Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
Common Side Effects of CBD
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.
CBD is one of the many chemical compounds that is found in the cannabis plant—referred to as cannabis sativa. There are two primary parts of the plant that humans use. One is THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other is CBD. Though they’re from the same plant, THC and CBD are quite different from each other.
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.
Now that Epidiolex has opened the door for CBD’s acceptance by the medical community, you can expect to see more prescription uses for CBD in the future. However, because of the way our medical system is structured, the stamp of approval can only be gained after a long period of costly clinical testing. This testing is paid for by companies that can patent and profit from the results.
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.
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You’re immune compromised. (Most evidence disproves this concern) CBD is known as an immunomodulator because it can calm down a hyperactive immune system , but some worry this could harm people whose immune systems are already impaired, like HIV sufferers. Although we don’t have evidence specifically testing CBD against this fear, many studies have been done using the whole cannabis plant. Research shows that cannabis helps relieve pain and other HIV-related symptoms without causing severe side effects . And when marijuana is tested against specific HIV symptoms like liver fibrosis, cannabinoids do not appear to worsen it . Although current evidence suggests that CBD could be more helpful than harmful for immune-compromised individuals, the jury is still out.
In the absence of definitive, slam-dunk clinical evidence, what the general CBD community does have to work with is a great deal of preliminary scientific evidence from laboratory experiments, animal models and case studies. Hundreds of scientific papers are published annually on cannabidiol, and the vast majority continue to point at CBD’s safety & efficacy for a wide range of conditions. This preliminary scientific evidence — from animal studies and human case studies — is what gets the ball rolling towards clinical trials.
Here’s what the evidence shows about taking CBD if:
For many of us, it may seem as though cannabidiol (CBD) sprang up out of nowhere. Within a few short years, this obscure molecule found in cannabis plants has moved from near-anonymity to a cure-all embraced by millions.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
Instead, CBD is thought to influence other receptors, including opioid receptors that regulate pain and glycine receptors involved in the regulation of the “feel-good” hormone and neurotransmitter serotonin.
Here is just some of what the current evidence says.
In an analysis of 14 published studies (nine involving animals and five involving humans), scientists with the University of Montreal concluded that CBD showed promise in treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant addiction.
Among the few human trials evaluating CBD’s anxiolytic effects was one published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019. For this study, 57 men were given either CBD oil or a placebo before a public-speaking event. Anxiety was evaluated using physiological measures (such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and a relatively reliable test for mood states known as the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).