While generally considered safe, CBD may cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, and, in rare instances, damage to the liver. Taking CBD with other medications that have similar side effects may increase the risk of unwanted symptoms or toxicity. In other words, taking CBD at the same time with OTC or prescription medications and substances that cause sleepiness, such as opioids, benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Ativan), antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines (such as Benadryl), or alcohol may lead to increased sleepiness, fatigue, and possibly accidental falls and accidents when driving. Increased sedation and tiredness may also happen when using certain herbal supplements, such as kava, melatonin, and St. John’s wort. Taking CBD with stimulants (such as Adderall) may lead to decreased appetite, while taking it with the diabetes drug metformin or certain heartburn drugs (such as Prilosec) may increase the risk of diarrhea.
Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) seem to be all the rage these days, promising relief from a wide range of maladies, from insomnia and hot flashes to chronic pain and seizures. Some of these claims have merit to them, while some of them are just hype. But it won’t hurt to try, right? Well, not so fast. CBD is a biologically active compound, and as such, it may also have unintended consequences. These include known side effects of CBD, but also unintended interactions with supplements, herbal products, and over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.
Doubling up on side effects
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine evaluated existing information on five prescription CBD and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabinoid medications: antinausea medications used during cancer treatment (Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet); a medication used primarily for muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis (Sativex, which is not currently available in the US, but available in other countries); and an antiseizure medication (Epidiolex). Overall, the researchers identified 139 medications that may be affected by cannabinoids. This list was further narrowed to 57 medications, for which altered concentration can be dangerous. The list contains a variety of drugs from heart medications to antibiotics, although not all the drugs on the list may be affected by CBD-only products (some are only affected by THC). Potentially serious drug interactions with CBD included
The researchers further warned that while the list may be used as a starting point to identify potential drug interactions with marijuana or CBD oil, plant-derived cannabinoid products may deliver highly variable cannabinoid concentrations (unlike the FDA-regulated prescription cannabinoid medications previously mentioned), and may contain many other compounds that can increase the risk of unintended drug interactions.
Absolutely. Inhaled CBD gets into the blood the fastest, reaching high concentration within 30 minutes and increasing the risk of acute side effects. Edibles require longer time to absorb and are less likely to produce a high concentration peak, although they may eventually reach high enough levels to cause an issue or interact with other medications. Topical formulations, such as creams and lotions, may not absorb and get into the blood in sufficient amount to interact with other medications, although there is very little information on how much of CBD gets into the blood eventually. All of this is further complicated by the fact that none of these products are regulated or checked for purity, concentration, or safety.
With no strict product guidelines set by governing bodies, many new products are entering the market without the proper checks usually associated with items sold for nutritional and/or medicinal use. To keep your body safe, as well as to make sure you actually receive the natural benefits you’re looking for, it’s important to only ever buy from a credible CBD brand that guarantees the highest industry standards.
In a recent study, Jarai et al. discovered that CBD causes vasorelaxation. This is when the vascular walls of the circulatory system become relaxed, reducing blood pressure. Although useful if you suffer from high blood pressure, vasorelaxation will occur regardless, and is therefore a side effect of CBD usage. This means taking CBD regularly could inadvertently help everyday blood flow by relaxing your arteries and veins. While not harmful, and even beneficial, it is important to be aware of if you have an existing condition that causes low blood pressure.
Within the endocannabinoid system is a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant) such as CBD and THC, also naturally attach to these cells in a similar way and have various effects.
Put simply, do your research. Don’t be suckered in by bold claims and unbacked selling points, instead be on the lookout for essential lab approval certifications and details of third-party testing. Confirming essential quality and safety gives you that extra peace of mind when it comes to using a health-related product on a regular basis, including CBD.
Issues arise not only when CBD is mixed with other oils, fillers and weak ingredients as the product is created, but also when the CBD extracted from the plant itself is of poor quality, too. This is true whether it’s found in oil, edible or balm form.
So with CBD being an all-natural product, and reacting with the body in an entirely natural way, surely you can use any CBD product to get the health benefits? Wrong. When it comes to quality and safety, not all CBD products were created equal.
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