CBD oil: what is it, why is it suddenly everywhere, and is it compatible with a keto or Paleo diet? Here's a look at some of the research. Click the link to learn about CBD's influence on the increasingly popular ketogenic diet, and whether your favourite supplements support ketosis.
CBD Oil and Paleo/Keto Diets: Research and What You Should Know
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in marijuana, but it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects (in other words, it doesn’t cause a high). The cannabinoid in marijuana that causes a high is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), not CBD.
Recently, there’s been a huge surge of interest in the health benefits of CBD and a predictable increase in the number of products with CBD added to them: on top of the basic CBD oil, there’s a whole range of eatable and drinkable CBD products from fizzy soft drinks to lattes to brownies. CBD is more acceptable than THC-containing products to people who can’t or don’t want to get high, and there’s some interesting evidence that it may help with pain, anxiety/depression, and possibly insomnia.
If you believe all the marketing hype, CBD is the new elixir of life, but as usual, the marketing is way overhyped. Here’s a look at the actual research, but first…
Is this stuff even legal?
As this post explains, it’s complicated. In the US, CBD isn’t considered a dietary supplement and it isn’t regulated like normal supplements. The legal status of CBD depends on whether your particular state has legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana use, and possibly on whether the CBD in question is extracted from marijuana or industrial hemp. 17 states also have laws specific to CBD. Here’s a map showing which states have what kinds of laws, with details available for each state.
The federal government still considers marijuana-derived CBD to be illegal (although some CBD sellers have argued that this doesn’t technically apply to hemp-derived CBD), but in practice, enforcement is patchy at best and CBD is pretty widely available, especially online. Here is a research paper breaking it down in extreme detail, for the curious. In short, it’s very hard to say and trying to figure out the relevant laws is a recipe for a headache: here’s to hoping that we get some clarity on this soon.
Is it safe?
This review looked at precisely that question and concluded that it probably is. The researchers found that CBD is mostly safe and definitely safer than a lot of common psychiatric medications. When people had side effects, the most common reported problems were fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in weight and appetite – none of those are fun, but none of them are really deadly. But the authors also noted that:
“some important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied, for example, if CBD has an effect on hormones. Additionally, more clinical trials with a greater number of participants and longer chronic CBD administration are still lacking.”
A bigger problem for a lot of interested consumers is that the CBD market is barely regulated, so it can be really hard to find products that actually contain the advertised amounts of CBD. A 2018 study found that many commercially available CBD products didn’t contain the amount of CBD advertised on the label. One study found that only 30% of CBD products were accurately labeled to reflect the amount of CBD they actually contained (26% contained less CBD than they claimed; 43% contained more than they claimed). Even more concerningly, the study found that nearly 20% of products sold as pure CBD actually contain at least some THC (that’s the chemical in marijuana that does get you high).
This is all important for anyone thinking of trying CBD to consider: when you buy a supplement, you ought to feel confident you’re getting the label ingredients and nothing else, but that’s just not the case with a lot of CBD products.
Does it work? Evidence in humans
Based on evidence that it’s helpful, the FDA has approved an oral formulation of CBD as a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in children. CBD is also approved in Canada to treat pain from multiple sclerosis. But most people who walk into a CBD store aren’t children with epilepsy or MS patients: what about the rest of us?
A couple of studies have examined CBD oil for pain in humans, particularly chronic pain. For example, This review of reviews concluded that some reviews found evidence of benefits for multiple sclerosis (MS) pain and spasticity.
Other studies (here and here) have found benefits of CBD for cancer pain specifically. And in this study of 303 patients with allodynia (that’s a problem where you weirdly feel pain from things that shouldn’t hurt), a combined THC/CBD spray was safe and effective, even in patients who didn’t respond to other painkillers.
This study found that CBD definitely doesn’t mess with normal sleep patterns and suggested that it might be helpful for restoring altered sleep patterns.
