The latest research and health benefits of CBD oil

CBD Oil: Your Questions Answered – Part 2

Welcome back to the series of Nutrigold blogs about CBD oils. In the nutrigold blog “Are cannabis derived oils legal?”, I discussed the legal and safety aspects of CBD oil and the fact that these products are totally different from street forms of cannabis and therefore completely legal due to their negligible levels of THC (typically <0.05%).

In this blog I want to review the latest research into the many health benefits of quality CBD oil due to unique profile of different phytocannabinoids and phytonutrients in the Cannabis sativa L. plant.

What is CBD, and does it help our health?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 85 phytocannabinoids presently identified in the cannabis plant and they are causing a revolution in several areas of health.

CBD interacts with our naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) found throughout the brain and body. CB1 receptors are found mostly in the central nervous system (CNS) as well as in small numbers in the liver, lungs and kidneys. CB2 receptors are part of the immune system and are found in hematopoietic blood cells.1,2

Our natural endocannabinoid (EC) system is involved in a variety of different physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, inflammation, mood and memory.3 Phytocannabinoids are known to modulate this system. THC directly activates CB1 receptors; this is what can cause the psychoactive effects resulting in anxiety and even development of schizophrenia conditions in susceptible people. Recent research, however, suggests that rather than direct activation or suppression of the EC system, CBD acts on different receptor systems, as well as influencing the body to use more if its own naturally produced cannabinoids. These endocannabinoids include anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) types of signalling lipids produced in cells that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors leading to different physiological effects including anti-inflammatory and oxidative- regulatory functions.2

Research shows the positive balance promoted within the EC system from CBD results in improved weight management (appetite control); reduced pain associated with chronic inflammation4 and improved short-term memory. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD was able to prevent the development of social recognition deficit.5 The mechanism is currently unknown (improvement in social recognition was not associated with any changes in the obvious Alzheimer’s disease markers including amyloid load or oxidative damage) but the study did reveal other beneficial actions of CBD on neuroinflammation, cholesterol and dietary phytosterol retention, which warrant further investigations. This means that CBD could potentially prevent people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease from losing their ability to recognise the faces of people they know.

CBD activation of other receptors and neurotransmitter systems, including the serotonin (5-HT) and adenosine receptors, results in antidepressant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and neuroprotective effects.6 This suggests a role in CBD oil (which contains no THC) in reducing anxiety in disorders such as schizophrenia (SZ)7, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction.8,9

Probably one of the best-known uses of medicinal cannabis-derived products is in treating epilepsy. Indeed, CBD has been shown to modulate glutamate receptor systems in the brain, via its actions on adenosine receptors, which helps reduce areas of high glutamate activity that can result in seizures. CBD oil helps reduce both frequency and severity of seizures in people with epilepsy.10

Another review in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacolog described how CBD appears to block cancer cells from metastasising (i.e. spreading around the body), as well as supressing cancer cell growth and promoting cancer cell death.11 One clinical study has demonstrated inhibition of colon cancer by a standardised Cannabis sativa extract rich in CBD.12

Other uses of CBD oil include reducing chronic systemic inflammation, which in turn supports areas as diverse as managing pancreatic function in Type 1 diabetes13, reducing bladder contractility as a treatment to prevent incontinence associated with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS)14 and treatment for severe acne vulgaris by lowering production of sebum.15

There’s a plethora of new research continually being published suggesting a highly positive role of CBD oil in many areas of health.

Potent levels of CBD found in reputable CBD oil food supplements can support a variety of different areas including:

  • Chronic inflammation and pain
  • Memory
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Schizophrenia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Appetite and weight management

So if CBD oil is so good for us then why don’t I just take hemp seed oil instead?

You may be familiar with hemp seed oil and therefore beginning to get confused between this and CBD oil. So are they the same thing? The short answer is no! They are different products used in different ways to maximise their health benefits.

Hemp seed oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of the female cannabis hemp plant and typically contains twice the levels of omega 3 found in olive oil with only half of the total calories. However, the seeds of Cannabis sativa L. plants are very low in phytocannabinoids including CBD, as well as THC.

So hemp oil is very useful oil for dietary inclusion, such as a base for tasty salad dressings, to support nutrient levels including essential fatty acids. However, it does not contain any significant levels of CBD and their associated health benefits. For this reason, you might have hemp oil in your kitchen for eating, alongside CBD oil in your food supplement store to support different areas of health. Both can be enjoyed together as part of a healthy diet.

Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two different products used in different ways; hemp seed oil is used in cooking, CBD oil is used in much smaller doses under the tongue for a variety health benefits.

Be sure to read the other Nutrigold blogs on CBD oil to find out more about how to choose a quality raw CBD oil product and how to maximise its benefits through correct dosing; “Are cannabis derived oils legal?”  and  “How to source the best quality and dose CBD oil“. 

Wishing you the best of health


  1. Racz et al (2008) Crucial role of CB2 cannabinoid receptor in the regulation of central immune responses during neuropathic pain. J Neurosci 28(46):12125-35;
  2. Pertwee et al (1999) Pharmacology of cannabinoid receptor ligands. Curr Med Chem 6(8):635-64
  3. Lu, H-C et al (2016) An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system. Biol Psychiatry 79:516-525
  4. Xiong et al (2012) Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting alpha 3 glycine receptors. J Exp Med 209:1121-1134
  5. Cheng et al (2014) Long-term cannabidiol treatment prevents the development of social recognition memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. 42:1383-1396
  6. Huang, W-J et al (2016) Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control. Mol Med Reports 14:2899-2903
  7. Zuardi et al (2012) A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation. Curr Pharm Des 18:5131-5140
  8. Hurd et al (2015) Early phase in the development of cannbidiol as a treatment for addiction: Opioid relapse takes initial centre stage. Neurotherapeutics 12:807-815
  9. Blessing et al (2015) Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics 12:825-836
  10. Devinsky et al (2014) Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia 55:791-802
  11. Massi et al (2013) Cannabidiol as a potential anticancer drug. Br J Clin Pharm 75:303-312
  12. Romano et al (2014) Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardised Cannabis sativa extract rich in content of cannbidiol. Phytomedicine 21:631-639
  13. Christian et al (2016) Experimental cannbidiol treatment reduces early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes. Clin Hemorheology & Microcirculation 64:655-662
  14. Capasso et al (2001) Inhibitory effect of standardised cannabis sativa extract and its ingredient cannbidiols in rat and human bladder contractility. J Urology 77:1066-1009
  15. Olah et al 92014) Cannbidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes. J Clin Invest 124:3713-3724

Written By:
Elisabeth Philipps

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