Does CBD oil live up to the hype?

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 01 Aug, 2020

National CBD oil day falls in August, so I thought I'd write a little something about this increasingly popular supplement and apparent wonder cure! You've likely heard of CBD (cannabiodiol) oil in the past few years, as its popularity has increased significantly. But if you haven't, I'll talk about the topline info here – what it is, what it's supposed to help with and what the current research supports.

What is CBD oil?

CBD stands for cannabiodiol, a compound found in the cannabis plant which is believed to have many health benefits. This compound can be mixed with something like hemp seed oil to create what we refer to as CBD oil. This can then be taken orally, or in other forms such as drops or topically applied.

What are the health claims?

There are many claims about the positive benefits linked to CBD which include, but are not limited to:

  1. Pain relief
  2. Improves heart health
  3. Improves acne
  4. Reduces anxiety and depression
  5. Reduces cancer related symptoms

What does the science say?

Currently much of the research into CBD has taken place in labs and has used animals. There has been some promising results to suggest that pure CBD given at the right doses can help reduce inflammation which can help with pain associated with conditions such as arthritis. Similar findings have shown that CBD may help improve heart health in animals who have suffered damage to their hearts. But that said, the research has largely been conducted in animals and so more large scale, long term studies in humans are needed to confirm its effects and safety.

It's important also to recognise that while pure CBD given at the correct doses may have some potential positive effects in certain groups of people – the products available over the counter may not live up to the hype. These are not regulated so you can’t be sure that they contain significant amounts of CBD or that they don’t contain other harmful substances.

Bottom line

CBD could have some potential health benefits for people with certain health conditions, however research is still ongoing and the long term potential side effects are not clear. It’s also not a well regulated product, so you can’t be sure of the quality of product you’re receiving. If you feel it’s something you’d like to try for a medical reason, it would be best to discuss this with your doctor beforehand.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.