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CBD oil

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

CBD oil, also known as cannabis oil or cannabidiol oil, is formed by extracting cannabidiol from the cannabis or hemp plant and putting this chemical into the oil. It has recently become well known, with many health companies advertising it and selling it legally as a health supplement; however, the legality of cannabis-based vs. hemp-based CBD oil varies at both the federal and state level, making it very confusing for purchasers. Non-prescription CBD oil available to buy is not FDA-approved, and so these products undergo lower levels of scrutiny than medications. Because of this, there remain questions over the quality of these "health supplements" with potential variations in quality.

There is not a huge amount of research on CBD but it has been shown that in some people it can help in the treatment of severe epilepsy that doesn’t respond to standard treatments. It is also thought to have some anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce anxiety and chronic pain. CBD oil has also been studied for severe sickness due to chemotherapy and severe muscle problems in a condition called multiple sclerosis. Some of these studies included a combination of both CBD and THC.

Potential side effects of taking CBD oil are sleepiness, dizziness, and bowel symptoms. It can also affect your liver and may interact with medications, including painkillers and anti-epileptic medication.

What about THC?

Over-the-counter CBD oil products claim to contain virtually no THC (the part of cannabis that causes the hallucinogenic effect). They have to have evidence of less than 0.3% THC content to pass the thresholds, although sometimes higher levels have been uncovered. As mentioned earlier, due to the lower levels of scrutiny over products that aren’t classed as medicines, there is a risk that there may be small amounts of THC in these products.

When should I see my doctor?

It is important (as with any over-the-counter treatment) to consider that they can interact with your regular medications and also have side effects. There are questions about variations in the quality or content of CBD oil, so it would be sensible to discuss with your doctor before you take them. There may be alternative options to consider, and you may have individual risk factors for taking CBD oil. Your doctor will not judge you and will just want to make sure you know all the options available and any information about CBD oil so that you can make an informed decision.

What will the doctor do?

Your doctor will discuss with you your reasons for wanting to take CBD oil, your current symptoms, past medical history, what treatments you have already tried, any other options available, and any potential risks or interactions with taking CBD oil.


Due to the potential of there being traces of THC in CBD oil, we would advise caution with regards to work, and to definitely avoid high-risk activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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