What is CBD? The Benefits of CBD Oil

Words by Phoebe MacRae

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade (and no, lockdown doesn’t count), you’ll be well aware of the growing presence of CBD and, more specifically, CBD oil in the wellness space. But many people still don't really know what CBD is and/or what CBD oil does. So we went straight to the experts to get some answers.


Simply put, CBD is short for cannabidiol. As Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and Online Doctor for Prescription Doctor, tells The Sports Edit, “cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, which is more commonly known as marijuana.” However, CBD and what we know as marijuana are not the same things. Marijuana contains a completely different chemical compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes you feel “high”. CBD, on the other hand, does not give you this effect. Instead, it makes you feel relaxed.


CBD oil is one of the most common ways of using CBD you ingest it by putting it directly under your tongue or adding it to food or drinks. As Noah Fishman, Co-Founder and CEO of US-based CBD company Zenbarn Farms, explains, “CBD oil is the natural oil-based extraction from a cannabis plant that is bred to have high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC.” He continues, “When the plant has a low enough percent of THC (under 0.3%) it is deemed hemp and legal for sale nationally in the United States.” As per the Home Office drugs licencing rules, in the UK, the THC content must be under 0.2%.

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You find CBD oil at most health and wellness stores on the high street. As stated above, CBD and CBD oil can legally be sold in the UK if the THC content remains below the legal limit of 0.2%. This is something to keep in mind if shopping online for CBD oil, as any product over the limit is considered to be illegal and deemed unsafe for use.

Best CBD Oil Brands

  • Cannaray: Navigating the world of CBD oils can be daunting with so much out there. Cannaray aims to demystify what CBD oil does and how it works. The Cannaray range is a customer's dream as all products are made to ease specific needs.

  • Pure Sport CBD: A brand made by athletes, for athletes. Designed by professional athletes, Pure Sport CBD was create to target and relieve aches and pains that result from sports and exercise. Acting as an anti-inflammatory, it's a plant-based alternative to over the counter medications.

  • Provacan: CBD oils by Provacan are made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Their formulas combine all-natural hemp extracts of CBDv (Cannabidivarin), CBG (Cannabiegerol), CBDa (Cannabidiolic Acid), and even Omega acids. According to the team at Provacan, not only does this curated cocktail improve the taste of product, it also improves the efficacy of each individual property when the are consumed together.

  • Juna: One for our US readers, Juna believes that when you take care of your body, mind, and mood, you can be your best self. Their driving mission is to empower women with the use of plant-powered CDB oils. The Juna range targets a host of benefits from improving sleep to helping you feel more balanced and connected during the day.


Alleviates Pain

“One of the main reasons people use CBD oil is that it can relieve pain,” says Dr Aragona. “Marijuana has been used to treat pain for thousands of years and it has been discovered more recently that certain elements of marijuana, including CBD, can help to relieve pain.” This includes alleviating pain and side effects from cancer treatment such as vomiting and nausea.

Reduces Anxiety

Studies show that CBD can reduce anxiety-related symptoms associated with multiple disorders including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

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Improves Sleep

Given its ability to reduce anxiety, it’s no surprise that CBD oil also has to potential to improve sleep quantity and quality. It is particularly beneficial for those who suffer pain-related insomnia.

Reduces Acne

According to a study by The Journal of Clinical investigation, there’s evidence to suggest that CBD can assist in the treatment of acne. This is due to its anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

Boosts Heart Health

“CBD has anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr Aragona, and as a result, it’s been linked to the treatment of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, as well as overall heart health.

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Does CBD Oil Have Any Side Effects?

Side effects associated with the use of CBD oil are minimal. Though tolerated by most people, Dr Aragona warns that in some cases it could cause diarrhoea, fatigue or changes in appetite. He adds, “If you are taking other medications, you should talk to your GP before starting with CBD to ensure it’s safe and won’t interfere.” As Fishman notes, “Proper dosing is [also] important, along with ensuring you are getting a quality product that comes from high-quality cannabis, [as] not all CBD is made the same.”


Both Dr Aragona and Fishman believe that the popularity of CBD and CBD oil will only continue to increase along with the demand for product variation (think gummies, sprays and capsules). “CBD is proving to be a powerful tool to help people achieve health outcomes,” says Fishman, adding, “As it gets more known, available and affordable, CBD can be a powerful alternative to opioids and over the counter medicines that have known side effects and can lead to addiction.”