CBD Side Effects: What You Need to Know

CBD Side Effects: What You Need to Know

J.P. Roe
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CBD Side Effects: What You Need to Know

CBD is a federally legal Cannabinoid compound found in a Cannabis plant. 

Unlike its sister compound THC, CBD causes no psychoactive effects of any kind. In other words, if you are wondering if CBD will get you high, it absolutely will not. A research study found that CBD is non-toxic and can easily be tolerated in quantities well up to 1,500 mg. 

The World Health Organization declared CBD to be non-toxic, safe, and carrying no risk of addiction way back in 2017. Although CBD has been found to be safe, as with many things that we consume, there are potential side-effects. Minimal, certainly, but worth understanding if you’re just beginning your CBD journey. 

Before we get into the specifics of side effects, let’s go over some basics of CBD:

Types of CBD

Full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD oil is typically derived from the whole hemp plant material. The stems, flowers, roots, and leaves of the hemp plant are processed to extract the desired oils. 

If the resulting compound is not further processed or refined, you’re left with the “full spectrum” of cannabinoids, including CBG, THC, CBD, CBN, terpenes, and phytochemicals in a similar profile to how they existed in the plant naturally. To meet federal legal guidelines, the resulting oil must contain less that 0.3% THC, as well.

Many of these retained compounds are being researched for their own unique benefits. What we know is that all of these cannabinoids work together to create an “entourage effect.” This effect implies that the best results are achieved when all of the cannabinoids are present in a product. Full-spectrum CBD oil is going to offer the broadest range of natural compounds in a single solution. 

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is produced through the same process as full-spectrum CBD, but after extraction, all but the most trace remains of THC are removed completely. This still leaves consumers with a vast range of cannabinoids in addition to CBD without the risk of trace THC affecting their systems.

Many individuals find themselves in situations when they cannot have any THC in their system, so broad-spectrum products are becoming the most used form of CBD. High-quality broad-spectrum oil will have almost no trace amounts of THC, but still gives an otherwise full cannabinoid profile, which will include CBG, CBD, and other potential cannabinoids so that the user still benefits from the ‘entourage effect’. For many individuals looking to get the health benefits without the concern of the psychoactive component, broad-spectrum CBD oil is the most effective choice.

When choosing broad-spectrum oil for this reason, it is wise to make sure you are purchasing from a brand that provides independent third-party lab tests or a Certificate of Analysis to verify there is no detectable THC in their product. It is also important to take a note of the carrier oil used in production. MCT Oil or fractionated coconut oil is the best option here as it helps to promote absorption of CBD into the system.

CBD Isolate

When all of the adjacent compounds are removed and only CBD is left behind, you get a CBD isolate. This is usually done through the CO2 extraction method which removes all of the oils, plant material, and all other elements leaving behind an almost entirely pure CBD product. At room temperature, CBD isolate takes the form of tiny, flavorless and colorless crystals.

Forms of CBD

CBD is available in many forms beyond a straightforward oil. The variety of products allows consumers to tailor their method of use to their specific needs. Some of the most common forms of CBD include:

Capsules 

CBD capsules are a simple way to administer regular doses. Capsules are often used for treatment of digestive issues and seizure disorders. The FDA has recently approved Epidolex, the first high-potency CBD drug to treat two rare seizure disorders in children.

Some capsules are specially designed to help improve a particular aspect of your life. For example, our CBD Melatonin Softgels can help you have a more restful night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.

Creams and lotions

CBD-infused topicals are often used to treat joint and muscle pain. In these cases, CBD is usually mixed with other soothing ingredients like camphor or menthol. Creams and lotions used for this purpose are often available in tubes or CBD roll-on applicators. 

For other cases, topical CBD is used in a more pure form to treat skin conditions like eczema or acne. It is often added to beatification regimens for its ability to revitalize skin. 

CBD Tinctures

These liquid suspensions of natural oils are placed under the tongue (sublingually) with a dropper. There are thousands of microscopic capillaries beneath the tongue which absorb the compounds quickly and provide one of the fastest methods of absorbing CBD into the circulatory system. 

Vaping products

While inhaling vaporized CBD is considered by some to be the fastest way to experience the effects, the risks associated with vaping are still up for debate. Most users find it a convenient way to administer their desired CBD dosage. 

Vaped chemicals are absorbed rapidly by the lungs and into the bloodstream, making it one of the most efficient methods of taking CBD. CBD vape juice comes in a variety of flavors, such as King Buddha’s own Blue Raspberry CBD vape juice

Edibles

Edibles are a popular way to take CBD. Gummies, snack cakes, CBD-infused drinks and other edibles are portable, discrete, affordable, and tasty. There is also no guesswork involved as a consumer knows exactly what dosage they are taking.

