There are plenty of health benefits you can enjoy from using CBD, such as relief from pain, anxiety, and depression, but many people wonder about the side effects. Is it safe to use? Can you become addicted? Is there any downside to using CBD to treat your health issues? More and more research is being done all the time on what CBD can help with. As a result, we’re getting a better idea of the safety of this substance as well as what can be expected in terms of side effects.
Avoid Low Quality Products
The most significant factor in the safety of any CBD product is the quality. The source of the plant material and the production methods used plays a huge part in how safe your CBD oil is. Low quality products are often the reason any side effects are experienced.
Hemp plants are very proficient at absorbing chemicals from the ground. This makes them perfect for cleaning contaminated soil using a process known as phytoremediation. However, this ability to suck toxins from the earth means that hemp grown in low quality or polluted soil may contain remnants of these pollutants. For the safest and highest quality product, your CBD oil should only be made from American grown hemp. Not only will the plant material be grown using techniques that follow the agriculture laws of the U.S. but it also ensures that the product you’re purchasing will contain less than 0.3 THC and will be legal within the United States.
Low quality extraction methods can be an issue for CBD oils as well. CO2 extraction is typically the safest extraction method but it requires expensive equipment and experienced operators. The majority of the best and most reputable producers use this method. Ethanol extraction can produce high quality products as well but if the operator is not experienced it’s possible there can be some solvent contamination, thereby lowering the quality of the product and possibly degrading some of the plant material. Hydrocarbon extraction using butane, pentane, propane, hexane, isopropyl alcohol, or acetone can be used as solvents as well. These are cheap and easy but the possibility of hazardous residues contaminating the product is a major concern.
CBD production is not very well regulated in the United States at this time and many products that are being sold are labelled incorrectly. This may be done accidentally or could be a result of advertising designed to be intentionally misleading. Many producers use third party lab testing in order to show the customer exactly what is and is not in their CBD products. It’s always a good idea to purchase your products from companies that will freely provide these reports to ensure that you’re getting a safe and high quality product.
Are There Side Effects?
While many reported side effects of CBD may be chalked up to low quality products, it’s also possible that some people may experience side effects from the CBD itself. When side effects do occur they are often quite minor and in many cases they are worth the minor discomfort for the relief that is provided.
Epidiolex, the first and currently only FDA-approved prescription CBD, lists the possible side effects as sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, increase in liver enzymes, feeling very tired and weak, rash, sleep problems, and infections. The most common side effects are usually fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight.
In this study with healthy volunteers and epileptic patients, it was noted that no signs of toxicity or serious side effects were detected. Another study using CBD’s effects on sleep and anxiety states that only a few patients reported any side effects, those of which being very minimal and may be related to dosing. Side effects are a possibility with CBD products but are typically not significant and not a major concern.
As with all medications, drug interactions are always a possibility. CBD oil may interact with other prescription medications you’re taking, including certain anti-epilepsy drugs. Using CBD in combination with other medications could increase or decrease the rate and which these other medications are metabolized and expelled from your system. If you are taking any other medications that could be affected by CBD, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before using any CBD products.
What About Addiction?
CBD is a non-intoxicating substance that does not cause habit forming behaviour and has little to no potential for substance abuse. This study was conducted with a group of highly sensitive population of recreational polydrug users. They were administered a purified oral solution of cannabidiol and the results of the study showed significantly low potential for abuse. The study notes that the “data presented are generally consistent with other human abuse potential studies of CBD and preclinical data.”
CBD Oil and the World Health Organization
This critical review report published by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence states that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential” and that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”. It mentions that “reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications” and that there is “no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” This favorable report verifies the overall safety of CBD and the general lack of risk or adverse effects associated with it.
There are no recorded fatal overdose levels of CBD and it is considered to be a safe and non-toxic substance based on the many studies that have focussed on it. While minor side effects may occur, CBD use does not cause any severe adverse effects. The main safety concern when using CBD stems from the source of the product and how it has been produced. To ensure your health and safety, it’s incredibly important to purchase only from the most reputable companies and review their third party lab reports so you’re able to know exactly what you’re getting.