Did you know that cannabis was one of the first plants ever to be cultivated by humans? According to Wikipedia, evidence has been found of cannabis being used as far back as 8000BC. The cannabis plant, or cannabis sativa, was first used by humans for its fibers, and as a food source. This must mean these Side effects of CBD oil must not be new. Since then, cannabis has been used throughout history, for everything from clothes, rope, and sails, to paper, food, and medicines.
In the 1800s, cannabis extracts could be found in almost any pharmacy or doctor’s office, as a treatment for a variety of different conditions. As it was so commonly used, the psychotropic effects of cannabis soon became widely known, and it began to be used more frequently for recreational purposes. By the early 20th century, many countries had criminalized cannabis, and so began the stigma that surrounds the cannabis industry as we know it today.
We may not have been able to unravel the many secrets of cannabis back in 8000BC, in recent years, however, massive amounts of funding have gone into the research of cannabis. This funding, along with thousands of man-hours and some of the best scientific minds, has given birth to incredible technological and medical breakthroughs in the cannabis industry. Thanks to that fact, we now know more about this amazingly versatile plant than ever before.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD?
As with any over the counter or prescription medication, CBD has been known to have some side effects. However, because CBD is a natural supplement, the side effects of CBD are usually extremely mild. Actually, these side effects almost non-existent and CBD has more benefits. Common side effects of CBD could include:
1. Dry Mouth
The most common side effect of CBD is dry-mouth or “cotton mouth”.
Why This Happens: Although dry mouth is generally associated more with THC than CBD, because some of the body’s cannabinoid receptors are located in a part of your mouth that produces saliva, CBD can sometimes cause dry mouth. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are located in your salivary glands, therefore when you consume cannabinoids, it can sometimes trigger a reduction in saliva production which causes your mouth to feel dry.
How it Can Be Prevented: Dry mouth is a side effect of CBD that can be very simple to prevent. If you are experiencing dry mouth as a side effect of CBD try brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. It could also be helpful to chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum may prevent endocannabinoid signals that cause reduced saliva. Drinking water before, during, and after using CBD can also reduce dry mouth, as well as avoiding alcoholic beverages since they can cause dehydration. Dry mouth is also most commonly associated with CBD sprays and tinctures so try switching to a different method of consumption. If you believe that the THC content is the issue, then you are likely taking a Full Spectrum CBD. You may want to explore CBD Isolates and the differences.
Another common side effect of CBD is irritability. CBD in low or moderate doses is sometimes used to treat irritability, however, in high doses, it can sometimes cause it.
Why This Happens: CBD can boost your body’s level of anandamide. Moderate levels of anandamide help reduce irritability while high anandamide levels can sometimes increase irritability. CBD may also activate certain receptors that can trigger anxiety/irritability.
How it Can Be Prevented: The easiest way to prevent irritability as a side effect of CBD is simply to reduce the dosage you are taking.
Drowsiness as a side effect of CBD makes sense because CBD is a common treatment for some sleep disorders.
Why This Happens: CBD is biphasic which means that high doses can sometimes cause drowsiness, while low doses typically promote wakefulness.
How it Can Be Prevented: Preventing drowsiness when caused by CBD can usually be done simply by reducing your CBD dosage. You can also try caffeine, getting plenty of sunlight, or just taking your CBD dose at night before bed instead of in the mornings.
4. Gastrointestinal Issues
CBD has sometimes been reported to cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, reduced or increased appetite, and weight loss or gain.
Why This Happens: Since CBD has been shown to effectively improve these conditions rather than cause them, research would suggest that additives, and contaminants, like pesticides or heavy metals from low-quality CBD, are the more likely culprit behind most digestive side effects.
How it Can Be Prevented: If CBD is causing gastrointestinal issues try switching brands or looking for a pure CBD product without additives. You should also avoid taking your CBD supplements in capsules or as edibles. If this doesn’t work speak to your doctor. They may be able to recommend another brand of CBD or offer you different treatment options.
5. Can Interact With Other Medications
The most dangerous side effect of CBD, and the one to be the most aware of, is that CBD can interact with other prescription medications that you may be taking. Some medications that can cause interactions with CBD are heart medications, antidepressants, macrolide antibiotics, and any medication known to cause drowsiness, such as antipsychotics or benzodiazepines. You can use this interaction checker, at drugs.com to find out if any of your medications have any dangerous interactions with others.
Why This Happens: According to an article published by Harvard in 2020, CBD can increase your body’s level of a blood thinner called coumadin, as well increasing the level of other medications in your blood. CBD can also block some CYP liver enzymes that help to break down your prescription medications.
How it Can Be Prevented: According to Harvard Health, a few things to do to help minimize the risk of drug interactions are limiting your alcohol intake, knowing the correct way to take your medications, and simply going easy on grapefruit juice.
Nausea is a common side effect of CBD simply because some people do not digest CBD oils/supplements well.
