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CBD oil

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 3 minutes read

CBD oil also known as cannabis oil or cannabidiol oil is formed from extracting cannabidiol from the cannabis or hemp plant and putting this chemical into oil. It has recently become well known with many health companies advertising it and selling it legally as a health supplement. CBD oil comes under the umbrella of medical cannabis and has at times been controversial. All of the CBD oil available to buy is classed as a ‘novel food and so they 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. A very small number of people are able to get CBD oil prescribed by their doctor which is on the NHS. These are only for some cases of severe sickness due to chemotherapy, severe epilepsy or severe muscle problems in a condition called multiple sclerosis and is only used as a last resort if other treatments aren't working or unable to be used. These medications are very different from the CBD oil you can buy over the counter at your local pharmacy.

Potential side effects of taking CBD oil are sleepiness, dizziness and bowel symptoms. It can also affect your liver and may interact with medication 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 evidence’0.1% 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 over variations with the quality or content of CBD oil, and 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 around 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 interaction 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 Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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