What are the side effects of CBD? Who should avoid it? Let’s find out.
You might be familiar with the benefits of CBD, but what about the side effects? Well, like the benefits, scientific research into CBD oil side effects is still ongoing.
Recent studies suggest that CBD is generally safe to take for most people, but some may encounter side effects. The type and severity of these effects will typically vary from one individual to the next. In this article, we take a look at these possible side effects.
Possible CBD oil side effects
Research published in 2017 confirmed the favorable safety profile of CBD (1), expanding the findings of a comprehensive 2011 survey on the safety and side effects of cannabidiol (2). This means that CBD is considered to be well tolerated in humans and safe for consumption.
However, a number of possible side effects were also noted. These include:
- Heightened anxiety
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Recognizing CBD side effects
For most people, these side effects should present as relatively mild—if they are even felt at all. But if you experience one or more of the above side effects when using CBD oil or CBD-infused products, you should keep the following in mind.
- Light-headedness – If you feel dizzy or lightheaded when using CBD, lie down and wait until it passes, then get up slowly. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and try to avoid caffeine, as this may make things worse.
- Drowsiness – Some people may consider this an effect rather than a side effect, as they actually want to feel relaxed when using CBD. But if you feel overly drowsy after consuming CBD (whether that was your intention or not), there are a few things you should avoid. Generally speaking, drowsiness puts you at risk of falling, which can lead to injury, so take care when out and about, or going up and downstairs. And it is important that you do not operate heavy machinery or drive a vehicle when drowsy, as your impaired reaction times may put your own life and others in danger. Consider reducing your serving size until you find a level that works for you if you want to combat that drowsy feeling.
- Dry mouth – CBD use can potentially inhibit the production of saliva (3), leading to dry mouth or “cottonmouth”. While unpleasant, this can be overcome by drinking plenty of water prior to, during or after using CBD.
- Vomiting or diarrhea – If you experience vomiting or diarrhea, stop taking CBD immediately and consult your doctor. In the meantime, make sure you replenish your body’s fluids by drinking plenty of water or eating a clear broth soup.
Note: If your CBD side effects are more severe and do not improve with time, stop using CBD and seek medical advice from a trained professional.
Can CBD oil react with your other medications?
Prescription medications are broken down and processed by your body in different ways. Some only start working once they’ve been processed, while others become less effective over time.
By using CBD alongside your prescribed medication, you could run the risk of unwittingly increasing or decreasing the amount of medicine in your bloodstream. If you are currently taking medication (especially something that specifically warns against consuming grapefruit) we recommend speaking with a trained medical professional before adding CBD to your daily routine.
Who should avoid CBD oil and why?
There are certain groups who should limit their CBD use or avoid it altogether.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women – A mother shares everything with their growing child, both when pregnant and while breastfeeding. Nutrients and molecules found in the mother’s bloodstream can pass via the placenta and the breast milk into the child’s body—and cannabinoids are no different. Studies have found them in the umbilical cords of newborns (5), and low levels have also been detected in breast milk (6). While it’s uncertain how CBD affects the development of an infant, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and minimize exposure. If you feel you need to use CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with a trained medical professional to discuss the potential pros and cons.
- Those with low blood pressure – CBD appears to be effective at lowering blood pressure (7) which, if you suffer from high blood pressure, would be considered a benefit. However, if you already have low blood pressure (hypotension), this could be problematic. By lowering your already low blood pressure, you could suffer from lightheadedness, dizzy spells, blurred vision, nausea, and fainting. Take caution when using CBD (especially vape pens) or when increasing your serving size. If you do experience these symptoms when using CBD, stop and consult a medical professional.
Is CBD Right for You? – Some Further Reading
If you’re new to the world of CBD, we recommend carrying out some research to help you decide if it’s right for you. Here are a few articles to get you started:
CBD oil side effects are typically mild and easily overcome by staying hydrated. Should you encounter more severe, longer-lasting side effects, reduce your serving size or stop using CBD and consult a trained medical professional.