CBD side effects

We hear a lot about CBD and how it works naturally to improve the mood, relieve pain and ease the symptoms of numerous diseases and illnesses. And while this compound may be a good alternative to opioids that can bring on unwanted side effects. Still CBD has its share of side effects as well. This article will explore those side effects allowing you to make a smart decision as to whether CBD is right for you.

CBD potential side effects

Can CBD Consumption Cause Side Effects?

You should know that CBD can cause side effects. Some common side effects of CBD consumption include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These side effects are minor when considering other drugs and opioids. Furthermore, one study published in the Journal of Current Drug Safety showed that CBD had no adverse effects on heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, psychological and psychomotor functions, gastrointestinal transit and food intake.

In addition, no fatalities have been reported associated with CBD dosing. Even doses as high as 1500 mg a day have been tolerated by humans. The Department of Health and Human Services state that no signs of toxicity or serious side effects are associated with the regular use of CBD in otherwise healthy individuals.

While at this point, it can be safely said that CBD is not likely to cause any serious damage to major bodily functions, let’s look more closely at instances where these side effects have occurred.

CBD Side Effects You Should Be Aware Of

Liver Drug Metabolism: One side effect CBD users should be aware of is its effect on drug metabolism within the liver. This is especially the case for those taking other medications. CBD has been found to interact with drug metabolizing enzymes in the cytochrome P450 family.

Around 60% of all pharmaceutical drugs are metabolized by the enzyme CYP3A4. This enzyme is also responsible for the metabolism of CBD. Certain pharmaceutical drugs inhibit this enzyme slowing down its breakdown and increasing its physiological activity. On the other hand, some pharmaceuticals ramp up levels of the enzyme making CBD break down faster than it normally would.

Adverse effects of CBD on liver drug metabolism has been noted as being more likely when taken with an anti-epileptic drug.

Overall, these issues are likely to be minor, but it is still best to consult a physician before taking CBD with other medications.

It should also be mentioned that CBD can provide health benefits to the liver including beneficial actions on liver enzymes. It can enhance levels of the enzyme CYP1A1 which can break down cancer causing substances like benzopyrene.

Movement Disorders: One case in which side effects from CBD were noted is when CBD was administered to patients with dystonic movement disorders. In this study, oral doses of the compound were given to subjects with the disorder for a 6 week period along with standard medications. Doses ranged from 100-600 mg.

Although improvements in the disorder were seen across the board, some side effects were observed including hypotension (low blood pressure), dry mouth, psychomotor slowing, lightheadedness and sedation.

Doses of over 300 mg were shown to aggravate hypokinesia and resting tremor leading researchers to believe that CBD could cause Parkinson aggravating effects in humans.

However, a study conducted in 2014 offered contradicting information with evidence that CBD is capable of improving the quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Dry Mouth: Dry mouth is a common side effect of CBD. Similar effects can occur in marijuana smokers who are likely to be familiar with the term cotton mouth which can be experienced after smoking weed. This is because CBD and THC are both derived from cannabis which can decrease saliva secretion

Cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system exist in the salivary glands. CBD interacts with these receptors causing the inhibition of saliva that may cause dry mouth. This can usually be dealt with a glass of juice or water.

Lightheadedness and Dizziness: When taking CBD, some experience a slight drop in blood pressure. This usually occurs a few minutes after CBD enters your system. The lowering of blood pressure can cause a bit of lightheadedness or dizziness which can go away in a matter of minutes. If problems persist, you may want to try laying down, sipping some coffee or tea or eating a bit of chocolate.

Drops in blood pressure can be serious if you have blood pressure issues or are taking medications for blood pressure. If this is the case, it’s best to talk to a doctor before using CBD.

Appetite Reduction: We all know that THC can stimulate appetite, however, not only that CBD doesn’t have a similar effect, it can actually reduce appetite. In fact, some people end up losing weight when consuming CBD.

Although it is unclear exactly how CBD reduce appetite, it is hypothesized that it works by mitigating the wanting and liking of foods. This may be related by how CB1 receptors react with CBD causing them to function as negative allosteric modulators.

