The truth about CBD side effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. Over 80 chemicals, known as cannabinoids, have been found in the Cannabis plant. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most famous ingredient in cannabis. But CBD is obtained from hemp, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant that only contains small amounts of THC. CBD seems to have effects on some chemicals in the brain, but these are different from the effects of THC.
A prescription form of CBD is used for seizure disorder (epilepsy). CBD is also used for anxiety, pain, a muscle disorder called dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
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Common CBD Side Effects:
The specific side effects and their severity vary from one person to the next and from one type of CBD to another. Potential side effects of CBD include decreases in alertness (e.g., drowsiness and sedation), fatigue, changes in mood (e.g., irritability and agitation), decreased appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms/distress (e.g., diarrhoea), and changes in liver enzymes, dry mouth, nausea and interaction with other medications. CBD may also produce psychotic effects or cognitive impairment in individuals who regularly use delta-9 THC products like marijuana.
A few of these side effects are outlined in greater detail below:-
Drowsiness and sedation are among the most common CBD side effects. This is also considered a benefit for some people, but it is also noted that the effects might be too strong if CBD is being taken with other sedating medications.
Stomach upset or other gastrointestinal problems are another common side effect of CBD and CBD-derived products. Some people may get diarrhoea or liver problems when using CBD. This totally depends on the individual and their medical history, so monitoring becomes an important part.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that CBD may cause liver damage. In clinical trials, Epidiolex, a CBD-derived prescription medication used to treat seizures, was linked to an increased risk for high liver enzymes, a sign of liver damage.
Also known as ‘cotton mouth’, CBD can potentially cause your mouth and eyes to feel very dry. Although this side effect is more likely to occur with THC, it can happen with CBD as well.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of different medications and substances. The exact reasons why CBD causes this effect are not fully understood yet, but some research suggests that CBD’s impact on the endocannabinoid system might affect how saliva is produced.
Can Interact With Other Medications
CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. While research on CBD and drug interactions is ongoing, it has been found to interact with antidepressants, opioid pain relievers, anti-epileptic drugs, alcohol, and acetaminophen. CBD may increase drowsiness when taken with other sedating medicines or herbal products.
CBD may interact with some commonly prescribed medications including warfarin, lithium, sertraline, tramadol, codeine, captopril, valproic acid and carbamazepine (both anti-seizure medications). Fatty foods may increase the absorption of CBD.
In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea. This depends again on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest into their system.
Because CBD supplements come in so many different forms—such as oils, gummies, tinctures, and vapours—the amount that’s actually absorbed can vary drastically. This, combined with each person, will ultimately affect which (if any) CBD side effects a person might experience.
Severe CBD Side Effects:
In addition, CBD use has been associated with adverse events such as liver injury, interactions with other drugs, injuries following periods of sedation or drowsiness, and male reproductive harm.
Factors influencing the likelihood of CBD-associated adverse events and/or side effects include the strength and purity of the product, the amount used, mode of administration, concurrent substance use and misuse (such as legal and illegal drugs and alcohol), and interactions with prescribed drugs or other medications.
Severe side effects have been noted in people with treatment-resistant epilepsy (ongoing seizures despite multiple medications). These include:
- Status epileptics (a life-threatening medical emergency where a seizure lasts longer than five minutes)
- Pneumonia (infection of the air sacs in the lungs)
Severe other side effects of THC, particularly at doses above 2.4 milligrams, can be quite severe and include:
- Impaired cognition (lowered IQ scores and memory loss)
- Psychosis (including suspiciousness, emotional withdrawal, and hallucinations)
Adolescent users are at an increased risk of psychological disorders from THC. These psychological disorders include an increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia.
Unreliable dosage and purity
A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement and not as a medication. CBD products that are not FDA-approved do not have to meet any standards for content or potency. Thus, these products may contain more or less CBD than stated on the label and, more concerning, biological and chemical contaminants due to unsafe manufacturing practices without adequate process controls. There are also concerns around product formulations, purity and dosage, unintentional product exposure to children and pets, and potential adverse events, such as vomiting, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness. Also, the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition remains unknown.
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