CBD oil (Cannabidiol oil) is one of the main substances found in the Cannabis plant. CBD is just one of many compounds found within the cannabis plant but it is not the illegal substance known as THC. CBD oil is one of the primary research components into medicinal Cannabis. There is no established Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for CBD Oil.
Cannabis has been shown to exert a number of therapeutic effects on various neurological conditions including epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and neuropathic pain, attributed to the neuroprotective properties of CBD.
Epilepsy- A considerable amount of research has been conducted into the effects of CBD in epilepsy. It has been found that CBD can reduce the threshold of seizures (1) including the frequency of seizures (2). Most studies have shown 2–5 mg/kg/day to be beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy (2). A survey of patients seen in an epilepsy centre found that 21% of patients admitted to using marijuana in the last year, and 24% of patients believed marijuana to be effective for their seizures (3).
Cognitive function and mental health- Research in both animals and humans indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic properties. One double-blind parallel trial which sought to assess the safety and effectiveness of CBD in patients with schizophrenia showed patients who received 1,000mg CBD oil per day for a period of 6 weeks had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms and improvements in general wellbeing compared to the placebo group. Improvements in cognitive function in the CBD Oil group compared to placebo was also noted (4).
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis– Cannabidiol is believed to have neuroprotective properties (5) due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities (6) which can have beneficial effects in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis patients (7). CBD has also been shown to reverse and prevent the development of cognitive defects which are known characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease. In one study, adult male mice were treated for 3 weeks with 20mg/kg CBD injections following the onset of cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It was found that recognition memory and social recognition memory were reversed according to Cheng et al (8). To assess the role of CBD in Parkinson’s disease, 21 patients without dementia or psychiatric conditions were treated with either placebo, cannabidiol (CBD) 75 mg/day or CBD 300 mg/day. The groups treated with CBD had a significant improvement in scores determining wellbeing and quality of life compared to placebo (9).
Pain relief– A number of studies have also reported on the potential of cannabidiol as a pain relieving agent. In a study of rats with osteoarthritis, CBD was shown to reduce joint inflammation and prevent the later development of pain and nerve damage in the osteoarthritis (OA) joints, suggesting that CBD may be a safe, useful therapeutic for treating OA joint neuropathic pain (10). A further study on rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision (11) while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation (12). In a study of 47 people with multiple sclerosis, those treated with an oral spray combination of CBD and THC for one month experienced a significant improvement in pain, walking and muscle spasms, compared to the placebo group (13). Another study found that the same spray containing a combination of CBD and THC significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis (14).
Epilepsy-According to research, CBD oil may help to reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients and therefore a supplement may be beneficial for the management of this condition. N.B Any medical condition such epilepsy should be managed under the supervision of a medical professional.
Pain relief- due to the reported pain-relieving properties of CBD oil, a supplement may provide benefit for the management of conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis or any condition which causes pain and inflammation in the body.
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis– due to the neuroprotective properties of CBD oil, a supplement may be beneficial in helping to relieve symptoms associated with AD, PD and MS.
In terms of safety, CBD has been investigated for its potential side effects and interaction with other medications. The majority of the studies were for the treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. The outcome of the review confirms CBD is considered safe with a better side effect profile compared to prescription drugs for the treatment of these conditions (Iffland et al, 2017). Furthermore, CBD is considered to be well tolerated in humans with doses up to 600 mg not resulting in psychotic symptoms (Mechoulam et al, 1978). There is no established Tolerable Upper Intake Level for CBD Oil.