If you're experiencing vertigo, you may be wondering if CBD can help ease your symptoms or limit vertigo episodes? Find out with Peels. About 1 in 7 American adults use CBD, according to a 2019 poll. With CBD’s popularity, the question is — are there CBD oil side effects we should be aware of? Are CBD supplements safe? What are the short and long-term side effects of CBD and other cannabinoids? Who should avoid using CBD altogether?
Can CBD Help Ease Vertigo Symptoms?
CBD has had a major impact on the wellness scene over recent years. We’ve seen this phytocannabinoid cropping up in all sorts of products that are used to help soothe tension and ease discomfort.
With so much praise for CBD’s calming capabilities, there are a lot of questions about what ailments CBD may help in relief.
If you experience chronic vertigo symptoms, you may be wondering if CBD could provide a natural form of relief. While CBD does not directly ease symptoms of vertigo, its ability to affect our wellbeing in other ways may be beneficial.
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation that the world is spinning around you. For some, this can happen when you are up high up and looking down, or even just when you move quickly from sitting to a standing position.
Almost 40% of Americans experience vertigo at least once in their life, but for some, it can be a more common occurrence for some. Vertigo can last for just a few seconds or multiple days at a time.
If you experience chronic vertigo, it can increase your risk of falling and interfere with your ability to complete everyday tasks.
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo may be caused by various possible issues, including stress, certain medications, extended bed rest, or an inner ear issue.
While it is important to speak to a doctor to find the root cause of your vertigo and how to best improve it, you may also be looking for immediate solutions to help resolve dizziness when it happens.
Along with feeling like the room is spinning, vertigo can also cause nausea, vomiting, and a lack of balance, making it challenging to go about your day.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of better known plant-derived cannabinoids naturally found within the Cannabis sativa plant.
CBD can work with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is an internal communication network made up of cannabinoid receptors that is believed to help regulate biological functions and maintain balance within the body.
How Does The Endocannabinoid System Work?
The endocannabinoid system is able to send chemical messages throughout the nervous system to help respond to and regulate a wide range of body functions.
Studies suggest that the ECS plays a role in sleep, appetite, mood, and pain regulation.
The brain can form chemical messages known as endogenous cannabinoids (or endocannabinoids) as needed. Researchers have found two main endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).
These endocannabinoids can bind with receptors throughout the body, including CB1 receptors prominent in the brain and CB2 receptors commonly found in immune cells.
Endocannabinoids can activate receptors they bind to, triggering biological responses. The immediate effects of endocannabinoids are often a source of temporary support, as the body’s enzymes can easily break endocannabinoids back down to their basic form.
How Does CBD Affect The Endocannabinoid System?
Because CBD is molecularly similar to our own endocannabinoids, CBD can work within the ECS to help restore balance as needed.
While scientists are still learning exactly how CBD works within the ECS, current research suggests that CBD can help extend the life of endocannabinoids by blocking enzymes from breaking them down as quickly.
Some researchers also believe CBD may modulate certain receptors, although it doesn’t bind directly with either CB1 or CB2 receptors.
Can CBD Help With Vertigo?
Currently, there is no evidence that CBD is suited to directly treat or help ease vertigo. However, it may help soothe symptoms that can accompany vertigo episodes, such as nausea.
Studies suggest that CBD can help ease nausea by supporting endocannabinoids that work with cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract. The ECS can also help stimulate appetite by managing communication between the gut and the brain.
Can CBD Worsen Vertigo Symptoms?
CBD does occasionally cause dizziness for some users, especially when taken in high doses, so if you are trying CBD for vertigo, it is best to start with a low amount and see how it makes you feel. If using CBD exacerbates your vertigo or dizziness, stop using it right away.
CBD may also worsen your symptoms if your vertigo episodes are triggered by low blood pressure, which is the case for some.
CBD can help lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and limiting oxidative stress. While this benefits many users, it could be counterproductive if you already have low blood pressure.
Speaking to a doctor to identify the cause of your vertigo can help determine if CBD is right for you.
What Can Help Ease My Vertigo Symptoms?
If you are experiencing vertigo often, it is best to speak with your doctor to help identify the cause and find the best ways to manage your symptoms.
Staying hydrated, standing up slowly, and practicing certain balancing exercises may help ease vertigo symptoms for some. If you’re taking medication responsible for your vertigo, your doctor may recommend changing medication.
