Could CBD oil help manage my pain?
It seems like it's hard to get away from CBD oil these days, with everyone from the local health food shop to the chemist round the corner promoting it heavily. It's equally hard to get away from the many and varied claims that are often attached to CBD oil. So, is it just a fad, a gimmick? Or could CBD actually help you manage pain or depression?
So, to start with - what is CBD oil? CBD (cannabidiol) oil is an oil derived from the cannabis plant (marijuana), however during the refining process the active ingredient which produces the 'high' from smoking or ingesting marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannibidiol), is removed. This means that CBD will not function as a recreational drug, and hence can be sold widely in the EU and USA. However, it is important to note that only prescribed CBD oil is currently regulated by the UK and US governments, so the products you buy from your local shop may have varying strengths and purity.
What can it do for me? There are so many claims being made out there, it seems that CBD will 'help' just about everything. So, what does the research suggest? Surprisingly, to date there has been little research done regarding the efficacy and safety of long term use of CBD oil. The Mayo Clinic in the US recently published a review of current research back in August 2019 (you can read that here) that was cautiously optimistic as the the positive effects of CBD oil with a limited range of conditions.
The research so far seems to support the use of CBD oil in treating chronic pain and addiction. There has also been a significant anti-inflammatory effect noted as well as signs that it may help with anxiety and sleep disorders, but studies specifically examining the effects on inflammatory disorders in humans are lacking. Importantly, there can be interactions between CBD oil and certain medications so be sure to ask your GP or pharmacist is it is safe for you to take.
So, what's the verdict? It seems that there is tentative support for CBD oil in the treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, sleep disorders and inflammatory conditions - but there's just not enough research out there yet to draw definitive conclusions. That's changing, however, with more studies being done each year - so be sure that that verdict is set to change as more evidence weighs in. Overall, the strengths you will buy over the counter are unlikely to be strong enough to do you harm unless you seriously overdo it - the main issue seems to be lack of regulation and quality control (as is the problem with all health supplements) so shop wisely and try and choose a reputable brand.