What Is CBD Oil?
This cannabis extract may help treat nerve pain, anxiety, and epilepsy
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman’s World, and Natural Health.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles, California.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an extract from hemp plants called Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa . You might be more familiar with cannabis plants because they are grown for marijuana. However, CBD is not the same thing as marijuana.
CBD oil contains CBD that’s mixed with a base (carrier) oil, like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. These are called tinctures. You can get tinctures in different concentrations. The oil can also be put into capsules, gummies, and sprays.
People who support using CBD oil say that it can treat pain and anxiety; can help stimulate appetite and may help manage some types of seizures.
This article goes over what CBD is used for, the possible side effects, and what you should look for if you choose to buy CBD.
CBD vs. Marijuana
CBD is one component (called a cannabinoid ) that’s found in a hemp plant. Marijuana is a separate plant but it’s from the same species that hemp belongs to. Marijuana has CBD and hundreds of other compounds in it.
The main difference between hemp plants and marijuana plants is how much of a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is in them. Hemp is grown to have less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana has more.
THC is what’s responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis—in other words, it’s what makes you feel “high.”
CBD oil generally does not have THC in it; however, a very small (trace) amount might be in products sold in certain states.
What Is CBD Oil Used For?
We’re not sure exactly how CBD works. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have a strong connection with the molecules in the brain that THC binds to create psychoactive effects. These are called cannabinoid receptors.
Instead, CBD works on other receptors, like the opioid receptors that help control pain. It also affects glycine receptors that control a brain chemical called serotonin which helps control your mood.
People that support the use of CBD claim that CBD oil can treat a variety of health problems, including:
- Chronic pain
- Drug use and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Poor appetite
As CBD has gained popularity, researchers have been trying to study it more. Still, there has not been a lot of clinical research to look for evidence in support of these health claims.
CBD is not a safe option for everyone. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to try it for managing a health condition.
A 2015 review of research that was published in the journal Neurotherapeutics suggested that CBD might help treat anxiety disorders.
The study authors reported that CBD had previously shown powerful anxiety-relieving effects in animal research—and the results were kind of surprising.
In most of the studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) improved some symptoms of anxiety, while higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) had almost no effect.
The way that CBD acts in the brain could explain why this happens. In low doses, CBD might act the same as the surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor that “turns up” their signaling.
However, at higher doses, too much activity at this receptor site could produce the opposite effect.
There have not been many trials to look at CBD’s anxiety-relieving effects in humans. However, one was a 2019 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry.
For the study, 57 men took either CBD oil or a sugar pill with no CBD in it (placebo) before a public-speaking event.
The researchers assessed the participants’ anxiety levels using measures like blood pressure and heart rate. The researchers also used a reliable test for mood states called the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).
The men who took 300 mg of CBD oil reported less anxiety than the men who were given a placebo; however, the men who took 100 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil did not experience the same effects.
CBD oil might help people with substance use disorder, according to a 2015 review published in the journal Substance Abuse.
The review looked at the findings from 14 published studies. Nine of the studies looked at the effects of CBD on animals, and five studies looked at the effects on humans.
The researchers reported that CBD showed promise for treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant use disorders.
However, the effects of CBD were quite different depending on the substance. For example, CBD without THC did not decrease withdrawal symptoms related to opioid use.
On the other hand, it did reduce drug-seeking behaviors in people using cocaine, methamphetamine, and other similar drugs.
Some experts suggest that CBD could help treat cannabis and nicotine dependence, but more research is needed to provide this theory.
High Blood Pressure
A 2017 study found that CBD oil may reduce the risk of heart disease because it can lower high blood pressure in some people.
For the study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. The men who took CBD had lower blood pressure before and after experiencing stressors like exercise or extreme cold.
The study also looked at the amount of blood remaining in the heart after a heartbeat (stroke volume).
The stroke volume in the men who took CBD was lower than in was in the placebo group, meaning their hearts were pumping more efficiently.
The study suggested that CBD oil could be a complementary therapy for people with high blood pressure that is affected by stress and anxiety.
However, there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat high blood pressure on its own or prevent it in people at risk. While stress can complicate high blood pressure, it does not cause it.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD oral solution called Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in children under the age of 2: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are very rare genetic disorders that cause lifelong seizures starting in the first year of life.
Other than for these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness for treating seizures is not known. Even with Epidiolex, it’s not clear if the anti-seizure effects are from CBD or another factor.
However, there is some evidence that CBD interacts with seizure medicines like Onfi (clobazam) and raises their concentration in the blood. That said, more research is needed to understand the link.
Possible Side Effects
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can cause side effects. The specific side effects a person has and how bad they are varies from one person to the next and from one type of CBD to another.
Some common side effects people report from using CBD include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes, which is a marker of liver inflammation.
People with liver disease should talk to their healthcare provider before taking CBD oil. They may need to have their liver enzymes checked regularly if they are using CBD.
Can You Use CBD If You’re Pregnant?
You should not use CBD oil if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though the effects of CBD are not fully understood, it does pass through the placenta.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) further states that pregnant people should not use marijuana because of the potential risks to a developing fetus.
