CBD oil • Effect, side effects & application


CBD oil with the active ingredient cannabidiol from the hemp plant is said to relax and relieve pain. What effect do CBD oils have, can consumption cause dangerous side effects, and what complaints can products with CBD be helpful for?

CBD oil is controversial – the quality of the ingredients is not guaranteed for some products.
© iStock.com/Tinnakorn Jorruang

In addition to the use of cannabis as a drug, active substances from the hemp plant are also used in medicines and nutritional supplements, including CBD oil. However, the use and quality of the products are controversial. What is it about the hyped oils with the active ingredient cannabidiol, can it be intoxicating and what are the differences to medical CBD oil, which is only available on prescription?

Overview of article content

Medical cannabis: areas of application

Medical cannabis: areas of application

What is CBD oil?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid from the female hemp plant cannabis (Cannabis Sativa L), which is mainly present in the plant as an acid. Hemp plants consist of over 100 different phytocannabinoids, the best known of which are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD.

THC is a psychoactive, intoxicating agent. CBD, on the other hand, does not have a high effect. But cannabidiol also crosses the blood-brain barrier, docks on the same receptors as THC, and can influence perception and behavior.

Cannabidiol-containing oil is obtained from the flowers and leaves of low-THC and CBD-rich hemp plants. The basis for dietary supplements with CBD is usually an edible oil (for example sesame oil or oil from hemp seeds – which by the way does not contain cannabidiol). For example, products with CBD oil have a concentration of cannabidiol of 2.5 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent. By the way, every CBD oil also contains a certain amount of THC, but this must not exceed a limit of 0.2 percent.

The legal situation for over-the-counter products with CBD oil is unclear in Germany. Cannabinoids were added to the EU's Novel Food catalog in 2019. The catalog lists foods that were not used for human consumption in the EU before May 15, 1997. Products with cannabidiol are therefore officially considered to be novel foods, the consumption of which must first be assessed in terms of health effects in order to be marketable.

In the case of cannabinoids, the entry was added with the addition that products with the active ingredient CBD are always considered novel foods if cannabinoids have been specially enriched or their concentration in the product has been reduced, i.e. when working with isolated extracts.

As a result of the declaration as a new type of food, CBD products disappeared from the shelves of drugstores and the police confiscated numerous products in over-the-counter sales outlets such as hemp shops. In 2019, the administrative ban on the sale of food supplements with CBD was also pronounced in two urgent proceedings.

According to the provisions of the Novel Food Regulation, the sale of cannabis extracts with cannabinoids is a criminal offense. Manufacturers of CBD products have to have the safety for human consumption tested in theory. Due to the immense costs of such a procedure and the legal gray area, CBD oils are mainly traded on the Internet – sometimes without precise information about the product.

CBD oil as a medicine and nutritional supplement

CBD oil is not the same as CBD oil. An important distinction is to be made between CBD oil as a medication that is only available on prescription and over-the-counter CBD oil as a dietary supplement.

CBD oil as a drug

The differences start with the manufacture. The original plant is the same in both cases, but its cultivation for CBD oil as a drug is subject to strictly controlled conditions. These guarantee control over the quality and concentrations of the ingredients. The daily doses of medicinal CBD oil also differ by more than 100 times from those of an over-the-counter CBD oil.

The most important thing about the medical use of cannabis can be found in this article.

Buy over-the-counter CBD oil

There are numerous manufacturers to buy CBD oil as a dietary supplement online, in organic shops and hand shops and in the pharmacy for people aged 18 and over. In the case of over-the-counter CBD oils, the quality of the products, the ingredients and their concentrations fluctuate because the products as food supplements are not as closely controlled as medicines. Information about the exact composition of the cannabinoid profile and recommendations for consumption are often missing. If the ingredients and their concentrations are specified, they often do not match those in the product.

Even without control, it is not definitely excluded that undesirable substances, such as pesticides, are in it. There are independent seals of approval that guarantee the quality of an oil. However, manufacturers are not obliged to have such a quality control carried out and bear the high costs themselves.

Areas of application of CBD oil

Studies provide first indications that cannabidiol, especially in the case of high-dose medicinal CBD oil, can have a positive effect on numerous complaints that can arise from various diseases, including:

Effect of CBD oil

Overall, the effects of cannabidiol and its long-term health effects have not been well researched. The basis for the action of cannabidiol in the human body lies in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is jointly responsible for the normal functioning of many body functions and regulates the effect of the body's own messenger substances. It produces endocannabinoids in almost all body tissues, which dock with various cannabinoid receptors and regulate important metabolic processes.

For example, when endocannabinoids activate cannabinoid-1 receptors, signal transmissions in the brain are balanced. Among other things, it protects against overexcitation in the central nervous system.

And cannabinoid-2 receptors have important functions for the immune system.

Due to the similar structures, cannabinoids from the hemp plant can bind to these receptors and have an suppressive or activating effect on signal transmission. Initial study results indicate that cannabidiol

  • anticonvulsant,
  • anti-inflammatory and
  • relieves pain.

Various studies also looked at the effects of cannabidiol when taking THC. The results show that cannabidiol in low doses can suppress the intoxicating effects of THC and, on the other hand, can increase it in very high doses.

How fast and long does CBD oil work?

If taken orally, an onset of action is expected after about twenty minutes to two hours. Body weight and the food that is fed in at the same time also play a role. It can take up to five days for the body to completely break down CBD.

Side effects of CBD oil

As a rule, both CBD oil in the form of a dietary supplement and CBD oil as a medication are well tolerated.

The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration), however, warned this year that cannabidiol would have the potential to harm – even before users notice it themselves. The subject of the investigations was the drug Epidiolex, which is also approved in Europe and is used in severe, therapy-resistant forms of epilepsy. The authority warns of the following risks with high doses:

  • liver damage

  • Increased risk of sedation while taking alcohol and other drugs that affect the central nervous system

  • Influencing the metabolism of other drugs with serious side effects

  • diarrhea

  • Decrease in appetite

  • Restlessness and irritability

  • drowsiness

Taking CBD oil: application and dosage

CBD oil should always be taken according to the dosage instructions, which vary depending on the product. The active ingredient is best absorbed through the oral mucosa. The drops can be placed directly under the tongue and should be kept there for about a minute or two before swallowing again.

In addition to CBD oil in the form of drops, there are also CBD capsules to swallow. For many users, the advantage of CBD capsules lies in the dosage form. One disadvantage, however, is that cannabidiol can be absorbed better and faster by the oral mucosa than by the stomach. A full stomach also delays absorption.

Daily doses stated on CBD oils and other hemp products with cannabidiol should under no circumstances be exceeded without medical clarification, since interactions with other substances are possible and everyone reacts differently to the active substances THC and cannabidiol.

Experts advise that you only buy CBD oils that are certified. Even if they are usually more expensive. In any case, consumers should refrain from CBD oils that do not contain any ingredients and dosage recommendations.

20 facts about cannabis: would you have known it?

20 facts about cannabis: would you have known it?