3 Real Side Effects of CBD
Does CBD oil cause side effects? If so, what are the side effects of CBD oil, exactly? The truth is that while some of the effects of CBD might benefit some patients, CBD use could conceivably do more harm than good to other patients suffering from the exact same condition. How is this possible? In this post we’ll answer these questions and more.
CBD oil is a precious gift of nature for so many people in need of relief from whatever ails them. However, just like most natural supplements, what might be good for one person might not be good for everyone.
Many advocates will try to convince you that CBD has zero side effects. However, it’s much more complicated than that. The fact of the matter is that one person’s welcomed benefits might turn out to be another’s unwanted side effects.
In this post, we’ll define what a side effect actually is and talk about some of CBD’s potential side effects. Let’s begin.
What exactly is a “side effect”?
Before we can fully understand whether or not CBD oil has side effects, we need to understand exactly what constitutes a side effect.
Simply put, any undesired effect can be considered a side effect. There are two poles in the gamut of side effects. At one end of the spectrum, certain side effects are mild and tolerable. On the other end of the spectrum, there are side effects that can be dangerous and even deadly.
Obviously, life-threatening side effects need to be avoided at all costs. However, at the mild end of the spectrum, we find that one person’s welcomed benefit might be another’s adverse side effect.
For example, if you suffer from insomnia and you’re trying to get some sleep, drowsiness is a welcome effect. However, if you’re at work or about to engage in competitive sports, drowsiness would be considered an unwanted side effect.
Or if you’re trying to gain weight, a reduction in appetite would be an unwanted side effect. On the other hand, if you’re on a weight loss program, a reduction in appetite would be advantageous.
So, in order to know if CBD has unwanted side effects, we need to first know which effects are desired.
Interestingly, CBD can produce quite different therapeutic effects depending on quite a few factors such as how much is taken, what else is in the CBD oil you’re taking, how you’re taking your CBD, what time of day you’re taking it, whether or not you take it with food, and even how it was produced.
What this means is that, depending on the situation, CBD oil might or might not produce unwanted side effects. Furthermore, a change in one or more of the variables might remove or even reverse a side effect.
For example, simply changing the time of day you take CBD oil and/or the amount that you take can make the difference between drowsiness being an unwanted side effect or the desired benefit. Or changing the formula to include particular terpenes might make the difference between having more energy or less energy, or between feeling hungry more or less often. Or changing to a topical preparation might erase either of these unwanted side effects altogether.
Here are just a few of the many factors that can come into play when determining the therapeutic effects of CBD oil.
Factors that affect CBD oil’s effects
- Your sex, age, weight, body type etc.
- Your particular endocannabinoid system
- The presence or absence of various terpenes
- The delivery method (eaten, inhaled, topical, etc.)
- Whether or not it is nanoencapsulated
- What the carrier is (oil vs. alcohol, for example)
- The presence of additional active ingredients in each product
- CBD produces a bell-curve response in some cases
3 potential side effects of CBD oil
As you might imagine, given the complexities described above, CBD oil produces numerous potentially unwanted side effects that may or may not be avoided depending on the factors we mentioned.
However, there are a few more commonly experienced effects that are most often attributed to CBD oil that might be considered unwanted side effects for a notable percentage of users.
CBD oil can cause drowsiness
We’re putting all three of these side effects into one box because lightheadedness, dizziness, and feelings of faintness are most often associated with a drop in blood pressure.
Once again, however, a drop in blood pressure might be welcome if someone is trying to come down from a panic attack or treat hypertension, but it might be dangerous for someone with already low blood pressure.
CBD can cause diarrhea and nausea
One particular collection of side effects that no one wants to experience are diarrhea and nausea. A small percentage of patients taking part in clinical trials have reported these highly unwelcome side effects.
Does CBD have long-term health effects?
The wonderful thing about CBD oil and cannabis, in general, is that it is considered to be among the safest herbal supplements in the world, and has proven to be far safer than most pharmaceutical drugs.
There are very few known cases of long-term detrimental health effects resulting from the use of CBD oil. There have been claims that long-term use of cannabinoids such as THC can result in mental health issues, in particular psychosis. But no such claims have been made about CBD oil.
That being said, the US Food and Drug Administration recently released a statement claiming that CBD can cause unwanted mood changes such as agitation and irritability.
The FDA also claims that CBD use can cause liver injury, can interact with other drugs and botanicals in ways as yet unknown, and that CBD can increase the risk of drowsiness and sedation when taken along with alcohol.
It was also pointed out in the FDA’s statement that studies on lab animals have also shown “negative impacts on the male reproductive system,” though “the takeaway for human patients remains unclear.”
The bottom line is that scientists still don’t know what happens if a person consumes CBD daily for sustained time periods. Nor are we certain of the long-term effects CBD might have on children, growing fetuses, or breastfed newborns.
How to avoid unwanted side effects of CBD oil
The most important thing you can do to avoid potential unwanted side effects of CBD oil is “your homework.” In other words, you should learn as much as you can about what CBD is, how CBD works, the various types of CBD products, and so on, so that you can make an informed decision as to which CBD products are ideal for your particular circumstances.
The second important piece of advice is to pay attention to your body. If you experience any unwanted side effects after taking CBD oil or any other CBD product, just simply stop taking it and let the symptoms pass. Then consider the reality that, as we mentioned above, any number of factors could be involved in your results.
Rather than just giving up on CBD altogether, you might have options. For example, if you’re taking full-spectrum CBD oil capsules, it might be the terpenes that are bothering you. Perhaps you might try taking terpene-free CBD-infused edibles, instead. Or if you’re taking CBD in the morning and it’s making you drowsy, you might try taking it before bedtime, instead. Or perhaps you might just need to lower your dosage. Some experimentation might be in order.
Let’s end by saying that the statements in this article should not be considered medical advice. This information is merely intended to offer some insight into the potential side effects of CBD oil and how to avoid them.
If you decided you would like to treat a medical condition with CBD oil or you want to use CBD oil as a dietary supplement on an ongoing basis, it’s important that you do your homework and that you include your doctor or other health care provider in on your decision.