29 Apr Here’s How to Recognize (and Avoid) Common CBD Side Effects
When you look at the general consensus on CBD oil, you’ll see that most people experience different effects. For many, the benefits of cannabidiol are life-changing, helping them manage symptoms related to severe or chronic illness. That’s not to say there aren’t potential risks to making changes to your health care routine. As with any health or wellness product, improper use, low-quality ingredients, drug interactions, and more could result in unpleasant side effects or adverse reactions. Many consumers find that the quality of their CBD experience directly depends on the quality of their cannabidiol products. For others, it is improper dosing that leads to negative effects. Either way, it’s important to understand the potential for these reactions, especially if you are new to using CBD.
Luckily, adverse reactions to CBD are rare and usually mild. Often, adverse reactions can even be corrected or avoided entirely by incorporating CBD slowly. Every person is different, and CBD and cannabis products are just as diverse. If you experience severe adverse reactions after starting CBD, discontinue use and speak to your physician. If you notice only mild side effects, you may be able to make simple adjustments to your cannabidiol routine. Some adverse effects are more common than others and may not be cause for worry. Keep reading to learn more about common CBD side effects, what causes them, and how you can avoid adverse reactions during your CBD journey to wellness.
What Are the Most Common CBD Side Effects?
The research regarding the side effects of cannabidiol products is limited, and most clinical research involved CBD isolate or cannabis products that have higher levels of THC. The cannabidiol market is incredibly diverse with little regulation, and lower-quality products are less predictable than others. Still, research frequently identifies cannabidiol as “safe.”
One study looked at the potential risks and safety profile of cannabidiol and concluded that effects are mild and rare. The most common adverse reactions to CBD were tiredness, diarrhea, changes to weight, changes to appetite. The same study, which involved patients using CBD to manage psychotic disorders and epilepsy, goes on to say that the side effects were almost always milder than the side effects of similar medications used to treat the same conditions.
Other sources list a few other possible reactions, like dry mouth, fatigue, and possible interactions with certain medications, like blood thinners. Research from Harvard Medical School includes these symptoms, as well as nausea and irritability as possible side effects of CBD.
In general, any reaction to CBD is related to an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system and will manifest as a mild reaction. The reactions listed here are the most common reactions reported in most clinical studies. However, due to the diversity in cannabidiol products as well as each person’s unique biochemistry, other reactions do occur.
Other Potential CBD Side Effects
When looking at the general report of CBD’s effects, you’ll find that most people experience great benefits when they start using cannabidiol daily. Many people even report that cannabidiol served its intended purpose and had other unexpected benefits as well. However, there are also reports of adverse reaction to CBD products. It’s hard to say, but it is likely that many reports of adverse reaction are due to the dangerously low-quality products available online. Other bad side effects could be the result of improper dosing. Remember, too much of anything can have potentially negative effects.
One person suggested that CBD has outstanding benefits for treating PTSD and anxiety, but did leave him with a dry mouth and reddened eyes that made it difficult to wear his contacts. Like many, he suggested that the effects were lessened when he used lower doses, but that the benefits of cannabidiol for his PTSD and anxiety symptoms outweighed the mild side effects.
Other side effects have been anecdotally reported, like headaches, but many people report only getting headaches when using CBD isolates and not full spectrum CBD products. Another user reported excessive drooling after taking CBD at night but laughed it off as a sign of a great night’s rest, compliments of cannabidiol.
While many of these side effects lack any conclusive evidence that helps us understand their cause, there are still a few common reasons that adverse reactions may occur. Understanding the cause behind these side effects, whether related to improper use, allergic reaction, or another biochemical issue, is the first step to learning how to avoid any adverse reactions when using cannabidiol for the first time or making new changes to your cannabidiol wellness routine.
What Causes Adverse Reaction to CBD?
Just like the differences in how each person will react to cannabidiol and other cannabis-based wellness products, there are many potential reasons one may experience an adverse reaction, too. One common reason for an adverse reaction to cannabidiol is improper dosing. When taking too much cannabidiol, people have reported feeling lethargic, dizzy, nauseous, and getting headaches. According to some experts, medical cannabis products may have a sort of “dosing threshold.” According to Dr. Dustin Sulak, Medical Director at Integr8 Health, a medical practice that sees thousands of medical cannabis patients, cannabis products can be very helpful at specific doses. However, at larger doses than needed, they may actually be less effective. This all depends on the individual patient’s needs, condition, tolerance, and dosing threshold.
