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24 Benefits of CBD Oil: 2023 Research Backed

Lindsey Desoto

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

benefits of cbd oil

With the recent approval of Epidiolex[1], a cannabis-derived drug to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, people are growing curious about cannabidiol (CBD).

According to one study, 62%[2] of CBD users take it for a medical condition. What’s more, almost 36%[2] of users report that CBD treats their medical condition “very well” by itself.

However, for every proponent of CBD oil, there seems to be a naysayer saying it is of no benefit.

With all of the conflicting information and skepticism surrounding the topic of CBD, it’s understandable to want to see scientific evidence before using it.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration[3] (FDA) has acknowledged the need to fill current evidence gaps associated with CBD use. In January of 2021, they released a statement promising to build a more robust scientific evidence base to evaluate CBD use’s benefits and side effects. 

What is CBD?

CBD[4] is the second most abundant[5] chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Many people, understandably, mix up medical marijuana and CBD. While medical marijuana contains CBD, most of the CBD oils we use today come from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. 

One of the main differences between marijuana and CBD is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is the primary, active ingredient in marijuana and has psychoactive properties, which produces a “high” when ingested. 

CBD contains little to no traces of THC. Therefore, it does not cause any feelings of euphoria in users. However, you’ll still get many of the same benefits with CBD as you would with THC, such as pain management, improving mood, and alleviating cancer-related symptoms. 

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and diluting it with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is free of cannabinoids, thus, the name “carrier.”

Many of the proposed benefits of CBD are associated with its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system[6] (ECS). The ECS works to ensure the body remains in balance by producing chemicals similar to those found in the cannabis plant called endocannabinoids.

The ECS and its receptors are found everywhere throughout our bodies, including our nervous system, immune system, bloodstream, and brain cells. It may control our mood, appetite, stress levels, pain, inflammation, and more. When we consume CBD, it is thought to be absorbed by our ECS and transported to different receptors within the body to provide certain benefits.

With that being said, researchers are still working to fully understand how CBD works with the body’s ECS.

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Is CBD Legal?

Yes, the 2018 Farm Bill[7] made it legal to sell CBD derived from hemp as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. However, CBD derived from marijuana plants remains illegal on the federal level.

In this article, we’re going to sort through the noise surrounding the benefits of CBD oil. We’ll discuss the 24 proposed benefits of CBD oil and break down the scientific evidence behind each benefit to see if it’s worth the hype. We’ll also discuss what it is and its potential side effects.

In this article, we’re going to sort through the noise surrounding the benefits of CBD oil. We’ll discuss the 24 proposed benefits of CBD oil and break down the scientific evidence behind each benefit to see if it’s worth the hype. We’ll also discuss what it is and its potential side effects.

Physical Treatment Benefits

CBD for Epilepsy

CBD has been extensively studied for its benefit for those with epilepsy. An estimated one-third[8] of individuals with epilepsy continue to struggle with seizures despite proper treatment. 

One review[8] looked at four trials with 550 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. There was at least a 50% reduction in all-types seizure frequency in 37.2% of the patients given 20mg of CBD compared to 21.2% in the placebo-treated group.

Additionally, the FDA approved Epidiolex[9] in June 2018 to treat Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome. These two types of epilepsy are rare and do not respond to traditional anti-seizure medications. 

Epidiolex[9] is also approved for seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex in those one year of age and older. 

According to Epidiolex’s website[10], the recommended dose is 5mg/kg twice daily. The solution comes in a strawberry flavored clear solution with 100 mg/mL of CBD.

CBD for Anxiety and Depression

CBD is often touted for its ability to relieve anxiety and depression. Thus far, studies appear promising.

According to one review[11] from 2020 of six small randomized control trials, one case study, and one case series, CBD effectively relieved anxiety in otherwise healthy individuals with various anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders included in the review were generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and anxiety related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Researchers administered CBD via capsule or sublingual spray in doses ranging from 6mg to 300 mg. Overall, the review concluded CBD to be a promising alternative treatment for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. However, the review suggests we need more studies to standardize treatment methods and dosing to evaluate effectiveness further.

Another study[12] looked at the effectiveness of repeated CBD treatment on thirty-seven 18 and 19-year-old Japanese teenagers with social anxiety disorder.

