How CBD Works - Is CBD safe – side effects
None of the statements on this website have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. A doctor’s advice should be sought before using CBD products especially if you have a serious medical condition, use prescription medications, are pregnant, or are nursing a child.
We love this question.
Better yet…we love the answer!
It really shows the need to help the general public understand current research on CBD or Cannabidiol.
That’s a mouthful so we’ll use CBD.
Let’s take a look at everything available on CBD safety.
We’ll especially look at the popular ways to take CBD since that can have an impact.
After all, some items on your grocery store shelf are probably pretty bad for you.
Not to mention back in the pharmacy!
You can always jump right to our preferred store with CBD products tested for safety here:
Otherwise, you can jump right to any section here..starting with the basics:
Lots to cover.
Let’s get started!
We’ve written extensively on this. but a quick refresher is needed when talking about safety.
Because there’s so much confusion!
There are three different species of this plant.
They differ by size and structure, and chemical make-up.
The different species have been cross-bred so much, that the species don’t tell us much about what we want to know these days.
On top of this, the word hemp is always thrown around.
Is hemp a different plant?
This means the plants are very high in CBD and very low (or zero) in THC.
That’s a mark of safety and legality really.
We want high CBD to start with from a safety point of view.
So what’s so special about CBD?
What does it actually do in the body and is it safe?
CBD is a member of the cannabinoid family.
There are over 100 substances in the family.
In fact, there are receptors all over your body for these substances:
Let’s just say everywhere (except red blood cells).
Here’s a quick look at what’s going on:
This is important.
Your dog has naturally-made cannabinoids doing work in its body.
Your cat does too.
The bat up in the attic as well.
Ummm…get that taken care of!
How does CBD interact with this system?
It doesn’t actually plug into these receptors.
That’s one reason there’s never been an overdose on CBD.
It’s not overloading a chemical pathway in the body.
It’s getting that pathway to run at full capacity!
You can learn all the things this system does at our how does CBD work article. but here’s a quick summary:
These are the systems that have been researched but it’s safe to assume that new data will come out on virtually every system in the body!
They’ve only been able to research CBD recently.
Get ready for a slew of new research activity!
So…that’s the broad strokes of how CBD works in the body…
Is it safe?
The resounding data points to yes (we had to use our Magic 8 Ball reference at some point!)
Let’s look at the NIH (National Institute on Health) data and other health entities for real clarity.
The links to these results will be below.
Here are some key excerpts:
In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research.
WHO (World Health Organization)
The FDA approved the first CBD based medication for severe forms of epilepsy, with a similar safety profile found here:
CBD itself appears to be very safe and more data will bear this out.
That being said, there are a few caveats.
In order for the CBD you consume to be safe, it needs to processed and sourced correctly.
That’s really why we built this site!
We spoke with a CBD wholesaler who sells to many of the CBD brands you will find online.
It’s either diluted or processed poorly.
In terms of safety to the consumer, CBD must not have:
This is true for any natural product.
Since we’re ingesting CBD, it’s very important that we get the best product.
We have an entire comparison of the top brands here but the products we’re most impressed by in terms of safety and purity are here:
CBD is safe.
That’s the net net and we expect many of the brands to disappear as this safety issue settles out.
This is where there is so much confusion.
The species (Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis) doesn’t matter since they have been tinkered with for 1000’s of years now.
It’s the THC (psychoactive cannabinoid) percentage that matters.
Basically, hemp was raised to provide fiber, and marijuana was raised and nurtured to produce more of the drug component, THC, which is illegal in many States.
All one plant.
Just different chemical make-up.
Hemp is high in CBD, and that’s why it’s often interchangeable with CBD.
Hemp oil. CBD oil. All the same thing for the most part!
This comes up quite a bit.
The most common side effects which are on the mild to moderate side are:
There was a follow-up study below with more detailed information.
There may be other side effects when CBD is taken in conjunction with medications or for people significant health issues.
Make sure to check with your doctor if you have other medications.
In general, CBD should be taken at least 2 hours from other medications since they may use the same liver pathway.
There is no known overdose of CBD reported.
Of course, CBD and cannabis have been around for about 7000 years (documented at least).
There are some issues with THC and it can be overdosed on (happens all the time).
Other than the side effects listed above, there are just a few effects generally tied to other medications or drugs.
This may enhance the effects of the medications and alcohol (and that of CBD).
If you experience any negative effects, discontinuing use should end those.
