CBD oil is one of the fastest growing health supplements in the world. Unlike other countries, in Australia, CBD is not available over the counter and is only legally accessible with a prescription. Even so, Australians are constantly talking about CBD and buying CBD oil online, even if they are unsure whether it’s legal or if what they are buying actually contains CBD.
The Aussie CBD market is very different from other countries, in fact, it’s really non-existent. However, it’s likely that if any type of cannabis were to become legal in the near future, CBD oil would be the first product. The World Health Organisation (WHO) completed a review of studies on CBD in both humans and animals and found that CBD:
- Does not have effects that are seen with THC.
- Failed to produce significant effects of abuse potential.
- Is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.
While not definitively saying CBD is safe, the WHO results show that with further research, CBD will likely become accessible to all Australians in the near future due to the safety and benefits of the cannabinoid.
In the last article in our guide to CBD, you learned what science says about CBD. In this article, you’ll hear specifically about the benefits and side effects of CBD oil. The difference between the two articles? Here, we’ll cover benefits people report they get when using CBD as a supplement or medicine, whether or not there’s scientific evidence to support the outcomes. The topics covered are:
CBD Oil Benefits
In order to understand the benefits and side effects of CBD oil, it’s important you have a basic understanding of how CBD and the endocannabinoid system interact. Because the endocannabinoid system plays a part in so many bodily processes, there seems to be an endless number of potential benefits of CBD oil. Here are some of the main benefits people using CBD oil as medication and supplement all over the world report experiencing:
- Reducing pain
- Increasing sleep
- Lessening anxiety and depression
- Decreasing nausea
- Improving heart health
- Revitalising and protecting skin
We’ll take a brief look at these benefits and what information does exist about each. It’s important to remember when reading and analysing the following information that CBD oil often contains very low levels of THC (.03% or less).
Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. Overseas, there are topical CBD products that claim to reduce pain and inflammation and CBD companies whose main message is that CBD can help with pain. Even in Australia, doctors can prescribe topicals for certain conditions.
So, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence and some scientific evidence that CBD oil may be able to reduce pain. A study published in 2018 showed results that cannabinoid medication, a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio, can help with neuropathic pain. Another review stated that there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabinoids help with chronic pain. Again, this review focuses on studies using a higher THC content.
While there are a few other studies that show promise for CBD and pain relief, there are also a handful of studies which contradict them. What’s clear is that there is far-reaching anecdotal evidence that says CBD oil can help with pain reduction.
In summary, a full spectrum CBD oil is likely to help certain individuals feel a reduction in neuropathic pain.
Mood Regulation (anxiety and depression)
Mental health is one of the most widely prescribed and approved conditions for CBD oil. It’s also one of the most confusing topics due to the seemingly contradictory messages produced by doctors and governing bodies. Some cannabis information says that cannabinoids may help with anxiety while there are many warnings saying that people shouldn’t be using cannabis if they have anxiety or depression. If you’d like clarification on these statements, check out Dr. Jim’s explanation of cannabis for anxiety.
The critical thing to note here is that the warnings relate specifically to the type of cannabinoids. A 2019 study showed that men given 300mg of CBD before a public speaking presentation had less anxiety than those who took placebos. Another study showed that CBD helped reduce anxiety in children with PTSD. In most studies, a lower dose of CBD has a bigger impact on anxiety than higher doses. The challenge with all of these results is that other research contradicts them.
In conclusion, low doses of CBD oil may have a positive impact on reducing anxiety.
Many people tout CBD oil as a great sleep aid and have added it to their bedtime routine.
A 2019 study found that 67% of participants had improved sleep scores after the first month. This result, however, fluctuated over the three months and therefore wasn’t conclusive. A 2017 review noted that CBD might also help improve REM sleep, thus decreasing daytime sleepiness.
In conclusion, while CBD oil isn’t clinically proven to improve sleep, there’s a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that it works.
Studies about CBD reducing nausea often focus on the treatment of cancer patients. One study found that a 1:1 CBD to THC oral intervention added to normal treatment reduced nausea in patients. There are also animal studies that show promise for CBD treatments and nausea reduction.
There’s a link between serotonin and nausea. If your body produces too much serotonin, you may become nauseous. One of the reasons that CBD is thought to help with nausea is because CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors to help manage how your body responds to your current serotonin level.
In conclusion, taking CBD oil for nausea may help reduce the feeling; however, you may not get relief without higher THC levels.