Participants were either given 300 mg of CBD or a placebo daily over four weeks. Study results found that those who consumed CBD had significantly reduced anxiety compared to the placebo group. 

2.1. CBD for Reducing Fear Reaction

Several studies highlight CBD as an effective way to reduce fear.

One report[13] published in 2017 by the British Pharmacological Society confirmed that CBD may reduce learned fear by disrupting fear reconsolidation and improving fear reduction.

2.2. CBD for Stress Reduction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse[14] statement, CBD has shown effectiveness in reducing stress in animal studies. 

Additionally, in one small study[14], CBD reduced anxiety associated with a stressful public speaking task.

Overall it appears CBD’s stress-relieving properties are directly associated with the ability to combat anxiety.

2.3. CBD for Sleep Insomnia

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence in addition to scientific research to suggest CBD may promote healthy sleep patterns.

One large case series[15] observed the effects of CBD in 72 adults with anxiety and sleep disorders. Sleep scores improved in 48 of the patients within the first month of CBD use. However, the results fluctuated over time. Of note, CBD was overall well tolerated. Three patients reported a mild sedative effect produced by the CBD.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent

An estimated three out of five[16] individuals worldwide die from diseases associated with inflammation. Diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and respiratory diseases related to chronic inflammation[16] are among the most deadly in the world. 

A newer study[17] from 2020 suggests CBD effectively fights inflammation by binding to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, suppressing inflammation. 

According to another study[18] published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, CBD significantly reduced inflammation in rodents. Of note, rodents did not develop tolerance to CBD with continued use.

Another review[19] from 2009 highlights the effectiveness of cannabinoids for controlling type 2 diabetes due to their anti-inflammatory profile. 

CBD for Improvement of Cancer-Related Symptoms

Some studies suggest that CBD might alleviate nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite associated with cancer and chemotherapy. 

Research suggests these drugs may improve the quality of life and taste of food in cancer patients. In fact, two drugs[20] made from synthetic forms of THC, Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone), are approved by the FDA in the United States to alleviate cancer-related symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, neither of these drugs contains CBD.

However, oromucosal sprays[21] containing CBD such as Sativex may alleviate cancer-associated pain difficult to control by potent opioids.

A small human study[22] from 2016 suggests that Sativex relieved chemo-induced nausea and vomiting. The study suggests CBD may be an excellent way to reduce nausea-induced chemo, but more clinical trials are needed.

Another review[23] suggests that CBD may play a role in the palliative care of cancer patients by reducing insomnia, depression, and pain.

An animal study[24] from 2011 found that CBD may improve nausea in cancer patients by interacting with serotonin levels. 

Excess serotonin throughout the body can cause nausea and vomiting. Serotonin blockers[25] such as Ondansetron are commonly used to alleviate nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

Fortunately, there are ongoing studies to investigate the potential benefits of cannabis-based oils in cancer patients. Researchers[26] are currently recruiting for a study to determine an optimal THC and CBD combination to ease cancer patients’ anxiety, insomnia, pain, and nausea. 

4.1. CBD for Tumor Reduction

In addition to alleviating unpleasant symptoms associated with cancer, CBD may also slow tumor growth and destroy cancer cells. 

A review[27] from 2020 highlighted the ability of CBD to inhibit malignant cell growth in various types of cancer, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.

In another study[28], researchers took a look at two patients with high-grade gliomas receiving 50 grams of CBD containing less than 0.3% THC via oral capsule. They also were receiving chemoradiation along with multiple medications. Both patients had positive responses to the treatment combo, which suggests CBD may improve chemoradiation response.

Additionally, one case study[29] from 2019 highlighted an older man who refused traditional treatment for his lung cancer. After nearly one month of self-administration of 2% CBD oil, a CT scan showed near-total resolution of his tumor. It also revealed a significant reduction in the size and number of mediastinal lymph nodes. 

CBD for Pain Relief

In 2019, over 49,000[30] people died from opioid-involved overdoses. The growing number of opioid-related deaths has led physicians to be more hesitant to prescribe opioids to treat pain.  This leaves many people who suffer from chronic pain searching for natural, non-addictive ways to manage pain.

