CBD oil – Does the science back up the claims

Posted 05-03-2020 | Updated

CBD oil – Does the science back up the claims image

CBD oil – BS or legit and worth trying?

It’s hard to say, like anything, context is king…

It’s easily the most spoken about supplement on the market right now with people taking it for reasons ranging from exercise recovery to relief from clinical issues – but where is the research? 

Most research into cannabinoids focuses on the psychoactive THC, which has a reasonable amount of evidence supporting its role in chronic pain alleviation and spasticity (chronic involuntary muscle contraction), with some low-quality evidence existing to support its use for nausea and vomiting when undergoing chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.

When looking specifically at CBD though, things get a LOT murkier, the science gets thin on the ground…. 

The science

Outside of Dravet and Lennox-Gestault syndromes (human trials indicate a potential for reducing seizures) the evidence is almost entirely coming from pre-clinical studies and pilot studies, meaning that no hard conclusions can be drawn, as yet.

Thus, when you see claims online, many of these claims are underpinned by animal studies, pre-clinical trials, and unfortunately in many instances, aren’t supported by evidence at all.

It’s theorised that CBD may help with migraines, depression, anxiety, inflammatory conditions and more, but until quality human data comes forward it’s very difficult to say that it will help (remember, it’s extremely rare that a drug that works in rodents/animals also works in humans – so success in preclinical trials means nothing, until human data exists, assume it doesn’t do what it claims).

I for one haven’t recommended it also due to the cost, I can’t ethically recommend something that ‘might’ help at the cost most are selling it at (good quality products seem to range from £50-90).

My personal experience

I tried it myself and personally I felt it did nothing for me, I saw no improvement in sleep, recovery or overall well-being, which were my markers as I don’t feel I suffer from any of the other reported issues it ‘might’ help with.

Add to this the almost total lack of regulations around product strength and quality, and the complete lack of anything approximating a guideline around dosages, and it becomes very hard to recommend CBD oil.

That said, the existing evidence seems to suggest that – at least in studies lasting at least 6 months – 300mg per day is not harmful so if you’d like to give it a go, feel free to do so if you have the spare money…

CBD oil – BS or legit and worth trying? It’s hard to say, like anything, context is king…
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PLEASE, just remember the limitations of personal experience when talking to others about it… one person having a positive experience isn’t science, that’s just an N=1 experiment, just like me saying it didn’t help me, doesn’t mean it can’t help another.

p.s. to re-iterate I tried it for one month after receiving a free bottle from a company, but never posted about it on social media because of my null effect, but feel now is a good time to summarise where the research is as I get a lot of questions about it.

Have you tried CBD?


  • “Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils”. VanDolah, Harrison J. et al. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 94, Issue 9, 1840-1851.


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