Doctors Warn: Why CBD Is Bad for Certain People

CBD, or cannabidiol, has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, but it’s not without risks. Doctors are increasingly warning that CBD may not be safe for everyone. Certain populations, including those with pre-existing medical conditions, children, pregnant women, and the elderly, may face significant health risks when using CBD products. This article delves into the specific concerns and potential dangers associated with CBD use for these vulnerable groups.

Key Takeaways

  • High doses of CBD can pose serious risks to liver health, especially for individuals with pre-existing liver conditions.
  • CBD may exacerbate symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease, including worsening tremors and muscle movement issues.
  • The safety of CBD use in children is still largely unknown, and it should only be used under medical supervision for approved conditions.
  • Elderly individuals are at higher risk for adverse effects from CBD, including drug interactions and increased chances of falls and cognitive impairment.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid CBD due to potential risks to fetal development and unknown effects on breast milk.

CBD and Liver Health Risks

CBD and Liver Health Risks
CBD and Liver Health Risks

Impact of High Doses on Liver Function

Research has shown that high doses of CBD can lead to abnormalities in liver-related blood tests. This is particularly concerning as many nonprescription drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), have similar effects. High doses of CBD were associated with signs of liver damage in a small number of study participants during human trials for Epidiolex. The liver risks increased when CBD was combined with certain other medications.

Risks for Individuals with Pre-existing Liver Conditions

People who already have liver problems may need to take a lower dose of CBD. Studies show that even healthy individuals could get liver damage if they take high doses of the FDA-approved CBD drug, Epidiolex. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals with pre-existing liver conditions to consult their healthcare provider before using CBD products.

The use of CBD comes with a number of safety issues and unknowns, including a lack of research on long-term use and potential interaction with other drugs. These concerns are compounded by an overall lack of science communication and early education strategy on cannabis, cannabinoids, and therapeutic uses.

CBD’s Effects on Parkinson’s Disease

While CBD is often touted for its potential therapeutic benefits, it is crucial to recognize that it may not be suitable for everyone. Patients with Parkinson’s disease have reported a worsening of tremors when using CBD. This is particularly concerning given the delicate balance required in managing Parkinson’s symptoms.

CBD’s impact on muscle movement in Parkinson’s patients is another area of concern. Some studies suggest that high doses of CBD can lead to muscle rigidity and decreased motor control. This is alarming for those already struggling with movement disorders, as it may exacerbate their condition rather than provide relief.

The benefits and research around using CBD and medical marijuana to help treat the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease are still under investigation. However, the potential risks cannot be ignored, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

CBD Use in Children

The anti-seizure prescription CBD drug (Epidiolex) in a 25-milligram dose is approved for children who are at least 1 year old who have certain health conditions. However, it is unclear whether CBD products are safe for children generally. It’s a good idea to keep CBD products in childproof containers.

There is an overall lack of science communication and early education strategy on cannabis, cannabinoids, and therapeutic uses. Additional concerns include the risk of children unintentionally ingesting CBD products, the use of CBD products by understudied populations, and the possibility that serious diagnoses may be missed due to patients treating symptoms on their own without consulting a health professional.

The lack of high-quality research on the safety and efficacy of cannabis when used to treat minor health problems led the committee to be particularly cautious in its conclusions around safe use for the healthy adult population. Much of the literature reviewed on clinical trials focused on the drug-resistant epilepsy population and other complex health care needs outside the scope of our mandate. All members agreed that safety data on CBD use are missing for key groups of patients who could be at risk.

Much of the research available on cannabis-containing products comes from observational or small-scale and short-term studies that were not randomized or blinded.

CBD and Psychiatric Conditions

CBD and Psychiatric Conditions
CBD and Psychiatric Conditions

CBD has been shown to interact with various psychiatric medications, potentially altering their effectiveness and safety. Doctors are shocked! The hidden medical benefits of CBD oil are often overshadowed by these interactions. For instance, CBD can inhibit the metabolism of certain antipsychotic drugs, leading to higher levels in the bloodstream and increased risk of side effects.