Chronic pain is widespread yet very challenging to treat. It is estimated to affect nearly 50 million[31] adults in the United States.  Furthermore, 19.6 million[31] adults experience chronic pain that interferes with working and living a normal lifestyle.  

CBD is believed to relieve pain by interacting with the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Essentially, these receptors are tiny proteins that are attached to cells throughout the body. They receive signals from different types of stimuli to help cells respond. When the receptors in the ECS are activated, it may alleviate pain and fight inflammation. 

One review[32] from 2018 looked at the ability of CBD products like: CBD oil, CBD Gummies, CBD cream… to relieve chronic pain. The studies included various types of chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and cancer-related pain. 

Researchers concluded CBD to be effective at relieving pain. There were no adverse side effects observed in the review of studies.

CBD for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis[33] (MS) is a progressive, disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. This is because, in patients with MS, the immune system attacks the central nervous system. 

While there is no cure for MS, treatment heavily lies around symptom control. One of the most common symptoms of MS is muscle spasm-induced pain.

Although research surrounding direct CBD use with symptom relief remains limited, there is solid evidence to support using an oromucosal spray called Sativex[34] to treat symptoms associated with MS. 

Sativex is approved in many other countries but is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States at this time. However, clinical trials are in progress to seek initial approval.

Sativex[35] is a cannabis-based, anti-spasticity medication containing equal parts THC and CBD. 

According to a literature review from 2014, Sativex[36] may effectively treat spasticity symptoms, pain, and urinary frequency related to MS.

One study[37] from 2018 showed that Sativex improved driving abilities due to reduced spasticity symptoms in MS patients.

Additionally, another study[38] from 2018 suggests that CBD may alleviate symptoms such as fatigue, pain, spasticity, and mobility associated with MS. It also mentions that, when combined with THC, CBD may counteract unwanted psychotropic effects and anxiety while enhancing its therapeutic properties.

Lastly, the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)[39] suggests modest benefits of cannabinoids for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms. 

CBD for Nerve Pain Relief 

An estimated 7%[40] of the population suffers from neuropathic pain (NP) caused by nerve damage.

Most research associated with CBD’s impact on relieving nerve pain centers around combinations of THC and CBD rather than CBD alone.

Many believe that CBD helps slow pain signals from the nerves to the brain. This is because CBD indirectly stimulates CB1 and CB2 receptors. When these receptors become stimulated, the signals sent from the nerves decrease, resulting in pain relief.

These receptors can also reduce inflammation[41] in the body. Nerve pain is often related to autoimmune disorders and inflammation, so lowering the body’s inflammatory response may also relieve nerve pain.

Additionally, the European Journal of Experimental Medicine[18] highlights that CBD may reduce inflammation and neuropathic pain by targeting the body’s a3 glycine receptors. 

In one review[42] from 2017, researchers looked at 11 randomized control trials with around 1,200 patients. They concluded CBD to be a cannabinoid that improved quality of life and provided a small analgesic benefit to those with NP.

However, the review highlights the need for more extensive, well-designed studies to better evaluate the benefits of CBD for NP.

CBD for Addiction

The report mentioned earlier by the British Pharmacological Society also highlights the ability of CBD to possibly treat substance abuse disorders. 

Another study[43] found that 400 µg/dose of inhaled, pure CBD over one week decreased cigarette consumption in smokers. The group consisted of otherwise healthy individuals who were ready to quit smoking.

Additionally, after overnight cigarette abstinence, single doses of 800mg of CBD were effective at reducing the urge for a cigarette. The study concluded that CBD might have a potential effect on motivational aspects of addiction.

One study[44] by the American Journal of Psychiatry found that CBD may also help reduce cue-induced cravings and anxiety in drug abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder. In this study, the only adverse events reported were mild diarrhea, headache, and fatigue. CBD also reduces heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol caused by drug cues.

CBD for Healthy Skin

The use of plant-based treatments to heal skin issues has been around for centuries. Studies find CBD to be no exception. Research shows CBD oils and topicals may be beneficial to treat various skin conditions.

The skin[45] has cannabinoid receptors that regulate oil production in the sebaceous glands. This is one of the main reasons companies have begun to develop CBD-based topical products. 