Brain health/mental health
On top of being FDA-approved for treating epilepsy, this review of human studies explains how CBD may have some antipsychotic properties, but the conclusion highlights the need for way more big, high-quality studies before anyone starts claiming anything about it for sure.
This review of CBD for mental health and psychiatric issues also stresses the call for more research – the authors found a little bit of evidence for treating symptoms of social anxiety and schizophrenia, but noted that “most of the studies published presented several drawbacks and did not reach statistical significance.”
This review, specifically on anxiety, also noted that the human studies so far are all on acute administration (you give someone CBD once and see how they feel), not chronic administration (you give someone CBD every day for three weeks and see how they feel), which is another huge gap in the research.
This aspect of CBD just doesn’t enough research to draw clear conclusions in humans, although it would be really great to find out that there’s actually a benefit.
Two more miscellaneous items to round off the list:
found five human studies suggesting that CBD may be helpful for people trying to quit smoking cigarettes. is also fascinating: unlike THC, CBD (16 mg, delivered via inhaler) actually improved subjects’ ability to recognize facial expressions and match them to emotions.
What do actual CBD users say?
Finally, there’s this survey. The researchers in this study didn’t actually give CBD to anyone. Instead, they asked current CBD users why they use it. Of course, this is only surveying people who liked CBD enough to stick with it, so it’s biased towards people who had a good experience with CBD.
About two-thirds of those people said they used CBD for medical reasons, with the most common reasons being chronic pain, arthritis/joint pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Just over a third of respondents claimed that CBD worked “very well” to address their problem. About one third also reported some kind of minor side effect. The most common side effects were dry mouth (11% of people), euphoria (6.43%), hunger (6.35%), and red eyes (2.74%).
Again, this isn’t a super rigorous test of efficacy, but it’s interesting in the absence of big clinical trials on some of these things.
Does it work? Evidence in animals
Predictably, there’s more of it and it looks pretty neat.
For example, animal studies have found that CBD relieves pain and inflammation in a variety of contexts. Here’s a study on eye pain in mice; here’s one on arthritis pain and inflammation in rats that improved after rubbing CBD oil directly on the affected areas. This study also found that CBD reduced the inflammation and immune dysfunction involved in fatty liver disease in rats
Animal research on the mental health/brain health benefits of CBD also looks promising. For example, this study found that oral CBD helped alleviate depressive symptoms in rats genetically prone to depression and this one found some interesting fast-acting antidepressive benefits. A review of cannabis and cannabinoids in sleep disorders found that CBD alleviated insomnia in animal models, but studies in humans are still really limited.
This type of animal research is where a lot of claims about the benefits of CBD come from, but animal research doesn’t necessarily translate into human benefits.
CBD and Paleo or Keto
None of these studies examined the combination of CBD oil and diet, although the potential anti-inflammatory effects definitely seem to complement a Paleo-style approach to health.
One major worry, especially for the low-carbers, might be “will CBD give me the munchies?” – but fortunately, this study found that low doses of CBD didn’t cause sweet cravings or increase liking of sweet foods.
From a Paleo perspective, CBD oil also comes under scrutiny for fat quality – and that goes double for any kind of CBD candy, CBD cookies, CBD drinks, and other edibles. But other than that, the studies above suggest that it’s compatible with a Paleo diet and lifestyle habits – like any other supplement, the question is really whether it’s right for you and whether you have a clear reason to be taking it. The Paleo approach isn’t about out-supplementing a bad diet, but there’s definitely a role for a few carefully-chosen supplements to complement a base diet of nutrient-dense whole foods.
So what does it all mean?
Ultimately, these studies suggest that the biggest risk of taking CBD might not be the CBD itself but rather the chance of getting a contaminated supplement or one that’s inaccurately labeled (causing you to take more or less than you think you’re taking). There’s also the question of legal status, which is incredibly unclear and confusing in most places.