Your doctor may also suggest including more potassium-rich foods such as tomatoes or antioxidant-rich foods like berries and citrus fruits in your diet and may help identify potential food-related triggers such as caffeine or alcohol.
Getting enough sleep may also help with some instances of vertigo, as can managing stress.
While CBD doesn’t directly provide relief for vertigo and may increase dizziness for some, it may help target underlying triggers for others. For instance, if lack of sleep or stress is causing your vertigo symptoms, CBD may help provide some relief.
CBD and Sleep
Our resting hours are prime time for the body to reset, as production of the stress hormone cortisol is reduced and the immune system has time to hyper-focus on any areas that need support. A lack of high-quality sleep can negatively affect body function, and may make some more susceptible to vertigo episodes.
By promoting relaxation and supporting sleep quality, CBD may help limit instances of sleep-related vertigo.
When taken shortly before bed, CBD can work within the body to prolong the effects of endocannabinoids like anandamide (referred to as “the bliss molecule”) in the brain, which can help settle the mind and shift the body into sleep mode.
CBD may also help block stress-causing molecules from binding to serotonin receptors, which can help promote feelings of rest that stress is known to interfere with. In a study that found CBD could help reduce stress in most users, many also reported improved sleep quality accompanying consistent CBD use over the course of a month.
CBD and Stress: Does It Help?
Vertigo symptoms are often caused by changes in the inner ear, known as your vestibular system. While stress does not directly cause vertigo, it can affect the part of the inner ear responsible for balance.
During periods of stress, the body produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol may affect the inner ear by disrupting neurotransmissions between the brain and vestibular system.
So how can CBD help reduce stress before it sets off a dizzy spell?
By engaging with the endocannabinoid anandamide and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, CBD can aid the ECS in regulating mood and lowering stress levels.
Alternatively, experiencing vertigo may also heighten your stress levels. The feelings of vertigo can be worrying, and for some who experience vertigo often, it can lead to nervousness about the possibility of vertigo coming on during certain situations.
Luckily, CBD can help calm the mind and promote relaxation when nervous thoughts are creeping up on us.
If CBD doesn’t worsen your dizziness, using it to relieve some of the stress that accompanies vertigo can help lower cortisol production and ease tension throughout the mind and body.
CBD Without The THC
While THC–the psychoactive cannabinoid found alongside CBD in the cannabis plant–can provide benefits for some, one of its most common side effects is dizziness, meaning it may not be right for those with vertigo.
Most CBD products derived from the hemp plant contain trace amounts of THC, but here at Peels, we do things a little differently.
At Peels, we source our CBD from organic orange peels. We use a process called cyclic terpene assembly to turn the aromatic terpenes in citrus peels into bioidentical CBD. Our CBD works exactly the same as the CBD found in hemp, but because there is absolutely no THC in orange peels, there will never be any trace of THC in your Peels CBD.
CBD does not directly ease vertigo symptoms and may even worsen dizziness for some.
However, CBD can help ease nausea that some experience with vertigo and help reduce stress, tension, and improve sleep quality when used consistently – all of which may impact the frequency of vertigo symptoms.
If you’re interested in incorporating CBD into your wellness regime, Peels’ freshly squeezed CBD oil is here to support you.
Side Effects of CBD Oil: Potential Risks & What You Need To Know
We can’t deny that CBD oil offers many therapeutic effects — from the relief of common post-exercise pain to the control of severe symptoms such as seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBD, as a health supplement, became even more popular when studies show CBD to be non-psychoactive, non-addictive, and generally very safe.
As a 2019 Gallup Poll shows, one in seven American adults uses CBD not only for health maintenance but for symptom relief.
With CBD’s popularity, one can’t help but wonder — are there any CBD oil side effects that we have to be aware of?
Types of CBD Products & Their Common Side Effects
Before we go into the details of the CBD side effects, let’s explore the different types of CBD products and their potential side effects.
1. Sublingual (CBD Oil)
CBD oils and tinctures fall under this category. The drops are placed under the tongue and left there for about a couple of minutes. The CBD is absorbed through tiny capillaries under the tongue — directly into the bloodstream.
Common side effects from this type of application include dry mouth, decreased appetite, and changes in bowel habits.
2. Inhalation (Vapes & Hemp Flower)
CBD products that you inhale include smokable CBD flowers and vape oil.
