CBD oil seems to be everywhere you turn lately. There are so many options and so much information, it can be overwhelming. We’re taking a deep dive into the health benefits of CBD oil for women, how to find a safe and ethically sourced brand of CBD oil, and we’ve even got a DIY on how to make your own.
Before getting into the benefits of CBD oil, we want to put your questions at ease as to the legality of using CBD oil for medicinal purposes. We are not lawyers and unfortunately, there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question. If you are unsure if CBD oil is legal in your State, you can check your state laws regarding Cannabis on NORML for more information.
With legalizations of medicinal marijuana in many states, it makes sense that people are interested in it and the benefits of its more attainable cousin, CBD oil. CBD or Cannabidiol oil is an oil extracted from the cannabis plant.
What is Cannabis?
For millennia, the cannabis plant was valued for its use for fiber and rope, as food and medicine, and for its psychoactive properties for religious and recreational use (source).
The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This widespread neuro-modulatory system plays important roles in central nervous system development, synaptic plasticity, and the response to endogenous and environmental assaults. CBD oil is loaded with cannabinoids that bind to specialized receptors in the brain.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that occur naturally in the resin or sap of the Cannabis sativa plant, the most commonly known being marijuana. These chemicals have a drug-like effect on the human central nervous system and immune system. Cannabinoids are the substances that lead to altered mood, pain relief, and other temporary changes in the body when you use CBD oil.
The best-known cannabinoid is THC which produces the “high” people get when smoking marijuana. CBD oil derived from medical marijuana (the only type of marijuana you should use for medicinal purposes) will contain higher levels of THC.
This means you will get a high from using it.
It also means you won’t pass a drug test.
Cannabidiol or CBD is another cannabinoid but it doesn’t produce the “high” of THC. It binds to the same receptors as THC, but when derived from the hemp plant, it contains much lower levels of THC. That eliminates the “high”.
CBD oil is currently being researched to determine whether or not it’s a viable treatment for a number of conditions women struggle with and early results are positive. CBD oil is already being used to treat certain types of epilepsy and to curb the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients (source).
Any time you are planning to use something for medicinal purposes, talk to your doctor or alternative healthcare professional first. This is especially true if you are taking pain meds or medications for anxiety or depression.
Women suffering from chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or certain types of neuropathy such as post-chemotherapy neuropathy, and even multiple sclerosis have shown improvement in their pain levels with CBD oil.
Related: Herbs & Essential Oils for Peripheral Neuropathy Support
Several studies have supported claims that CBD oil can reduce stress and anxiety. CBD oil for anxiety and depression, where legal, is now often used by alternative medicine practitioners for patients with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PTSD, and social anxiety.
Because CBD activates receptors in the brain that produce higher levels of dopamine, it’s effective for relaxing the mind and body, so anxiety levels are reduced.
The jury is still out as to any actual benefits of CBD oil and cancer. However, even the American Cancer Society has noted that CBD oil can help with some of the nastier side effects of chemotherapy and further research is needed to determine whether or not it can actually slow the growth of tumors (source).
It has been effective in slowing cancer growth in mice.
Researchers in Europe discovered that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in fighting melanoma. A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology revealed endocannabinoids facilitate apoptotic cell death in cancer cells (source).
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and the numbers of women affected by heart disease are growing at an alarming rate.
While a healthy diet and exercise are the best places to start when combating heart disease, CBD oil has shown promise in addressing some of the causes of heart disease (source). It reduces blockage in arteries, lowers cholesterol, reduces the stress response in heart attacks, and reduces blood pressure.
Inflammation wreaks havoc on the body. When we think of inflammation, we naturally think of conditions such as arthritis and joint disorders, but inflammation is also one of the precursors to heart disease. One of the benefits of CBD oil is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other causes of inflammation in the body are stress, the standard American diet (heavy on sugar and grains), and long term exposure to environmental toxins. Autoimmune diseases are nearly always linked to inflammation. Research into the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil is widely published and promising for people who suffer from asthma, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, lupus, and even celiac disease.
As CBD oil has become the latest darling in health, the market has flooded with products. Below you’ll find a DIY for making your own CBD oil, but it’s easier and more cost effective to buy it pre-made.
So if you’re buying a product online or at a health store, it’s vital that you know the source and read labels carefully. Here are some considerations:
- Does the website or product packaging provide the information you need?
- Who are the owners of the company and do they have a mission statement?
- What certifications do they have?
- Is the product organically grown?
- Is the product sourced domestically or internationally?
- What is the carrier oil?
If you’re looking for relief for a specific ailment, browse the user reviews and look for people with similar symptoms to learn about their experiences.
Here are some brands we’ve found to be pure and certified organic.
You can make CBD oil at home, but it is expensive and sourcing good quality hemp to make the oil may be difficult. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where hemp is now legal for medicinal purposes, you won’t have the access problem. If not, then sourcing can be an issue.
As with anything you make at home to be ingested or used to treat a health issue, you want to extremely careful about the purity of the ingredients you’re using.
This method of extraction involves choosing buds of the hemp plant, grinding them, then baking them at 220 degrees for 90 to 100 minutes. Once you have baked them, place them in a mason jar and saturate them with the oil of choice (coconut oil and olive oil are the two most popular carrier oils).
- Place the lid on the mason jar and put it into a pan of water and heat it until it reaches 200 degrees.
- Leave the pot for 3 hours, continually checking it to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.
- Turn off the heat for 3 hours and let it set for another 3 hours.
- Add more water if needed and heat it again to 200 degrees for 3 hours.
- Turn off the heat and let it set overnight.
- The next morning, your CBD oil is ready to be strained (use cheesecloth), squeeze out the cloth, and your oil is ready to be stored and/or used.
Prepare the plant material by baking it as described in the oil method.
- Place it in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover it with alcohol (rum, vodka, or gin are good choices).
- Stir for about 6 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon to extract the resin and put it aside.
- Strain the alcohol mixture through cheesecloth and squeeze the cloth after straining to get as much out as possible.
- Using a double boiler, place the alcohol in the top part, fill the bottom part with water, and heat it until bubbles start to form.
- Let the alcohol evaporate but don’t raise the temperature.
- Let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Once the alcohol has evaporated, mix what is left in the upper part of the boiler with the resin you extracted earlier.
- Put the concentrated oil in a glass container with a tight lid for storage.
Once you have a finished product, you can use it orally, topically, or in edibles. Edibles are probably the best route for oral consumption because the oil by itself tastes awful.
If you have any of the conditions we’ve talked about here or think you might enjoy the benefits of CBD oil, talk to your healthcare provider, do some research on your own, and make your decision. While the consensus of the medical community is still out on the benefits, CBD oil could be the answer to your anxiety, pain or other ailments.
Susie Lyons’ lifelong interest in natural remedies and holistic health practices led to the publication of The Herbalist Journal and her own line of herbal products. Both enterprises were born of her curiosity about natural healing and the folk remedies she grew up with in her extended East Texas family. She is currently pursuing certification as a Master Herbalist.