5 Health Benefits of CBD Oil Backed by Science

If you’re new to CBD, here’s where to start.
Melena Gurganus
June 18, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

You've probably heard about CBD oil in the news, as it's grown in popularity as a natural remedy. And now there are a dizzying number of brands on the market too, from Spruce to CBDistillery. But what exactly does it do? 

We’re here to give you an overview of the benefits of CBD oil and how it works in your body. We'll also talk about where to find the best-quality products if you want to try it for yourself.

First, How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from hemp. Hemp, by law, contains much less THC than marijuana, so it won’t get you high. This is why people are so excited about the potential of CBD. It’s the chance to experience some of the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant—without any intoxicating effects. 

Our bodies have a little-known system called the endocannabinoid system, which helps maintain homeostasis (stability and balance within the body) and regulate bodily functions. The system is composed of cannabinoid receptors and signaling molecules. When molecules in plants interact with or “activate” our endocannabinoid system, we experience positive effects. 

Here’s a quick look at the top five most well-supported benefits of CBD products.

Top 5 CBD Oil Benefits

1. Helps with Inflammation and Pain Management

Chronic pain and inflammation can be difficult to treat, which is why more and more consumers are seeking plant-based alternatives like CBD oil. CBD naturally helps manage the inflammatory response in the body, which may alleviate the symptoms of inflammation and even aid in the treatment of autoimmune disorders like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Most pain is caused by inflammation, so reducing inflammation can lessen pain. But CBD can also interact with the receptors in the brain to reduce the signaling of pain—meaning it can limit how much discomfort you feel even when the root issue remains.

2. Reduces Anxiety

Just over 18% of the adult population in the United States is struggling with an anxiety disorder, so it's not surprising that people are looking for natural therapies to ease their anxious feelings. This is one of the reasons CBD has become so popular, as people want to feel less stressed every day.

Apart from the anecdotal evidence from consumers who say that CBD made them less anxious, research also indicates that CBD may be a valid treatment option. 

One study observed improvement in behaviors related to anxiety in rats, while another used 600 mg of CBD in men who reported a phobia of public speaking and observed significant improvements in their anxiety compared to subjects who received a placebo.

3. Aids in Seizure Treatment

One of the most well-researched benefits of CBD oil is the effect it has on hard-to-treat seizure conditions. Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome are two seizure disorders that are incredibly difficult to treat with conventional medicine. Because CBD has been so effective in managing the seizures associated with these conditions, the FDA has approved one prescription CBD drug called Epidiolex.

This treatment is especially attractive because of its mild side effects, which are much less daunting than the negative effects, like vomiting, dizziness and depression, associated with other popular seizure medications.

4. Keeps the Brain Healthy

Perhaps one of the lesser-known benefits of CBD oil is its potential neuroprotective properties—or, how it helps your mind. Essentially, CBD may prevent neurodegeneration, which is a hallmark of various incurable medical conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. 

Additionally, other cannabinoids that are present in full-spectrum CBD products also have similar antioxidant and neuroprotective abilities that may promote general health and wellness, both within the central nervous system as well as other parts of the body.

5. Improves Sleep

In the same way that CBD helps to calm stress and anxiety, it may also improve sleep habits. Sleep issues are not uncommon, and popular sleep aids can create habit-forming tendencies that may make it hard to fall asleep on your own.

Because the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating sleep, CBD acts inside the body to improve sleep patterns. The added benefit is that CBD won't lead to morning grogginess, which is common when using melatonin (or a glass of wine) to relax at night. 

Side Effects of CBD Oil

CBD is recognized by the World Health Organization as generally safe. Typically, any side effects a person might experience are mild and are most often avoided by taking the proper dose of CBD. The most common side effects include fatigue, changes in appetite, dry mouth and diarrhea. 

One of the easiest ways to prevent negative reactions is to buy a high-quality CBD oil. The reality of the CBD market is there are thousands of brands, and they’re not all created with the same care. It’s important to familiarize yourself with CBD labels and look for test results that show products are free of harmful chemicals, heavy metals or solvents. 

We know, it all starts to sound pretty complicated—especially when you just want to relax. That’s why we did the work of combing through the countless CBD brands for you. Below you’ll find a list of brands that regularly post test results, have passed lab screening for label accuracy, and deliver good value to customers. 

Where to Find the Best CBD Oil

Even though CBD has been legalized for medicinal use in many states, it's still not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A lack of government oversight means there are no guarantees a product is safe or its manufacturer's claims are true (the same can be said for supplements). So, like supplements, third-party labs test the products to verify they contain what their label says and that they are free of harmful ingredients.

In addition to being tested by accredited third-party labs, all the brands below use hemp grown on U.S. soil. We also dug into the customer service of the brands, the CBD strength options for each and their efficacy (based on personal experience and anecdotal feedback from brand customers). Online reviews were another data point we used to establish a brand’s credibility. 

Below, take a look at our top picks:

Spruce

If you're looking for a full-spectrum CBD oil, Spruce is one of the best in the business. The brand offers two different strengths (750 mg and 2,400 mg), so if you need something extra strong this is the brand to buy from.

We especially like the shopper reviews on its website. While some CBD brands are tight-lipped about how their products work, Spruce allows users to post videos about their experiences directly onto the products pages.

Available atSpruce

CBDistillery

For a completely THC-free CBD product, thepure isolate tinctures at CBDistilleryare well-liked by customers, and they come in four different potencies (250 mg, 500 mg, 1,000 mg and 2,500 mg) depending on your needs.

CBDistillery conducted a survey of their customers in December 2019, and 9 out of 10 customers reported better sleep when taking CBD. The brand’s commitment to sourcing feedback from actual users is another positive feature. 

Available atCBDistillery

FabCBD

Not everyone is a fan of the earthy, natural taste of CBD oil—but FAB offers five flavor options(mint, citrus, berry, vanilla and natural) so you can pick one that appeals to your palate the most.

If budget is a concern, this brand is one of the more affordable on the market, with its CBD oil starting at $39. The less expensive price point on Fab products make this a great place to start if you’re new to CBD and want to see how the oils work for you before investing more money.

Available atFAB CBD

How to Use CBD Oil

There are plenty of ways to take CBD oil, either sublingually (placed underneath the tongue) or with a meal or beverage. For the fastest results, place a few drops of oil below your tongue, let it sit there for 30 to 60 seconds, then swallow. This helps your body absorb the CBD. 

For a tastier way to take CBD, you can add a dropper of oil to smoothies or coffee, as well as to salad dressings or marinades for a hemp-infused meal. 

Is CBD Oil Right for You?

There's no doubt that CBD is a hot commodity as of late, and people can't seem to get enough of this hemp extract (and its potential benefits). But keep in mind that CBD works differently for everyone. What you’ve heard from your friends or on the news may not apply to you. That’s why we suggest starting slowly, experimenting with low doses and finding a brand that fits your taste and budget. Scientific research and clinical trials on the effects of CBD will catch up to the market demand, but until then it’s good to be a savvy shopper.