Can CBD Hurt You? Here’s What You Need to Know Before Trying It

Anytime you try a new supplement, it’s important to have the right information so you’ll know about possible side effects. That’s true, too, for cannabidiol, also known as CBD. There are many CBD products on the market – everything from gummies to oils to sprays – and you should know the risks before you decide to try it.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD, found in cannabis along with THC, doesn’t cause a high and may help manage certain health conditions, improve mood, and reduce pain.
  • CBD can cause side effects such as nausea, irritability, sleepiness, or increased thoughts or behaviors related to suicide.
  • It’s important not to mix CBD with alcohol or any medications that have a sedative effect.
  • CBD can interact with other medications, changing how your body breaks them down and potentially intensifying their side effects.
  • More research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and potential benefits of using CBD.

Understanding Cannabidiol: What is CBD?

Understanding Cannabidiol What is CBD
Understanding Cannabidiol What is CBD

Chemical Composition of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many active compounds in cannabis. It is non-psychoactive, unlike its counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This means that CBD does not cause a “high.” Chemically, CBD is a cannabinoid, a type of compound that interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body.

Sources of CBD

CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory. The CBD in most products is extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis. Legally, CBD products may have up to 0.3% of THC, the active compound that gets people high.

Common Uses of CBD

CBD is often covered in the media and touted as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. It is used in various forms, including oils, extracts, vaporized liquids, and oil-based capsules. Food, drinks, and beauty products are among the many CBD-infused products available online. CBD does not cause a high and is not addictive.

Potential Side Effects of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is often well-tolerated, but it is not without potential side effects. Understanding these side effects is crucial for anyone considering its use.

Commonly Reported Side Effects

CBD can cause several common side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. It’s important to be aware of these potential issues before starting CBD.

Rare but Serious Side Effects

Though less common, some serious side effects have been reported. These include abnormal liver function test results, sedation, and pneumonia. These effects may stem from CBD interacting with other medications.

Factors Influencing Side Effects

The side effects of CBD can vary based on several factors, including dosage, individual physiology, and the presence of other medications. It’s always advisable to consult a healthcare professional to understand your specific risk factors.

Due to the potential negative effects of CBD on the liver, transaminase and bilirubin levels must be measured before and after treatment initiation.

Drug Interactions with CBD

Medications That May Interact with CBD

Taking CBD together with other medications or substances may trigger additional interactions. CBD may react with a lot of common medications people take. For example, pain medications, psychiatric medications, blood thinners, antihistamines, and more. If you’re taking CBD, let your doctor know so they can review your medications to help you avoid a bad reaction.

Mechanisms of Interaction

CBD can change the way your body breaks down medicines you take. It can intensify side effects of others. For instance, CBD may amp up the impact of caffeine. Experts also note the limited research on CBD thus far. Unknowns include whether CBD raises concerns for specific populations like elderly individuals or pregnant people.

Managing Drug Interactions

To manage potential drug interactions, it is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals. They can provide guidance on safe usage guidelines and dosage individualization. Additionally, some CBD products may contain harmful impurities in them, which can put you at additional risk. As a result, pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t use CBD products.

It is essential to be aware of the potential interactions with medications and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure safe usage of CBD.

CBD and Liver Health

CBD and Liver Health
CBD and Liver Health

Research suggests CBD may be useful in promoting liver health. However, people taking high doses of CBD may show abnormalities in liver-related blood tests. Many nonprescription drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), have this same effect. You should let your doctor know if you are regularly using CBD so that he or she can check your liver enzymes periodically.

In rare cases, CBD could lead to liver problems. If you have known issues with your liver, you should consult a qualified healthcare professional before trying CBD. Symptoms of liver issues may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine

To minimize the risk of liver damage, consider the following preventive measures:

  1. Start with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase it as needed.
  2. Regularly monitor liver function through blood tests.
  3. Avoid combining CBD with other medications that may affect the liver.
  4. Consult a healthcare professional before starting CBD, especially if you have pre-existing liver conditions.

It is crucial to approach CBD use with caution, particularly if you have underlying health issues. Regular monitoring and professional guidance can help mitigate potential risks.

Impact of CBD on Mental Health

Mood Alterations

CBD has been shown to have potential effects on mood, with some studies suggesting it may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the research is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to confirm these findings. Users have reported both positive and negative mood alterations, making it essential to monitor any changes closely.

