CBD is an extremely popular nutritional supplement that exerts a number of beneficial pharmacological effects. The compound, classed as a cannabinoid, is produced within the cannabis plant, yet is non-intoxicating. CBD displays a good safety profile within humans, is mostly well tolerated, and displays no effects that indicate possibilities of abuse or physical dependence. Research also shows that the cannabinoid sustains little-to-no effects on physiological parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. However, some of this research is contested, as we shall soon see.
As with every vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplement, CBD is known to cause some side effects. Any substance has the potential to affect different people in a variety of different ways. Before you start taking CBD as part of your daily regimen, it’s important to be aware of possible side effects. It’s recommended that you discuss using CBD with your doctor or health professional beforehand to make sure it's the right decision for you.
CBD has the potential to cause dry mouth, even if the method of administration has nothing to do with smoking or vaporizing. In fact, CBD causes dry mouth via its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. By affecting cannabinoid receptors on the salivary glands, CBD reduces secretion of saliva, thereby causing dry mouth. Although this can feel uncomfortable, it's easily remedied by carrying around a bottle of water or juice after you've taken some CBD.
Didn’t we just say above that CBD has no effect on blood pressure? Studies seem to show that although CBD doesn’t cause any major, sustained changes in blood pressure, it can cause a temporary reduction. For most people, this alteration will go completely unnoticed; however, for those with certain health conditions, even a small drop in blood pressure can be significant.
Other reported side effects of CBD include lightheadedness and drowsiness. Some users claim to feel more awake and alert after administering a dose, whereas others start to feel more relaxed and sleepy. In the same way, certain users report feeling lightheaded, which, again, may be associated with a small drop in blood pressure. Because of these potential side effects, it's important for users to start out with small doses and gradually increase after seeing how CBD affects them. It also makes sense to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking CBD the first few times.
A 2017 paper states that CBD may cause a range of side effects when taken in conjunction with certain pharmaceutical drugs. This is because the cannabinoid interacts with drug-metabolising enzymes, including those belonging to the cytochrome P450 family. Once CBD is metabolised by P450, it ends up essentially displacing the enzymes and preventing them from metabolising other drugs. This can result in higher levels of other drugs sustained in the body for longer periods. Individuals taking any medication should consult their doctor before taking CBD. For more information on CBD and the P450 enzyme, consult our blog on the topic.
Most of the current research on CBD's potential side effects is the result of in vitro (involving cells) and animal-based studies. More human research is required to come to accurate conclusions regarding the side effects of CBD, especially in contested domains like those mentioned above. A paper published within the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research discusses the problem with comparing animal and human research outcomes. In humans, CBD is often administered orally or via inhalation. In rodents, CBD is administered orally or via injection.
Additionally, the blood concentrations of CBD within humans and rodents differ upon oral administration. Even if the same blood concentrations are achieved between species, CBD may have varying biological effects. So far, the safety profile of CBD is high; however, in-depth human research is vital.