It’s also true that the evidence doesn’t support the really extreme claims about CBD, like the idea that it prevents/cures cancer or that it’s some magical therapy for chronic pain in all patients. But it’s definitely an interesting one to watch and it’ll be cool to see what happens as more and more human studies start coming out.
P.S: If you’re looking to improve your life and health and could use some support, I offer private health coaching sessions. Learn more here to get started.
Do CBD and the Keto Diet Complement Each Other?
CBD and the ketogenic diet have become a popular combination when it comes to health and wellness. But are they really compatible? Here’s how combining CBD with a keto diet could support your wellness needs.
- What is the keto diet?
- Is CBD keto-friendly?
- How can CBD benefit the keto diet?
- CBD and keto: key takeaways
What is the keto diet?
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It helps you burn fat more efficiently by depriving your body of glucose, prompting it to enter a state known as ketosis. Glucose (sugar) is the body’s primary source of energy. When glucose is in short supply, your body burns fat to produce energy molecules called ketones (more on these shortly).
A ketogenic diet focuses on low-carb foods such as:
• Red & white meat
• Fish and seafood
• Dark chocolate
Guiding your body into a state of ketosis may affect you in several ways. Many followers of the keto diet report reduced hunger and weight loss, as is often the case with elimination diets. A ketogenic diet may also impact inflammation and insulin sensitivity, but we’ll dive a little deeper into the potential benefits later on.
The keto diet focuses on the principle of ketosis, a state that elevates the level of ketones in the body. To enter ketosis, you need to limit intake of carbohydrates, the main source of glucose in most diets.
When we eat a ton of bread, pasta, and sugars, whatever our body doesn’t immediately burn for energy gets stored as fat. However, a low-carb, high-fat diet pushes your body to enter ketosis and fuel itself differently—burning fat instead of stockpiling it. Most people on the keto diet try to eat no more than 20–50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
The best way to check if you’ve entered ketosis is to perform a ketone blood test. If levels are between 0.5–3.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/l), then you know you’re in ketosis and your body is using fat as its primary energy source.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
The keto diet has been subject to a lot of hype in recent years, but don’t discount it as merely a fad. There may be several good reasons to try the keto diet, provided it fits with your lifestyle and wellness goals.
Potential benefits of the keto diet include:
• Hunger reduction
• Weight loss (short term)
• Reduced insulin and blood sugar
• Lower triglycerides (fat molecules in the bloodstream)
• Better control of “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol
What are the risks of the keto diet?
No diet, keto included, is without risks. By eliminating certain food groups and forcing your body to prioritise fats and carbs differently, potential side effects include:
• Brain fog
• Bad breath
The reason for the side effects listed above stems from a phenomenon known as “keto flu”. Nearly everyone will experience some form of keto flu while the body adapts to its new fuel source. The impact is usually worse at the beginning of the transition, with symptoms improving quickly—usually 1–2 weeks later.
Is CBD keto-friendly?
So, how exactly does CBD fit into a ketogenic diet? Well, the compound appears to synergise with keto; first and foremost, it doesn’t appear to directly interact with the biological mechanisms of ketosis. Instead, cannabidiol is known for its influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vast regulatory network that keeps a close eye on functions such as mood, appetite, and sleep.
Moreover, provided you choose high-quality CBD products, you won’t need to worry about specific ingredients either. However, the one watch-out would be CBD gummies or edibles, as these often contain sugar and artificial flavours. Avoiding these entirely is crucial to staying in ketosis.
Does CBD oil have carbs?
Even better news for followers of the keto diet is that CBD oil contains a negligible amount of carbohydrates. You don’t need to worry about factoring CBD into your diet plan, or about it disrupting ketosis.
Cibdol CBD oil is:
• Nearly free from carbohydrates
Moreover, CBD products with an olive oil carrier contain an abundance of monounsaturated fat, a healthier alternative to saturated fats found in ready-made meals or fast food. In short, CBD oil synergises incredibly well with the principles of a keto diet.
