What Is CBD? Is CBD Safe?
CBD oil is usually extracted from Cannabis sativa which is commonly known as marijuana, so is CBD safe? Even though marijuana is a potentially harmful drug yet CBD is quite safe and does not cause any adverse effects. It is usually extracted from industrial hemp which contains less than 0.3 % THC. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive component of marijuana which is responsible for the addictive nature of the drug.
Even though, CBD is quite similar in structure with THC but it is still quite opposite in its effects. CBD and THC are 2 of more than 60 different types of cannabinoids found in Cannabis and each one of them has a different effect on the body. However, CBD and THC have gained popularity because of their medicinal benefits. CBD oil is usually made by mixing it up with carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or MCT oil which makes its consumption easy and enhances its health benefits. CBD can be easily used in the form of gummies, capsules, oil, sprays, tinctures and topicals.
Benefits of CBD
CBD works by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system which is responsible for maintaining several important physiological functions. The endocannabinoid system works to keep the body stable and balanced. Just like the endogenous cannabinoids produced inside our body, CBD can also interact with the endocannabinoid receptors that are present in the brain and the central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system has a wide variety of functions to perform and since CBD can interact with the receptors it can also help with those functions.
CBD is quite helpful with health problems such as:
- Chronic pain
- Drug addiction and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease
Common Side Effects of CBD
Even though CBD is quite safe but some people may experience a few common side effects including dry mouth, reduce appetite, reduced weight, nausea and gastrointestinal issues.
One of the most common side effects of using CBD is sedation and drowsiness. It is observed that some people may experience a strong sedative effect after using CBD for the first time. However, it generally subsides on its own and does not require any medical attention.
CBD is a personal experience and not everybody gets to have the same after effects. Not all, but many people experience nausea after taking a CBD supplement. The intensity of nausea depends upon the CBD dose that is ingested. Different types of CBD products produce different types of effects depending upon their absorption and bioavailability. So it would be best to observe your body closely to know which product is not suitable for you.
Some people may also experience cottonmouth or dry mouth and eyes. This side effect usually occurs if you are taking a CBD dose that also contains significant quantity of THC.
Changes in weight and appetite
CBD can also cause changes in weight and appetite and may reduce it significantly. In such a case, it is advised to stop taking the CBD dose instantly and try again with any other high quality product.
CBD drug interaction
Even though CBD has only a few minor side effects yet it can potentially interact with some over the counter medications. If you intend to take CBD for any health issue, it is recommended to talk to your HealthCare practitioner about all the vitamin supplements and prescription medications that you are already taking.
Our body has a family of enzymes called cytochrome p450 or CYP450 that performs the function of metabolizing foreign substances so that they can be easily eliminated from the body without causing any harm. However, there are certain substances and medicines which can slow down the effect of cytochrome P450. This change in the rate of metabolic activity can directly influence the effect of certain medication you are taking.
The same family of enzyme is also responsible for metabolizing cannabinoids. Research has shown that CYP3A4 is one of the most important enzymes of the family which is responsible for metabolizing CBD but CBD can also interfere with its activity. Interestingly, the same enzyme is also responsible for metabolism of more than 60% of the over-the-counter medications available in the market. It means that if we are taking CBD with any of these prescription medicines, it will negatively impact the metabolism of these medicines since the enzyme will not be able to perform optimally in the presence of CBD in the body.
In such a case, the body starts to metabolise medicine very slowly. It means that at a single time we will have more than desired amount of medicine in the blood. This artificial overdosing may lead to liver toxicity and abnormal functioning. It is particularly harmful for people who are already suffering from chronic health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, MS and inflammatory disorders.
Potential drug interactions
Although a lot of studies are still going on to know the exact interaction between prescription medications and CBD but there is a rule of thumb to avoid any harm. If your prescription medication has a grapefruit warning on the label, it is an indication that you should avoid CBD as well. The Warning usually indicates that people who are consuming the medicine should avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice as it can also have a direct effect on the cytochrome p450 family and alter the metabolism of the medicine.
Research has shown that consuming grapefruit or its juice while taking some of the prescription medications can lead to a higher concentration of the drug in the blood which can cause overdose or adverse side effects. There are about 85 drugs which interact with grapefruit. Grapefruit contains a chemical compound known as furancoumarins that can inhibit the functioning of CYP3A4 just like CBD. Even if the label does not shows a grapefruit warning, make sure to consult your doctor and let him know that you will be taking CBD with your medicine and take his advice about its safety and usage.
Some medicines that come with a grapefruit warning are:
- Antibiotics and antimicrobials
- Anticancer medications
- Antiepileptic drugs (aeds)
- Blood pressure medications
- Blood thinners
- Cholesterol medications
- Erectile disfunction medications
- GI medications, such as to treat GERD or nausea
- Heart rhythm medications
- Mood medications
- Pain medications
- Prostate medications
CBD safety concerns
Significant public Interest in cannabis and its related compounds such as CBD dead the government to revise its legislation regarding these compounds and their usage. However, even after a number of researches, there are still many unanswered questions about the safety and quality of CBD products. Ever since the legalization of CBD, many CBD vendors has emerged in the market who are selling unregulated and untested CBD products that may contain harmful chemical compounds which can damage the body at certain levels.
Unregulated CBD products may contain toxic pesticides, metals and even significant quantity of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Such harmful chemical compounds may lead to side effects such as abnormalities in male fertility, drowsiness, liver toxicity, mood changes, diarrhoea and changes in weight and appetite.
You will find many CBD products for animals and humans but there is still a lot of confusion about the legal status of foods and drinks containing CBD. Consuming CBD infused food and beverages may have adverse effects on our health so it is imperative to wait for more solid researches to prove that such product are safe and do not come with any risk.
CBD safety concerns
A lot of people consider CBD as a treatment option for a wide range of health issues such as anxiety, depression, pain and inflammation and even chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS. We still need solid pieces of research to prove that CBD could become a treatment option for these diseases. Until then it is better to avoid CBD and it should be consumed only to reduce symptoms and not to treat the disease.
Another thing that raises concerns regarding CBD is that there is no universal CBD dose that works for a particular health condition or for all the people who are using CBD. CBD is considered as a personal experience and a single dose may not be equally effective for different people suffering from the same disease. Since people have to figure out their own optimum dose, they may overdose on CBD in the quest of finding the right dose.
Interestingly, all this myth about the extremely harmful effects of CBD could be a misconception but we still have to wait until researchers prove it otherwise. Cannabis and its related compounds are currently a part of more than 512 scientific research and more and more people are actively participating in knowing about the cannabinoids and their effect on the human body. We should be hopeful that one day CBD supplements and CBD infused food and beverages would be equally safe and easily available in the market. However, let’s be very careful and pay enough attention to the pros and cons of using CBD.
To be sure about the safety of your CBD product, always go for reliable CBD vendors that offer third party lab test for the product and a certificate of analysis. Third party lab test usually includes the exact amount of all ingredients used to make the product. It will become easier for you figure out if the product is safe or not.
Talk to your doctor
so, afert all of that is CBD safe? We recommend all users to consult a licensed physician if you are planning on taking CBD for any serious health condition or if you are already taking any prescription medicine. If you experience any kind of side effects and they are persistent, stop taking the CBD dose immediately and take a break for a few days if you intend to take it again. Also if you are not sure about the right CBD dose always begin with the smallest dose possible and gradually increase it over the time span of weeks.
People who are new to CBD should conduct enough research on the product to make sure it is suitable for them or not.