Does CBD Oil Have Any Side Effects?

What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil

CBD Oil has exploded in popularity, with retailers both on and offline scrambling to fill store shelves with this latest and greatest purported “cure-all”. And while the hype around CBD oil is tremendous, it’s not without merit. After all, it seems like new research and medical findings touting this compound’s potential for medicinal or therapeutic uses ranging from reducing anxiety to treating arthritis.

With all of the information circulating about the benefits of CBD oil, it is easy to find out about the many benefits that this popular substance offers. Yet less is often said about the potential side effects.

Which brings up the question: does CBD oil have any side effects? And if so, what are they, how likely are you to experience them, and are they serious?

DISCLAIMER: Regardless of the evidence surrounding the prevalence or absence of side effects from CBD, you should always discuss use with your primary doctor prior to beginning any supplement, CBD included. Also bear in mind that while CBD is largely considered safe for use under normal circumstances and dosages, research is still being done to uncover potential interactions with medications and how CBD may affect those with various underlying health conditions.  

What is CBD?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike whole plant or leaf cannabis and THC, CBD doesn’t have a mind-altering or psychoactive effect, as it contains such a miniscule amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

It is thought that CBD can positively impact health and wellbeing by interacting positively with your body’s own natural endocannabinoid system, a complex system that impacts certain areas of your health. CBD is available in oils, capsules, candy, tinctures and more. 

This endocannabinoid system may aid in regulating modulating or otherwise impacting various bodily systems in a way that can be leveraged for therapeutic uses. 

What is CBD Used For?

CBD may be effective in the treatment of a wide range of health and wellbeing issues, with research showing promising results in its use for the treatment or relief from a wide variety of medical ailments.

These range from everyday aches and ailments to mental illness and chronic pain, and even cancer. While more research needs to be done, the medical community is excited at preliminary findings.

And as recent as late 2018 the FDA approved the first ever CBD based pharmaceutical prescription drug for the treatment of epilepsy in children, an impressive step forward in legitimizing the use of CBD and a sign of things to come.  

CBD Research

There is no doubt that the ‘war on drugs’ has had a negative impact on the perception of products derived from the Marijuana plant. This has resulted in many people having a very negative attitude to Cannabis and related products. Yet, as the legal use of marijuana grows, more and more people are interested in the benefits that it can offer.

The stigma surrounding marijuana and its derivatives has delayed the progress of important and ground-breaking research into hemp and psychoactive cannabis. Indeed, the first ever study into the potentially positive impact of cannabis in treating war veterans (these participants were suffering from untreatable post-traumatic stress disorder) only began in 2017. 

Earlier research in this critical area was stalled due to restrictions and bureaucracy preventing it taking place, preventing those suffering from receiving potentially life-changing treatment. Indeed, it is thanks to the persistence of a number of brave and dedicated scientists that we are now more able to overcome these restrictions and learn more about the potentially life-changing benefits of marijuana and its derivatives.

The introduction of the Farm Bill (which legalized the growth and sales of agricultural hemp) in 2014 is also helping to break down barriers for those wanting to research the benefits of Hemp and associated products. This is great news for those wanting to learn more about the benefits and potential side effects of CBD. While research is still in its infancy, there is plenty of evidence out there that can help you to make a more informed decision about CBD. Below are just some examples.

Studies Show Few Side Effects

A number of scientists have dedicated considerable time to proving that CBD oil is safe for human consumption.

A 1980’s study looked into the side-effects of taking CBD every day for 30 days. The study of 8 healthy volunteers and 15 people with Epilepsy found that all participants tolerated CBD very well. No serious side effects or signs of toxicity were reported at all. The same researchers found that CBD can also benefit some people suffering from Epilepsy. 

A 1986 study by Paul Consroe, Reuven Sandyk and Stuart R. Snider published in the International Journal of Neuroscience looked at the impact of CBD oil on 5 patients who were suffering from dystonic movement disorders, such as tremors. 

The study concluded that the side effects of CBD Oil “were mild” and that they included:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling light headed
  • Psychomotor slowing
  • Sedation

The study found that CBD seemed to help patients with their dystonia but in the case of 2 patients, they reported that it may have worsened some of their symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.  However, other research has found that CBD oil could, in fact, benefit patients with Parkinson’s Disease. 

Other Potential Side Effects

Apart from existing research we sometimes see feedback from users and various case studies reporting mild side effects that seem to be random and dependent on the individual and their circumstances.

Such side effects of CBD may include:

-       Acne

-       Anxiety

-       Depression

-       Stomach Pain or discomfort

-       Insomnia

-       Loss of Appetite

-       Dry / “cotton” mouth

Can Too Much CBD Cause Toxicity? 

In 2016, a group of researchers were studying the benefits that CBD could have in the treatment of patients with psychosis and anxiety. The researchers analysed a number of studies into the safety of CBD oil and they published the findings in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. The researchers discovered that in an animal study, administration of CBD for 30 days failed to indicate any significant changes in neurological, psychiatric or clinical examinations.

The result of these animal studies concluded that CBD “can be safely administered over a wide dose range.” 

The Importance of Quality and Purity

Of course, everyone responds differently to substances, just as some people’s bodies can respond differently to certain foods, for example. People who take CBD oil can report experiencing mild side effects.

These include: 

-       Mild mood changes

-       Mind-altering effects

-       Stomach upset

-       Dizziness

-       Light-headedness

In a number of cases, CBD users have discovered that the side effects were related to the quality and purity of the CBD oil that they were using. The CBD market is poorly regulated and a number of products are also imported. This means it can be difficult to know whether the product you’re purchasing is of good quality.

It can also be difficult to know whether the product contains enough CBD to be effective. This is why it is important to research the product you’re purchasing, in order to make sure that you know that it is coming from a reliable source and that the product is of a good quality.

You can do this by:

-       Asking an expert for advice

-       Asking or looking for 3rd party lab result when purchasing CBD

-       Paying close attention to product labels

-       Doing some research before you buy

Interaction with Other Medicines

As with any substance, CBD oil may interact it with a number of medications, including drugs prescribed to reduce symptoms of Epilepsy. Some experts advise that pregnant or nursing mothers avoid CBD use, as it could increase the placental barrier’s permeability thus placing the foetus at risk. If you’re considering using CBD oil, it is advisable to discuss any interactions with other medicines with your doctor

Conclusion: CBD Oil is Safe to Use

The majority of research into the side effects of CBD indicates that most people can use CBD oil without experiencing any side effects. For those who do experience side effects, most reported minor symptoms such as an upset stomach or dry mouth. These results could be due to impurities within the product.

If you’re considering trying CBD oil to treat a health problem, first make sure that its legal to do so in your location.

The unregulated nature of CBD products means that there is no guarantee that every product contains a safe or an effective amount of CBD. In fact, some studies have found that a large percentage of CBD products sold online are incorrectly labelled and could be harmful. However, with the right amount of research, you should be able to find a product that gives you the quality assurance you need. A little research will give you the confidence to be able to reap the benefits of this safe and versatile substance.