The legalization of medical marijuana in 33 U.S. states has paved the way to the growing popularity of cannabis and the products derived from it, such as cannabidiol. Also known as CBD, this cannabis-derived substance has received praises by researchers and doctors for its growing list of health and wellness benefits. Because of CBD’s increasing popularity, industry analysts predict it’s on its way to becoming a $22-billion market by 2022.
But even though CBD receives high praises for its incredible medical properties, users must still take note of its side effects. Like any substance used as a medicine, cannabidiol can cause harm to users, especially those who use it without the prescription and supervision of a doctor.
CBD: The Safe Cannabinoid
Experts attribute the increasing use of CBD to its safety. Unlike THC and other cannabinoid or compounds derived from cannabis, taking cannabidiol does not have adverse effects on a person’s mental and emotional condition. It does not create an intoxicating feeling (commonly called a «high»).
After various studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 finally recognized that cannabidiol, in its pure form, has no potential for abuse nor can it cause harm to a person’s health.
Later, officials at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) acknowledged the safety of CBD. As a result, it changed the classification of the substance from Schedule 1 (highest potential for abuse) to Schedule 5 (least potential for abuse). This decision came out even as the agency maintains that cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug.
Cannabidiol’s Medical Wonders
CBD rose from obscurity to become one of the most sought-after substances in the medical world because of its various healing properties. Researchers from all over the globe have discovered benefits for patients of life-threatening diseases to those who simply want a supplement to improve their health.
Here are some of the research-backed health benefits of cannabidiol:
- Lowered risk of diabetes and obesity
- Reduced risk of getting cardiovascular diseases and improved cholesterol profiles
- Decreased risk of some types of cancer
- Promotes and maintains brain health and makes the brain resilient to trauma and degeneration
- Protects against bone diseases and fractures
- Protects and treats the skin
- Contributes to pain relief and inflammation
- Relieves anxiety and stress
- Helps in treating depression and mood disorders
- Promotes quality sleep
- Helps to treat substance abuse
- Some studies also found that is CBD useful in controlling appetite for people who want to lose weight.
CBD’s Potential Side Effects
While considered safe, cannabidiol users may still experience adverse impact. Many studies, including those published in the Current Drug Safety journal and by the WHO showing that CBD has no adverse effects on a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, gastrointestinal tract, food intake, and other bodily functions even in large doses. Still, doctors warn that the misuse and abuse of this cannabinoid can lead to side effects.
In a 2017 review published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal disclosed the CBD’s most typical side effects:
- Change in appetite
- Tiredness and fatigue
Some studies also found improper use of cannabidiol can lead to:
- Mood changes
- Nausea and dizziness
Doctors also warn the following people regarding CBD use:
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers – Exposure of pregnant women and nursing mothers to any marijuana-derived substance, including CBD, can cause harm to the development of their baby, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics report.
Other studies found that even brief exposure to CBD may result in a more permeable placental barrier, which makes the fetus susceptible to foreign compounds.
- Patients with Movement Disorders – Patients with dystonic movement disorders who use CBD can experience side effects. A daily 100–600mg oral dosage of cannabidiol resulted in low blood pressure, dry mouth, reduction in psychomotor activities, light-headedness, and sedation, according to a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience. Patients who take more than 300mg of CBD oil daily can increase the incidence of hypokinesia and resting tremor.
- People taking some forms of prescription medicine – Combining CBD with some prescription medications can lead to damaging effects inside the body. Cannabidiol can alter the results of some prescribed medication as it interacts with the receptors throughout the body and by suppressing the activity of cytochrome P450, a group of liver enzymes whose primary function is to break down drugs and toxins entering the body. Since CBD can inhibit the activity of this enzyme group, it can temporarily deactivate it, which can impact how other substances are metabolized in the body.
- May Contain THC – Some CBD brands contain more than the safe percentage of THC, the cannabinoid with intoxicating properties. Taking these products may affect the concentration, mood, and memory, especially of people with high sensitivity to THC.
While cannabidiol is recognized as safe by WHO and other leading medical organizations, users can still experience harmful side effects. To ensure safety in taking any of CBD products, patients should consult their doctor first before taking them.