Hemp has been gaining popularity as a potential treatment for a variety of ailments and is currently being researched for other helpful properties. However, Hemp, like other natural substances, is not without its side effects. Here is what you need to know.

What Is Hemp, Exactly? 

What Is CBD, Exactly?  Hemp stands for cannabidiol, a substance that is one of the components derived from hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical that causes the ‘high’ feeling, Hemp doesn’t make users feel high but instead activates various receptors within the body. 

A Bit About the History of Hemp

Cannabis and marijuana have often been associated with ‘getting high’ and have had a bad reputation for some time. However, hemp plants have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Around the 1980s, scientists began taking an interest in the potential benefits of hemp and marijuana, which is when Hemp and THC were first isolated. The research also led to the mapping of a system of receptors called the endocannabinoid system.

Ongoing Research 

Hemp has been the topic of research for several years, and researchers are continuing to explore the potential benefits of Hemp and other cannabis components today. While some uses for Hemp have been backed by several studies, others are based on anecdotal evidence. We will be covering all potential benefits and potential side effects of Hemp, some of which are still being researched at this time. 

What Are the Potential Benefits of Hemp?

Hemp can be used to relieve various ailments and symptoms, including nausea, poor appetite, anxiety, and insomnia. Hemp products may also potentially:  While Hemp has many potential uses, many of the above are still being carefully investigated by the scientific community. 

Is Hemp Regulated? 

No, and that is perhaps why it is important to pay attention to the potential side effects. While Hemp has increasingly been legalized across the U.S., it is not regulated by the FDA. This means that manufacturers often make their own formulation with variable percentages. Fortunately, most good manufacturers will list the dosage information, including the recommended dosage, on the bottle. This is also why you should ensure that you are purchasing your Hemp oil from a reliable manufacturer. 

What Are the Common Side Effects of Hemp?

Hemp has several common potential side effects that can result from either a sensitivity to Hemp or from taking the incorrect dosage. The most common side effects include: 
  • Drowsiness and Sedation: Because Hemp helps you relax, it can also make you feel sleepy. Feeling too relaxed and sleepy, however, is not always ideal. If you are worried about experiencing drowsiness following Hemp use, we recommend avoiding driving and other attention-intensive tasks when taking Hemp and for several hours afterward. Of course, the feeling of sleepiness can also be a benefit for those who use Hemp as a sleep aid.  
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Hemp may cause diarrhea and liver problems, especially when taken with certain medications. If you are taking other medications or have underlying medical conditions, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before taking Hemp. 
  • Dry Eyes and Cottonmouth: Hemp is associated with dry eyes and dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. While these two side effects are more strongly associated with THC, they may also occur with Hemp. 
  • Drug Interactions: While Hemp is a natural substance, it can interact with your other medications and, in some cases, cause serious side effects, which is why speaking to your doctor is essential before you incorporate Hemp into your daily routine. 
  • Nausea: While Hemp can be used to promote appetite, nausea is also a potential side effect. Nausea seems to be more common in people who take Hemp supplements or people who ingest too much Hemp. 

Less Common Side Effects and Precautions Associated with Hemp

Below are some less common side effects and other things to keep in mind when taking Hemp. 
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Hemp has not been proven safe when taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In fact, Hemp is classified as “possibly unsafe” for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 
  • Children: Hemp is considered possibly safe for children, especially when used as Hemp oil. One of the early applications for Hemp as a potential treatment was for children with a specific kind of epilepsy. When used as a treatment for children, Hemp should be prescribed by a healthcare professional, and the child’s condition should be monitored per the doctor’s orders. There is no evidence that commercial Hemp presents an effective treatment. 
  • Liver Disease: Because the liver plays a key role in metabolism, people with liver disease may not be able to take regular doses of Hemp. Instead, they should opt for a lower dosage and consult their healthcare provider before using Hemp. 
  • Individuals With Parkinson’s: Parkinson's patients who took Hemp oil reported that high doses of Hemp exacerbate their tremors and make movement more difficult. 

Tips for Safely Taking Hemp Oil

Here are a few tips to ensure that you are safely taking Hemp: 

Follow the Manufacturer Dosage Guidelines

While the concentration of Hemp in the oil can vary depending on the brand, most manufacturers will offer a recommended dosage so that their clients do not take a higher-than-recommended dose of Hemp. 

Start Small, Start Safe

If you are new to Hemp, we recommend taking the minimum dosage, or even half of the minimum dosage if you think you are sensitive. If you have been prescribed Hemp by a healthcare provider, we recommend following that healthcare provider’s instructions.  We also recommend that you give yourself some time in case you happen to experience one of the common side effects, such as drowsiness. Plan to take Hemp when you have the opportunity to rest and even sleep if the need arises. 

Speak to Your Doctor

Speak to your doctor about your plan to try Hemp oil and make sure that the Hemp will not interact with your existing medications. Again, people with liver disease need to take extra precautions with Hemp. 


  • Hemp oils, edibles, and other products are still being explored as a potential treatment for a variety of conditions.
  • The most common side effects of Hemp are nausea, upset stomach, dry mouth and eyes, and drowsiness.
  • Always speak to your healthcare provider before using Hemp.
June 09, 2021