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  • by Nicola Boulton September 27, 2022 5 min read

    Effects and Side-effects of CBD - How Does It Work?

    CBD has been used from time immemorial for medicinal and recreational purposes. Read this article to know more about CBD, the effects of CBD, and the side effects of CBD.

    The popularity of CBD has increased since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. Therefore, hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act, where it was listed among drugs such as heroin and LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide). Before, there was a stigma surrounding hemp because some people believed that hemp and marijuana have similar intoxicating effects. The consequence of the US legislation on the use of hemp and CBD as a derivative of hemp has had a global impact on other jurisdictions beyond the US. Therefore, other states have relaxed laws against hemp and its products. Read on to know the effects and side effects of CBD and how it works;

    What is CBD?

    Within marijuana and hemp plants, there exist hundreds of chemical components. The most famous cannabinoids are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana and hemp are not the same, even though they belong to the cannabis family. The difference between hemp and marijuana is based on the THC they contain. THC is the substance that is responsible for making the user feel euphoric. Most laws suggest that hemp is cannabis with 0.3% THC or less. However, marijuana contains higher amounts of THC, up to 90%. It is important to note that marijuana-derived CBD may be illegal in the same jurisdiction where hemp-derived CBD is legal. Some states, however, only insist on the amount of THC. Therefore, if CBD has less than 0.3% THC, it is legal even if it may be derived from marijuana.

    The Effects of CBD

    The mechanism of how CBD benefits the user has not been concluded. However, the composition of CBD has been scientifically analyzed. Besides the fact that CBD is a natural product, it is popular among most users because of the low level of THC (at 0.3%) or the lack of THC. Therefore, users can enjoy the effects of CBD without the psychoactive effects of THC.

    Harris (2020) stated the benefits of using CBD include relieving pain and managing opioid addictions. Only one treatment of CBD has been approved for conventional treatment as of 2022 – Epidiolex, which is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Although the benefits of CBD have not been scientifically proven, the following are some of the anecdotally-proven benefits of CBD;

    As an Analgesic (Pain Reliever)

    CBD has been used as a pain reliever for various types of pain. The rationale behind CBD and pain is that it interferes with the functions of the neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids in transmitting pain signals. Below are some types of pain that CBD has been known to treat;

    Chronic Pain

    Chronic pain usually has a debilitating effect on the patient, for example, cancer pains, fibromyalgia, and spinal cord injuries. Chronic pain may be continuous or occasional. The effects of chronic pain are far-reaching because they may cause emotional problems such as mood swings and anxiety. Furthermore, it causes insomnia and increases stress and anxiety. The main concern during chronic illness is chronic pain because if the patient can manage the pain, they may cope with the illness. Fortunately, CBD may be useful in pain management due to its analgesic properties

    As an Anti-inflammatory

    Anti-inflammatories are substances that counter swelling caused when the white blood cells form a defense against pathogens to protect you. Meissner et al. (2021) stated that CBD is effective as an anti-inflammatory agent.

    For Neuropathic Pain

    Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve damage. Sometimes, THC may be combined with CBD for more effectiveness, especially to treat severe pain. Uebarall (2019) stated that the oromucosal spray, a combination of THC and CBD, was effective in managing severe pain and recommended for neuropathic pain. The conditions likely to cause neuropathic pain are multiple sclerosis, shingles, and herniated discs. Learn more about how to take cbd products?

    Treating Insomnia

    Argueta (2020) stated that CBD improved the patient's sleep. CBD helps the patient indirectly by eliminating the issues that adversely affect sleep, such as pain and emotional distress, which may cause insomnia.

    For RecreationalU

    CBD can be used recreationally. The THC levels present in a genuine CBD product will not be more than 0.3%; therefore, the user is unlikely to experience euphoria. CBD gummies are therefore considered harmless, improving energy levels while calming the muscles.

    For Relaxation

    Hegazy et al. (2019) suggested that CBD may be useful in treating pain and mood disorders when conventional medicine is ineffective. Pain and emotional distress may hinder the quality of the patient's sleep. CBD, therefore, treats insomnia indirectly by eliminating pain and enabling the user to relax.

    Helps in Treating Opioid Addiction

    Opioids have been used to treat chronic pain. However, they may be addictive and can cause several withdrawal symptoms. CBD may be used to manage opioid addiction and ease withdrawal symptoms. Meletis (2020) stated that CBD might be an alternative to opioid drugs. Learn more about is cbd a medicine?

    The Side Effects of CBD

    It is always important that the user seeks the doctor's advice before using CBD. Like any other drug, it has various side effects. Below are the reasons why you may need to consult a doctor before using CBD;

    • The doctor will check your health status for any underlying issues that you may have.
    • If you are on any medication, the doctor will check whether it's safe for you to use CBD with other medications simultaneously.
    • The CBD market is flooded and unregulated, so finding genuine CBD is difficult, especially for first-timers. Therefore, the doctor may recommend where you may buy CBD.

    CBD side effects are not limited to first-time users only. The user may experience side effects from overdosing. In such an incident, it may be best if they lower the dosage. However, if the symptoms persist, they should stop using the product. They should also seek the doctor's opinion as they may be using the wrong CBD spectrum. Possible side effects of CBD include;


    CBD is popular among users who want to enjoy it without experiencing THC's psychoactive properties. Therefore, the user does not get euphoric from using CBD. Additionally, it is a good choice as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. Furthermore, it may be useful for managing opioid addictions. CBD may be harmless, but if used improperly, it is likely to cause side effects such as nausea and drowsiness. The first-time user must seek the doctor's opinion to avoid the side effects of using CBD. If the side effects persist, it is recommended that the patient seeks the doctor's opinion or stops using the product.


    Harris, E. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) Effects on State Opioid Death Rates (2010–2015) (Doctoral dissertation, The National Graduate School of Quality Management at NECB).

    Hegazy, O., & Platnick, H. (2019). Cannabidiol (CBD) for treatment of neurofibromatosis-related pain and concomitant mood disorder: A case report. Cureus, 11(12).

    Meletis, C. (2020). CBD for Pain: Is Cannabidiol a Natural Alternative to Opioid Drugs?. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 26, 6-7.

    Meissner, H., & Cascella, M. (2021). Cannabidiol (CBD). In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

    Ueberall, M. A., Essner, U., & Mueller-Schwefe, G. H. (2019). Effectiveness and tolerability of THC: CBD oromucosal spray as add-on measure in patients with severe chronic pain: analysis of 12-week open-label real-world data provided by the German Pain e-Registry. Journal of pain research, 12, 1577.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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