Because you’d be inhaling smoke or vapor, this type of CBD product often causes lung irritation, especially if the product makes use of risky solvents and additives.
Other side effects also include dry mouth, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Some also report developing headaches.
3. Topical CBD (Creams, Salves, & Balms)
These CBD-infused topical products aren’t known to produce side effects when applied to the skin. If they do, it’s pretty rare and usually affects people allergic to hemp or marijuana.
Some of the side effects of CBD topicals include skin rash, hives, and itching.
What are the Common Side Effects of Cannabidiol?
As a whole, cannabidiol (CBD) is generally considered safe. Not only is it well-tolerated by users, but it also doesn’t cause significant adverse changes in one’s physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate).
Because of this effect and the fact that there are only a few cannabinoid receptors in the lower brainstem (part of the brain that controls heart and lung function), CBD doesn’t cause an overdose.
This doesn’t mean that CBD is without side effects. Here are the most common side effects to watch out for:
Short-Term Side Effects of CBD
1. Dry Mouth
According to studies, the cannabinoids’ effects on the endocannabinoid system can lead to reduced saliva production, causing cottonmouth (dry mouth).
Drinking plenty of water helps relieve dry mouth.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
The drop in blood pressure is temporary and may be due to CBD’s vasodilation effects on the blood vessels.
When the blood vessels are relaxed and blood flows freely, there’s less pressure against the blood vessel walls, resulting in lower blood pressure.
3. Dizziness & Lightheadedness
The dizziness and lightheadedness may be caused by the drop in blood pressure, but this will go away once it returns to its normal resting pressure.
This effect typically happens to people who take higher doses of CBD.
At very high doses, CBD promotes sleep, while low CBD doses promote wakefulness and alertness.
5. Changes in Bowel Habits
CBD has a relaxing effect on the muscles, so some people develop mild diarrhea after taking CBD since it relaxes the bowels.
However, the changes in bowel habits may also be caused by the other ingredients found in the CBD oil.
Long-Term Side Effects of CBD
There’s still limited research on long-term CBD use, but according to a study, prolonged CBD use has led to increased liver enzymes in mice.
In humans, the long-term side effects of CBD haven’t been completely studied yet, although elevated liver enzymes were also seen in some patients.
Most CBD users report only a few side effects. The side effects they develop are usually mild, well-tolerated, and typically go away once the effects wear off.
Considerations and Precautions Before Taking CBD
It’s possible to develop CBD oil side effects, especially if you’re new to CBD products.
However, you can reduce your risks of developing adverse side effects by understanding these considerations and precautions.
1. Interaction of CBD with Other Drugs
CBD is safe, but we always recommend speaking with your primary care physician first before trying CBD oil. He knows more about your medical history and can help you reach an informed decision.
This is especially important if you’re taking medications. CBD is known to interact with several drugs. it can either amplify or dampen the drug’s potency, which could lead to more unwanted side effects.
2. Pregnant & Lactating Mothers
Cannabinoids are known to cross the placenta and the breastmilk, exposing the fetus or the baby and affecting their growth and development. To be on the safe side, you should avoid CBD if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant.
If you still want to try CBD oil, we recommend speaking with your physician first.
3. Liver Problems
As mentioned earlier, CBD has the potential to increase liver enzymes, so if you have liver problems, it’s best to avoid CBD oil or only use low doses of CBD.
Again, we emphasize the importance of seeing your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re diagnosed with liver disease.
4. Allergy to Hemp & Cannabis
Allergic reactions to cannabis and hemp are pretty rare, but they do happen. Coming into contact with the plant, for example, can induce skin allergies, while inhaling its pollen can result in respiratory symptoms.
To reduce the risks of an allergic reaction, you can try dabbing a small amount of oil on your skin and then wait for about half an hour to an hour. If you develop some skin rashes and hives, discontinue the oil immediately and consider visiting a doctor.
How to Avoid CBD Side Effects?
CBD oil is generally well-tolerated by users. Once your body gets used to the addition of CBD, these side effects resolve on their own.
However, these side effects can also be pretty uncomfortable, so if you want to avoid them or at least reduce their intensity, follow these simple tips.
1. Start Low, Go Slow
This term simply means starting at the lowest dose possible and increasing or decreasing the dosage according to your needs.
