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CBD oil: Risks and recent research

Published October 30, 2020

Published October 30, 2020

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has been gaining notice in the news for treating everything from distress and anxiety to pain and medical conditions like sleep apnea and multiple sclerosis. Is there evidence to support these claims? CBD is one of the main active compounds derived from the cannabis or marijuana plant and lacks the same psychoactive effect as THC, perhaps the best-known active compound in cannabis.

While there is still limited research, growing evidence suggests that oral CBD may help treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and improve muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis, notes Matthew Rizzo, MD, neurologist. There is only moderate evidence that CBD can help with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Insufficient evidence exists to show that CBD is an effective treatment for many other conditions such as cancer, irritable bowel, epilepsy and mental health.

“While CBD may appear to be fairly safe, it really has not been around long enough for us to know what type of long-term effects it may have,” says Dr. Rizzo. “While it appears to be tolerated fairly well by most people, it can cause dry mouth, light headedness, drowsiness and a drop in blood pressure for some. It may also interact negatively with important drugs like steroids, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, anti-virals and anti-anxiety drugs.”

If you are considering using CBD oil or cream, and you have a chronic illness, or you are taking other medications, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor first to make sure there are no contraindications, notes Dr. Rizzo.

Stay tuned—there are many clinical trials currently in progress to study the therapeutic effects of CBD oil and those should shed more light on its true benefits in the future.

How safe is CBD oil? Find out CBD oil's promising properties for cancer and multiple sclerosis patients, along with which medications you shouldn't take it with.