Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 18, 2023

For a while now, a lot of people have been taking an interest in CBD products (capsules, tinctures, edibles, topicals) as an alternative or additional treatment for existing health issues or just for general wellness. CBD products are a wonderful alternative to other cannabis products that produce the well-known high. The cannabinoid that’s responsible for these psychoactive effects is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

However, unlike THC, CBD (cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive. It’s a versatile cannabinoid that’s most commonly used as medical marijuana to manage the symptoms of different medical conditions. CBD oil is by far the most widely used CBD product, mostly due to the ease of use, its bioavailability, and efficacy.

One rule of thumb about CBD oil is that you have to take it continuously in order for it to have an effect. Therefore, for some people, CBD oil has become a staple in their medicine cabinets. 

But what happens if you’ve been taking it for a while and want to take a break from it? This is what we’ll discuss in this article, along with the benefits of CBD oil and why so many people like it.

The Benefits of CBD Oil and How it Works in the Body

CBD is one of the main active ingredients in the cannabis plant and it’s found in all its varieties. However, the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L.) is the main source of CBD for CBD oil production because it naturally contains high concentrations of CBD while it’s very low on THC.

While its sibling compound THC is known to directly bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system in the body, CBD only binds to them partially and interacts with other receptors in the body as well (which is why it’s non-intoxicating). It stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory response and balances the mood.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Having anti-inflammatory properties makes CBD oil a great treatment for chronic pain. It works closely with how the immune system handles inflammation and in this way, it can soothe the pain. Additionally, CBD oil can also be beneficial for pain experienced due to peripheral neuropathy.

Can Help Treat Epilepsy

Another now well-known use of CBD oil is for two types of childhood epilepsy. CBD was found to have anticonvulsant properties, which led to the approval of the first pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil after many years of research.

Anxiolytic and Antidepressant Effects

CBD oil can also help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. These mental conditions are most commonly treated with antidepressants which can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. However, CBD oil has shown to be very promising in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression by acting on the production of serotonin in the brain.

Can Help Substance Addiction

Finally, CBD oil is also a promising supplement for individuals struggling with drug addiction to opioids and psychostimulants. Both human and animal studies have demonstrated that CBD oil could influence the parts of the brain responsible for drug-seeking and compulsive behaviors. Additionally, it was proposed that CBD oil could also help with tobacco and cannabis dependence.

Is CBD Oil the Same as Hemp Oil?

One common misconception about CBD oil is that it’s the same as hemp oil. This is completely understandable as both products are derived from the hemp plant (but from different parts of it). Essentially, CBD oil refers to the cannabinoids that are extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stems of the hemp plant, and then infused into a carrier oil. 

Hemp oil, on the other hand, most commonly refers to hemp seed oil, which is made by cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant in order to extract the oil. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any cannabinoids, but it’s otherwise very nutritious and rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fatty acids.

CBD oil can contain just the CBD extract or a combination of other cannabinoids as well. Broad-spectrum CBD oil includes all cannabinoids naturally present in hemp, apart from THC. Full-spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, contains all cannabinoids (THC included). High-quality full-spectrum CBD oil should contain no more than 0.3% THC.

Will I Experience Withdrawal Symptoms When I Stop Taking CBD Oil?

Withdrawal symptoms are commonly experienced with substances that alter the brain’s chemistry. They stimulate the production of dopamine in the pleasure center in the brain, so whenever you stop taking that substance, your body will react by producing different symptoms.

However, CBD is a safe and non-addictive substance. It doesn’t influence the release of dopamine directly – instead, it balances the production of certain neurotransmitters in the body and helps to maintain homeostasis. Hence, it will not cause any withdrawal symptoms.

That said, CBD oil acts as a supplemental ingredient that the body gradually gets used to. When you start taking CBD oil, after a while it will blend in and become a part of the body’s natural day-to-day processes. This is one of the reasons why a lot of users don’t feel any great changes overnight, as it tends to work gradually by taking daily doses. Over time, your body gets saturated with CBD and the absence of symptoms is a common sign that it’s working.

If you suddenly stop taking CBD oil, within a few days, as your body is getting rid of the remnants of CBD, you will probably start feeling the resurgence of old symptoms. So, for example, if you’ve been taking CBD to treat chronic back pain, you may feel the same pain coming back when you stop with the treatment.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil?

Even though not officially approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD is known as a safe substance with solid tolerance and low toxicity. However, sometimes, CBD oil can cause some unpleasant side effects. 

This could be for many reasons – either the quality of the oil, high doses, or sometimes, CBD oil may not agree with you. Whatever the reason, side effects caused by CBD oil are not a cause of concern and tend to go away once you stop using it.

  1. Nausea – despite CBD oil being often used to treat nausea, some people can experience it as a side effect instead. It isn’t fully known why this happens, but it can happen to some individuals, as everyone’s bodies are different. If this happens to you, either decrease the dosage or switch to a different brand of CBD oil and start with very low doses.
  1. Lowered blood pressure and lightheadedness – CBD oil can lower blood pressure, which can make you feel lightheaded for a few minutes. However, for people who already suffer from low blood pressure or take medications for high blood pressure, it could be a problem. Therefore, in these cases, a consultation with a medical professional is necessary.
  1. Diarrhea – this side effect isn’t caused by the cannabinoid itself, but it’s more often caused by the carrier oil. CBD itself has some gastroprotective properties, so it’s unlikely that it will upset your digestive system. The most commonly used carrier oil is MCT oil, which can cause irritation of the stomach lining. To avoid this, look for CBD oil with a different carrier oil (like olive oil).
  1. Dry Mouth – this is a common side effect, characteristic of all cannabis strains. Dry mouth can happen because the cannabinoids, including CBD, can inhibit the production of saliva. If you experience this, drinking a glass of water with a few drops of lemon can help to stimulate the salivary glands.
  1. Drug interactions – CBD oil is known to interact with some over-the-counter and prescription drugs. This happens because CBD inhibits the liver enzymes that are responsible for breaking some meds and other substances. This leads to more pronounced effects of the meds and also some side effects. To be on the safe side, consult with your doctor before you start using CBD oil.

Bottom Line – No Symptoms of Withdrawal, Only the Resurgence of Old Symptoms

CBD oil is a very beneficial cannabis product that’s steadily finding its way as a common supplement for many people, whether to treat certain ailments or to use for general wellness. CBD oil is a generally safe product that’s well-tolerated, but it can cause some unpleasant side effects, and it can react with certain classes of medications.

If you stop taking CBD oil abruptly, it won’t cause any withdrawal effects as CBD is a non-addictive substance. What you will likely notice, though, is the resurgence of old symptoms prior to taking CBD.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.