For example, the instruction is to take one full dropper, then you can start with half a dropper for about three to five days. If you didn’t notice any improvement, increase the dosage.
However, if you developed adverse side effects on half a dropper, then decrease your dosage.
Be consistent and be patient. You’ll soon find a dosage perfect for your health needs.
2. Know Who Should Not Take CBD
If you’re allergic to hemp or cannabis, take medications, have liver problems, are pregnant, or are lactating, then be extra cautious in using CBD oil.
Again, we recommend seeing your doctor before using CBD oil.
3. Look for the Product’s Certificate of Analysis
Trusted CBD brands always have their products tested by certified testing facilities to check for the presence of harmful pathogens, heavy metals, solvent residues, dangerous pesticides, and artificial fertilizers.
Don’t trust brands that can’t show proof of their CBD oil’s safety and quality.
4. Read Reviews
Reviews made by customers can help you choose a good CBD oil. These reviews let you know about the product’s expected effects (and side effects, if any).
5. Avoid Too-Good-to-be-True Claims
Bogus CBD companies will promise you the moon if they think it’ll make you buy their products. Their CBD oil can cure all types of diseases, and their CBD oil is the cheapest on the market.
Producing premium-grade CBD oil doesn’t come cheap. Legit CBD brands invest money to buy state-of-the-art equipment and purchase high-quality, organic raw materials.
If you see CBD brands offering cheap but “quality CBD oil,” avoid them. Not only are they violating FDA rules, but they may also be lying about their products, especially if they can’t produce valid laboratory test results.
Final Thoughts: Side-Effects of CBD
It’s safe to use CBD oil daily. It can ease discomfort and help maintain normal health and wellbeing.
However, like most health supplements, CBD also has its own side effects. It can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, changes in bowel habits, and sleepiness. It can even lower blood pressure.
These side effects are very well-tolerated by users. They also typically go away once your body gets used to CBD.
You can avoid these side effects by following the precautions and considerations mentioned above. You can also reduce the risk by choosing CBD oil made by trusted brands.
Have you tried CBD oil and experienced some side effects? What did you do to get rid of them?
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
What Are The Side Effects of CBD?
In the bureaucratic language of the WHO — this essentially means there’s a lot of evidence to suggest CBD is safe, and that the side effects are mild and manageable.
Despite having an excellent safety profile, there’s still some potential for side effects and few cases where CBD supplements should be avoided altogether.
In this article, we’ll cover the potential side effects of CBD in detail — including both the long-term and short-term side effects.
Table of Contents
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
The short answer to this question is yes.
Although CBD (cannabidiol) has been proven time and time again to be inherently safe — nothing is entirely without side effects. Any health supplement or medication that causes a physiological change in the body has the potential to cause side effects.
CBD has many effects on the human body — which means it’s totally possible that some of these changes will be undesired.
These undesirable effects are what we refer to as a side effects.
With that said, the side effects of CBD tend to be very mild. Issues with side effects from CBD most often come from high doses of CBD, combining CBD with other medications, or using CBD alongside other underlying health conditions .
What Are The Side Effects of CBD?
There are five main side effects you may experience when using CBD — low blood pressure, dry mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and tiredness.
Each of these side effects is considered a short-term side effect — which means it only lasts as long as CBD remains in the body. These symptoms will disappear as the CBD wears off.
There are a few CBD-based pharmaceutical preparations on the market, such as Epidolex and Sativex — each of which has had a ton of research done to assess the potential for side effects. This research has given us a lot more insight into the potential adverse effects of CBD and other related cannabinoids.
The side effects of CBD can be broken up into two categories — short-term and long-term. Let’s cover each in more detail.
Short-term Side Effects of CBD
Short-term side effects happen right away as the CBD begins to take effect. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Once the CBD wears off, the side effects usually wear off along with it.
Short-Term Side Effects of CBD May Include:
- Low blood pressure (defined as blood pressure below 110/80 mm Hg)
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
- Poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin rash
Long-Term Side Effects of CBD
Long-term side effects don’t appear right away. These side effects develop gradually over time with consistent use. There are very few long-term side effects reported from CBD, and many of these effects can be traced back to other aspects of CBD use instead — such as smoking, vaping, or combining CBD with pharmaceutical medications.
