There are few plants as controversial as marijuana after decades of government interference and (frankly) propaganda. The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is THC, which is a cannabinoid molecule extracted from the plant. The legal and not-so-psychedelic cousin is CBD oil.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 different cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract [1]. Even though THC may be the more “fun” part of marijuana, new evidence is showing that cannabinoid oil may actually be more effective for improving mental performance and general health.

Numerous studies, including 2017 evidence, suggests CBD oil reduces the side effects of THC (such as long-term anxiety) [2]. CBD oil is also effective as an antidepressant [3], anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) [4], and a neuroprotective [5]. Beyond that, CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory [6] and is relatively safe compared to other substances.

Also Known As

CBD hemp oil, cannabis oil, cannabinoid oil, hemp oil

Editors’ Thoughts on CBD Oil

I’m not a fan of marijuana for my own usage, though I am a big proponent of legalizing / decriminalizing the substance for people to make their own individual decisions. That being said, there is a lot of marijuana out there which has been significantly altered to have more THC than CBD. This is similar to the process of taking the coca leaf and making it into high-powered cocaine: it comes with side effects.

Anyway, I usually prefer to take straight CBD oil rather than using CBD alongside marijuana. My partner sometimes struggles with anxiety and overeating when she has THC without the CBD to counteract it. I’d highly suggest a CBD oil product for anyone who wants to reduce anxiety in general and especially while smoking marijuana.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor





Benefits of CBD Oil

If interest in search engines is any indicator, the popularity and interest in CBD oil is growing and for good reason. The cannabidiol oil benefits are both effective and quite potent. The anti-anxiety effects seem to be the most useful aspect of CBD for most people.

A 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics looked at CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety and concluded that “…CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders…” [7]. In fact, this effect is so powerful an oft-cited study in Neuropsychopharmacology showed CBD could reduce anxiety in public speaking for participants who suffered with social phobia [8].

For some experienced people with marijuana, the thought of reducing anxiety might seem odd (as the stereotype goes, marijuana makes people more anxious). Research suggests it is the THC that creates anxiety for people while the CBD counteracts this effect. Since the 1960s, marijuana has gone from about 3 – 5% THC to now 28%, which creates an imbalance in anxiety-inducing effects.

what is cbd oil

Moving on, CBD oil benefits include anti-inflammatory effects. According to a 2010 study in the Future of Medical Chemistry journal, CBD hemp oil could reduce inflammation by deregulating cytokines (chemical compounds that cause inflammation [9]. Another study showed reduced TNF-a (a marker of inflammation) after use of cannabinoid oil [10].

The former study suggested the anti-inflammatory effects were so strong, it could help with chronic inflammation and diseases like multiple-sclerosis, cancers, and others. For people not struggling from disease per-se, the anti-inflammatory response can help avoid joint pain and reduce long-term injuries to improve quality of life.

Finally, for the approximately 70 million Americans (and countless others around the world) who suffer from poor quality sleep, CBD oil can be an effective tool to increase both sleep quality and quantity [11].

However, this is dose dependant. Larger doses can have a tranquil sleep-inducing effect, while smaller doses interact with adenosine receptors (similar mechanism as coffee), which can help to increase alertness [12].

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating extract of cannabis and a major phytocannabinoid that accounts for nearly half of the plant’s extract. Despite connotations and correlations with marijuana (and active ingredient THC), there is no intoxicating effect from cannabidiol.

Some people claim to have increased relaxation and sedation, but this is not generally the case. Below is an image of the CBD molecule, which is quite different from other (similar) molecules within the plant.

A Note on Hemp Oil

CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil. Hemp is the plant matter that produces fruit, which contains THC and CBD. The hemp plant is a quite useful material and has application for foodstuffs (protein powder), rope, and even building supplies.

The hemp oil (often called CBD hemp oil) is a derivative of the plant and is a cooking or eating fat source as opposed to an extract that can create psychoactive changes. Don’t confuse hemp oil with CBD oil even if you come across the term CBD hemp oil.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

One of the greatest argument in favor of CBD oil and the marijuana plant in general is that there are few side effects especially compared with other legal recreational drugs like alcohol. Whereas some statistics show that alcohol kills upwards of 80,000 people per year [13], there have been few (if any) related deaths to CBD oil.

Although many proponents of marijuana (and THC specifically) would like to consider the plant side effect free, this isn’t exactly true. THC interacts with a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which causes anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s one of the only parts of the brain that can be permanently damaged after long-term use, which is why many marijuana users have this long-term side effect.

Luckily, this is more of a THC side effect than one for CBD oil. The cannabidiol actually helps to reduce the symptoms of this anxiety. For some people, CBD oil side effects include an inability to sleep (it is used for relaxation purposes, but can also induce alertness),

In the journal Current Drug Safety, a 2011 study concluded chronic doses up to 1,500 mg / day (very high) is well tolerated. The same study goes on to say CBD oil side effects can include reduced fertility and interaction with “hepatic” drugs. For people taking a hepatic drug, this might be worth looking into further [14].

CBD Oil Dosage

Most information about CBD oil dosage comes from clinical trials, which use a range from 10 – 800 mg per day. Some studies even go so high as 1,300 mg / day, but products you can find on the market need not be any higher than 10 – 150 mg servings.

As with all nootropics and brain altering compounds, a good CBD oil dosage to start might be in the 10 mg range to determine safety for your brain. Afterwards, increasing (also known as titrating) the dosage can be effective.

The objective is to avoid taking too high of a first dose and finding yourself feeling unusual!

How and Where to Buy CBD Oil

Ironically, the U.S. government has a patent on CBD oil, but that does not mean they control the substance rigorously. In fact, CBD oil is more widely used and sold across the country than marijuana and THC even though the product is now somewhat in a legal gray area.

In any case, there are numerous brands where you can buy CBD oil. One popular brand that we recommend here at Nootropedia is is Solstice Supplements CBD. Solstice Supplements has been a dependable vendor for quality and affordable CBD here in 2019.

CBD Oil Reviews

There are virtually thousands of CBD oil reviews online and many of them can help you determine the possible effects. While these subjective experiences are not always as useful as the scientific research, they can still help us nonetheless.

Many of the CBD oil reviews suggest help with understanding the effects, but can lead to some false expectations. A couple of quotes like “CBD oil is like a lifetime of meditation in liquid form” [15]. Here are a few more down-to-earth CBD oil reviews.

Selected Community Experiences

I have tried a long laundry list of substances to modify mood and anxiety and this is perhaps the single most effective thing I have tried that doesn't make me feel drunk/intoxicated/on drugs.” [16] – fkacam

CBD edibles put me in the absolute best mood and regulate my gut better than anything I've ever tried.” [17] – shawnshine

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3364
  2. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797438/
  3. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2823358
  4. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697769
  5. //stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=15845890
  6. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  7. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26341731
  8. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/
  9. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  10. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10734163/
  11. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23343597
  12. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19045957
  13. //www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
  14. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129319
  15. //www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/3o8hfs/cbd_oil_is_like_a_lifetime_of_meditation_in/
  16. //www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/4c6c66/cbd_oil_is_amazing_for_mood_and_relaxation/
  17. Ibid


Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.