You’ve probably heard about CBD before. You might even have an idea of what it is and what it can do.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While that might make some people raise an eyebrow because cannabis-use has long been associated with hippie- and stoner-culture, more and more research is showing that compounds in cannabis like CBD could have beneficial properties.
But separating fact from fiction isn’t easy, especially when it comes to CBD. Cannabis-use itself comes with countless potential side effects. And while most of these side-effects are related to the psychoactive cannabinoid “THC”, CBD comes with its own set of side effects.
If you are interested in trying CBD let’s first take a look at what exactly it is and what it can do.
While CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant it’s not the same thing. Taking some form of CBD is not going to have the same effect as smoking some cannabis.
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How is CBD Different from Cannabis?
CBD is a compound that’s part of the cannabis plant. It doesn’t have psychoactive properties. You won’t get a high when taking a CBD product because CBD products usually don’t contain THC. THC is another compound found in the cannabis plant and it is the compound that produces the ‘high’.
Some of the benefits associated with cannabis come from CBD. Other benefits associated with cannabis come from other compounds like THC. And researchers think that some benefits associated with cannabis come from a complex interaction of biochemical processes that involves multiple cannabis-derived compounds like CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes.
Cannabis plants can be of the hemp variety or the marijuana variety. For a CBD product to be legal it needs to be derived from the hemp variety. While biologically almost the same plants, hemp plants contain a much lower percentage of the psychoactive compound THC.
What is CBD Used For?
CBD is most commonly used as an oil but it can be used as CBD-containing gummies, soft gels and even creams. Since the explosion of interest in CBD a few years ago the marketplace for CBD products has rapidly grown.
Every type of CBD product contains CBD, but they have their own unique characteristics as well.
That being said, CBD oils are the most common way to use CBD.
But why are these products proving to be so popular? What can CBD really do? This is where we get into a grey area because although many studies have found benefits associated with CBD, further research is needed to confirm these benefits. Marketing teams certainly went a little wild when reporting about their CBD products with claims saying it can cure everything from the common cold to cancer.
That’s not to say CBD is a modern-day “snake oil” or anything like that; it does have scientific backing when it comes to certain benefits and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for many of the claims. But until further conclusive research is carried out many of the perceived medical benefits are inconclusive.
However, we do know that CBD can help with both physical and mental conditions.
CBD is said like cannabis to help relax and calm people which can help people improve their sleep.
CBD is also known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown it can help with anxiety issues and research has also suggested it can help people who want to quit smoking by helping manage withdrawal symptoms.
In America, the FDA also permitted CBD-based medicine to be used for treating epilepsy and even the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that CBD has anti-tumour properties.
So, it’s easy to see why people want to use CBD products but let’s get down to the question posed by the title: what are the dangers.
CBD – The Known Risks and Side Effects
CBD is a little enigmatic when it comes to side effects. Many sources out there will claim it has none but how true is this? Well just like many of the perceived health benefits need more research so do the possible side effects and risks.
But let’s get the good news out of the way first. There is no risk of getting a high with CBD oil products as long as they are professionally sourced and hemp-derived. CBD is not psychoactive so you are free of any of those dangers.
If you don’t know the source of your CBD product however, there’s a major risk that you may have a cheap cannabis-derived CBD product instead which will, therefore, have higher levels of THC. To ensure you don’t fall victim to this ensure you are buying any CBD oil product from a reputable business.
Clinical trials have also shown evidence that taking CBD could cause a loss in appetite, tiredness, gastrointestinal issues, a dry mouth and interfere with the metabolism of certain pharmaceutical drugs. Although the same trials also showed that after a few weeks these issues subsided and that they may be linked to the dosage of CBD taken.
The smaller the dosage the less risk of any side effects occurring seems to hold true but again more research is needed. There are also some groups of people, like pregnant women, who most agree should avoid taking CBD oil products as well at least until further research is carried out and the risks/ potential dangers can be fully explored.
Pregnant women or people trying to conceive are generally advised not to take CBD as well as mothers who want to breastfeed. The effects of CBD on an infant or developing brain are currently unknown. People with low blood pressure should also avoid taking CBD as some studies have shown that it may lower blood pressure.
Due to the potential risk of liver complications, it’s also advised people with pre-existing liver problems stay away from CBD as well. Unsurprisingly evidence also shows that CBD doesn’t mix well with certain prescription drugs so the two should not be mixed before consulting a doctor.
In other words, if you are taking any kind of prescription medication it’s advised that you don’t take CBD before consulting a doctor. Finally, CBD should not be taken as a replacement for any other treatment/medication you are on before consulting a doctor. Its beneficial properties might look promising, but more research is needed before it can be used as medication.