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

What Is CBD, Exactly? 

What Is CBD, Exactly?  CBD 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, CBD doesn’t make users feel high but instead activates various receptors within the body. 

A Bit About the History of CBD

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 CBD and THC were first isolated. The research also led to the mapping of a system of receptors called the endocannabinoid system.

Ongoing Research 

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

What Are the Potential Benefits of CBD?

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

Is CBD Regulated? 

No, and that is perhaps why it is important to pay attention to the potential side effects. While CBD 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 CBD oil from a reliable manufacturer. 

What Are the Common Side Effects of CBD?

CBD has several common potential side effects that can result from either a sensitivity to CBD or from taking the incorrect dosage. The most common side effects include: 
  • Drowsiness and Sedation: Because CBD 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 CBD use, we recommend avoiding driving and other attention-intensive tasks when taking CBD and for several hours afterward. Of course, the feeling of sleepiness can also be a benefit for those who use CBD as a sleep aid.  
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: CBD 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 CBD. 
  • Dry Eyes and Cottonmouth: CBD 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 CBD. 
  • Drug Interactions: While CBD 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 CBD into your daily routine. 
  • Nausea: While CBD can be used to promote appetite, nausea is also a potential side effect. Nausea seems to be more common in people who take CBD supplements or people who ingest too much CBD. 

Less Common Side Effects and Precautions Associated with CBD

Below are some less common side effects and other things to keep in mind when taking CBD. 
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: CBD has not been proven safe when taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In fact, CBD is classified as “possibly unsafe” for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 
  • Children: CBD is considered possibly safe for children, especially when used as CBD oil. One of the early applications for CBD as a potential treatment was for children with a specific kind of epilepsy. When used as a treatment for children, CBD 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 CBD 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 CBD. Instead, they should opt for a lower dosage and consult their healthcare provider before using CBD. 
  • Individuals With Parkinson’s: Parkinson's patients who took CBD oil reported that high doses of CBD exacerbate their tremors and make movement more difficult. 

Tips for Safely Taking CBD Oil

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

Follow the Manufacturer Dosage Guidelines

While the concentration of CBD 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 CBD. 

Start Small, Start Safe

If you are new to CBD, we recommend taking the minimum dosage, or even half of the minimum dosage if you think you are sensitive. If you have been prescribed CBD 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 CBD 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 CBD oil and make sure that the CBD will not interact with your existing medications. Again, people with liver disease need to take extra precautions with CBD. 

Takeaways

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