How can CBD benefit the keto diet?
Knowing CBD won’t disrupt ketosis is fantastic news, but you’re probably wondering if there are any other benefits to CBD and keto. Below you’ll find a summary of potential advantages.
Research published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry examined the relationship between CBD and fat browning—the conversion of “bad” white fat into “good” brown fat.  It remains to be seen whether similar results can be achieved in human trials, but it points to a potentially promising synergy between keto and CBD.
Studies have found that CBD and ketosis appear to influence cytokines, protein cells that signal an inflammatory response.  While inflammation is a key part of our immune system, chronic inflammation can lead to many non-communicable diseases. Combining CBD oil supplements with a keto diet could be a powerful force in this regard.
Metabolism and appetite
A 2018 study found that the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a pivotal role in regulating food intake via metabolism and endocrine function.  The endocrine system is also responsible for producing hormones that make us feel hungry. Given that CBD can influence the ECS in complex ways, it could help to promote a balanced, healthy metabolism.
The heart and brain
The journal Surgical Neurology International notes that CBD boosts levels of the neurotransmitter adenosine, a compound associated with several functions in the brain and immune system.  Moreover, a different study demonstrates CBD’s link with endothelial cells found in the coronary artery.  To put it another way, CBD shows promise for supporting both our brain and heart, although the exact implications remain under investigation.
Our skin is one of the first areas where an intolerance to food or chemical substances will show. As many people choose to follow the keto diet to eliminate these aggravators, it makes sense to synergise your food regime with a compound supportive of the skin’s natural ecosystem.
According to a comprehensive review, that support could come via CBD topicals, as researchers found that cannabinoids can interact with receptors located throughout the various cellular components of the skin. 
Dramatically altering what you eat and drink is stressful for anyone, especially during the transition period. It’s also when we feel worried or anxious about our diet that we’re most likely to settle back into old habits, indulging in those comfort foods.
Fortunately, researchers understand the impact stress can have on our daily routines, which is why they’re examining the influence of natural compounds such as CBD. There’s still a lot to uncover regarding specific mechanisms of action, but the results of a 2015 review point to a promising future. 
One of the primary benefits of a ketogenic diet is its impact on insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a blood sugar problem that can lead to conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, a review published in the American Journal of Pathology observed the effects of plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD and THCV in relation to diabetes and diabetic complications. 
Can CBD mitigate any of the risks or side effects of the keto diet?
A ketogenic diet ultimately stabilises blood sugar and boosts energy levels. However, that doesn’t happen right away, and CBD could help ease your transition to ketosis.
When you first cut down on carbohydrates, you may find yourself feeling sluggish, irritable, even foggy-headed. This “keto flu” stems from your body’s need for time to adapt. It is used to getting energy from glucose, and you’ll need a few days or weeks to effectively transition to burning fat, allowing your body to ramp up production of those energising ketones.
To help overcome keto flu, it’s wise to consider the influence of supplements. Given that you’re eliminating certain foods, your body may lack the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain balanced well-being. With that in mind, Cibdol stocks a wide range of CBD supplements, blending the broad influence of cannabinoids with well-known vitamins and minerals.
CBD and keto: key takeaways
So, are CBD and the keto diet a good match? They certainly could be. However, if you have questions about ketosis or any pre-existing health conditions, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before drastically changing your diet or starting a new supplement routine.
If nothing seems amiss, consider trying a ketogenic diet alongside a regimen of CBD oil. Combined with an active lifestyle, these simple changes could help you feel lighter, more invigorated, and ready to live life to the fullest.
Considering the keto diet and looking to support your nutritional journey with CBD? Why not browse the Cibdol store for a complete selection of keto-friendly oils, capsules, and supplements. Or, if you want to learn more about how foods influence well-being, visit our CBD Encyclopedia for everything you need to know.