Do not drive or use heavy machinery when taking CBD oil—especially when you first start using it or switch to a new brand. Remember that some products do contain THC, even in small amounts.
CBD oil can interact with medications, including many that are used to treat epilepsy. One of the reasons for this has to do with how your body breaks down (metabolizes) drugs.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) is an enzyme your body uses to break down some drugs. CBD oil can block CYP450. That means that taking CBD oil with these drugs could make them have a stronger effect than you need or make them not work at all.
Drugs that could potentially interact with CBD include:
- Anti-arrhythmia drugs like quinidine
- Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
- Antifungal drugs like Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Vfend (voriconazole)
- Antipsychotic drugs like Orap (pimozide)
- Atypical antidepressants like Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
- Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and telithromycin
- Migraine medicine like Ergomar (ergotamine)
- Opioid painkillers like Duragesic (fentanyl) and alfentanil
- Rifampin-based drugs used to treat tuberculosis
Always tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the medicines you take, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, or recreational drugs.
The interactions between these medications and CBD are often mild and you might not have to change your treatment.
However, in some cases, you might have to change medications or space out your doses to avoid a reaction. That said, never change or stop medication without talking to your provider.
Dosage and Preparation
There are no guidelines for using CBD oil. Each product works a bit differently, depending on the form.
For example, putting the oil under your tongue can produce effects more quickly than swallowing a capsule that needs to be digested.
Here are a few ways that you can take CBD oil:
- Placing one or more drops under your tongue and holding it there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing. You can also use a spray that is spritz in your mouth/under your tongue.
- Taking a capsule or chewing a gummy
There’s no “correct” dose of CBD oil. How much you take and the form you choose will depend on your needs and what you hope to get for effects. The average dose range is from 5 mg to 25 mg.
Most oils come in 30-milliliter (mL) bottles and include a dropper cap to help you measure.
That said, it’s hard to figure out the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil. Some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL or more.
How to Calculate CBD Dose
To determine an exact dose of CBD, remember that each drop of oil equals 0.05 mL of fluid. This means that a 30-mL bottle of CBD oil will have about 600 drops in it.
If the concentration of the tincture is 1,500 mg per mL, one drop would have 2.5 mg of CBD in it. The math to figure that out looks like this: 1,500 mg ÷ 600 drops = 2.5 mg
What to Look For
CBD oil comes in different forms: isolates, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum.
- Isolates contain only CBD
- Broad-spectrum oils nearly all of the components of the plan (e.g., proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll), but does not have THC oils have all the compounds including THC (up to 0.3%)
Alternative medicine practitioners believe that the compounds provide more health benefits, but the is a lack of evidence to support these claims.
Remember that CBD oils are unregulated. There’s no guarantee that a product is what it claims to be on its packaging. You also can’t know for sure that it’s safe and effective.
A 2017 study reported that only 31% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most had less CBD in them than was advertised, and 21% had significant amounts of THC.
If you are interested in buying CBD products, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Buy American: Domestically produced CBD oil might be a safer option than those that have been imported.
- Go organic: Brands certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are less likely to expose you to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Read the product label: Even if you choose a full-spectrum oil, don’t assume that every ingredient on the product label is natural. CBD products can also have preservatives, flavorings, or thinning agents in them. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, ask the dispenser what it is or check online.
Hemp plants can be grown for different purposes. Some species are made for marijuana but others are used to make CBD products.
Unlike marijuana, CBD oil does not “get you high.” Instead, it may help relieve stress, anxiety, drug withdrawals, and nerve pain.
While there are many claims about the health benefits of using CBD oil, the evidence is lacking. A lot of studies were done with animals, not humans.
If you want to try CBD oil, you should learn about the different dosages and preparations first.
You should also know that the products are not regulated, which means you can’t know for sure that a product will work and be safe.
Before you use CBD oil, talk to your provider. If you take certain medications or have a health condition, you may not be able to use these products.
Frequently Asked Questions
It would be hard to overdose on CBD oil. Research has shown that human tolerance for CBD is very high. One study reported the toxic dose would be about 20,000 mg taken at one time.
It depends on where you live, the type of product, how it was sourced (e.g., is it from hemp or marijuana), and its intended purpose (medical or recreational). In many states, you must be 18 or 21 to buy CBD oil. Check your state’s laws.
Not necessarily. While the names are sometimes used interchangeably, hemp oil can also refer to hemp seed oil, which is used for cooking, food production, and skincare products.
CBD oil is made from the leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plant. It should contain less than 0.3% THC.
Hemp oil is made from the seeds of Cannabis sativa and does not have TCH in it.
CBD Capsules UK – 5 Best CBD Capsules Reviewed for 2022
You may have heard of CBD oil for wellness, but have you heard of CBD capsules? CBD capsules (also referred to as CBD pills/edibles) are gaining more popularity because they offer the same benefits as CBD oil, but they are more convenient to use.
Due to their ongoing popularity, there are many CBD capsules available to choose from.
To help you find the best fit for you, below are the 5 best CBD capsules in the UK market – freshly updated for 2022.