While CBD is being researched for its potential to treat conditions like PTSD, schizophrenia, and anxiety, its effects on mental health are not fully understood. Some studies suggest that CBD may exacerbate symptoms in individuals with certain psychiatric disorders. This is particularly concerning given the nearly 200 clinical trials currently examining CBD’s effectiveness for various conditions. The safety concerns and ongoing research highlighted in these studies underscore the need for caution when using CBD for mental health purposes.

CBD’s Impact on the Elderly

Drug Interactions in Older Adults

Older adults are more susceptible to drug interactions because they often take multiple medications and experience age-related physiological changes that affect how their bodies process medications. CBD has the potential to interact with many other products, including over-the-counter medications, herbal products, and prescription medications. Some medications should never be taken with CBD, while the use of others may need to be modified or reduced to prevent serious issues.

Risks of Falls and Cognitive Impairment

Elderly individuals are more likely to be on several medications, making them more susceptible to falls and cognitive impairment. The use of CBD can exacerbate these risks due to its effects on thought and motor skills. It is crucial to consider these factors when evaluating the safety of CBD for older adults.

Older adults could be at greater risk for some of the side effects of CBD since it may affect thought and motor skills. This is particularly important for those who are already at risk of falls or cognitive decline.

Considerations for CBD Use in the Elderly

  • Multiple Medications: Older adults often take multiple medications, increasing the risk of drug interactions with CBD.
  • Age-Related Changes: Physiological changes in older adults can affect how their bodies process CBD, necessitating different dosages.
  • Safety Concerns: The potential for falls and cognitive impairment should be carefully considered.

CBD for Pets

While this article focuses on human use, it’s worth noting that similar concerns apply to CBD for pets, especially older animals who may also be on multiple medications or have age-related health issues.

Pregnancy and CBD: Potential Risks

Effects on Fetal Development

The effect of CBD on pregnancy is not well understood at this time. The CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid any kind of CBD product. Animal studies have shown that high doses of CBD can harm an unborn baby. Due to these concerns, health products containing CBD should not be used by individuals who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Concerns for Breastfeeding Mothers

It is unknown whether CBD can be passed through breast milk. Therefore, CBD is also not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. There is emerging evidence that CBD may have a harmful effect on fetal development in animal models, which raises concerns about its impact on milk production and quality.

Pregnant and lactating individuals should exercise caution and avoid using CBD products, including CBD topicals, due to the potential risks and unknowns.

CBD and Medication Interactions

CBD and Medication Interactions
CBD and Medication Interactions

Common Medications Affected

CBD has the potential to interact with many other products, including over-the-counter medications, herbal products, and prescription medications. Some medications should never be taken with CBD; the use of other medications may need to be modified or reduced to prevent serious issues. The consequences of drug interactions also depend on many other factors, including the dose of CBD, the dose of another medication, and a person’s underlying health condition. Older adults are more susceptible to drug interactions because they often take multiple medications, and because of age-related physiological changes that affect how our bodies process medications.

Mechanisms of Interaction

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.

CBD may amp up the impact of caffeine, for example, says Tory Spindle, PhD, a cannabis researcher and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

In addition, some CBD products may contain harmful impurities in them (like pesticides and bacteria) which can put you at additional risk. As a result, pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t use CBD products.

Impurities in CBD Products

Contaminants like Pesticides and Bacteria

The lack of stringent regulation in the CBD industry has led to significant concerns regarding the purity of CBD products. Many products, including popular items like CBD gummies, have been found to contain harmful contaminants such as pesticides and bacteria. These impurities pose serious health risks, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems.

Labeling Inaccuracies

Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products. A recent study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than labeled. In addition, THC was found in 18 products. This discrepancy between labeled and actual content can lead to unintended side effects and reduced therapeutic efficacy.

The CBD administered in research trials is not comparable to what you get at the gas station or online. You can’t necessarily even call some of the unregulated products CBD.

Key Points to Consider

  • The source of the product, including the cultivar or variety and its country of origin.
  • All other phytocannabinoids and terpenoids present in the product and their concentrations.
  • The total carboxylated and decarboxylated forms of the CBD (these different forms may have different effects on the body).
  • Which solvents were used to extract the cannabinoids from cannabis, how much of them remains in the product and the type of solvents used.

CBD and Male Reproductive Health

Animal Studies on Reproductive Harm

Research on mice suggests possible harm to the male reproductive system. Specifically, studies have indicated that CBD may alter sperm shape and function, raising concerns about its impact on fertility. Further research is needed to fully understand these effects and their implications for human health.