Who Should Avoid CBD?

Although CBD has been labelled safe by the World Health Organization, there is limited research on specific populations for whom CBD products could be unsafe. Tests regarding the safe administration of CBD in children and pregnant women is very limited at this time. (Current studies suggest that CBD may be safe for children struggling with ADHD and epilepsy.)

Some research studies report that CBD lowers blood pressure and can increase liver enzymes in a very small cross section of users. Therefore, consumers suffering from hypotension or liver disorders might need to be cautious with trying out CBD products.

There are some drug interaction risks with CBD. CBD can occupy enzymes that the human body uses to process drugs such as warfarin, HIV antivirals, anti-epileptics, and beta blockers. Consult your physician before experimenting with CBD if you’re on any medications. 

Proper Dosages Help to Avoid Side Effects

The most likely side effects of CBD use can be avoided by limiting your dosage. Side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and drowsiness usually only show up after a user has taken rather large doses of CBD oil (over 500mg). In many cases, the symptoms are more likely caused by such large amounts of carrier oil rather than the CBD itself. 

Depending on the reason why a person is taking CBD or the medical condition, they will need a different dosage. For example, some individuals have found relief from anxiety using as little as 5mg daily, while some studies showed positive results only after passing 35mg daily. One factor to consider in your body weight, as it will play a part in determining the amount of CBD needed to achieve results. 

Central nervous system depressants or alcohol may increase the sedation effect of CBD oil. Patients who use other medications that can cause drowsiness should avoid or lower their dosage of CBD oil. 

Although research data in humans remain limited regarding the effects of taking pure CBD oil, experts suggest that it has relatively low toxicity. In a human physical dependence study, researchers gave participants 1,500 mg of CBD every day for four weeks. The results indicated that such a high dose was well-tolerated without any side reactions. The World Health Organization also reports that consumers usually tolerate CBD well.

It’s important to note that there are no official guidelines for CBD oil dosage. Dosages will depend not only on your own biochemistry, but the form of CBD being used, its purity, and your desired effects.

Possible Adverse Side Effects of CBD

1. Low Blood Pressure

At high doses, CBD has been shown to cause a small drop in blood pressure across several studies. If you’re taking medication for high blood pressure or are already suffering from low blood pressure, you may want to be cautious with your dosing. Ideally, you should consult with your physician before making any decisions. 

Drops in blood pressure often lead to a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness, sometimes mistaken for vertigo. It’s important to understand that when CBD causes this, it’s not creating a “high”, but causing reduced blood flow to the brain due to the decreased blood pressure.

2. Dry Mouth

CBD and hemp products -- even marijuana -- are all prone to causing dry mouth. The reason? The cannabis plant contains certain cannabinoids that inhibit saliva production.

This side effect can be easily countered by drinking lots of fluids. Staying hydrated is an important health decision in any case, so might as well drink more water!

3. Sedation or Drowsiness

It’s worth noting that CBD (and many other supplements or even prescription drugs) affect people differently. That being said, we can make some broader statements about CBD’s effects based on the most common reactions.

For most people, CBD is stimulating at lower doses. It also tends to improve focus and offers some mood-enhancement benefits.

Once you cross over into “high doses” -- usually 100mg or greater -- CBD will typically start causing drowsiness or leave you feeling mildly sedated. Naturally, you will not want to drive or operate heavy machinery if you’re in a lethargic or sedated state. 

4. Diarrhea

This is a rare reaction that usually only shows up after someone uses large amounts of CBD oil -- far more than your typical daily dose. The unpleasant side effect is almost always caused by the carrier oil used to suspend the CBD rather than the CBD itself.

Just think of it like consuming any type of oil in high quantities. Doing so usually leads to an unhappy digestive system! 

Choose a quality CBD brand

As you can see, CBD is a safe compound in general. That being said, you must be aware that there are many inferior quality CBD items on the market. Such products may contain harmful ingredients or contaminants. Labelling of CBD products is often called into question because there is almost no regulation and shady manufacturers have been known to incorrectly label their CBD products.

The best move is to purchase only from reliable, reputable brands like King Buddha who use U.S.-grown hemp plants to produce some of the finest CBD products on the market. And we don’t ask our customers to take our word for it -- we put the facts and figures right on our website so everyone can see the independent lab results! 

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