Nausea: When taking CBD, some have experienced mild stomach discomfort that can bring on nausea. There is not enough scientific research to explain why this happens, but it based mostly on people reviews that shared these side effects.

If nausea occurs, it is usually mild and goes away quickly. If this is not the case, you may want to increase your dose or stay away from CBD altogether.

Diarrhea: Some subjects who were being treated with CBD for epilepsy and psychotic disorders have experienced diarrhea as a common side effect. Although scientists are not sure why this occurs, it is usually treatable with Imodium or another OTC antidiarrheal agent.

Sleepiness or Drowsiness: CBD works with the receptors in the brain to reduce anxiety and insomnia. In most cases, it also provides energizing effects in the daytime. In some cases, however, the compound’s calming effects can cause sleepiness or drowsiness at times when you would rather feel awake and energized. This is more likely when you take higher doses.

If you are experiencing sleepiness or drowsiness with CBD use, try decreasing your dosage and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.

Headaches: CBD is known to decrease headaches and migraines but can cause headaches in some cases. This is likely to happen if CBD is lower quality and contains solvents like ethanol and isopropanol which some people are sensitive to. To avoid getting a headache from CBD, buy products from reputable sources.

Brain Fog: When taking CBD, some people may experience a state of impaired clarity otherwise known as brain fog. This may be due to a down regulation of the sympathetic nervous system or the up regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Another possibility may be that the CBD is causing a decreased production of stimulatory hormones, neurotransmitter and brain waves resulting in foggy thinking.

If you are experiencing brain fog with CBD use, consider lowering your dose.

Cognitive Impairment: Some may be familiar with the relationship between physiologic arousal and cognitive function. Following theories of the relationship, those that are overstimulated or under stimulated may experience cognitive impairment.

CBD can work to enhance cognitive function by decreasing overstimulation in someone with an anxiety disorder. On the other hand, it can also reduce stimulation to the point where you become drowsy and experience cognitive impairment that may include difficulty concentrating, learning, memorizing and thinking critically.

If you are experiencing cognitive impairment with CBD use, try using it at times when you don’t need to perform cognitively challenging tasks.

Depression: CBD is known to improve mood and minimize depression for many. In other cases, however, it can increase depression. This can be a result of neurochemical incompatibility with CBD causing a negative reaction in the brain.

Depression with CBD use can also be due to the downregulation of CNS (Central Nervous System) activity. When a downregulation is experienced, individuals may feel fatigue, lethargy and be prone to bouts of depression

If you are experiencing depression while taking CBD, try reducing dosage. Also, note that individuals with a history of neuropsychiatric disorders are more likely to become depressed with usage.

CBD can cause headaches...

Safety Concerns

In addition to causing certain side effects, there are other safety concerns surrounding the use of CBD. For instance, pregnant women should avoid using CBD. According to a study conducted in 2013, short term exposure to CBD was found to increase the permeability of the placental barrier potentially placing the baby at risk to certain substances.

CBD is often used to minimize seizures in children suffering with epilepsy. However, one study showed that children with refractory epilepsy may experience an aggravation of seizures, digestive issues, sleepiness and irritability.

It is also important to consider that some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC. This is especially true in broad spectrum products. These products are often said to provide more health benefits as opposed to isolates that are purified so as to contain no THC. However, because they do contain THC, patients should be aware that they could experience effects that may impair their ability to drive, as well as their mood, heart rate and mental health.

Finally, CBD may also interact with certain medications including some types of anti-epileptic drugs. It is best to consult with your doctor before beginning use of CBD if you are taking other medications.


It’s apparent that CBD can cause several side effects, sometimes working to produce results that are the exact opposite of what you would expect. However, side effects are usually minimal, not life threatening and can be avoided with the use of other remedies or a decrease in dosage.

Speak to your physician and start out with low doses to see how your body reacts to CBD before proceeding with higher dosage. Hopefully, this will help you enjoy the health benefits of CBD while avoiding any unwanted side effects.

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