Implications for Human Health

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. This raises significant concerns about the potential reproductive harm in humans. While animal models provide initial insights, human studies are crucial for a comprehensive understanding.

The use of CBD comes with a number of safety issues and unknowns, including a lack of research on long-term use and potential side effects. These concerns are compounded by an overall lack of science communication and early education strategy on cannabis, cannabinoids, and therapeutic uses.

CBD Use in Young Adults

CBD Use in Young Adults
CBD Use in Young Adults

Impact on Brain Development

Young adults (between the ages of 18-25) are in a critical phase of brain development. The potential impact of CBD on the developing brain is not fully understood, raising concerns about its safety in this age group. The lack of high-quality research on the safety and efficacy of cannabis when used to treat minor health problems led the committee to be particularly cautious in its conclusions around safe use for the healthy adult population.

Long-term Safety Concerns

The long-term safety of CBD use in young adults remains uncertain. Much of the literature reviewed on clinical trials focused on the drug-resistant epilepsy population and other complex health care needs outside the scope of our mandate. All members agreed that safety data on CBD use are missing for key groups of patients who could be at risk, including young adults. This demographic may face unknown risks due to the prolonged exposure to CBD during a critical period of development.

The committee unanimously agrees CBD is safe and tolerable for short-term use (a maximum of 30 days) at doses from 20 milligrams per day (mg/day) to a maximum dose of 200 mg/day via oral administration for healthy adults provided they discuss the use of all other medications and substances used with their pharmacist.

Regulatory and Safety Concerns with CBD

Lack of Standardization

The commercial CBD market is fraught with inconsistencies. Existing research comes from trials conducted using high-quality CBD, but the products available to consumers often lack this standardization. This discrepancy raises significant safety concerns, as the CBD tinctures sold online or at local stores may not meet the same quality standards as those used in clinical studies.

Misleading Marketing Claims

Another major issue is the prevalence of misleading marketing claims. Many products are advertised with unverified health benefits, leading consumers to believe they are purchasing a miracle cure. This not only misguides the public but also poses potential health risks, as individuals may forego traditional medical treatments in favor of unproven CBD products.

The lack of regulation and standardization in the CBD market makes it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions, potentially leading to adverse health outcomes.

Navigating the regulatory and safety concerns surrounding CBD can be challenging. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest guidelines and research to ensure safe usage. For comprehensive insights and expert reviews on CBD, visit our website today.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while CBD has been touted for its potential therapeutic benefits, it is crucial to approach its use with caution, particularly for certain populations. Individuals with liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, young adults, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions or psychiatric disorders should be particularly wary. The lack of regulation and potential for contamination in CBD products further complicates its safety profile. Therefore, it is imperative to consult healthcare professionals before incorporating CBD into any health regimen to avoid adverse effects and ensure proper medical guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should avoid taking CBD?

CBD is not recommended for individuals with liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, children, young adults (18-25), individuals with psychiatric conditions, elderly people, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with underlying medical conditions or taking medication.

Can CBD affect liver health?

Yes, studies have shown that high doses of CBD can cause liver damage, especially in individuals with pre-existing liver conditions.

Is CBD safe for children?

The anti-seizure prescription CBD drug Epidiolex is approved for children with certain conditions, but the safety of general CBD products for children remains unclear.

What are the risks of CBD for people with Parkinson’s disease?

Higher doses of CBD may worsen tremors and muscle movement in some individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

How does CBD interact with medications?

CBD may react with many common medications, including pain medications, psychiatric medications, blood thinners, and antihistamines. It’s important to consult a doctor before using CBD if you are on medication.

Are there impurities in CBD products?

Some CBD products may contain harmful impurities such as pesticides and bacteria, and the label may not always reflect the true content or contaminants.

What are the concerns with CBD use during pregnancy?

The effects of CBD on pregnancy are not well understood, but there is emerging evidence that it may harm fetal development. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid CBD products.

What impact does CBD have on the elderly?

Elderly individuals may be more susceptible to drug interactions, falls, and cognitive impairment when using CBD. They may also metabolize CBD differently, requiring adjusted doses.

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