Hearth Health (lower blood pressure)
Overseas, CBD is also being used to help with heart health and lowering blood pressure (BP). Due to CBD’s interactions with serotonin levels and its ability to lower anxiety, scientists are trialling CBD for heart health. A 2017 study showed that 600mg of CBD reduced resting BP and lowered BP increase to stress.
While there have been other studies on mice related to blood pressure and heart damage, there is limited human research.
In conclusion, CBD has shown promise in improving heart health but is inconclusive and needs more research.
CBD skincare products are also popular overseas. People claim that hemp and CBD products are taking their glow to a whole new level. There’s only one piece of research cited for the link between CBD and skin health. The results showed that CBD may have therapeutic benefits for those with psoriasis.
Dr Tina Alster, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. says that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties which can benefit the skin. She also states that “topical CBD is considered safe and has no known adverse side effects.”
In conclusion, while the jury is still out on whether CBD can actually help with skin health, the anecdotal evidence says a good hemp product containing CBD may add value to your skincare routine.
CBD Oil Side Effects
When talking about side effects of CBD, there are three areas of concern:
- Dodgy CBD products (inferior products, fake claims)
- Side effects from high doses or long term use
- Medical contraindications & drug interactions
Dodgy CBD Product Side Effects
It’s important to remember that CBD oil is only legal in Australia if you have a prescription. So, any Australian company claiming to sell CBD isolate, Full-spectrum CBD or Broad-Spectrum CBD oil is doing so illegally or the product doesn’t actually contain CBD.
With little to no regulation in the USA, thousands of products popped up almost overnight. The FDA went through a period where they were sending warning letters and even fining companies that were making false claims. CVS, one of America’s biggest pharmacy chains had to recall thousands of products and cut ties with a supplier due to health concerns of their products.
If you do buy an Australian product that’s claiming to be CBD oil, be very careful as the ingredients may not be what they say. There are however Aussie companies selling real CBD oil, they’re just doing it under the table.
Known Side Effects of CBD oil
While there is very little scientific evidence for the use of CBD oil, there is also minimal evidence of serious side effects from the use of CBD oil. Remember that CBD oil use as a wellness supplement is also new, so tread with caution.
One of the most comprehensive tests on CBD oil was during the clinical trials for an FDA approved drug called Epidiolex. This trial ran for 14 weeks and patients were given 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day which is more CBD than would be in most bottles of over the counter CBD. In this study, patients had the following side effects:
- Pyrexia (fever)
- Somnolence (drowsiness)
- Abnormal results on liver-function tests
Most side effects happened early on when increasing dosages.
Other known side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Low appetite
- Weight loss
Each of these side effects has been found through existing CBD trials. There is, however, very little known about side effects of long term usage of CBD oil.
Medical Contraindications & Drug Interactions
While there is limited scientific evidence behind CBD there are quite a few well-known contraindications and drug interactions.
Low Blood Pressure
As seen earlier in this article, CBD may help lower blood pressure. While it’s not proven to lower resting blood pressure, there is a possibility that individuals who already have low blood pressure may be at risk.
Medications with Grapefruit Warning
It’s well known that certain medications come with a warning about consuming grapefruit while on the medication. If you’re taking any medication that has this warning, you should not be taking CBD. Many medications are metabolised in your liver by proteins called cytochrome P450 (CYPs). Both CBD and grapefruit disrupt the function of those proteins and can lead to dangerous levels of medication in your blood and increased risks of side effects from medication.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Remember that when pregnant, the mother shares everything she consumes with her child. During breastfeeding, chemicals that are in a mother’s bloodstream can also pass through to a child via her breast milk. While there’s very little research on the impact of CBD on babies, it’s recommended to avoid it.
Note: There may be other drug interactions or contraindications not listed. The honahlee team are not doctors and are not recommending the use of cannabis. Please speak with a medical professional before using cannabis, particularly if you’re taking other medications.
There is limited evidence on both the benefits and side effects of CBD oil. Since CBD oil is only available in Australia with a prescription, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to a doctor about side effects during your consultation and during treatment.
Research shows that there is enormous potential for CBD oil to help people with numerous ailments and illnesses. If you’re interested in being a part of the research behind CBD, you can check out and apply for any of the clinical trials currently happening in Australia. If you believe that CBD oil might help you with a medical condition you’re struggling with you can consult your doctor or get in touch with a cannabis specialist.
We hope to see CBD oil become over the counter in Australia soon. If you’re not comfortable purchasing CBD illegally or getting a product that may not actually be CBD, do your research now and prepare for the day when CBD becomes legal over the counter in Australia.