Buying and using CDB oil in Canada has been legal since 2018 when the federal government passed the Cannabis Act allowing adults who are 18 or 19 years of age and older (depending on the province or territory) to legally purchase, grow and use a limited quantity of recreational and medical marijuana products, including cannabis, THC and CBD.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, and it is derived from hemp which is a cousin of the cannabis plant. So while CBD is a component of marijuana, it comes from the hemp plant, specifically in the form of hemp seed oil, and does not deliver a “high” like, for instance, cannabis sativa and indica which contain the psychoactive ingredient THC.
CBD can be taken lots of different ways, but the most popular is high quality CDB oil. You can take it orally in a capsule form or a tincture and just drop some oil under your tongue to ingest it (or my favorite, CBD gummies). There are also topical sprays and muscle rubs containing CBD that your can put on your skin to deal with things like back pain.
In Canada, you can buy CBD oil either recreationally through a government online or retail store or you can get a medical document allowing you to buy CBD oil as a prescription. Going the medical route has a lot of upsides, and we outline those benefits in another article on the differences between recreational and medical cannabis in Canada.
What does CBD oil do?
CBD oil will not get you “high” since it is not derived from the cannabis plant and does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC. So what does CDB oil do?
In 2018, the World Health Organization released a report called “CBD a Critical Review” [PDF]. The 28-page report is worth a read in its entirety if you have the time, but if not here are the main findings:
- In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.
- CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.
- To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
Health Benefits and Research on CBD Oil
According to healthcare research, CBD oil may be a good option for those dealing with chronic pain and would prefer to steer clear of other more risky options like opioid-based painkillers. You might have heard about people using CBD oil applied directly to areas of muscle, joint or back pain, and this is a popular way to use CBD oil. In a 2016 study, researchers found that “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”
However, it must be noted that this was a study on lab rats, so while it is a promising finding, more research is needed to figure out what the impacts are of CBD oil on pain relief and pain management.
Another study in 2018 that reviewed previous research on CBD and pain concluded that, “the evidence from current research supports the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain in adults.” The study also made it clear that, “careful follow-up and monitoring of patients using cannabis/cannabinoids are mandatory.”
CBD Oil and Sleep
Many people use CBD to help them sleep. A research review by the American Sleep Association concludes that, “while more research needs to be done, the use of CBD products can potentially decrease your symptoms of insomnia and help you get more quality sleep. If you struggle with sleep issues, the best first step is to consult your doctor and learn more about causes and treatments.”
In a case study published in 2019, researchers looked at CBD and its impacts on anxiety and sleep. The study looked at 72 adults with either high anxiety scores or poor sleep. They found that within the first month, people’s anxiety scores went down and that sleep scores improved. The researchers conclude that, “[CBD] may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders. Controlled clinical studies are needed.”
CBD Oil and Epilepsy
There has been a lot of research in recent years on the impact of CBD oil for the treatment of epilepsy and seizures. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of an oral CBD spray for the treatment of epilepsy, called Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a purified CBD extract from the hemp plant. It is approved for the treatment of seizures related to:
- Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Dravet syndrome
- tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)
FDA commissioner Scott Gotlieb, MD, said at the time of the announcement that, “[t]his approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies.”
As you can see, there is a lot of research being done on the health and wellness impacts of CBD, but most of the research, while promising, stresses that more research and clinical trials needs to be done. With the popularity of CBD, there’s no doubt we will see a lot more research in the coming years.
For now, if you think the benefits of CBD oil might help you with your symptoms or medical condition, the research we have reviewed makes it clear that your best first step would be to get a consultation with a medical practitioner familiar with CBD and cannabis to see if it is right for you.