There are a number of possible side effects to using CBD oil, such as fatigue, dry mouth, lightheadedness, hypotension, and impaired motor functions. However, when used in moderate amounts, most people do not experience these side effects, and none of them are known for being fatal or particularly dangerous. More than 20,000 studies have been done in the past 15 years on cannabis, hemp, and cannabinoids, and the results have been overwhelmingly supportive of the therapeutic potential and viability of CBD oil. That being said, some people should be cautious before using this powerful oil.
Most human studies of CBD have been done on people who have seizures, and the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for rare forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials for other conditions are promising, but tiny. In one Brazilian study published in 2011 of people with generalized social anxiety disorder, for example, taking a 600-mg dose of CBD (higher than a typical dose from a tincture) lessened discomfort more than a placebo, but only a dozen people were given the pill.
No one’s really sure: “It’s astonishing that there’s still no real consensus on how CBD works,” says McLaughlin. “One thing we do know is that it doesn’t work through the same receptors as THC, and, in fact, seems to have the opposite effect.” THC mainly binds to a certain type of receptor (known as CB1) in the brain. But with CBD, he says, “there seems to be a lot of complex targets”—which means CBD may affect multiple pathways throughout the body.
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'If the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medication says to avoid grapefruit juice, for instance, then do not take CBD, as the same type of interaction can affect circulating blood levels of your medicine. Even if the leaflet does not mention grapefruit juice, you should still check with your doctor before taking CBD. You should also not take CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.’
So, many of CBD's popularized benefits aren't well-proven. But are there any harms in trying CBD-containing products? In a word, yes. While any reported side effects from CBD alone are minor (think dry mouth and dizziness), they can be serious if the CBD products interact with other medications, experts say. Since CBD is metabolized by the same enzyme in the liver that metabolizes many conventional medicines and supplements, the chemical can cause the levels of other drugs in the system to rise; in some cases – like for those taking a drug to prevent their bodies from rejecting a donor organ – to a deadly level, Tishler says.
CBD hemp oil is the product derived from the hemp plant, which is high in CBD (cannabidiol) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This oil has received a large amount of attention in recent years, due to the growing wave of marijuana legislation and debate in many countries, including the United States. While cannabis and smoking marijuana (which often has a high level of the psychotropic compound THC) is still illegal in many places, as more is being learned about CBD, and its potential effects on health, it is becoming more and more accepted as a legal and safe remedy for a wide variety of health conditions. Since it has a minimal amount of the psychotropic compound THC, use of this oil does not result in a traditional “high”, so its effects are generally considered therapeutic, not mind-altering.
There are more than 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with THC being the primary one, followed by CBD. However, in the hemp plant, which is a different strain of the species Cannabis sativa, CBD is the main active ingredient, and THC is barely present, making its use and legality more widespread. The reason that CBD is such an effective form of support for human health is due to the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system. This regulatory structure of the body has millions of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which react not only to plant-derived cannabinoids (such as hemp and marijuana) but also to natural cannabinoids produced within our body. When hemp oil is used and processed by the body, it is effectively boosting the function of the endocannabinoid system, helping our body regulate itself in many different ways.
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Quality is a particular concern, because cannabis plants easily soak up heavy metals from pesticides and other contaminants, Marcu says. If you are buying online, look for a company that documents how it tests its products. (If the website doesn’t indicate this, call and ask.) “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed,” Dr. Maroon says. One clue that a company is cutting corners: too low a cost. Good CBD is pricey—a bottle of high-quality capsules is sold in Cohen’s office for $140. But for many, it’s worth the money. Roth spent $60 on her tiny bottle. But when her energy returned the day she started taking CBD, she decided that was a small price to pay.
Sarah Jorczyk is an advocate for CBD products and one of the Administrators of the CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook. She strives to educate the public, and promotes the use of safe products while helping others throughout their CBD journey. You can also find a variety of her content, including reviews and educational videos, on the group's youtube page.
Cohen has found that chronic conditions including autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes can be helped with a 6-mg under-the-tongue tincture (the fastest delivery system) or a 25-mg capsule taken twice a day. Dosages for topical products like lotions are especially hard to determine—there’s no clarity on how much CBD gets into the system through the skin.
As the oil is in liquid form it can be consumed orally without smoking and can be easily administered to ailing children and adults for whom it is prescribed as medication. Though hemp plant is used for several industrial products and also as biofuel, the seeds and flowers of the plant are used to produce oil that is an active ingredient in several medical therapies for humans and animals.
CBD oil is most readily available as a tincture. This can be taken by applying a few drops under your tongue, holding in your mouth for a few moments so it can be absorbed, before swallowing. It can also be added to water or smoothies. A spray form is available (simply spritz under your tongue), as are capsules, gummies, creams that can be applied topically, and e-liquid for vape pens.
Being a relatively inexpensive method it is preferred by small scale producers of CBD and THC oils. During extraction this method uses solvents like butane, ethanol and alcohol derived from grains. This method has several disadvantages the worst of which is potential of explosion while the second is leftover residue of these solvents. Scientists and doctors advice against the use of this method as it can make the end product unsafe for medical use and also can make existing medical condition much worse. When there are unsafe residues in CBD oil it reduces healing powers and can even compromise health of patients.
The reason so many people are interested in cannabis products that don’t make them high, proponents say, is that CBD helps with everything from pain and nausea to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and dementia. CBD is anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, immunosuppressive, and more, says Joseph Cohen, D.O., a cannabis doctor in Boulder, CO.
So Herrera, who's experienced her own share of pain due to a shoulder injury followed by a bout of Lyme disease, went to a local herb shop and bought a vial of the oil, which, by some definitions, is legal in all states if it doesn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC – the psychoactive component of cannabis. She began putting seven to nine drops under her tongue first thing most mornings – and was startled by the results. "It's changed my pain level, my anxiety level and my stress level," says Herrera, who already practiced yoga, meditated regularly, ate a healthy diet and tried conventional medical treatments for pain and mobility. "It was shocking," she says, because she thought her patients' reports were due to the placebo effect. "Right now," she adds, "I feel pretty amazing."