Dr. Sarah Brewer November 12, 2018

CBD oil is one of the fastest growing well-being supplements in both the US and the UK. It’s after extensive research on this ingredient that we’ve become more in tune with its potential impact on health and wellbeing.  We’ve turned to Healthspan Medical Director Dr Sarah Brewer for information on the benefits of CBD oil:

1. Pain relief

One of the biggest motivators for taking CBD oil is for help with muscle and joint pain – problems that, if left untreated, can greatly affect your quality of life. Although there are plenty of other remedies for joint pain, people often assume they can’t continue with hobbies that benefit their mental and physical health – like walking or running. Exercise is actually beneficial for maintaining joint flexibility, building muscle strength and supporting the oiling and regeneration of joint cartilage. Unfortunately – getting going when you’re struggling against joint pain can leave you unmotivated.

CBD hemp extracts are antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory effects on joints, to help improve pain and stiffness. They also have pain-relieving effects due to their interaction with certain parts of the brain. You can take CBD oil capsules in addition to other joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric or omega-3 for additional pain relief.1

CBD and chronic back pain

Low back pain is one of the most common rheumatological problems in the UK, affecting almost one in two adults (45%) every year. Most episodes of acute low back pain improve within six weeks but for one in 14 cases, pain continues long-term to become chronic back pain.2 Cannabis extracts have been used to treat pain for thousands of years and, although clinical trials have not yet been carried out, many people find cannabidiol CBD oil helps to improve chronic back pain. Certainly, cannabidiol helps to reduce inflammation and damp down pain perception 3, 4.

CBD and inflammation

Many health problems are associated with inflammation – not necessarily the red, hot, angry inflammation of a swollen joint, but also the low-key inflammation that triggers hardening of the arteries. There is growing evidence that the body’s own endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating these inflammatory responses and that CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a way that suppresses inflammation.5 CBD is currently under investigation as a promising anti-inflammatory treatment for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer disease, hypertension and neuropathic pain associated with nerve damage.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is an increasing problem in modern life. Whether it’s associated with an addiction to social media that encourages young people to compare themselves to others on a daily basis, or down to the pressures of modern life such as finding the perfect work/life balance, there’s no escaping the 8.2 million cases of anxiety that were reported in 2013 (and that statistic has likely risen by now).

Cannabidiol helps to reduce muscle tension, restlessness and fatigue. In a study involving people with social anxiety, taking CBD supplements before a public speaking engagement reduced anxiety, muddled thoughts, social discomfort and anticipatory anxiety significantly more than placebo.6 CBD may also help with the anxiety that can occur when stopping smoking.

3. Panic attacks

Cannabidiol is being investigated as a promising treatment for panic attacks7, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The latter of which is a result of a stressful event that is outside the realms of normal human experience.

4. Better sleep

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular treatment for insomnia and promotes refreshing REM sleep to reduced excessive daytime sleepiness. CBD is particularly helpful for sleep disorders in people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease,8 says Dr Sarah.

REM sleep means ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ and is essentially a term for ‘deep sleep’ - when you dream you experience REM sleep and this is the kind of sleep you hope to get into nightly! Only recently has it become clear that our circadian rhythms – internal body clocks that control the times of day you feel sleepy or wakeful - have a huge impact on the entirety of our health, as opposed to just the low energy levels you might experience after a bad night’s sleep.

5. Mood

Dr Sarah says, ‘CBD oil helps to lift mood and promotes general feelings of well-being, which often suffer in a world of hectic social and work schedules.

We were talking about a rise in anxiety and stress has seen a rise in recent years, too. The Mental Health Foundation says, ‘Research shows around 12 million adults in the UK see their GP with mental health problems each year. Most of these suffer from anxiety and depression and much of this is stress-related. 13.3 million working days are lost per year due to stress’.

While CBD oil is by no means a cure for any form of stress, anxiety or depression, it can assist with symptoms and provide support to improve mood and wellbeing, says Dr Sarah.

6. Conditions

CBD and MS

Medical marijuana, in the form of a Cannabis extract that contains both CBD and the psychoactive component, THC, is available as a prescription-only treatment when muscle stiffness and spasm in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) has not responded to other treatments. The CBD is included to help reduce side effects associated with THC but may offer benefits in its own right. Preclinical laboratory studies suggest that CBD may help to slow the type of nerve damage associated with MS, but this has not yet been tested in clinical trials.9

CBD and psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition in which skin cells are produced more quickly than usual, and build up to form red, scaly patches. Cannabinoid receptors are present in human skin and researchers have found that all cannabinoids tested, including CBD (cannabidiol) inhibited the overproliferation of skin cells (keratinocytes) and may help to support the treatment of psoriasis.10

CBD and fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition associated with widespread pain, fatigue, memory problems and sleep disturbances. While the exact cause is not fully understood, reduced activity of the body’s own endocannabinoid system may be involved.11 Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a positive way to reduce pain perception, promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, which makes it a popular self-treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms.

CBD and essential tremors

Essential tremor or tremors is a movement disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking in certain parts of the body such as the hands, arms or head. The cause is unknown but genetic factors may be involved as some forms of essential tremor can run in families. Preclinical studies suggest that cannabidiol can reduce essential tremor by interacting with brain receptors (5HT1a and TRPV1) but this has not yet been tested in clinical trials.12 Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people with essential tremor find it helpful.

CBD and underactive thyroid

Cannabinoid receptors appear to play a role in regulating the release of many hormones.13 These receptors are present in both the thyroid gland and in the pituitary gland and may be involved in the regulation of thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroid activity. Research is in early stages, however, and while CBD may help to improve thyroid function, this is not yet clear.

NB If you have any medical condition or are taking any prescribed medicines, always check with your doctor or a pharmacist for interactions before taking CBD.

1 Miller RJ, Miller RE (September 2017) Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain? NCBI;
2 Speed, C (May 2004) Low back pain, NCBI;
3 Burstein, S (April 2015) Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation, NCBI;
4 Booz, G (September 2011) Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress, NCBI;
5 Booz, G (September 2011) Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress, NCBI;
6 Bergamaschi, MM; Queiroz, RH; Chagas, MH; de Oliveira, DC; De Martinis, BS; Kapczinski, F; Quevedo, J; Roesler, R; Schröder, N; Nardi, AE; Martín-Santos, R; Hallak, JE; Zuardi, AW; Crippa, JA (May 2011) Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients, NCBI;
7 Soares, VP; Campos, AC (May 2017) Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol, NCBI;
8 Chagas, MH; Eckeli, AL; Zuardi, AW; Pena-Pereira, MA; Sobreira-Neto, MA; Sobreira, ET; Camilo, MR; Bergamaschi, MM; Schenck, CH; Hallak, JE; Tumas, V; Crippa, JA (October 2014) Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson's disease patients: a case series, NCBI;
9 Giacoppo S, Soundara Rajan T, Galuppo M, Pollastro F, Grassi G, Bramanti P, Mazzon E (December 2015) Purified Cannabidiol, the main non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa, alone, counteracts neuronal apoptosis in experimental multiple sclerosis, NCBI;
10 Wilkinson JD, Williamson EM (February 2007) Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis, NCBI;
11 Russo, E (July 2016) Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes, NCBI.
12 Handforth, A (unknown) Cannabidiol Anti-Tremor Action & Mechanisms – Conclusion, International essential Tremor Foundation.
13 Murphy LL, Muñoz RM, Adrian BA, Villanúa MA (December 1998) Function of cannabinoid receptors in the neuroendocrine regulation of hormone secretion, NCBI.


Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.



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