Long-Term Side Effects of CBD May Include:
- Changes in weight (loss or gain)
- Frequent infections (low immunity)
- Abnormal liver function tests (high AST or ALT)
- Feeling weak or tired
Is CBD Safe?
There’s a wealth of research available in the scientific literature that explores the safety profile of CBD — I dug into it to see what I could find.
This research is critical in order for further testing can take place to explore the practical and medicinal applications of the compound in humans. Researchers can’t test CBD on health conditions such as epilepsy before it can be proven safe.
Let’s cover some of the most important safety research involving CBD:
Study #1 — A Meta-Analysis on 132 Different Studies
This review looked at 132 research papers that assessed the safety and tolerability of CBD. These studies included in vitro research, animal testing, and human clinical trials.
The study concluded that CBD is well tolerated and safe in humans, even in high doses over long periods. Researchers made note that there was potential for adverse side effects if CBD was used in combination with other medications or underlying health conditions .
Study #2 — Animal Testing on CBD Safety
This review seeks to build off the research published by Bergamaschi et al., 2011. The results of the study confirmed the initial conclusion for the first review, highlighting CBD as a safe and effective compound for the vast majority of patients.
This study reported the most common side effects to be fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight. Researchers also noted CBD to be significantly better-tolerated than other medications used for similar purposes .
Study #3: Long-Term Safety of CBD & THC
This study examined the long-term health effects of CBD and THC.
Preparations of the two cannabinoids were given to 43 cancer patients every day for two weeks. Researchers of this study reported there to be minimal side effects and concluded that the preparation was “well-tolerated” .
Study #4 — Safety of CBD With Dravet’s Syndrome (Epilepsy)
This randomized clinical trial looked at the effects of CBD in the treatment of a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome over 13 weeks.
34 patients diagnosed with Dravet syndrome (aged 4 to 10) were randomized into four treatment groups — 5 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, 20 mg/kg CBD, and an inactive placebo control.
The study concluded by stating that CBD was well-tolerated by the majority of patients (94% completion rate), and safety findings were consistent with other research. Some patients were noted to have elevated ALT or AST (indicating changes in liver function), but these elevations disappeared once CBD was discontinued.
This is one of the best studies we have so far on the safety of CBD in children, especially since the doses used in the study were significantly higher than the standard dose of CBD .
What Causes The Side Effects of CBD?
CBD has a long list of effects on humans. It works by binding or modulating various receptors in the body. These receptors control other chemical, cellular, and organ functions. This interaction with receptors is what gives CBD its benefits as well as some of its side effects.
There are other ways CBD may lead to side effects as well — some of which come down to the way CBD was consumed, how much CBD was used, what other medications were taken alongside CBD, underlying health issues, and the presence of contaminants in the CBD extract itself.
Let’s cover each of these potential causes in more detail and what you can do to minimize your chances of experiencing side effects from each one.
1. Smoke or Vapor Inhalation
Different forms of CBD can bring unique side effects. For example, smoking, dabbing, or vaping CBD may lead to short-term side effects caused by the inhalation of compounds through the lungs rather than from the CBD itself.
When smoke is inhaled it causes damage to the lungs along with an increase in carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the blood. This can lead to side effects like coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and nausea.
There have also been some recent reports of a condition known as lipoid pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. This condition is caused by inhaling fatty compounds into the lungs — such as with vape oils or e-liquids. This condition is rare but can happen from any e-liquids, including CBD-infused vape oils.
How To Minimize Your Risk
The easiest way to minimize the chances of experiencing side effects from smoke or vape inhalation is to use CBD orally (CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD edibles) or topically instead.
There are a ton of excellent CBD products available that don’t rely on smoking or vaping to deliver CBD into the body. This saves your lungs and keeps harmful compounds like carbon monoxide out of your bloodstream.
2. High Doses of CBD
The more CBD you take, the stronger the effects.
This is true for both the positive and negative effects of CBD. Several of the research papers cited above used large doses of CBD (up to 20 mg/kg), which is significantly higher than the standard dose of CBD. However, despite remaining safe at these doses, the larger the dosage of CBD, the more chances there will be side effects.
Learn more about how much CBD you should take.
How To Minimize Your Risk
If you’ve never used CBD before, it’s important you understand how to find the best dose for your body individually. The effective dose of CBD is different for everybody, so you have to use some trial and error to find what works for you.