5 Best CBD Capsules & Pills in the UK for 2022
1. Blessed CBD Capsules/Softgels
Blessed CBD is a UK-based CBD brand that has been known for consistently offering high-quality CBD softgel capsules since 2018. Voted the best CBD brand in the UK by Observer , Reader’s Digest , Scotsman and Herald Scotland – this family owned company is worth every penny.
If you want all the benefits of CBD without the THC, then Blessed CBD’s THC-free CBD tablets are the capsules you will want to check out. These capsules have zero tetrahydrocannabinol and come in a single convenient size: 30 capsules per bottle.
Each capsule provides a massive and highly potent 30mg of CBD, which is higher than any other CBD softgels product in the UK market.
These capsules are more on the affordable side and are created by a brand that you can trust. Each softgel is tested by a third-party lab and these results are posted online, so there is no suspicious behavior here.
Also, their CBD oil capsules are made from organic, non-GMO hemp that is sourced in Colorado. The hemp grown in Colorado is known to be the best hemp in all of the United States.
With Blessed CBD’s rapid (and free) next day delivery, these are by far the best CBD capsules in the UK. Blessed CBD’s high quality product range also consists of CBD oils , CBD gummies and CBD creams .
No matter if this is your first time or if you’re a seasoned CBD user, Blessed CBD is one of the best sellers in the UK when it comes to CBD capsules.
2. Vibes CBD Capsules
The capsules from Vibes CBD are available in a single, but effective 1200mg strength. Each bottle contains 60 capsules, and they include a helpful booklet with your order, which will make it easier for you to find the right daily dose of CBD.
The organic hemp used in these capsules is broad spectrum CBD. They contain beneficial phytochemicals such as cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes but without any THC. All of Vibes CBD’s products are lab tested to check for any heavy metals or solvents, giving you peace of mind that what you’re consuming is safe.
These capsules are also vegan-friendly and made from non-GMO ingredients. If you’re looking for one of the best CBD capsules in the UK, we recommend Vibes CBD.
3. CBD Life Hemp Oil Capsules
- They are super potent – each bottle comes with 750 mg of CBD with 25 mg per capsule
- They are affordable
- They are full spectrum CBD capsules
- Capsules are coated in a vegan approved coating, not gelatine like most CBD capsules
- Easy to follow dosing guide provided with every order
CBD Life’s hemp is grown and sourced from Germany, and the company pays personal visits to the hemp farm. Third-party testing is done regularly to ensure that there are no harmful chemicals such as pesticides and artificial fertilizers as part of the CBD content.
If you are interested, the results from these tests are available upon request.
4. Cibdol CBD Softgels
If you are looking for good quality softgels made of pure CBD isolate, then look no further than Cibdol’s CBD Softgels. These CBD capsules are made in Switzerland, and the company goes the extra mile by adding an additional step to filter any undesired materials in their product.
These capsules each contain hemp extract and are filled with beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and terpenes.
These softgel capsules come in 60 count bottles and are currently available in two potencies:
The 6.4 mg totals 384 mg and the 16 mg totals 960 mg of CBD.
5. Love CBD Entourage Capsules
What makes Love CBD’s Entourage Capsules stand out from its competitors is its high cannabidiol acid (CBA) and CBG content. CBDa and CBG is great because it is a type of cannabinoid from hemp CBD that has many potential health benefits.
These capsules come in two strengths:
- 1200 mg
- 600 mg
As its name implies, the Love CBD Entourage Capsules were designed to get the full entourage effect.
The entourage effect happens when CBD is taken with other compounds from the cannabis plant. The theory behind this method is that using the entire hemp plant, rather than isolating a certain part, the user will be able to experience the full benefits of the cannabinoids.
The hemp used in these capsules is grown in the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic. They are grown organically, so you can rest assured that your products are free of harmful pesticides, herbicides and any artificial fertilizers. Each batch is also tested carefully by a third-party. If you are interested in the lab test results, they are posted and available on the company’s website, along with extraction methods used and FAQs.
CBD Capsules UK: FAQ
- What does CBD stand for?
- Is it similar to THC?
- How do CBD capsules work?
- Are CBD capsules legal in the United Kingdom?
- Should I go for CBD oil or CBD capsules?
For CBD users out there, this debate has been going on for quite some time. There are benefits to using both, but the choice primarily depends on you as the user.
The main difference between the oil and capsules is how they are absorbed into the body (known as bioavailability). CBD oil is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream by the blood vessels under your tongue while CBD gel capsules have to pass through the digestive system and liver.
This means that you will feel the effects of CBD oil faster than the capsules. If patience isn’t your virtue, then maybe you should take the oil route since they take less time to enter the body.
However, if convenience and taste is more important to you than the capsules are the way to go. They are mess-free and easy to take. They are less conspicuous than their oil counterpart, which means you can take them anytime, anywhere. For quality CBD capsules in the UK, go with a brand such as Blessed CBD or Vibes CBD .
Most people find that when they are starting to experiment with CBD, the capsules were easier for them to integrate into their daily routine.