Cannabidiol (CBD) is known for the potential that it has to treat a wide range of medical conditions. Although it is somewhat of a mystery substance to many, CBD has hit the market in full force over the last few years, offering an alternative and natural solution for many patients who are suffering from an array of health issues.
CBD is a natural cannabinoid that is derived from the cannabis plant, and it’s believed to be largely non-toxic. The compound has become increasingly popular in recent times due to its potential to treat a host of illnesses. Of particular interest are its anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anticonvulsant effects. Believe it or not, CBD is a more powerful neuroprotective antioxidant than both vitamin E and vitamin C.
There are many misconceptions throughout the world about CBD and its association with cannabis. Marijuana has become notorious for its psychoactive effects – the kind that makes you high. Because CBD is derived from cannabis, many people think that the compound will make you high. But this couldn’t be any further from the truth. CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. But does it have other side effects? Let’s take a closer look.
The Safety of CBD
Cannabis is widely known to be a safe and natural medicine, with virtually no deaths having being associated with its use. Research rates the herb as the least dangerous substance in comparison to substances like alcohol and nicotine with regards to toxicity.
The risks that are associated with cannabis use are linked to mental illness, and this all comes down to THC. THC is the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant that is responsible for making users high. A link has been made between THC and the agitation of mental conditions in some people.
However, CBD is typically consumed in an isolated and extracted form and is usually derived from industrial hemp or low THC strains. CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects and is actually thought to have some antipsychotic effects. CBD is generally thought to be safe, but it does have its own set of side effects. Although these aren’t particularly serious, they are worth knowing about.
CBD Side Effects
The potential side effects of CBD are few and far between. Plenty of studies have shown that CBD is a lot safer than THC in terms of side effects and the benefits that each compound offers. Nevertheless, there are a few side effects of CBD, and they are worth noting.
Many cannabis users out there will be familiar with the sensation of dry mouth. This usually happens after smoking a few joints, and leaves the mouth with the feeling of a cotton ball residing within – which is why it’s also often referred to as “cottonmouth.” The good news is that you can easily remedy this side effect by drinking a glass of water or juice.
The reason that dry mouth occurs is that the cannabis decreases saliva secretion. The cannabinoids receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) exist within the salivary gland. The CBD interacts with these receptors, and this causes the inhibition of salivary secretion, which induces the dry mouth.
A Slight Drop in Blood Pressure
A few studies have shown that high doses of CBD could cause a small drop in blood pressure. So for those who are on medication for low blood pressure, or those who have been diagnosed with low blood pressure, it’s essential and necessary to consult with a doctor before consuming any CBD or CBD-based products. Low blood pressure is often linked to lightheadedness, which is an uncomfortable feeling for many.
Liver Drug Metabolism
One of the more serious side effects of CBD to be aware of is the effect that it has on drug metabolism in the liver. This is particularly important for those who take pharmaceutical medications. CBD has been discovered to interact with drug-metabolizing enzymes, like the cytochrome P450 family. About 60% of all pharmaceutical medications are metabolized by the enzyme CYP3A4.
This enzyme happens to be the one that is responsible for metabolizing CBD as well. Certain pharmaceuticals inhibit this enzyme which could slow the breakdown of CBD and also increase the physiological activity. In addition, other pharmaceuticals ramp up the levels of this enzyme, and this results in a faster than usual breakdown of CBD.
If you’re using pharmaceutical drugs, you should consult with a doctor before you use CBD. Such interactions are likely to be only a minor issue, but it’s best to check with a health professional first. CBD also has beneficial actions on liver enzymes, like its ability to enhance levels of enzyme CYP1A1 – which makes it capable of breaking down certain cancer-causing substances like benzopyrene.
CBD affects everybody differently. For some people, CBD can be wake-inducing, providing extra useable energy and an uplifting demeanor, but for others, it could do just the opposite. In very high doses, there have been reports of people feeling drowsy after using CBD. If you become drowsy after using CBD, it’s important that you don’t operate heavy machinery or drive a vehicle while in this state. This is a safety precaution for yourself and those around you.
After consuming CBD, it’s possible that you will experience a little bit of lightheadedness as a side effect. This could be related to changes in autonomic nervous system (ANS) activation, cerebral blood flow, neurotransmission, and/or reduced blood pressure. If you become dizzy or lightheaded after taking CBD, it’s recommended that you evaluate your blood pressure.
The inhibitory effect that the CBD has on the CNS may cause the blood pressure to drop causing you to become dizzy and/or lightheaded. In certain cases, dizziness may be a temporary side effect of the CBD that new users will only experience in the first few weeks of treatment as their body adapts to the substance.
Individuals who use CBD on a regular basis are unlikely to experience motor impairment since they will be well-adjusted to their dosage. However, new CBD users and those who use it together with other substances may experience impaired motor function after using CBD. In the majority of cases, the impaired motor function is caused by the reduced activation of the sympathetic nervous system – this leads to sleepiness, drowsiness, and suboptimal alertness.
There are, of course, a few other possible side effects, but most are related to specific medical conditions. For instance; a possible increase in tremors amongst Parkinson’s patients. However, to date, there have been no findings of any severe and life-threatening side effects of CBD.
Final Thoughts on the Side Effects of CBD
Although CBD may not be for everyone, it could be extremely beneficial for those who suffer from certain medical conditions. As we have seen, there are a few side effects associated with the compound, but not are deadly. At the end of the day, it’s up to each and every individual to decide if CBD is right for them and fits in with their personal needs and wellness.