Most people do this by starting with a low dose and building up slowly over time. Once you reach the desired level of effects, you’ve found your dose.
Some people will continue increasing the dose gradually until they experience some mild side effects, then dial the dose back to the last dose that didn’t produce any side effects and stay here — this is what’s considered the maximum tolerated dose — or the highest dose you can take before experiencing negative effects.
You may want to avoid using exceptionally strong CBD oils if you’re just starting out with CBD as well. It’s easier to take too much when using very strong oils.
3. Interactions Between CBD & Other Medications
Whenever you take medications or supplements, you have to consider how the active compounds interact inside the body. Even if you take them separately, they end up mixing in the digestive tract or bloodstream.
CBD rarely interacts with other medications — but there are a few exceptions. CBD may cause the effects of the drug to become stronger or weaker than intended — which could lead to side effects from the medication.
How To Minimize Your Risk
CBD can interact with medications in many different ways. Even drugs that seem to be utterly unrelated to the effects of CBD can result in a negative interaction because of how the liver or kidneys process various medications. If CBD and the medication both compete for the same pathway of metabolism or elimination, it can lead to a buildup of both in the system — ultimately leading to side effects.
Because of this, you must speak with your doctor first about using CBD if you’re taking any medications. Your doctor will give you more accurate advice on whether or not CBD is likely to interact with any medications you’re taking — and what you can do to reduce your chances of developing side effects.
4. Underlying Health Issues
CBD is well-known to offer benefits to specific health conditions. There’s a lot of research on how this compound offers benefits towards diseases such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, and more — however, some people may experience a worsening of symptoms after using CBD for their health disorder.
Some examples of this may include Parkinson’s disease, anorexia, and hypotension (low blood pressure).
Liver conditions can also increase your odds of experiencing side effects.
Most of the compounds you take into the body need to be processed and metabolized by the liver before they can be removed from the body. If the liver is compromised for any reason, CBD and its metabolites can build up in the bloodstream — which can ultimately lead to side effects.
Hypotension (low blood pressure) is one of the most concerning health issues people should be aware of before using this supplement.
Cannabidiol can cause a reduction in blood pressure. For many people, this is one of the major benefits — however, if blood pressure is already too low, this effect can push blood pressure below safe levels. If this happens, the heart may be unable to pump enough blood into the brain, leading to lightheadedness, confusion, and fainting.
How To Minimize Your Risk
The best way to avoid side effects if you have an underlying health issue is to speak with your doctor directly before using CBD.
5. Low-Quality or Contaminated CBD Products
The source of CBD matters when discussing side effects. CBD oil can become contaminated during the cultivation or manufacturing process. These contaminants may lead to both short-term and long-term side effects — some can even be quite severe.
This is why we encourage people to only order CBD products from companies that publish independent lab analyses for each batch of products they produce.
These tests should look for all the main contaminants of CBD products, including:
- Heavy metals
- Organic solvents (like propane, butane, or hexane)
- Microbial contaminants (mycotoxins, bacteria, mold)
- Psychoactive cannabinoids (THC or THCV)
Contaminated CBD products aren’t uncommon, so it’s important you look for a reputable supplier before placing your order. CBD oils that are significantly cheaper than the competition are most likely too good to be true.
Many of these oils are made from cheap hemp cultivated in places like China or India where soil contamination is common — leading to the accumulation of heavy metals or other harmful compounds in the final product.
Contaminants can lead to side effects such as:
- Allergic reactions
- Skin rashes
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
Some low-quality CBD oils may also contain the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. If the THC content is high enough, it will lead to undesirable side effects as well — essentially causing the same effects of marijuana that make users high.
How To Minimize Your Risk
Always purchase your CBD from a reputable manufacturer that offers clear evidence that each batch of product they produce is completely free from these contaminants. There’s no safe dose of heavy metals, pesticides, or organic solvents, so it’s critical the tests show no trace of these compounds.
If a company can’t or won’t provide this information, we suggest you look elsewhere.
6. Allergic Reactions
Some side effects are purely the result of allergies. This may be an allergy to the CBD itself, other cannabinoids, or additives such as oils, synthetic flavoring, or vape fluids.
Allergies are driven by the immune system, which is continuously monitoring the body to identify and destroy anything that poses a threat. Sometimes the immune system mistakes a harmless compound as a threat — leading to what we call an allergic reaction.