Cognitive Effects

The cognitive effects of CBD are not yet fully understood. Some research indicates that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Conversely, there are concerns about its impact on cognitive functions such as memory and attention, particularly with long-term use.

Risk of Suicidal Thoughts

One of the more serious concerns associated with CBD use is the potential risk of increased suicidal thoughts or behaviors. While this is considered a rare side effect, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of this risk and to consult healthcare providers for proper guidance.

It is important to approach CBD use with caution, especially when considering its impact on mental health. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

CBD and Male Reproductive Health

Effects on Fertility

Research on the impact of CBD on male fertility is still in its early stages. Animal studies have shown that CBD could negatively affect male fertility, including alterations in sperm shape and function. However, these findings have not yet been conclusively verified in humans. It is crucial to approach these results with caution and await further research.

Animal Studies vs. Human Data

Animal studies have provided some insights into the potential risks of CBD on male reproductive health. For instance, a 2021 study in Therapeutic Advances in Urology of 409 men undergoing an evaluation for infertility found that CBD specifically altered sperm shape and function. However, translating these findings to humans requires more extensive research. The current human data is insufficient to draw definitive conclusions.

Recommendations for Use

Given the current state of research, it is advisable for men concerned about their reproductive health to exercise caution when using CBD. Here are some recommendations:

  • Consult a healthcare professional before starting CBD, especially if you have concerns about fertility.
  • Monitor any changes in reproductive health and report them to your doctor.
  • Stay updated with the latest research to make informed decisions.

While animal studies suggest potential risks, human data is still lacking. Therefore, it is essential to approach CBD use with caution, particularly concerning male reproductive health.

CBD Dosage and Safety

CBD Dosage and Safety
CBD Dosage and Safety

Recommended Dosages

When considering the use of cannabidiol (CBD), it is crucial to adhere to recommended dosages. For now, use the product’s recommended dose unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead to take larger doses. Research suggests that CBD is safe when taken orally in small doses for a short period of time. Studies have shown that taking up to 200 milligrams daily for 13 weeks is usually safe.

Importance of Starting Low

“It’s important to start with a low dose until you know how your body will react to CBD,” explains Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD. This approach helps in minimizing potential side effects and allows for the assessment of individual tolerance levels. A wide range of CBD dosages has been tested in clinical studies, but more evidence is needed before safe and effective dose recommendations can be made for specific uses.

Monitoring for Adverse Effects

Capsules can work for daily use after a safe, effective dose has been established. Experts discourage taking CBD via edibles, like gummies and cookies, because dosing is unreliable, sugar can be inflammatory, and they are appealing to children but do not come in childproof containers. Like any medicine, edibles should be secured out of sight and reach of children.

People with certain health conditions, such as liver disease, may need lower doses to avoid serious side effects.

Mixing CBD with Alcohol and Sedatives

Risks of Combining CBD with Alcohol

Combining CBD with alcohol can amplify the effects of both substances, leading to increased sedation and impairment. Mixing substances can have negative effects on cognitive and motor functions, making activities such as driving particularly dangerous. Additionally, both CBD and alcohol can lower inhibitions, potentially leading to risky behaviors.

Interactions with Sedative Medications

CBD can interact with sedative medications, enhancing their effects and potentially leading to excessive drowsiness or respiratory depression. This is particularly concerning for individuals taking prescription drugs like benzodiazepines or barbiturates. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before combining CBD with any sedative medication to avoid dangerous interactions.

Guidelines for Safe Use

To minimize risks, it is advisable to:

  1. Avoid consuming CBD and alcohol simultaneously.
  2. Consult with a healthcare provider before combining CBD with any sedative medications.
  3. Monitor for any adverse effects when using CBD, especially if taking other substances.

It’s important not to mix CBD with alcohol or any medications that have a sedative effect. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Long-Term Effects of CBD Use

Scientists are clear that there needs to be more research to find out the long-term effects of CBD. It’s hard to know the clinical benefits because so many products that are on the market haven’t been tested. It’s hard to test long-term effects on impure substances.

