As more people turn to CBD oil for a natural approach to well-being, how much do we know about the compound’s possible side effects—and is it possible to have too much of a good thing? To find out what side effects CBD oil could have, we’ll examine the study results from several leading research institutes, alongside the findings of an independent review by the World Health Organisation. Combined, the evidence will help shed some light on CBD’s safety, efficacy, and potential risks.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF CBD OIL?
The potential of CBD stems from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The primary role of the ECS is to maintain a balance between different parts of our body via cannabinoid receptors found in our skin, digestive, immune, and central nervous systems.
The British Journal of Pharmacology found CBD to mediate the ECS, improving its overall efficiency and encouraging the production of beneficial enzymes and endocannabinoids. The challenge for researchers, however, is to understand exactly how impactful this interaction could be, and how to manipulate it to counter various diseases and disorders.
With much still to learn, the true scope of CBD’s side effects remains under review. From what we know so far, possible side effects appear incredibly mild. A comprehensive study by the World Health Organisation stated: “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”. They did, however, report that there are instances of drug-drug interactions.
DOES CBD OIL CAUSE DRUG INTERACTIONS?
Unfortunately, we cannot simply consume CBD and expect it to take effect straight away. The compound has to travel through our digestive system, before passing into our liver. It’s here that the cannabinoid is broken down into its metabolites by enzymes, before being distributed around the body via our bloodstream.
Under normal circumstances, there is nothing untoward about this interaction. In fact, hundreds of medications are broken down by the body in the same way. That is, however, where the issue may lie. In a study published by MDPI Open Access, researchers found that when CBD and certain medications are present at the same time, they compete for attention. The CYP450 enzyme has a limited capacity, and as such, there is a risk that medications won’t break down properly, disrupting their effects.
If you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor before taking CBD oil. They will be able to offer you case-specific advice.
DOES CBD OIL CAUSE SIDE EFFECTS?
A 2006 study in Experimental Biology and Medicine found anandamide (AEA), a prominent endocannabinoid, to cause “inhibition of salivary secretion”, or in far simpler terms, dry-mouth. While this report doesn’t directly implicate CBD, we know from a study by the British Journal of Pharmacology that CBD can encourage a build-up of AEA by inhibiting FAAH enzymes. The knock-on effect is that CBD consumption may lead to a temporary decrease in saliva.
Other possible but low probability side effects include fatigue, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite. All three were observed during an open-label trial involving treatment-resistant epilepsy patients. Of the 214 patients enrolled, 19% reported diarrhoea and decreased appetite, while only 13% noticed fatigue during the twelve-week trial. The researchers concluded that CBD “might have an adequate safety profile”, but further randomised trials were needed.
DO CBD OIL SIDE EFFECTS GO AWAY OVER TIME?
Something all the studies could agree on was the duration of CBD’s possible side effects. Due to the half-life of CBD, mild doses remain in the bloodstream for mere hours rather than days. There are, of course, variables that affect how long a substance remains in the body, such as age, blood circulation, diet, and liver function, but any side effects should fade quite quickly.
If there is any doubt about taking CBD oil, your doctor should always be the first port of call. They will have an understanding of your medical history, and should be able to offer advice specific to your circumstances. However, given the length of time CBD stays in the bloodstream, any adverse effects shouldn’t last long. And, with the likelihood of side effects remarkably low, there seems to be little reason you can’t enjoy CBD oil as part of a balanced lifestyle.