When a threat is discovered (even if by mistake), the immune system immediately mobilizes a fleet of white blood cells and chemical messengers to the area to fight off the invader. This can lead to side effects including skin rashes, swelling, tightness in the throat, or much more severe effects like a closing of the airway, tachycardia (excessive heart rate), elevated blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.
Most allergies to CBD products are triggered by chemical additives from synthetic flavorings or preservatives rather than to the CBD itself.
How To Minimize Your Risk
Allergies can be hard to prevent and even harder to predict. For this reason, it’s wise to test a small amount of a supplement or topical before using the full amount to see if there’s any reaction to it.
For topicals, apply a small amount to the skin and wait for about 30 – 45 minutes to see if any rash or irritation appears. If not, you’re probably safe to apply the topical to a larger area of the body.
For edibles, the process is similar. Start by taking a tiny amount. Hold it in your mouth for a moment, if you can. Wait for 30 – 45 minutes to give the immune system time to react. If you don’t experience any side effects (most commonly, swelling or itchiness), you can safely take a larger dose.
What Can I Do If I Experience Side Effects From CBD?
What happens if you start to experience side effects from CBD? When should you be concerned?
The vast majority of side effects from CBD are mild in nature — meaning that although you might feel uncomfortable, the side effects will soon pass on their own. Depending on which side effects you’re experiencing, there may be some steps you can take to help them go away much faster.
1. Dry Mouth (Cottonmouth)
The best way to eliminate cottonmouth from CBD is to drink something fruity like orange or pineapple juice, sip water, or chew gum. If you remain well-hydrated before using CBD, the chances of experiencing this side effect are reduced.
This side effect is pretty common and usually doesn’t mean anything serious. However, lightheadedness can also signal a deeper underlying problem. The cause of this is typically low blood pressure, so it’s best if you can either sit or lie down for a while. This will allow the blood to flow easily into the brain. It also helps to drink something with electrolytes in it to help stabilize your blood pressure before you take CBD.
If you experience any loss of consciousness or feel excessive lightheadedness, stop using CBD immediately and set up a visit with your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
This side effect is hard to stop once it’s begun. You can take medications to help, but by the time the drugs take effect, the side effects will likely have worn off anyway.
It helps to take CBD along with food to minimize the chances of diarrhea.
If diarrhea continues to occur, it’s wise to speak with your doctor before using CBD again.
4. Fatigue or Tiredness
Feeling tired after using CBD is often a goal for using the supplement, especially in people who have a hard time sleeping. However, not everyone wants this effect from CBD. The easiest way to avoid this is to take CBD alongside caffeine to counteract the sedative effects of the compound.
5. Poor Appetite
CBD can lower our appetite — and while this is usually not a significant problem, it can cause you to go undernourished for long periods if you use CBD frequently. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies, weakness, irritability, and weight loss. It can help to take CBD along with a meal to avoid this effect.
Do Other Cannabinoids Have Side-Effects?
CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. There are over one hundred other cannabinoids also produced in the plant — many of which end up in your CBD oil. This is especially the case for full-spectrum hemp extracts.
So, do any of these other cannabinoids have side effects you should be concerned about?
Overall, the side effects of these other cannabinoids are very similar to the side effects of CBD, with some subtle differences.
1. Side Effects of THC
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants. Hemp products have very low levels of THC in them in order to stay within the legal limit and to prevent any psychoactive side effects.
Products that have high THC content (over 2%) may produce side effects related to the psychoactivity of THC.
There is more than one type of THC. The most common is delta 9 THC but there’s also delta 7 THC, delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, THCP, THCC, and more.
Here are some of the most common side effects of THC:
- Visual disturbances
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Changes in emotion and mood
2. Side Effects of THCV
THCV stands for tetrahydrocannabivarin. It’s closely related to THC, but has significantly less psychoactivity and is found in much lower concentrations in cannabis plants. This cannabinoid is unlikely to cause any real side effects in CBD products simply because of how low the concentration is.
Here are some potential side effects of THCV:
- Visual disturbances
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in mood
3. Side Effects of CBC
CBC stands for cannabichromene — it’s the third most predominant cannabinoid next to CBD and THC. Some hemp strains are high in CBC, so it has a greater potential for impacting the side effects of hemp products than most other minor cannabinoids.
