What are the Side Effects of CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol to give it its long name, is growing in popularity in recent times. This is due to the many positive effects that it can have on the body as reported in the press and from its millions of users worldwide. 

It is important to ascertain, however, that although CBD is from hemp plants in the way that marijuana is, CBD does not contain THC, the chemical compound that gives users a ‘high’. Despite this lack of ‘high’, there are lots of positive effects of using CBD. In brief, CBD can help with pain and inflammatory conditions, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Chron’s disease, dystonia, anxiety, insomnia, and quitting smoking or other drugs, as well as many other uses. However, herein lies the question: does it have any side effects

What do we mean by ‘side effects’?

Clinical research shows that using CBD can cause some side effects. It is important to define what we mean by ‘side effects.’ Side effects are typically secondary, unwanted effects from medical treatment or a drug. So, although CBD has many powerful effects, if these effects are unwanted or undesirable, its use can become problematic. 

Possible Side Effects

Some possible side effects of CBD have been noted but these side effects will and do vary from person to person and will also vary in their severity. Some common side effects of using CBD oil can include the following:

  • Appetite Changes
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Mood Changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

All of these side effects are most definitely undesirable. Using CBD oil can also increase markers of liver inflammation (liver enzymes) and so, as such, anyone with liver disease must only use CBD products with guidance and supervision from their doctor so that their enzyme levels can be monitored. 

Research on Side Effects of CBD 

Aside from the liver interactions, there has been no conclusive research that shows severe side effects. There was a trial carried out on children using an FDA-approved drug made with CBD called Epidolex, a childhood epilepsy medication. The children were aged between two and 18 and they had a high daily dose of the medication for 3 months. The dose daily was large, the equivalent to 1360mg (more than in a typical CBD oil bottle). The side effects that were reported were: 

  • Decreased Appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Gastro problems
  • Liver enzyme alterations

Most of the young people reported their symptoms and side effects in the first days and weeks when they were increasing the daily dosage quickly. The symptoms usually subsided once they had stabilized their dosage. Therefore, it is recommended that if a user is using a CBD product and having unwanted side effects, they could lower their dose and build it back up slowly or hold out for a week to see if the side effects pass. 

CBD and Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Pregnant and lactating women should avoid using CBD products. An American Academy of Pediatrics study in 2018 gave warning to women in using marijuana in pregnancy as there are potential risks to the developing baby. It is not clear how CBD affects unborn babies, but tests have shown that cannabidiol can cross the placenta pass into the baby’s bloodstream. Any woman who is pregnant and/or lactating must contact her doctor if she is considering using CBD products in any form. 


As mentioned above, most CBD products do not contain THC. However, there are a few products that contain trace amounts. As such, users must avoid using machinery or driving when they are using CBD products, especially if starting a new product or in using CBD for the first time. 


CBD is known to interact with some drugs. This includes medications in treating epilepsy. The mechanisms for this are understood. CBD stops an enzyme known as CYP450 (cytochrome P450). Many drugs use this enzyme for metabolization. CBD can increase or even decrease the efficacy of drugs used to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy drugs. 

Potential Drug Interactions

Some drugs that are known to interact with CBD are listed here:

  • Anti-convulsant medications (such as Tripetal and Tegretol)
  • Anti-arrhythmia medications (such as quinidine)
  • Anti-fungal drugs (Nizoral, Vfend)
  • Anti-psychotics (Orap)
  • Anti-depressants (Remeron)
  • Sedatives – Benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Triazolam)
  • Immuno-suppressants (Sandimmune)
  • Antibiotics (clarithromycin, telithromycin)
  • Migraine drugs (Ergomar)
  • Opioids (Duragesic)
  • Tuberculosis drugs based on rifampin. 

Some of these are only known to interact mildly with CBD and therefore any treatment would not need adjusting but others will need a substitution or perhaps separating the dosages so that they are hours apart. Having said this, it is important that people speak to their doctor about any drugs they take (prescription drugs or otherwise) before embarking on using CBD-based products. In this way, any unwanted or potentially serious side effects are avoided or minimized.

Side Effects and Safety

Studies show that taking CBD products is safe in doses up to 300mg a day when taken orally for up to six months. When taking more, such as up to 1500mg a day, studies show that this has been taken safely for up to a month. 

Dishonest CBD products

Of course, there are a whole host of CBD products on the market today. Some are from much more reputable companies than others. As a result, it is important to note that if you choose to use CBD products, you should make sure that they are not from a dishonest company that is only set out to make money rather than help people feel better from whatever ailments they suffer. 

Choosing a pure and well-labeled product is essential. Unreliable CBD products may contain high levels of unwanted THC, heavy metals, pesticides, synthetic cannabinoids rather than naturally occurring CBD, as well as contaminants like bacteria or mold. 

The Takeaway

In putting any product on or into your body you expose yourself to potential side effects. However, these side effects may not always be unmanageable or serious. Indeed, most side effects, whilst potentially unpleasant, may fade away with continued use as your body gets used to the product. Of course, there are other things which are essential: you must speak to your doctor if you have any form of liver disease or if you are taking any other medication, and you must ensure that you trust the products that you are using and that they are as pure as possible. In this way, any side effects that you experience should be mild and not serious. Have a look at Organical Hemp’s products and see for yourself the positive effects that CBD can have. 

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