Also, there may be side effects from all the plant material in “full-spectrum” CBD. It’s not uncommon for people to have side effects (especially gastro-intestinal) with full spectrum that go away with CBD Isolate.
We recommend CBD Isolate if you have allergy or histamine issues.
Again…only buy CBD from the best suppliers such as here:
As with any substance, people are generally concerned about specific safety questions.
We’ll get into those below.
There is one important aspect to consider.
This is basically a mechanism the liver uses to break down certain chemicals.
Other medications also use this pathway so taking CBD may affect how they are broken down.
Either by enhancing or reducing their effects depending on how they use the pathway.
You can check out the list here and check with your doctor regarding potential interactions.
There can be stomach irritability and dry mouth as a result of CBD consumption but this may be more due to the other ingredients (coconut oil, olive oil, etc).
Of course, contaminants such as solvents and pesticides can result in these issues so it’s important to buy the best qualify CBD available (more on how to shop for CBD here).
If you do have stomach irritability, we recommend looking at CBD Isolate versus Full Spectrum CBD.
The other natural substances in the plant (flavonoids, terpenes, etc) might not gel with a sensitive system.
You can check options with price comparisons for isolate and full spectrum here:
There is no evidence of CBD being habit-forming.
NIH detail on that here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
CBD treatment resulted in a fast and progressive reduction in withdrawal, dissociative, and anxiety symptoms, as measured with the Withdrawal Discomfort Score.
Check out CBD and Addition for more detail here.
Why isn’t CBD habit forming?
That leads us to the next question…
CBD is not psychoactive.
It cannot get you high.
Furthermore, CBD counters the high effect of THC!
It’s actually the neutralizer of sorts for the high.
Generally, the feelings people feel are calming.
There’s an expansion at the federal level on how to treat “hemp oil”� which started with the Hemp Farm Act of 2018.
Things are moving quickly there!
Again, we want to make sure to buy from a reputable source to make sure they’re 3rd party tested for THC levels.
The suppliers with online document testing that we compared and screened are here:
This requires an entire article.
Officially, CBD is not recommended for children under 21 or pregnant women.
That’s Charlotte Figi!
3rd party testing is paramount here!
It’s important to work with your child’s doctor with CBD.
Personally, I used CBD for my son’s anxiety, and it has been amazing.
You can learn about CBD and Anxiety here.
If you do decide to move forward with CBD for children, make sure it’s free of solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
We’ve screened for 3rd party testing of the strongest brands CBD here.
There has been no evidence of withdrawal from CBD.
CBD and addiction relief is expected to be a new area of research and discovery.
Make sure to check out our article on how to shop for CBD.
From a safety point of view, it’s the purity that matters.
We want the following:
That’s probably the most critical piece.
It’s still the wild west and there’s no real sheriff present aside from 3rd party testing.
For that reason, we only look at companies that are transparent and addressing the needs above.
Please check out our screened CBD option here:
Vaping is the process of heating concentrated CBD and other substances without combustion.
The effects are faster than other delivery options.
There are some questions as to the metals that are being heated and how that might affect health.
More research needs to be done.
For this reason, we focus on tinctures (drops), capsules, or balms (topical on the skin) as the primary way to take CBD.
A safer approach for the faster results of vaping might be to use a vaporizer.
This heats the oil or “juice” in steel or ceramic chambers to avoid the outgassing of heated metals.
You can check these out here:
We covered a lot on the safety of CBD.
There’ are always more questions than we can get to on one page!
Please feel free to email us with any questions on CBD safety and we’ll add the answer to the page (and of course respond to you).
Here’s the net net…
There’s an onslaught of new research being done on CBD because of the promise it shows.
We welcome this!
Every new piece of information adds to the body of support for people to make informed decisions.
If you have specific questions, please let us know.
One’s that make safety their primary focus.
There are lots of companies that are just marketing CBD to ride the wave of popularity right now.
It’s hard to tell who is who.
That’s why we’re here.
Make sure to check our comparison of CBD companies and brands here.
That’s a good place to start!
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“I feel like my body is oddly more flexible in the gym if that makes sense. I do notice that I sleep deeper.”
“CBD is the only way I get through the night. It’s been a life-saver for me. Thank you for the research!”
SEE Statement at bottom regarding FDA notification and legal statement on claims
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“I had no idea how important the lab results were with CBD. I won’t touch it without first seeing what’s in there now.”
“I was spending sooo much energy fighting off negative thoughts before CBD. I have so much more energy now.”
“Thank you so much for your marvelous work. I’ve told all my family members to check out the how it works page. Simple enough for even me to understand!”