You have low blood pressure. (Could be important) Some studies report that CBD lowers blood pressure, which could be a concern for people already dealing with low blood pressure. Overall, CBD appears most effective at reducing blood pressure during stressful events , which is widely embraced as one of its benefits. But CBD might also temporarily decrease your resting blood pressure as well. If you suffer from hypotension, you might want to monitor your blood pressure when trying new CBD products or increasing your dose. Are you the type that gets a bit light headed when you stand up suddenly? Just be a bit more cautious if you’ve just used a CBD vape pen or if you’ve been taking high oral doses of CBD.
So we thought we’d compile all the negative scientific evidence into one handy guide, to help you decide whether CBD is right for you. We’ll cover the different side effects you might encounter and what they could mean, as well as what current research says about trying CBD if you are:
Although it’s hard to imagine all the different side effects you might experience from contaminated or synthetic products, the worst effects of dishonest CBD products could be long-term damage to your body that you won’t immediately experience as a side effect.
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You’re pregnant or breastfeeding. (Could be important) When pregnant or breastfeeding, a mother shares everything with her growing child. Active molecules in a mother’s bloodstream can pass into her child’s body through both the placenta and breast milk. Broad screening reveals that cannabinoids can be detected in the umbilical cords and stools of newborn children. And low levels of cannabinoids can be detected in breast milk from regular cannabis users . It’s currently uncertain if/how CBD affects a developing baby, but it’s safest to minimize exposure to cannabinoids (and a wide variety of other foods, products, and medications) while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding and use CBD to manage anxiety or another health issue, discuss the tradeoffs with a medical professional.
You have complications with your liver. (Could be important) This warning is speculative, but people who have liver problems might want to be cautious about their CBD intake. During the clinical trial of Epidiolex, children taking CBD were more likely to have elevated liver enzymes (ALT and AST aminotransferases). In CBD’s defense, all of these children were also taking pharmaceuticals known to damage the liver. It’s currently unclear whether CBD directly affects the liver — or if the interaction with pharmaceuticals (mentioned above) results in higher bloodstream levels of liver-damaging prescription drugs. However, just to be safe, if you suffer from liver problems or take medication that is hard on your liver, you might want to monitor your liver enzymes when introducing CBD into your daily routine. Epidiolex additionally suggests that people with liver impairments slowly increase their CBD doses . They also reported that elevated liver enzymes were primarily observed in children taking the maximum dose, and lower doses (680 mg or less per day for a 150-pound person) posed a much lower risk.
Although CBD has been deemed safe by the WHO and other health organizations, not enough experiments have been done to identify if there are any populations for whom CBD is unsafe. Instead of taking that as a free pass to tell everyone to take CBD (like most other CBD companies), we think this makes it even more important to scour the scientific literature for any warning signs. Because we value your safety first, we put together a list of all the conditions we could find that might deserve special consideration.
Even a critical review by the World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that CBD is a promising treatment for a number of medical conditions, is well tolerated, has a good safety profile, and doesn’t appear to be a risk for abuse, dependence, or other public-health related problems. In other words, even the WHO thinks CBD is A-OK.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.