9.1. CBD for Dry, Itchy Skin

Researchers[46] believe CBD can treat skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. 

A 2019 study[47] suggests that CBD may be effective at treating dry, itchy skin. Topical creams containing CBD can also provide moisture to heal cracked and broken skin.

9.2. CBD for Protecting and Healing the Skin

CBD has powerful antioxidant[48] properties that may repair damage and reduce wrinkles caused by free radicals. The anti-inflammatory[49] and antioxidant properties of CBD may protect skin from harmful damage, promoting healthy skin aging.

It may also be effective at relieving muscle[50] and joint pain when applied directly to the skin. 

9.3. CBD for Reducing Acne

One study[48] highlights that CBD is more effective at treating acne than vitamin C and vitamin E alone. 

Another study[51] found that CBD is likely effective at treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties that decrease oil production. Reducing inflammation of sebocytes that produce oil in the skin may directly target the acne source.

A review[52] from 2016 highlights the possible antifungal and antibacterial properties of the cannabis plant. When applied topically, this may reduce infections associated with acne formation.

CBD for Arthritis

Arthritis[53] affects nearly 58.5 million adults in the United States. Two of the most prevalent types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

According to the Arthritis Foundation[54], CBD users with arthritis often report noticeable pain relief. However, the foundation recognizes the potential positive impact of CBD use. They also acknowledge[55] that there have not been any rigorous trials to verify its effectiveness in treating arthritis. They publicly urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the study and regulation of CBD products.

An animal study[56] from 2017 highlighted that local administration of CBD might block pain associated with osteoarthritis. In addition, preventative CBD treatment reduced nerve damage and the development of pain in osteoarthritic joints.

CBD for Lupus

Lupus[57] is an autoimmune disorder. The most common form of lupus is called systemic lupus erythematosus[58] (SLE).  It occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues and internal organs. This leads to chronic inflammation and tissue damage that can negatively impact many systems in the body.

Current treatment methods for lupus typically target reducing inflammation to alleviate pain.

Research suggests that CBD may alleviate both pain and inflammation, which are two of the most unwanted symptoms associated with lupus.

There is abundant anecdotal evidence from individuals with lupus who claim CBD effectively alleviates symptoms, but we still need additional scientific proof.

According to a study[59] published in 2018 by Cellular Immunology, CBD protected against pathological T-cell invasion after a spinal cord injury. T-cells[60] are part of the immune system and can help the body fight infection. It is thought that abnormal T-cell activity may be involved in lupus as well.


In addition to reducing fear commonly associated with PTSD, CBD may reduce other symptoms related to the disease. 

According to a retrospective case series published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine[61], CBD proved effective at relieving symptoms and improving nightmares in patients with PTSD. Of note, CBD was combined with traditional treatments such as medications and dietary changes.

Overall, no patients dropped out of the study due to adverse side effects, and they tolerated CBD well.

CBD for Brain Health

When our brain is healthy, we can perform at our peak. A healthy brain is essential for living a long, healthy life.

According to a new systematic review[62] from 2021, 17 studies with 115 subjects were reviewed to measure the effectiveness of CBD on brain function. The review concluded that neuroimaging studies have shown that acute ingestion of CBD improves performance in healthy volunteers and those with an underlying psychiatric disorder. 

The studies[62] found that CBD modulated brain activity, emotional processing, visual processing, and verbal memory compared to the placebo and THC.

13.1. CBD for Neuroprotection

CBD may have neuroprotective properties that can reduce damage to the brain. According to one review[63] from 2018, CBD might protect the brain by directly affecting the endocannabinoid system and influencing cannabinoids within the body. It also preserves cerebral circulation during ischemic events. 

The review[63] also showed that CBD might help with Parkinson’s disease by bonding with ECS receptors and stimulating dopamine production. Dopamine is involved with maintaining attention and focus and enabling the brain to control movement alleviating spasticity.

CBD also increases brain adenosine levels[64]. Adenosine is related to reduced inflammation and neuroprotection.

Additionally, CBD may have neuroprotective[64] effects on individuals with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage. This is because it activates adenosine receptors in the body.

