Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ‘wonder’ compound in cannabis, better known by its acronym CBD has taken both the United States and Canada by storm, and is slowly expanding its reach in other countries.
Hemp-derived CBD that forms the foundation of medical marijuana has helped numerous patients across the legal states. Seeing the overwhelming results, other conservative states are also planning measures to adopt effective medical marijuana programs which could help address diseases/conditions that traditional medicines have failed to treat.
CBD products in the market often enjoy rave reviews and are generally deemed safe by physicians and consumers alike. However, exceptions are everywhere. A few patients have reported facing a number of side-effects after consuming CBD, although those may purely be because of the synthetic additives, toxic hemp (usually sourced from Asia and some European countries) or reaction to medicines a patient is already taking.
The root cause of CBD fear
The real reason why many people ponder upon the side effects of CBD is because of the decades (or rather centuries) old stigma around marijuana. This stigma, however, is not because of CBD but due to THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis responsible for giving you a ‘high’.
However, even with THC being around, there have been no confirmed reports of death associated with an overdose of marijuana. Of course, marijuana is a drug and must be consumed in limits, like alcohol. Remember, the fear surrounding the usage of ‘natural’ CBD has no scientific backing.
Given below are a few commonly reported side effects that patients have experienced after consuming CBD:
CBD serves a diverse set of conditions- pain, anxiety, seizures, insomnia, skin conditions and many more. Now consider a situation where a patient of insomnia is using CBD with the belief that it will help him sleep. However, what if the cannabinoid ends up providing more energy to the patient, making their situation worse?
A number of people seeking CBD as an aid to sound sleep have complained that it makes them more restless and they find greater trouble falling asleep.
A piece of anecdotal evidence that supports this point comes from one Lift Co. forum member who reported that consuming high CBD strain Cannatonic made it difficult for her to fall asleep at night.
Another forum member, however, helped clear her concern. He said that since Cannatonic was a 50% Indica and 50% Sativa strain, the Sativa roots made it more of a stimulant than a sleeping aid.
If you are also experiencing restlessness because of your CBD product, odds are high that its source is some Sativa strain.
Drowsiness and Fatigue
Time and again, many people have reported experiencing fatigue and drowsiness after consuming CBD. Well, this wasn’t what CBD was extracted to do; ironically, it was supposed to make you relax.
There may be a few reasons why this happens:
- You may be taking a very high dose of CBD
- The source of your cannabidiol product is perhaps an Indica strain when it was supposed to be Sativa.
- Your CBD product may boast natural cannabis additives like terpenes. For instance, Myrcene is one such terpene, known for its sedative effects.
Dry Mouth, also sometimes referred to as ‘Cotton Mouth’, is a side-effect generally associated with smoking. This effect, however, is related to THC and has got nothing to do with CBD.
When THC enters the mouth, it interacts with certain CB receptors in the salivary glands, which results in a decreased saliva production.
Thus, if you are experiencing a dry mouth after regular consumption of your CBD product, chances are high that it is high in THC (contains more than 0.3% THC).
CBD is an effective alternative to migraine medications, which implies that it can help cure headaches. (by reducing inflammation). However, if a ‘wrong’ strain or a high dosage is taken, the results can be quite the opposite, further aggravating your headache.
This can be better understood through the case study of a patient who used CBD oil to treat his anxiety and agoraphobia. He initially consumed three drops a day, daily for a week, and enjoyed overwhelming relief without any side effects. However, when he increased the dosage the next week, he began experiencing mild headaches that got increasingly severe as the week progressed.
Hence, it is never a good idea to increase the daily dose of your CBD, especially when you are already benefitting from low doses.
Lower Blood Pressure
A number of studies have shown that CBD can help reduce blood pressure. Now, this inference is, indeed, good news for hypertension patients; however, it can interfere with the well-being of people who have low blood pressure. There’s nothing to worry though as it would require very high doses of CBD to push someone’s blood pressure to dangerously low levels.
A study has shown that nearly 600 mg of CBD would be required to witness a decrease of 5 mm Hg in blood pressure, (which would reduce a 120/80 reading to 115/80) in a healthy person.
If in case you are experiencing mild euphoria after using your CBD product, do not blame cannabidiol for it – it is completely harmless; all the ‘feelings of happiness’ you experience is only because of one culprit, THC. Check the product label, the THC in the bottle would be higher than is generally required.
Some patients report the feeling of nausea, or an upset stomach after taking CBD, generally when they are new to it. This perhaps happens because our bodies are not used to it (if you don’t smoke weed).
However, patients who keep reporting the same feeling even after becoming habitual to the cannabinoid perhaps need a new strain. Strains like Harlequin are very high in CBD and may not be the ideal choice for many people, even if consumed in low doses.
Change the source and see if it works for you.
Weight and Appetite Issues
If your CBD product makes you nauseous as mentioned in the above point, you will not feel like eating anything, thus a common side effect of CBD is loss of appetite.
Loss of appetite will force you to eat less and, in case, you are obese, you might consider it as a blessing in disguise. In fact, people looking to lose weight often make use of this property to shed some pounds. They consume CBD nearly an hour before their meal so that they end up eating less.
If your loss of appetite is quite severe, consider consuming CBD along with your meal. Not before. Not after!
How safe is CBD?
Rest assured that the product you are consuming is not in any way dangerous. The side effects mentioned above are usually short-lived and rare and do not bother one if necessary changes (like choosing a new strain or buying the right product) are made as soon as a side effect is experienced.