CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that has gained much popularity for its therapeutic properties. Most of the articles, news and reports are about the benefits of CBD and its quasi-miraculous properties. However, very few articles deal with topics such as the side effects of CBD.

This article addresses the possible side effects of CBD. These effects aren’t serious ones, but some users might experience some of these side effects.

CBD is used to treat many conditions such as epilepsy with approved medicines such as Epidiolex, especially used for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS) two rare epileptic disorders classified as epileptic encephalopathies. In addition, we know about the positive effects of CBD in the treatment of anxiety and as a pain-reliever. For instance, it’s used by many athletes for its anti-inflammatory effects.

1. Can I overdose if I use CBD?

There are no cases of cannabis overdoses. Even back in the XIX century, doctors were surprised by the powerful psychoactive properties of cannabis (THC) and its extremely low toxicity.  They couldn’t find any case of lethal poisoning or accidental overdoses. In early experiments from XIX, doctors tried to find the lethal cannabis dose for cannabis. They injected 57 gr of a liquid solution of cannabis to a 12 kg dog. After the injection, the dog fell asleep but recovered full consciousness after a day and a half.

Even back in the XIX, cannabis was prescribed to treat many illnesses and conditions. It was use therapeutically to treat cases of insomnia, nervous exhaustion and as a sedative for people suffering from pain. Its most widespread use was for the treatment of nervous and mental diseases, although the substance also appears as an ingredient in several cough mixtures. It was also recommended to calm the tremors in convulsive paralysis, in bladder spasms and even for erectile dysfunction.

2. Is it normal to feel dryness of mouth?

It’s normal to feel dryness in your mouth after using cannabinoids. This is probably the most common side effect. This is also known as “cotton mouth”. It’s a normal response of our salivary glands to cannabinoids.

Our salivary glands have endocannabinoid receptors that inhibit the production of saliva when we intake cannabinoids.  Hence, we experience that “cotton mouth” feeling when we intake it.

To sum up, to avoid the dry mouth feeling there nothing better than sipping water when you are using cannabis. This is a common and unavoidable side effect but easily to solve by sipping water or eating chocolate.

3. Diarrhea and Changes in Weight and Appetite

These are one of the most common side effects reported by CBD users. However, compared with other drugs to treat epilepsy and other illnesses, CBD has a better side effect profile.  

Diarrhea is also a common side effect of CBD. Some users report diarrhea while using CBD. However, this is reported by users who take large doses of CBD. Generally, to avoid diarrhea users are recommended to lower their CBD dosage.

4. CBD Might Cause Drowsiness

This is not a common effect on all CBD users. However, many users report drowsiness and therefore it’s considered one of the most common side effects of CBD. Nonetheless, many users report the opposite effect, in other words, they claim that CBD energizes them and makes them feel more alert.

If you experience drowsiness after using CBD, avoid driving or doing any activity that requires coordination and alertness.

5. Dizziness and CBD

This is mainly cause by a drop in blood pressure. However, there are no major consequences and it is easily solved by drinking a bit of caffeine. Moreover, this side effect of CBD could be also caused by neurotransmission changes.

6. Heartrate Changes

If you experience calmness and drowsiness, then it’s normal to experience a lower heartrate while using CBD. This is one of the most common side effects of CBD. However, it doesn’t cause any serious health problem. You will simply experience a lower heartrate.

7. CBD and Liver Enzymes

CBD may alter levels of liver enzymes. It doesn’t pose any risk for users with normal liver functions. However, if you suffer from a liver disease, you should consult your doctor about using CBD and periodically check for liver enzyme levels. Moreover, CBD may interact with medication to thin the blood and anticoagulants.

Side Effects of CBD: Conclusion

CBD and cannabis derivatives are increasingly becoming more popular as a natural medicine and food supplement. CBD is interesting for its low toxicity and easy assimilation. For instance, it has been proposed as a substitute for opioids. Furthermore, the opioid overdose crisis has affected thousands of people in the US. As a matter of fact, 130 people die every day of opioid overdoses in the US. Consequently, it has been considered a serious national crisis in the US.

National Overdose Deaths Involving Prescription Opioids—Number Among All Ages, 1999-2017. Drugabuse.gov 2019 (Source: CDC WONDER). Available online on: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

CBD has been proposed as an alternative to opioids because it has low toxicity and pain-relief properties.

The most common CBD side effects are easily manageable. For example, dry mouth or “cotton mouth” is easily counteracted by drinking water.

In addition, another common effect is drowsiness. However, not everybody experiences it. If you experience it, avoid activities such as driving and perhaps just drinking coffee will help you to counteract drowsiness associated with CBD usage.

Dizziness is also one of the most common side effects of CBD. Nonetheless, as previously mentioned, it’s easy manageable by drinking some coffee or taking caffeine.

As all the medicines, CBD users might experience some side effects. However, it doesn’t mean that all CBD users will have the same side effects. For instance, not all users experience dizziness or drowsiness. Moreover, if you experience symptoms such as diarrhea, then you can just try to reduce your CBD dose.

CBD quality matters

Finally, it’s important to choose products that are of good quality and that contain high doses of CBD. There are many CBD-marketed products that contain negligible amounts of CBD. You should avoid these products because they will not cause any positive health effects. In other words, quality matters and it’s important to choose good quality CBD products.