The studies[64] also found that CBD may lessen the severity of brain damage by reducing neuroinflammation.

CBD for Alzheimer’s

We’ve already mentioned the neuroprotective benefits that CBD offers, but studies also show direct benefits associated with CBD administration on patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to one recent animal study[65] from 2021, a two-week course of high-dose CBD improved cognition and reduced inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

The study also suggests that CBD may reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Beta-amyloid typically appears in the brain 15-20 years before the onset of the disease, so CBD use could potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. 

Additionally, there is a currently ongoing study[66] to evaluate the effectiveness of THC-free CBD oil in improving agitation among patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

CBD As An Antioxidant

Antioxidants[67] are chemicals that neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to our bodies.  You can be exposed to free radicals from cigarette smoke, harmful household cleaning products, air pollution, and UV rays. 

Research[68] shows that CBD is comparable to other common antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.

Similar to many other plant compounds, CBD works as an antioxidant[69] to reduce oxidative stress. Researchers[70] have linked oxidative stress with many age-related diseases throughout the years, including cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.

One animal study[71] published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology further suggests the potential for CBD to work as an antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress and prevent heart damage in diabetic mice.

CBD as an Antipsychotic

High levels of dopamine can cause psychotic symptoms. Antipsychotic medications[72] are thought to work primarily by inhibiting dopamine receptors. However, they are known to cause unpleasant side effects and can be ineffective in some individuals.

Initial clinical trials[73] show that CBD may have antipsychotic effects on patients with psychosis. Neuroimaging research suggests that CBD may benefit patients with psychosis by modulating the brain function in certain regions that are altered in patients with psychosis.  Additionally, the only adverse effects reported were mild GI symptoms and fatigue.

According to one systematic review published[74] in 2020, single-dose CBD had a short-term, medium effect on patients with schizophrenia. However, the review noted no impact on short-term cognitive effects in those with psychotic disorders. 

CBD for Mood Improvement

Many CBD users report improvement in mood and mood-related disorders. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter primarily related to mood. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression. 

According to a study[75] from 2018, CBD may act on multiple brain pathways affecting mood-regulating chemicals such as serotonin. CBD activated serotonin receptors leading to improved mood.

CBD for Heart Health

Heart disease is a growing health problem worldwide. It is one of the leading causes of death[76] in the US. High blood pressure, elevated total cholesterol, and smoking are all key risk factors for heart disease.

While nothing is as important as diet and lifestyle changes to benefit heart health, research shows CBD plays a role in supporting a healthy heart.

As we mentioned earlier, CBD may reduce blood pressure. This is one of the key risk factors for heart disease.

In addition, one animal study[77] showed treatment with CBD reduced oxidative stress and inflammation and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with cardiomyopathy.

18.1. CBD for Cholesterol Levels

CBD may also promote heart health by improving cholesterol levels. 

One study[78] published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements studied 65 overweight but otherwise healthy women and men. They were given CBD-containing hemp extract or a placebo every day for six weeks. The results showed that those given hemp extract had significantly improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels compared to the placebo. There were no changes in total cholesterol or LDL levels throughout the study.

HDL[79] is known as the “good cholesterol” because it can help remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. This is because it picks up extra cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver, where it’s broken down and excreted from your body. Having high levels of HDL can reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and reduce the risk for cardiovascular events.

It’s also important to note that, during the study, liver and renal function, in addition to fasting blood lipids and whole blood cell count, and whole blood counts, remained normal with no statistical differences between the two groups.

18.2. CBD to Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease[80] is an umbrella term for several different conditions that are commonly caused by atherosclerosis[81]. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds upon the walls of arteries in the body.

As the plaque builds up, it can prevent blood flow and cause a total blockage leading to a heart attack or a stroke. 

Coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and arrhythmia are all considered to be cardiovascular diseases.

Research suggests CBD may be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. In the heart[82], in vivo treatment with CBD has shown to protect against ischemia (lack of blood flow) and cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes.

Another study[83] from 2015 suggests that CBD may prevent strokes by reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome and delaying atherosclerosis. 

CBD as an Immunomodulator 

A systematic review[84] from 2021 classifies CBD as an anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive compound with excellent immunomodulatory properties.

