CBD oil pipette bottle

How does CBD oil affect the psyche?

Published: 18.04.2023 (Updated: 21.07.2023)
Reading time: Min.
Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Health expert

Cannabidiol (CBD) - one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants - is becoming increasingly popular. It is believed to have therapeutic properties without the mind-altering effects of other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In this article, you will learn more about CBD and how consuming CBD oil can benefit the human psyche.

What is CBD oil?

Cannabis is a plant from the Cannabaceae family. It contains more than 80 molecular compounds. The most commonly known compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the component that produces the "high" associated with marijuana use. CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and may have potential health and wellness benefits.

CBD oil is a popular form of CBD. Most CBD oil comes from industrial hemp and is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. CBD oil can be taken orally, or added to moisturisers and used topically. In addition, CBD oil can also be added to coffee, smoothies or even salad dressings.

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6 potential effects of CBD oil on the psyche

CBD oil for chronic stress

Stress is a natural part of our lives. However, too much or prolonged stress can take a toll on your body and have negative effects on your health. It can promote headaches, insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, pain, high blood pressure and many other illnesses. Consuming CBD can help manage stress by strengthening the psyche and boosting brain activity.

One study examined how CBD affects cortisol levels in the body. In the process, 10 volunteers were given up to 600 mg of CBD. The blood tests showed a significant reduction in the cortisol level (stress hormone) after CBD consumption.

CBD oil against anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in Europe, with a one-year prevalence of 14% and a lifetime prevalence of up to 29%. Consumption of CBD oil alleviates anxiety symptoms by increasing GABA activity in the brain and lowering cortisol levels.

Two studies were dedicated to CBD's potential in treating anxiety. The 2015 study found strong evidence for the potential of cannabidiol in treating anxiety disorders. The 2018 study, on the other hand, focused on how the consumption of CBD oil helps manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the clinical results, administration of CBD oil in addition to routine psychiatric care reduced PTSD symptoms. It also seemed to help patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD.

CBD oil for insomnia and sleep disorders

A good night's sleep is important for your overall well-being. It not only improves brain performance, mood and health. It also reduces the risk of diseases such as stroke, obesity, dementia and heart problems. However, there are many people who struggle with sleep problems. According to the DAK Health Report of 2017, sleep disorders in Germany have increased by 66 % since 2010. Particularly affected are 80 % of employees between 35 and 65 years of age. In addition, the study found that every tenth employee suffers from severe sleep disorders. Compared to 2010, the number of people taking sleeping pills has also almost doubled.

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An increasingly popular strategy to sleep better is to take cannabidiol (CBD). A 2019 research study found that CBD has the potential to treat sleep disorders. The tests showed that more than 65% of patients had improved sleep immediately after consuming CBD.

Another study looked at the potential benefits of CBD for REM sleep behaviour disorder. This is a disorder characterised by sudden body movements and vocalisations during vivid dreams in REM sleep. In the study, CBD was administered to four patients with Parkinson's disease and REM sleep behaviour disorder. Before taking it, the patients experienced symptoms of REM disturbance two to seven times a week. After taking CBD, the occurrence of symptoms decreased almost completely or to once a week.

CBD oil against mood swings

CBD has been shown to be an effective mood stabiliser. It relieves anxiety while reducing symptoms of depression. CBD oil is also believed to improve and stabilise mood by positively affecting serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in our body that regulates mood.

Although more research should be done, there are a growing number of studies that support the use of CBD oil in treating symptoms of various mental illnesses, from anxiety to depression and bipolar disorder. A study conducted in 2012 followed participants with bipolar disorder for nine years. It found that taking CBD improved attention span, processing speed and memory.

CBD oil for epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system that affects people of all ages. It is a neurological disorder characterised by recurrent seizures. Treatment for epilepsy includes seizure-inhibiting medications and nutritional therapy, such as forms of the ketogenic diet.

In the journalEpilepsy and Behavior, published in 2021, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine conducted a study to better understand the effects of CBD products on people with epilepsy. The tests found that respondents taking CBD reported fewer side effects from epilepsy medication (13% fewer). They were also more satisfied with their mental health (21% more) than at the start of the study and had less anxiety (19% less) and depression (17% less).

