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The Potential Side Effects of CBD

CBD: Benefits and Side Effects

Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Generally speaking, CBD is considered a safe substance when applied topically or taken orally. There are, however, some potential side effects to keep in mind when using this substance, the majority of which are mild.

Common Side Effects of CBD

The most comment side effects of CBD include drowsiness, gastrointestinal issues, dry mouth, reduced appetite, nausea, and interaction with other medications. Those are outlined in detail below.

Drowsiness

Some common side effects when using CBD include drowsiness and sedation. This is also considered a benefit, but Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and chief medical officer for a CBD brand, notes that the effects might be too strong if you’re also taking CBD with other sedating medications.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Some people may get diarrhea or liver problems [when using CBD]. This is dependent on the individual and their medical history, so monitoring is important,” says Dr. Matharu-Daley.

Dry Mouth

Also known as “cotton mouth,” CBD can potentially cause your mouth and eyes to feel very dry, notes Dr. Brent A. Bauer via Mayo Clinic. Though this side effect is more likely to occur with THC, it can happen with CBD, as well.

Can Interact With Other Medications

CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.

Nausea

In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.

Because CBD supplements come in so many different forms—such as oils, gummies, tinctures, and vapors—the amount that’s actually absorbed can vary drastically. This, combined with each person, will ultimately affect which (if any) CBD side effects you might experience.

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.

CBD is one of the many chemical compounds that is found in the cannabis plant—referred to as cannabis sativa. There are two primary parts of the plant that humans use. One is THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other is CBD. Though they’re from the same plant, THC and CBD are quite different from each other.

“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.

Are There Any Benefits Associated With Using CBD?

There are several reasons why someone might want to use CBD. The substance can be found in a multitude of products ranging from pain-relieving creams to edible tinctures to skincare. Research is still underway, but over the last few decades scientists have become more aware of how CBD might prove beneficial when applied either topically or ingested.

“Since discovering the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body in the 1990s, CBD has been researched more extensively. The ECS is a central regulatory system restoring normal balance and homeostasis in a range of human physiologic systems throughout the body and brain and has cannabinoid receptors and chemicals in its function,” explains Dr. Matharu-Daley.

CBD benefits include the following:

  • CBD can have positive impact on the brain. In fact, Dr. Matharu-Daley says that the substance is legally prescribed in a specific medication for certain severe forms of epilepsy in children.
  • It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why you often see CBD in topical products such as oils, creams, and lotions.
  • Some research points to CBD’s ability to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • It has been used as a nausea treatment in some countries.
  • CBD may potentially reduce pain symptoms.
  • It has antioxidant properties, which means it can help fight off free radical damages that leads to premature aging.
  • Regarding skincare, CBD may help reduce excessive oil production in those with very oily skin types.

Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.

CBD Is Still an Unregulated Substance

It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.

“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”

A Word From Verywell

CBD is technically an unregulated substance in the United States and therefore it ought to be used with caution. This is especially important for those taking additional medications and/or those with ongoing medical issues. That said, preliminary research on CBD and its benefits are promising in relation to helping with mild to moderate health concerns and it is generally considered a safe substance. Health professionals do not consider CBD a cure-all for serious medical issues, including cancer.

As with any sort of supplement, we recommend speaking to your medical doctor about whether using CBD makes sense for you. Your doctor can also recommend certain products that align with your needs and help ensure you get the correct dosage.

You have probably heard of the benefits surrounding CBD, but what are the potential side effects you ought to be aware of?

Potential side effects of cannabidiol (CBD)

There are dozens of studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of cannabidiol in treating various conditions. Most of these studies conclude that this cannabinoid is safe and virtually free of side effects.

This review paper on the Safety and side effects of cannabidiol 1 by the NCBI for example suggests that controlled cannabidiol administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and animals. It also does not induce changes in food intake; nor does it affect physiological parameters like heart rate, body temperature or blood pressure. Also, according to this review paper, “high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.”

There are very few known side effects of CBD, these are mostly minor but you should be informed before taking CBD

1. Inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism

However, the NCBI study does mention some potential side effects for cannabidiol, such as the inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism and decreased activity of p-glycoprotein. CBD can indeed interact with a series of pharmaceuticals, as it inhibits the activity of some liver enzymes called cytochrome P450. This family of enzymes metabolizes most of the pharmaceutical drugs used to treat humans. If one takes high doses of CBD, the cannabinoid can temporarily neutralize the activity of P450 enzymes and thus alter the way drugs are metabolized inside the body. This action of CBD can be regarded as a side effect, but it’s not always a negative trait, as the deactivation of P450 enzymes is one of the mechanisms through which CBD neutralizes THC as well.

Putting this in perspective, eating a portion of grapefruit would have a similar effect on the aforementioned liver enzymes. So this should be viewed as a minor side effect of cannabidiol. However, if you are taking pharmaceutical drugs and wish to take CBD, you should discuss any potential complications regarding reduced P450 enzyme activity with your doctor and/or pharmacist.

2. Dry mouth

Another reported side effect of CBD administration is an unpleasant dry sensation in the mouth. This effect seems to be caused by the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the inhibition of saliva secretion. A study published by Argentinian researchers back in 2006 showed that cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and 2) are present in the submandibular glands which are responsible for producing saliva. The activation of these receptors alters the salivary production, leading to mouth dryness (also referred to as “cotton-mouth”). Dry mouth will pretty much just make you thirsty.

3. Increased tremor in Parkinson’s disease at high dose CBD

Early research suggests that CBD taken in high doses may worsen tremor and muscle movement in Parkinson’s disease sufferers. Yet, there are also studies that suggest that cannabidiol is safe and well-tolerated by patients affected by this condition. If this occurs, reducing the dose should reduce this potential side effect. Parkinson’s disease sufferers should consult their doctor before taking CBD and also begin any regimen by taking smaller doses.

4. Low blood pressure

Higher doses of CBD oil can cause a small drop in blood pressure , usually within a few minutes of the CBD entering your system. This drop in blood pressure is often associated with a feeling of lightheadedness. If you are taking medication for blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD.

5. Lightheadedness

This can be caused by the drop in blood pressure that can affect those using higher doses. This side effect of CBD is temporary and can often be resolved by drinking a cup of coffee or tea.

6. Drowsiness

In higher doses, CBD can cause drowsiness. If you are affected this way, you should not operate machinery or drive a vehicle. In most cases however, CBD is a wake-inducing agent.

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Potential side effects of cannabidiol (CBD) There are dozens of studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of cannabidiol in treating various conditions. Most of these studies conclude that this