In some cases, cannabidiol may react with certain medications to cause unpleasant reactions. Generally, in this circumstance, the adverse reactions are not due to the cannabidiol itself. CBD utilizes the same enzyme, cytochrome P450, that many medications need to metabolize properly. This is the same reason that many medications warn against eating grapefruit around the same time that you take each dose. CBD may cause some medications to not be properly absorbed or to be less effective. Therefore, adverse reactions after taking CBD alongside certain medications may not be caused by the CBD at all, but may instead be linked to an increase in existing symptoms due to the ineffectiveness of existing prescription medications.
One last, but common reason for adverse reactions is due to using low-quality cannabidiol products. Unfortunately, the CBD market is still mostly unregulated. Many manufacturers take advantage of this low regulation and use synthetic, low-quality ingredients to produce cheap products. While these products may look more attractive to your wallet, they can make you pretty sick or cause adverse reactions that are not necessarily related to CBD itself.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD?
Another reason someone may experience adverse reactions when using cannabidiol is due to an allergy. Although allergies to medical marijuana and cannabis-derived products are not well documented, experts suggest that is is possible (although rare) for someone to have an allergic reaction to cannabis. This makes more sense when you think of cannabis as a plant, as people are notably allergic to pollen and other plant materials. An allergy could present itself in many ways, including an oral or topical rash, sweating, increased body temperature, nausea, upset stomach, and more. If you suspect you are having an allergic reaction to cannabidiol, discontinue use and consult your doctor. Just like other allergies, allergic reactions could vary from mild to severe. If you experience severe reactions that make it difficult to eat, swallow, speak, breathe, maintain consciousness or complete daily activities, you may need to seek emergency medical assistance. Luckily, allergic reactions to marijuana are not frequently reported.
Avoiding Adverse Reactions When Using CBD
After you understand what causes most CBD side effects, you can more effectively design a dosing routine that works for you. By following a few simple steps, you can lower your chance of experience bad reactions due to poor product choices, improper dosing, or medication interactions. Whether you are a brand new cannabidiol user or you are looking to change up your CBD routine with different doses or new products, these tips will help you avoid CBD side effects:
- Choose only high-quality, batch tested cannabidiol products. Ensuring the quality of cannabidiol products can be difficult, but many manufacturers make it easier by outsourcing batch tests for quality and potency. These products will include “third-party tested” labels, batch numbers, and possibly quick access to the test result on the website. Companies who outsource to a third party laboratory may charge a bit more for their products (lab tests aren’t cheap!), but do so in order to ensure the safety, quality, and potency of their products.
- If you shop with Paradise, you can easily buy high-quality CBD edibles online. We utilize high-quality batch testing to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy of our cannabis edibles.
- Start your cannabidiol routine with slow, small doses. The best dose will vary for everyone, but a lack of research makes it difficult for most people to know where to start. When in doubt, starting with incredibly low doses and increasing every few days will give you a chance to monitor your reactions so you can back off if you experience discomfort. For more information about CBD edible dosing, check out this simple guide.
- Keep a journal to track your CBD experience. Note all the effects you experience after taking CBD, good and bad. You can also try to note when you notice the effects fading away. These notes will be a great reference for your doctor (who is probably still learning about using cannabidiol) and for you when you need to reflect later to make changes to your routine.
- If you experience adverse reactions after using cannabidiol, you may need to at least temporarily decrease your dose. If cannabidiol was recommended to you by a doctor, speak with your doctor about any reactions. If you started cannabidiol on your own, taking a 2 or 3-day hiatus from your dosing routine will help you understand if the reaction was due to cannabidiol or to another outside factor.
Again, it is important to remember that cannabidiol products are diverse, as is human biochemistry. Therefore, other people’s experience can only serve as a reference point. Your own experience with CBD will be unique and you should use your own judgment (as well as your doctor’s guidance) when taking CBD. If you experience severe adverse reactions, stop taking CBD immediately and speak with your doctor. Most people find that with a little patience they are able to design a CBD routine that’s effective to them, with little to no side effects at all.