CBD against addiction

Recently, CBD has received a lot of attention due to its potential to treat drug and alcohol abuse. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that CBD can reduce cravings for heroin in people with a drug addiction. The study involved 42 men and women with a history of heroin abuse who were trying not to relapse. As part of the experiment, participants were shown two types of videos: neutral videos with nature scenes and videos with drug-related cues designed to trigger drug cravings. Participants were divided into three groups: People who took 400 mg of CBD, people who took 800 mg of CBD, and a placebo group. The interventions were taken on three consecutive days.

As expected, participants had stronger cravings after watching the heroin-related videos than the neutral videos. However, participants taking CBD as part of the treatment reported lower drug cravings than participants in the placebo group. The results also showed a reduction in anxiety and a decrease in heart rate and cortisol levels. The effects of CBD were visible as early as one hour after ingestion and lasted up to one week after consumption.

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Are there side effects of CBD oil?

In general, there is a risk of side effects with virtually all dietary supplements, medications, etc. The severity of these side effects depends on the individual. The severity of these side effects depends on the substance. With CBD oil, the risk of side effects is very low compared to classic medications. Most users report mild symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. In rare cases, CBD has also been reported to cause a drop in blood pressure, diarrhoea and nausea. These symptoms occur especially when CBD is consumed in high doses and taken together with medications, supplements or alcohol.

Should one take CBD oil?

Cannabidiol can not only help with stress management, but also has the potential to alleviate mental illness. However, more scientific studies need to be conducted before CBD's healing effects are confirmed.

If you suffer from a mental illness and are considering taking CBD oil, you should first talk to a doctor. This is especially important if:

  • A pre-existing condition is present
  • Medications are being taken, including statins, blood thinning medications and calcium channel blockers.

The appropriate doctor might recommend a product and dosage that is appropriate based on the above factors. One should also be aware of possible negative side effects and be sure to talk to your doctor before discontinuing the use of CBD.

Although CBD is considered controversial by many, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in a report that naturally occurring CBD is safe and well tolerated by humans. There is also no evidence of health problems associated with taking pure CBD.

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How much CBD oil can you take?

Once CBD enters the bloodstream, it affects the body's endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. The ECS regulates processes such as mood, appetite, pain management and inflammation. It also ensures that bodily functions remain in optimal balance, a concept also known as homeostasis.

The exact effects and extent to which CBD affects the ECS depends on a variety of factors, such as weight, diet, metabolism, general health, other medications that may be taken and, last but not least, genes.

One should follow these two steps to determine how much CBD oil one can take:

  1. First, the strength of the CBD oil should be determined: Many manufacturers make it easy by clearly stating how many milligrams of CBD are in the bottle.

  2. Experiment with the dose: If you have never taken CBD before, you might want to start with a low dose of 5 mg per day. The exact number of drops depends on the amount of CBD in each drop.

    One can then increase the dose in small increments over time until the desired effects are achieved. Although side effects are rare and usually quite harmless, CBD can make some people quite sleepy. Therefore, the first doses should be taken in the evening or at least not before work or a long car journey.

    • Day 1: 5 mg per day
    • Day 2: 5 mg per day
    • Day 3: 5 mg per day
    • Day 4: 10 mg per day
    • Day 5: 10 mg per day
    • Day 6: 10 mg per day

So you can continue with the dose until the effects fit accordingly.

Conclusion: CBD oil and its effect on the psyche

In summary, it can be said that CBD has a high potential to alleviate psychological problems. Studies on animals and humans have shown that CBD can help alleviate feelings of isolation, autism symptoms and reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But CBD can also provide relief for addictions, epilepsy and insomnia. It seems that CBD can calm the brain and support the hippocampus. This is an area of the brain that is important for healthy emotions and memory.

However, as with other medicines, you should always check with your doctor before taking CBD to make sure there are no side effects with other medicines and to find a suitable dosage.

Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Graduate Biologist, Medical Information Processing Officer and Doctor of Health Sciences
About the author

After studying in Saarbrücken, Dr Harald Stephan worked in research and teaching at the Universities of Marburg and Bochum as well as at the University Hospital in Essen before becoming a self-employed publicist in 2016. He sees acquiring and passing on knowledge as his life's work.

In addition to his publications on cell biology and tumour research in renowned specialist journals, hundreds of his articles on health topics can be found on the internet. In them, he explains the causes of diseases, laboratory values, diagnoses as well as traditional and novel therapy options.