The potential side effects of CBC include:
- Loss of appetite
4. Side Effects of CBG
CBG stands for cannabigerol — it’s the precursor molecule for both CBD and THC. Therefore, plants that have been harvested too early will have high levels of CBG.
CBG has few side effects and is reported to counteract many of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Side effects of CBG may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
5. Side Effects of CBN
CBN (cannabinol) is on the opposite end of the scale to CBG. Instead of being a precursor, it’s a metabolite of THC. As THC breaks down, CBN levels rise.
This compound is not found in high concentrations in hemp plants because of the lack of THC but will still be present in some capacity — especially in plants that have been harvested late or in full-spectrum CBD oils nearing their expiration date.
CBN is more sedative than most other cannabinoids, so the most common side effects are sedation and fatigue.
The side effects of CBN may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased appetite
- Poor memory and concentration
Who Should Avoid Using CBD?
Now that we’ve covered all the side effects of CBD and highlighted some of the factors that can make these side effects more frequent or more severe — let’s discuss a few examples where CBD should be avoided altogether.
1. People With Liver Disorders
CBD is metabolized in the liver — along with just about every other medication or supplement we consume. If there’s already a problem with the liver, it will be difficult to metabolize CBD effectively, causing CBD levels (and other medications) to remain elevated for extended periods.
If you suffer from any liver disorders (hepatitis, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, etc.), it’s wise to speak with your doctor before using CBD.
2. People Trying to Conceive a Child
CBD and other cannabinoids are untested on a growing fetus, and there are many theories that the compound can negatively affect brain development. Therefore, if you’re trying to conceive, it’s wise to avoid the use of CBD supplements.
3. Pregnant or Breastfeeding Mothers
Similar to the point above, CBD should be avoided in expectant or nursing mothers to avoid losing the baby with CBD. Cannabinoids are highly interactive with our central nervous system and may cause problems in the developing infant nervous system.
CBD is a fat-soluble substance and will transfer to the child through breast milk.
4. People Taking Certain Medications (Ask Your Doctor)
Some medications may interact with CBD, as highlighted in several of the safety studies listed earlier. Here are some of the key ways CBD can interact with a drug:
- CBD may increase the effects of medication — this can lead to side effects from the CBD or the medication being too strong
- CBD may prevent the breakdown and excretion of drugs from the body — this can cause compounds to build up to dangerous levels in the bloodstream over time
- CBD may counteract the effects of a medication — this can cause the medicine to become ineffective for addressing the symptoms it’s being used to treat
Certain drugs are more likely to interact with CBD than others — such as antipsychotics, blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and pain medications.
Always speak with your doctor before using CBD if you’re taking any prescription medications.
5. People Suffering from Low Blood Pressure
As mentioned above, CBD may cause a reduction in blood pressure. If you already experience low blood pressure, taking CBD could worsen the problem.
It’s recommended that people who have low blood pressure (hypotension) should avoid using CBD, or use CBD under the supervision and advice of a medical professional.
6. People With Known Allergies to Cannabis Products
If you’ve had allergic reactions to cannabis products in the past, be very careful when trying CBD. Sometimes these allergies are experienced only from smoking the plant or from additives like synthetic flavorings or preservatives — however, in other cases, the allergies are to the cannabinoids or other phytochemicals in the hemp plant.
In cases of severe allergies, such as anaphylaxis, avoid CBD products altogether.
Conclusion: Is CBD Safe?
Everything has the potential to cause side effects — especially compounds that have apparent physiological effects on the body. This includes CBD — which has a long list of effects and benefits.
CBD has been proven to be a safe and effective compound in animal and human clinical trials many times over. The side effects this compound is most likely to cause are very mild in nature — such as dry mouth, mild drops in blood pressure, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fatigue, or drowsiness.
Most people can avoid these side effects by following some of the advice listed above — such as drinking plenty of water, taking CBD with food, combining other supplements like caffeine, or limiting the dose of CBD.
However, in rare instances, these side effects are more severe. The most severe side effects come from allergic reactions, smoke or vape inhalation, or interactions with other medications and underlying health disorders.
For this reason, it’s wise that you speak with your doctor before using CBD if you have any underlying health issues or are taking any medications. It’s also a good idea to start with a very low dose of CBD (~2 mg) and build the dose up gradually over time once you know how this compound interacts with your body individually.
Have you experienced any side effects from CBD? Leave your comments below!