Why This Happens: The most common and most likely reason to become nauseous as a side effect of CBD is additives or contaminants. Because CBD is considered a supplement, it is not regulated by the FDA and therefore can sometimes contain contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides.
How it Can Be Prevented: If you regularly experience nausea when using CBD try simply reducing your dosage, or switching your brand of CBD to a pure and additive-free CBD supplement.
7. Side Effects on Appetite
Changes in appetite are some of the most common side effects of CBD. This can mean an increase or decrease in appetite. In fact, 1 in every 10 people who use CBD reports some change in appetite.
Why This Happens: Not much is known about why CBD causes such dramatic changes in appetite. One reason could be that CBD calms the digestive tract which reduces nausea and can increase appetite.
How it Can Be Prevented: The effects that CBD can have on appetite can generally be prevented simply by avoiding oral ingestion of your CBD supplements.
Some allergic reactions to CBD have occurred, however not much research has been done on them. Allergic reactions to CBD can cause skin rashes or hives, itchy nose, watery eyes, or breathing problems.
Why This Happens: The most likely reason for allergic reactions to CBD is that CBD is derived from the cannabis sativa plant which is a very common allergen.
How it Can Be Prevented: Allergic reactions are not easily preventable. If you think you are having an allergic reaction to CBD talk to a Dr. or pharmacist immediately. It is important, however, to educate yourself on the side effects of CBD so that you do not mistake side effects for an allergic reaction.
Death as a side effect of CBD is unheard-of, and to be absolutely clear no one has ever overdosed on CBD. According to an article published by Way of Leaf, “All chemical substances are potentially lethal in a high enough dose.” They go on to explain that for a 165-pound human, “…it would take approximately 18,750 milligrams of CBD consumed within a very short time to result in any potentially fatal effects.”
Why This Happens: CBD and other cannabinoids are generally considered to be non-toxic, and no fatal overdoses from any cannabinoid have ever been reported.
How it Can Be Prevented: While overdosing on CBD is not fatal, taking too much CBD can leave you feeling lethargic, confused, dizzy, or sedated. The best way to prevent this from happening is simply to follow dosage instructions and never exceed your recommended dose of CBD.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a specific phytocannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. There are at least 113 separate phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, however, CBD itself constitutes up to 40 percent of the plant’s overall extract. While CBD can be derived from the cannabis plant, it can also be made synthetically in a lab. CBD is non-psychotropic, which means it does not cause euphoria or intoxication in the manner that THC does.
What Does CBD Treat?
In recent years, interest has increased in the use of CBD to treat diseases. Research has shown that CBD can be used to treat a laundry list of diseases and disorders. Perhaps one of the greatest breakthroughs in medical CBD research is the discovery that it can be used to effectively treat certain forms of pediatric epilepsy, which are typically unresponsive to seizure medication, including Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). CBD can also be used to treat or reduce symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, chronic pain, metabolic syndrome, obesity, migraine, inflammatory conditions, and arthritis. CBD has also been helpful in treating some phycological conditions including memory loss, schizophrenia, psychosis, and sleep disorders. Because CBD can affect the brain’s serotonin receptors, it is also known to produce anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
Is CBD Safer Than the Side Effects of Prescription Medications?
For anyone who is considering CBD as an alternative to prescription medication, this question is one of the most important. Research would show that the short answer is yes. Unlike almost all prescription medications, CBD is not addictive. It also has extremely mild side effects compared to most prescription treatment options. As anyone who has ever seen a commercial for prescription medication knows, in the last sixty seconds of audio, you will hear a monotone voice, speed talking through a list of side-effects as long as your arm.
For example: One of the many conditions that can be treated with CBD as an alternative to prescription medication, is fibromyalgia. One of the most commonly prescribed medications for fibromyalgia is the drug Pregabalin (brand named Lyrica). A complete list of Pregabalin side effects can be found here, but the list includes unusual bleeding/bruising, unsteadiness, swelling of the hands, legs, and feet, muscle pain, and blurred vision. In comparison, CBD’s common side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, and irritability, seems like the much safer option. This is not to say of course, that CBD is always safer than prescription medication. In many cases, however, there is definitely an argument to be made for CBD as a safer treatment option.
Is CBD a Safe Alternative for My Prescription Medication?
With the increasing popularity and availability of CBD, more and more people are asking this question. Unfortunately, the answer is not the same for everyone. Making the switch from your prescription medication to CBD is an important medical decision, and should always be discussed with your doctor. If, after talking to your doctor, you decide that CBD is a reasonable substitute for your prescription medication, you will still want to do your research, and find out exactly what type and dosage of CBD are right for you. Similar to prescription medication, CBD dosage differs from person to person, depending on what you are using it for, and how severe your condition might be.
Overall, CBD is a completely natural supplement, derived from a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. With little to no side effects, CBD is a safe and reliable alternative treatment for dozens of conditions.