In This Article
Despite the fact that humans have been consuming cannabinoids for thousands of years, due to a long prohibition era, taking cannabinoids for health has only recently become mainstream again. For a long time, the importance of plant medicine seemed to be forgotten as people rushed to replace age-old remedies with modern pharmaceuticals.
However, more and more people are turning away from prescription-based and over-the-counter medicines in favor of natural alternatives that often have more favorable side effect profiles.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the potential side effects of CBD, including the potential for addiction, overdose, drug interactions, and fertility.
- Side effects of CBD
- Is CBD addictive?
- Can you overdose on CBD?
- Potential interactions
- CBD and fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding
- Side effects of CBD in animals
Side Effects of CBD
CBD is one of over 100 known cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis and hemp plants that gained fame as an effective treatment of epilepsy, but is now commonly used by millions of people all around the world for its wide-reaching wellness potential.
If you’re to believe anecdotal evidence, some of the more common side effects of CBD appear to be improved mood and feeling of wellbeing. But generally when people talk about side effects, they want to know the adverse effects of taking something, so what does the science say?
A 2011 review of all scientific research into the side effects of CBD concluded that CBD has a favorable safety profile, with only a few cases of mild side effects ever being reported.
An updated review was then carried out in 2017, which included all of the clinical trials performed up until 2016. The team that completed this review confirmed the favorable safety profile of CBD, adding that any adverse effects were indeed both mild and infrequent.
Adverse Effects of CBD
The negative side effects of CBD are usually experienced in clinical studies involving higher doses of CBD. These adverse effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
A new study released in 2017 also found that CBD has the ability to lower blood pressure in humans. While this may be adding to the list of beneficial effects of CBD for some people, those with low blood pressure should avoid taking CBD for this reason, or at least speak to their physician about the possibility first.
Too much CBD can make you feel really sleepy. Some people are looking for just that effect and use CBD in their nighttime routine.
Is CBD addictive?
Although heavy use of high-THC cannabis has the potential to lead to dependence in some people, CBD does not create any sort of addiction and there are no BD withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in 2017, after examining the abuse potential of CBD and stated that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
Does CBD make your eyes red?
The red eyes associated with smoking cannabis is due to the THC in the compound. THC lowers the pressure in the eyes while increasing blood flow causing redness. It is this lower eye pressure that makes cannabis so popular among glaucoma patients.
CBD on the hand has actually shown the opposite effect. It slightly increases the eye pressure, tightening the blood vessels which does not result in red eyes.
Remember that CBD flower has trace amounts of THC so it may actually give you red eyes. It’s also possible that smoke gets in your eyes causing redness.
Can you overdose on CBD?
I think we can all agree that too much of anything is a bad thing, but can excessive amounts of CBD be dangerous?
Both the 2011 and 2017 research reviews on the safety of CBD (referred to above) noted that high doses of CBD were generally well-tolerated. The highest dose that was given at one time in any study (pre-2017) was 1,500mg.
However, another study that was published in 2017 found that extremely high doses of CBD could cause liver damage in some mice, but to be fair, these amounts would be almost impossible to take, let alone by accident.
The mice that were affected by a single dose were given 2,460mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight, which would equate to a human weighing 175 lbs taking 196,800mg of CBD in one dose. The study also gave mice a variety of daily doses and those that showed signs of liver damage were being given the higher dose of 615mg per kg, the equivalent of a human taking just short of 50,000mg per day for several days in a row.
The general consensus regarding overdosing on CBD is that even if you take very large doses of CBD, while you are likely to suffer from adverse side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and lethargy, you will not die.
So can you take too much CBD?
Well it’s essentially very very difficult to have a CBD overdose but it is possible just like it is with almost every substance, food or drink. Consume with moderation and take notes of how it makes you feel. At the end of the day, you will need to determine your limit of how much CBD is too much CBD…
CBD can affect your body’s ability to process some medications, including blood thinners, in a similar way that eating a grapefruit would. So, if you are currently receiving any medication, then you should speak to your healthcare provider before taking CBD to discuss potential drug interaction.
CBD and fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding
We have seen that CBD is sometimes recommended to help with fertility, largely due to its relaxing properties, but we would err on the side of caution and advise against it unless your physician has told you otherwise.
A 2019 review concluded that CBD may have a harmful effect on animal embryos and fetuses and the FDA strongly advises against the use of any form of CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding.
The unregulated market
Unless you’re receiving FDA-approved Epidiolex on prescription, for the treatment of severe epilepsy, unfortunately you’ll be buying your CBD from an unregulated market, which is why it’s essential for you to find a trusted supplier.
Otherwise, there’s no telling what might be in your CBD oil products. Maybe you just bought an expensive bottle of carrier oil? Or worse yet, maybe your CBD has been sourced cheaply, containing all manner of contaminants, toxins, and heavy metals.
A 2017 study into the labeling accuracy of CBD products involved the purchase of 84 CBD products from 31 companies and found that just 30.95% of the products were labeled correctly. Some of them had less CBD than advertised, some had more, and some even contained illegal amounts, according to federal law, of THC delta-9 and Delta-8 THC.
A good company will always source their CBD from organic hemp grown in America and will be transparent in all of their practices, so that you can trace the CBD back to where the hemp was grown.
You should also make sure that the company you buy from can provide you with third-party lab reports verifying the potency and purity of their products.
Side effects of CBD oil in animals
All mammals have endocannabinoid systems and CBD seems to interact with them in the same way they do with us, helping older dogs with mobility problems and helping to calm anxious cats. As of yet, there haven’t been any scientific studies on CBD oil for animals, but preclinical studies on mice and rats lead us to believe that the potential side effects of CBD on animals are much the same as those displayed in humans.