Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a substance derived from the cannabis plant. Thanks to recent legalization efforts, people are finally able to get their hands on CBD to their heart’s content.
However, unlike with THC or regular marijuana, the intent isn’t to get high. CBD oil is used as a medicine to help provide relief from a huge variety of conditions, such as psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, and even Multiple Sclerosis.
One thing that many people are concerned about, however, is its potential side effects. Due to the nascent nature of CBD’s use and legality, many people aren’t as knowledgeable about the expected side effects of the compound compared to more household medicines like Tylenol or even, oddly enough, regular marijuana.
So, let’s take a look at the side effects you can expect from CBD oil, as well as what exactly CBD is.
First of All, What is this Famous Cannabinoid?
CBD, the less common other half of THC, is the non-psychoactive primary cannabinoid found within cannabis. CBD oil works in a similar manner to THC with regard to how it interacts with your body, with a few subtle, key differences.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, the health system within the human body that affects a surprisingly large amount of different functions. Two receptors within the ECS, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, are triggered by an interaction with cannabinoids, forcing them to encourage the body to help itself heal using its natural processes.
The key difference between CBD and THC with regard to how it affects the body is its method of CB1 and CB2 receptor interaction. THC clings directly to the receptors, constantly engaging them and, alongside the health benefits that THC provides, causes you to enter into a psychoactive high due to overstimulation.
On the other hand, CBD actually doesn’t directly trigger the receptors, instead almost hanging around near them, encouraging their activation through promoting the creation of natural chemicals that trigger the receptors normally.
This means that CBD oil, besides not giving you a psychoactive high, encourages your body to heal itself in a more subtle, natural way.
The CB1 receptors are located primarily within the brain and dictate the release of a variety of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin, whereas the CB2 receptors are located more liberally throughout the body and control the rate of cell regeneration and general body regulation.
CBD oil interacts with both receptors, meaning it has the potential to help with a variety of different medical conditions, ranging from mental disorders or skin conditions all the way to actual physical injuries.
CBD oil is pretty remarkable in how many conditions it can affect, but when taking any medicine it is important to understand the possible side effects associated with it.
So, how can CBD oil affect you negatively? Are there any established side effects and, if so, how can they be mitigated?
CBD Side Effects
Despite its widespread use, as well as its fierce proponents who insist there are no side effects whatsoever, CBD oil does in fact have a few side effects worth considering.
They are in no way as significant as the side effects of other medications, nor is CBD oil in any way addictive, so it immediately wins out over common opioid painkillers which are frequently taken in the USA.
Side Effect #1 – Undesired Drowsiness
CBD is often taken to help treat chronic insomnia, sometimes in coordination with THC, and it works due to the way in which CBD oil interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain and nervous system.
By encouraging the healthy release of melatonin – the hormone primarily responsible for the feeling of drowsiness and comfort ability you frequently associate with going to sleep – CBD is able to help people fall asleep more easily.
However, when taken throughout the day for other conditions, CBD oil has a chance to cause this drowsiness when you don’t want it. That being said, it isn’t quite as simple as that; it doesn’t happen every time.
A study published by Rodriguez et al. found that, when dosing rats with CBD oil during periods of expected rest, their level of sleepiness and melatonin was increased. However, if they dosed the rats with CBD oil during a time of sleep wakefulness – basically just the middle of the day when they were already rested – the rats actually experienced more wakefulness and awareness.
So, if taken during the day, CBD oil has the ability to actually keep you awake and aware, but when taken in the evening, could cause some to experience drowsiness.
It’s either a side effect or simply a double benefit, but it depends on when you want to take it!
Side Effect #2 – Blood Pressure Reduction
One of the major benefits of CBD oil is its use as a vascular relaxant. What this means is that, for those with high blood pressure or other heart issues, CBD oil helps reduce the strain felt by the circulatory system.
How it does this is by essentially “loosening” the tenseness of the vascular walls, allowing for them to become more flexible to changes and shifts in blood pressure.
A study published by Jadoon et al. found that, by dosing patients with CBD oil, their resting blood pressure and heart rate were reduced. This is very useful for those with inherited high blood pressure, as constantly undergoing intense heart strain can cause serious heart issues and, eventually, cardiac arrest.
However, this does mean that, if you’re taking CBD oil to help treat a separate condition, you might experience a small reduction in your blood pressure.
This shouldn’t be of any major concern if you have a healthy blood pressure, as the change isn’t as significant as taking frequent doses of Aspirin or other drugs with similar effects, but it can be a cause for worry if you already have chronically low blood pressure.
While much rarer than chronically high blood pressure, it is still an uncommon genetic trait.
If you have low blood pressure, consider also medicating that condition as well so as to ensure you don’t experience too significant a blood pressure loss.
Side Effect #3 – Diarrhea and Weight
When looking into the possible side effects of CBD oil when taken as an adolescent, researchers Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen discovered in their study that, of all the reported side effects of patients whom had been taking CBD periodically, diarrhea and small weight loss were the most reported.
The reason diarrhea, though experienced at a very mildly level, was reported is currently not known, but it could be a standard response of our body while adjusting to a new medication.
Another possible reason is the effect it has on your digestive system. Though cannabis is commonly assumed to cause the munchies, CBD oil actually has the opposite effect, acting as a healthy weight suppressant times of extreme hunger.
Strangely enough, similar to how CBD oil causes drowsiness at nighttime and wakefulness in the day time, CBD also can encourage a healthy appetite when abstaining from food, hence its frequent use to treat anorexia.
When CBD oil is taken without the intent to modulate eating, it’s possible that it causes subtle changes to your appetite that cause you to experience diarrhea. For example, you might find yourself eating much less throughout the day, but then find yourself a lot more when it comes to mealtimes. This can cause a mild irritation in the intestines due to the difference in quantity ingested at different times.
It’s not a huge amount to worry about, as it does usually go away, according to the study.
The weight loss is also only temporary, but might be of some concern to those whom also suffer from a condition which leads to weight loss. In the same way you don’t want to lower your blood pressure when you already have low blood pressure, you don’t want to find yourself eating even less when you can barely eat at all!
Final Thoughts & And is CBD Oil Worth it?
Like any medication, CBD oil has its side effects. It’s impossible for your body not to react in a number of interesting, and sometimes confusing, ways when you introduce a new medicine into your system.
When CBD oil – a drug that interacts with so many systems in the body and is responsible for so many treatments – enters your system, it’s understandable your body might conflict with it in some way.
However, the majority of the side effects of CBD oil are simply the consequences of taking a medication with many intended uses; if you take it to treat one condition, you’re also going to be getting the benefits people utilize to treat a different condition.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is incredibly important to keep in mind if you already have a preexisting condition.
If you don’t have a preexisting condition, there is little cause to worry about unwanted side effects of CBD oil.
If you do, however, make sure you check with your doctor to ensure that CBD oil won’t interact negatively with any condition you might have.