Reported Side-Effects Of CBD
While CBD is often hyped as a miracle drug, you don’t hear much about its possible side-effects. Every drug and medicine has them, even the simpler ones.
While CBD is a popular substance with a huge spectrum of potential health benefits, it could have several side-effects.
What you’ll get from this page
- What is CBD used for?
- About CBD’s side-effects
- Common CBD side-effects
- Liver damage
- CBD and pregnancy
- CBD and other medication
- Tips to avoid CBD’s side-effects
What Is CBD Used For?
Because of the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD’s potential health benefits span several different categories. This makes it a sought-after medicine. It could benefit people suffering from:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO), conducted an extensive study on CBD and its effects on humans. They found no adverse health outcomes but rather several medical applications for CBD. The WHO concluded that naturally occurring CBD is not associated with any negative public health effects and is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile.
However, that same report also examined reported adverse effects. It found these were usually a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.
About CBD’s Side-Effects
CBD’s side-effects are generally minor, especially compared to some of the drugs used to treat the same conditions. They may stem from a number of factors, too.
A negative interaction with medication is one, as the WHO report pointed out. However, quantity and quality also matter–a lot. Finally, everybody is different and may react differently to medicines, food items, etc. So what works for others may not work for you and vice versa.
Common CBD Side-Effects
Known CBD side-effects include:
- Appetite changes: If you are taking CBD for a non-appetite-related issue, there could be an unwanted shift in your daily food intake. The effect seems to depend on the dosage.
- Mood changes: CBD interacts with serotonin, making it a candidate in the fight against anxiety and depression. However, this could also cause a change in mood when you don’t want it to.
- Dizziness: CBD can cause a slight drop in blood pressure. As a result, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded for a while.
- Drowsiness: CBD may help people with insomnia. However, it may also make you drowsy. Again, dosage is crucial: smaller doses seem to have the opposite effect, making people more alert.
- Diarrhoea: CBD consumption in high amounts may lead to diarrhoea.
- Dry mouth: CBD may have an effect on your saliva production, when used in high amounts. This may create a feeling of dryness in your mouth.
- Vomiting: In rare cases, people have reported vomiting after taking CBD.
- Fast heartbeat: While CBD seems to have a beneficial effect on heart health, THC can increase heart rate by 20-50 beats per minute. If the CBD consumed also contains high levels of THC, it could put a strain on the heart. That is another reason why it’s important to avoid products with high THC levels.
- Nausea: While studies indicate that CBD may be able to help with nausea, some producers offer it mixed with various ingredients. These mixes could cause some people to feel nauseous.
It should be noted that upset stomach, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal distress are not typically caused by CBD itself. Indeed, CBD may even help treat stomach issues. These are generally caused by ingredients used to deliver CBD oil into the body or flaws during production. That is why it’s crucial to buy CBD from a trusted source.
There have been claims of CBD affecting the liver as well. A 2015 study Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved CBD drug. The test lasted three months and included 137 candidates with epilepsy. The study reported liver damage in one case. However, the researchers could not be certain this was because of Epidiolex.
Another study gave mice toxic levels of CBD and found this caused liver damage. However, this study was plagued with problems. The CBD used was extracted using hexane–a neurotoxin. And the doses used were deliberately toxic: 0.25% of the animals’ body weight, or one hundred times more than the maximum recommended dose.
Still, it is safer to assume that CBD may cause liver damage if you abuse its use.
CBD And Pregnancy
A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics warned pregnant women as well as nursing mothers to stay away from marijuana as it may have adverse effects on the baby’s growth.
However, the study examined marijuana and not CBD.
Another study specifically explored CBD’s side-effects on pregnancy. The only side-effect it discovered was that CBD can make the placenta more permeable to drugs. If those drugs are harmful, that may increase the risk to the foetus.
CBD And Other Medication
It’s crucial to know that CBD may also react with other medicines, reducing or increasing their effects.
Certain drugs interact negatively with the Cytochrome P-450 (CYP450) system, which is found in the liver and metabolizes any compounds that have the potential to be toxic.
CBD can have a similar effect on the CYP450 system. This can inhibit the system’s ability to metabolize drugs effectively. As a result, CBD can cause the levels of other medications already in your system to rise.
If you are on any medication, consult your doctor before you start using any CBD product. See if the doctor can alter your current prescription or its dosages.
A brief list of common drug types that may be affected by CBD includes:
- Anti-epileptics or anti-seizure medications
- Antivirals for HIV
- Blood thinners
- Channel blockers for calcium
- Some chemotherapy drugs
- Some sedatives
A good rule-of-thumb is if you can eat grapefruit while taking your medication.
This is because many medications which interact negatively with your CYP450 system advise they shouldn’t be consumed with the fruit. So, if you’re advised not to consume grapefruit while on a certain medication, chances you’d better avoid CBD, too.
More research on CBD is required in order to better understand how it interacts with different kinds of medications. Also, the type, quantity, purity, and quality of the CBD and medication can all cause different interactions.
Also, those who suffer from glaucoma should not consume CBD as it can increase intraocular pressure.
Tips To Avoid CBD’s Side-Effects
There are no conclusive studies yet into the long-term effects of using CBD. However, in terms of the immediate CBD side-effects, most people will not experience any adverse side-effects.
The most common cause of the reported side-effects is high dosage or negative interaction with medication.
To avoid having any side-effects from using CBD:
Consult a doctor
This point is not just for CBD, it applies to all medicines.
Before trying out anything new, you should always consult your doctor as they will properly educate you whether or not you should go for it.
Start with a low dose
Dosage is particularly important. CBD may be biphasic, causing one effect at low doses and its opposite in high ones. For example, many people use CBD to help with their anxiety. However, higher doses will make you more anxious, thus worsening the condition.
The best way to introduce your body to CBD is with a low dose. You never know how strongly your body may react to it.
So, “start low, go slow.”
Once you feel your body is handling it well, you can increase the dosage after consulting with your physician.
Quality is a big concern. Since CBD is legal in the UK (unless it contains more than 0.2% THC), many companies have released their version of CBD products like lotions, supplements, vape oil, etc.
Legally, CBD is in a bit of a grey zone. An unfortunate side-effect of this regulatory limbo is that quality can differ greatly between different brands.
A US study found that two-thirds of the CBD products examined were mislabelled. Mislabelled products claim that they contain less than 0.2% of THC but actually contain more. This can make you test positive for THC in drug tests. Other products contain less CBD than they claim.
More worryingly, hemp is often used to clean up contaminated soil, as it soaks up any pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, etc. CBD produced from polluted hemp can cause more adverse side-effects.
Some of CBD’s side-effects may occur because of a lack of testing exercised by producers buying cheap hemp.
That is why it’s critical that you buy your CBD products from a trusted source. Ideally, choose producers who test their products and publish the results online. You can also ask for a Certificate of Analysis. This will help you avoid any side-effects.
If you do all that, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy CBD’s reported health benefits!