or certain medicines or is exposed to pollutants like cigarette smoke or UV radiation.
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James Joliat, a 35-year-old video producer in Denver, has long experienced muscle and joint pain—mostly related to sports injuries. He says he started looking at natural remedies as an alternative to the prescription patches and pills his doctor recommended. After experimenting with homemade rubs infused with plant compounds—stuff like arnica and turmeric—he eventually stumbled onto topical cannabidiol (CBD) rubs.
To deal with the bitter taste and viscous nature of the hemp oil, it was mixed with honey, a known natural digestive aid, and then administered to the patient in daily doses. The objective was to quickly increase the frequency and amount of the dose and to hopefully build up the patient’s tolerance to cannabis oil. In the beginning stages of cannabis treatment, the girl experienced periods of panic, increased appetite and fatigue.
People claim that cannabis oil can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, though evidence to back up these claims is often lacking. For example, according to Medical News Today, people use cannabis oil for conditions ranging from pain to acne; some even claim the oil can cure diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer. (But again, there is no clinical evidence to support these claims.)
With that said, I'm definitely intrigued enough by the subtle effects to continue taking the oil and possibly even to up the dosage to the recommended two full droppers of the 30mL bottle per day for a week or so. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that it's an all-natural treatment for anxiety that's responsibly grown on family farms in Colorado. Something that's safe, legal, requires no prescription, and makes me less anxious, less scatterbrained, and more focused? I'm definitely on board.
If an athlete happens to get a CBD oil that is very low in THC and other cannabinoids, or if they stop using a product in time to ensure that any THC or other cannabinoids are cleared from their body, then the use of a CBD product will not cause a positive test or cause the athlete to incur an anti-doping rule violation. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know how much THC or other cannabinoids are in a CBD product just from looking at the label, and it is impossible to predict how each athlete will metabolize and excrete THC or other cannabinoids. The use of any CBD product is at the athlete’s own risk.
Kimberly is the reference editor for Live Science and Space.com. She has a bachelor's degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University, a master's degree in biology from Southeastern Louisiana University and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her favorite stories include animals and obscurities. A Texas native, Kim now lives in a California redwood forest. You can follow her on Twitter @kimdhickok.
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The oil may be further refined by 1) alkali washing, or removing the heavy aromatic carboxylic acids with antibiotic properties, which may cause heartburn, gallbladder and pancreas irritation, and resistance to hemp antibiotics; 2) conversion of CBD to THC. Process 1) consists of dissolving the oil in a nonpolar solvent such as petroleum ether, repeatedly washing (saponifying) with a base such as sodium carbonate solution until the yellow residue disappears from the watery phase, decanting, and washing with water to remove the base and the saponified components (and evaporating the solvents). This process reduces the oil yield, but the resulting oil is less acidic, easier digestible and much more potent (almost pure THC). Process 2) consists of dissolving the oil in a suitable solvent such as absolute ethanol containing 0.05% hydrochloric acid, and boiling the mixture for 2 hours.
That headache study cites research linking CBD to lower rates of anxiety. (Since anxiety often produces headaches, the authors say, CBD could be a plausible headache remedy if those anti-anxiety benefits are legit.) Grant says he’s looked at the literature on CBD and anxiety, and some of it is enticing. He mentions a Brazilian study, for instance, that found people with a fear of public speaking felt less anxiety and less discomfort about their phobia after taking CBD, compared to those who took a placebo.
In 2015, researchers conducted a comprehensive review to get at the heart of CBD and its intervention of addictive behaviors. These researchers gathered 14 studies, nine (9) of which involved animals, while the remaining five (5) involved humans, to find that CBD may indeed have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction. Further, studies heavily suggest that CBD may also be beneficial in the treatment of marijuana and tobacco addiction. One reason that CBD may be effective as treatment for addictive disorders is its ability to ease the anxiety that leads people to crave drugs like heroin.