Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It’s a natural alternative to many types of medications, offering benefits like relaxation and pain relief.
If you’re new to CBD, though, you may be wondering: does CBD have side effects? CBD is like all medications in that it does present some adverse symptoms.
However, the good news is that CBD’s side effects are relatively mild compared to similar prescription drugs. And unlike fellow cannabinoid THC, CBD won’t make you feel intoxicated.
What are the side effects of CBD and how can you reduce them? We’re answering these questions in this guide. So, keep reading for everything you need to know.
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies CBD as well-tolerated and safe. Being well-tolerated means that in studies of CBD, the participants responded well to its side effects.
The WHO has also previously reported that CBD has no potential for addiction or abuse.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to designate all CBD products as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). But this has more to do with the low quality of many CBD products on the market than CBD’s safety.
Does CBD Have Side Effects? What the Research Says
As we mentioned, CBD does present some mild side effects. Yet, research shows that these side effects aren’t common to all CBD users.
The adverse reactions experienced depend greatly on the dose and the person taking it. Read more on CBD and how to use it here.
Here are some symptoms you may experience after using CBD according to research studies.
Dry mouth or cottonmouth is a side effect of using cannabis products. But it can also happen to people using CBD.
It’s important to note, though, that your location may have more to do with this CBD side effect. One 2021 study found that people living in the UK experienced less dry mouth from CBD than participants in other countries.
Fatigue is perhaps one of the most commonly reported symptoms of CBD. Yet, it’s also one of the top reasons people turn to this cannabinoid in the first place.
CBD’s sedative-like effects may be beneficial for insomnia and anxiety. So, if you’re turning to CBD for these benefits, you’ll find its fatigue-inducing effects more of a pro than a con.
A 2017 literature survey looked at the safety and side effect data collected from CBD research studies. This survey found that diarrhea was among the most commonly reported CBD side effects.
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues, in general, seem to be common among CBD users. And people are also at a higher risk for liver complications.
This is why it’s critical to speak to your doctor before incorporating CBD into your wellness routine.
Appetite Reduction and Weight Changes
You’ve probably heard about THC’s relation to “the munchies.” But does CBD also increase appetite? No, CBD actually has the opposite effect — it can suppress appetite and lead to weight loss.
This is another side effect that some people may see as a benefit. If that sounds like you, make sure you buy THC-free CBD products.
In the 2021 study we linked above, the researchers found additional, less-commonly reported CBD side effects. The study took place with 387 participants, who reported using CBD for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and more.
11% and 3% of participants experienced dry mouth and fatigue, respectively. 2% of study participants experienced one or more of the following adverse reactions:
- Nausea, upset stomach, or diarrhea
- Increased heart rate
- Sexual dysfunction
- Psychotic symptoms
- Difficulty focusing
The remaining participants reported no side effects. Still, we need more research to know whether some people experience more significant side effects. We also don’t know about the long-term side effects of CBD yet.
CBD Can Interact With Prescription Drugs
Taking prescription drugs may increase the harmful side effects of CBD. For example, taking opiates for pain while using CBD may amplify fatigue. And using other dry mouth-causing medications can make cottonmouth worse.
Your doctor will also recommend avoiding CBD if you’re prescribed to:
Warfarin is a blood-thinning medication used to treat blood clots. This includes pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thromboses (DVTs).
Amiodarone is heart medication doctors prescribe for arrhythmia. People with atrial fibrillation also commonly take this medication.
Levothyroxine is a type of thyroid medication people suffering from hypothyroidism take. Clobazam, lamotrigine, and valproate are seizure medications.
All of these medications can interact with CBD. That means your prescriptions could become less effective or even toxic when taken alongside cannabidiol products.
How to Reduce CBD Side Effects
Hate CBD side effects but love the benefits this natural remedy offers? Here are our top tips for reducing the side effects of your favorite CBD products.
Take Smaller Doses
One of the top reasons for CBD side effects is taking too much. And because the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products yet, the dosage recommended on the label may not be the right dose for you.
If you’re dealing with the negative side effects of too much CBD, reduce the number of times per day you use CBD or the number of milligrams you use.
Buy CBD Isolate
Do you use full- or broad-spectrum CBD products? Then the side effects you’re experiencing could be from something other than CBD.
Full-spectrum products contain THC. And THC is known to cause dry mouth, dizziness, increased heart rate, anxiety, and more. And, if you recall, all of these are side effects people who use CBD report experiencing.
Broad-spectrum products are THC-free. But they do contain other cannabinoids and terpenes, which could be responsible for the negative effects you’re feeling.
CBD isolates, on the other hand, only contain CBD. You may experience fewer side effects with these products.
We also don’t know about the long-term side effects of CBD yet and compared to other hallucinating drugs such as DMT or LSD.
Choose a Reputable Source
Remember how we mentioned that CBD isn’t GRAS? This is because many CBD companies market products that aren’t what they say they are.
Always choose products tested in third-party labs to avoid this issue.
Want More CBD Articles?
So, does CBD have side effects? Dry mouth, fatigue, and GI problems are the most commonly reported adverse symptoms. Choosing high-quality CBD products, sticking with isolates, and taking smaller doses may help reduce those symptoms.
Do you love learning about natural medicines like CBD? We have more articles like this one waiting for you, so keep scrolling.