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may enhance the immune system by reducing inflammation, resulting in a strengthened immune system.

CBD for Improved Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to a heart attack or a stroke[85] if left untreated.

In a study[86] from 2015, researchers gave nine healthy male volunteers a single dose of 600 mg of CBD. The study found that acute CBD administration led to reductions in resting blood pressure and blood pressure in those under stress. 

Additionally, a study[87] on rats and humans from 2020 suggests that CBD may help lower blood pressure by acting as a vasodilator agent and improving blood flow.

Researchers suggest the potential benefit of CBD on cardiovascular function and improving blood pressure in both studies, but note that more studies should be complete.

CBD for Diabetes

One study[88] showed that CBD might reduce the incidence of diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice. The study found that CBD significantly reduces the incidence from 86% in mice not treated with CBD to 30% in mice treated with CBD.

The study also showed CBD to reduce plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

CBD may also reduce inflammation and alter glucose metabolism[89]. Both are key factors in the development of diabetes and insulin resistance.

Another study[90] found, when combined with THC, CBD may lower glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

However, it’s important to note that the American Diabetes Association[91] emphasizes CBD should not be used as an alternative to traditional diabetes medication. 

CBD for Obesity

CBD may support weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity due to its effect on the mind and body. 

CBD and other cannabinoids may activate serotonin and other endocannabinoids, which many believe can reduce obesity.

Many of us know by now that THC can stimulate hunger and appetite, but there is no solid evidence to say CBD does the same. 

In fact, CBD may actually suppress our appetite. According to an older study[92] in rats, CBD led to an overall decrease in food intake in rats. 

In a two-week study[93] from 2011, rats were injected with CBD for two weeks. Researchers gave some rats 1.1 mg of CBD and others 2.3 mg of CBD per pound of body weight. Both doses led to overall body weight reductions in the rats. However, the higher dose resulted in more bodyweight loss. 

One test-tube study[94] also showed that CBD might turn white fat into brown fat. 

This is important because brown fat[95] is responsible for generating heat. When our bodies produce more heat, we also burn extra calories. Healthy, normal-weight people usually have more brown fat than white fat.

CBD to Support Digestion

As CBD use continues to rise, many holistic care practitioners recommend CBD to promote a healthy gut. 

Since our gut houses endocannabinoid receptors[96], many believe CBD can support a healthy gut. 

Though research to link CBD and gut health remains limited, pre-clinical trials[97] suggest it may support a healthy GI tract and prevent diseases.

An older animal study[98] suggests CBD may treat inflammatory bowel diseases by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.

A newer study[99] suggests that in lower doses, CBD may have a probiotic effect. However, in larger doses, it can cause leaky gut syndrome and damage the gut. The study reiterates the need for clinical trials to determine a safe, effective amount for individuals.

CBD to Protect Against Bone Disease & Broken Bones

Bone diseases are prevalent among the elderly population. As we age, we begin to lose flexibility and strength, negatively impacting our quality of life.

Although human research on CBD and bone disease remains limited, animal studies suggest that it may strengthen bones.

According to one study[100] published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral research, CBD improved fracture healing in rats by stimulating activity in osteoblasts, which work to build bones. The study highlighted the need for additional clinical trials to validate its effectiveness.

Side Effects of CBD

CBD is generally considered safe for users. However, users may experience mild side effects[101] such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight

CBD may also interact with certain prescription medications, dietary supplements, and over-the-counter drugs. 

More commonly, it is known to interact with medications that contain a grapefruit warning. Nevertheless, it is essential to speak with your physician to discuss potential side effects before using CBD products.


Since CBD is now legal in every state in the United States, many people are interested in using CBD products. The FDA has recognized the potential for CBD to help treat numerous ailments and has ramped up studies to fill in current gaps in scientific evidence.

Although we need extensive studies to verify its effectiveness and side effects, research appears very promising. CBD seems to be a natural complement to the traditional treatment of a wide variety of health conditions. However, if you’re considering using CBD, it’s essential to speak with your healthcare provider to discuss potential risks and benefits before use.

+ 101 sources

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Lindsey Desoto

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live their healthiest life by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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