Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.
Common Side Effects of CBD
“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.
Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.
It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.
The FDA is working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD.
Unlike the FDA-approved CBD drug product, unapproved CBD products, which could include cosmetics, foods, products marketed as dietary supplements, and any other product (other than Epidiolex) making therapeutic claims, have not been subject to FDA evaluation regarding whether they are effective to treat a particular disease or have other effects that may be claimed. In addition, they have not been evaluated by the FDA to determine what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs or foods, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.
Potential harm, side effects and unknowns
In addition to safety risks and unproven claims, the quality of many CBD products may also be in question. The FDA is also concerned that a lack of appropriate processing controls and practices can put consumers at additional risks. For example, the agency has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed. We are also investigating reports of CBD potentially containing unsafe levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, THC).
We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is illegal to market CBD this way.
The FDA is evaluating the regulatory frameworks that apply to certain cannabis-derived products that are intended for non-drug uses, including whether and/or how the FDA might consider updating its regulations, as well as whether potential legislation might be appropriate. The information we have underscores the need for further study and high quality, scientific information about the safety and potential uses of CBD.
Scientists believe that CBD reduces nerve pain by binding to glycine receptors in the brain that regulate the speed at which nerve signals pass between nerve cells.
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes (a marker of liver inflammation). People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution, ideally under the care of a doctor who can regularly check blood liver enzyme levels.
If you are thinking about using CBD oil to treat a health condition, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is the right option for you.
To avoid interactions, tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or recreational drugs you are taking.
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can trigger side effects. Severity and type can vary from one person to the next.