Although CBD is sold in many products, including edibles, beverages, beauty products, and more, it’s not without risk. You should be aware of possible side effects:

  • Crankiness and changes in mood
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Liver damage
  • Changes in how other drugs you take work
  • Damage to male fertility
  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness

More research is needed to truly understand the potential benefits of using CBD as a treatment for mental and physical health conditions. It’s important not to mix CBD with alcohol or any medications that have a sedative effect. It’s also a good idea to watch for any changes in your mood or thinking patterns.

CBD Quality and Contamination Concerns

CBD Quality and Contamination Concerns
CBD Quality and Contamination Concerns

Importance of Product Quality

The quality of CBD products varies significantly in the marketplace. Low quality CBD products are common, making it crucial for consumers to choose products that have been third-party tested for quality and purity. Brands like cbdfx are known for their high-quality CBD products sourced from organic hemp. Rigorous quality assurance and testing processes ensure consistency and safety for customers.

Common Contaminants

Independent testing has shown that many CBD products are mislabeled and lack quality control. The biggest issues include:

  • Strength of CBD (significantly more or less than the label says)
  • Presence of undeclared THC
  • Contamination with pesticides, metals, and solvents

A recent study of 84 CBD products bought online revealed that more than a quarter contained less CBD than labeled, and THC was found in 18 products.

How to Choose Safe Products

When shopping for CBD products, there are several key factors to consider:

  1. Third-Party Testing: Ensure the product has been tested by an accredited third-party laboratory.
  2. Batch Reports: Look for brands that offer batch reports on their websites.
  3. Source of Hemp: Opt for products sourced from organic hemp to minimize the risk of contamination.
  4. Reputable Brands: Choose well-known brands with a track record of quality, such as NuLeaf Naturals and Bluebird Botanicals.

There is good reason to be a cautious shopper. CBD products are largely unregulated in the U.S. market, making it essential to verify the quality and purity of the products you choose.

Legal and Regulatory Aspects of CBD

Current Legal Status

The legal status of CBD in the United States is complex and has been in flux. CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status varies by state. In 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States, making it virtually impossible to keep CBD illegal. However, cannabis-derived CBD products remain illegal on the federal level but are legal under some state laws.

Regulatory Challenges

The regulatory landscape for CBD is fraught with challenges. In December 2015, the FDA eased regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Despite this, the FDA has rejected requests to allow CBD to be sold legally under current safety standards. Instead, the agency has advised the creation of a new regulatory pathway, which would require an act of Congress. This new pathway could include safeguards such as a minimum legal purchase age.

Consumer Protection Measures

At the state level, laws regarding CBD use vary, with some states making use fully legal and others imposing restrictions. Experts suggest that prosecution is unlikely as long as users don’t buy CBD products that contain levels of THC exceeding the federal limit. However, selling CBD is another story, with the market often described as the “Wild West” due to inconsistent standards and regulations.

The legal and regulatory aspects of CBD are continually evolving, making it essential for consumers to stay informed about the latest developments.

Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape of CBD can be complex, but staying informed is crucial for both consumers and businesses. For the latest updates and expert insights on CBD regulations, visit our website today.


In summary, while CBD has shown potential benefits for managing various health conditions, it is not without risks. The side effects can range from mild issues like dry mouth and drowsiness to more severe concerns such as liver damage and interactions with other medications. It is crucial to approach CBD with caution, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it while monitoring for any adverse effects. Consulting with a healthcare provider before beginning CBD use is highly recommended, especially for individuals who are taking other medications or have underlying health conditions. More research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and safety profile of CBD. Therefore, informed decision-making and professional guidance are essential when considering CBD as a therapeutic option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, it does not cause a high and is often used for its potential health benefits.

Is CBD safe to use?

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it can cause side effects such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

What are the common side effects of CBD?

Common side effects of CBD include dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and changes in mood.

Can CBD interact with other medications?

Yes, CBD can interact with other medications, including blood thinners. It can change the way your body breaks down these medicines, potentially intensifying side effects.

Does CBD affect liver health?

High doses of CBD have been associated with signs of liver damage in some studies. The risks may increase when CBD is combined with certain other medications.

How does CBD impact mental health?

CBD can cause mood alterations and cognitive effects. In some cases, it may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially when mixed with alcohol or sedatives.

What is the recommended dosage for CBD?

It’s important to start with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase it. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your needs.

Are there any long-term effects of using CBD?

Research on the long-term effects of CBD is still ongoing. Some potential risks over time include liver damage and male reproductive issues, but more studies are needed to fully understand these effects.

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