CBD Side Effects: What They’re NOT Telling You
CBD oil is commonly touted as being a miracle drug – able to cure any and all condition with no other kinds of side effects. Recommended for everything from inflammation to serious neurological disorders, CBD may have the potential help out a huge number of different people.
However, just because it is commonly sold as a nutritional supplement and is recommended by doctors doesn’t mean it doesn’t actually have side effects. Everything you put into your body – whether it is food, drink, or medicine – causes an effect.
So, what are the side effects of CBD oil?
What Do We Mean By Side Effects?
To understand the side effects of CBD oil, we need to understand what is actually meant by the term ‘side effects’.
Every medicine has an intended effect, otherwise you wouldn’t be taking it in the first place. Whether it is heart rate medication, low blood pressure tablets or insulin to control diabetes, every medicine taken is designed to cause a specific effect in the human body.
However, due to the sheer complexity and interwoven nature of the human body, it is almost impossible to only affect one particular part of the body. For example, aspirin is commonly used as an every day, over-the-counter pain relief medicine, but it also causes lower blood pressure, no matter what your original intentions were for using it.
This is due to how the body works – many individual parts are reliant upon one another, meaning that affecting one specific part of the body will often have unintended consequences on other parts.
This is basically true for every single type of available medication, which means that every new medicine is required to undergo a rigorous series of tests to discover what kind of side effects it can have when you take it.
Thankfully, despite CBD oil’s relatively recent popularity and still only slow progress towards total legality, researchers have completed a whole host of different studies and tests to determine what kind of side effects CBD oil can have.
So, let’s take a look at some of the unintended consequences of CBD oil.
CBD & Its Effects on Your Sleep
CBD oil is prescribed for all manner of different conditions, all in varying doses designed to tackle different problems. However, one thing that CBD oil will generally affect regardless of what you want is your sleep patterns.
Researchers first noticed CBD’s influence on your sleep cycle by comparing it to THC’s effect, as it is well known that the THC within cannabis is frequently used as a sleep aid. However, CBD oil is a bit different.
During a study published by Rodriguez et al., researchers dosed a group of rats with CBD oil, monitoring their levels of wakefulness and activity. Though they initially concluded that CBD oil also made you sleepy, they realized something extremely strange – the time at which they dosed the rats with CBD oil determined its effects.
If the rats were given CBD oil during a period wherein they would expect to be tired, such as the evening, then their levels of wakefulness decreased, encouraging them to sleep. However, if they were dosed at the beginning of the day during a time wherein they were expected be awake, their levels of wakefulness actually increased.
It would appear that CBD oil actually makes you both more awake and more sleepy, depending on when you take it.
This is a side effect that really is not talked about very often, because its effect is quite small. It’s not going to knock you out while driving, nor is it going to keep you awake when you don’t want it to – it’s more similar to just being ever so slightly awake or drowsy.
However, it is still important to know this – if you are going to take a medicine, it is best to know all the possible effects, especially its effect on your sleep!
CBD & Blood Pressure
Perhaps even more important than its effects on your sleep, CBD oil also has a noticeable effect on your blood pressure.
This is actually less of a side effect and more simply one of the uses of CBD oil – CBD oil was demonstrated by Jadoon et al in their seminal study to act as a vascular relaxant, meaning that it reduced the “stiffness” of the arterial system, lowering blood pressure and generally improving the health of your circulatory system.
However, this effect occurs regardless of your desired intention behind taking CBD Oil. Even if you are taking CBD Oil to treat inflammation or another ailment, you will still have your blood pressure reduced due to its vascular relaxant properties.
The quantity of your blood pressure being reduced is not serious enough to be worried about – it’s not going to cause you to faint while walking down the street, but if you already suffer from chronically low blood pressure, it is something you need to be aware of.
Though high blood pressure is the more frequently talked about heart-related medical issue, it is still something that exists – those with low blood pressure are prone to suddenly fainting or suffering feelings of sudden shock when moving too quickly.
If you are one of those unlucky few with chronically low blood pressure, make sure you speak to your doctor before taking CBD oil.
CBD & Saturated Fats
This is a side effect that is less about the medicine’s unintentional consequences, and more about the problems inherent in CBD oil itself.
CBD oil is, as the name implies, CBD suspended within oil. This oil is consumed either orally, in food, or as part of vaping using e-liquids. However, especially when you take your CBD oil orally, this oil doesn’t just leave your body – you ingest it!
Due to the fact that the majority of CBD oils are produced using coconut oil or other oils with a high saturated fat content, there is a risk of exposing yourself to too many highly saturated fats.
This is only really a problem for those that dose themselves frequently, and with large doses of CBD oil, but if you are a regular user of CBD oil, you run the risk of elevating your cholesterol level without thinking about it.
Similar to CBD oil’s effect on blood pressure, this is only really a problem if you already suffer from a tendency towards higher cholesterol and fat content; if you are one of these people, make sure to either speak to your doctor, or counteract it by eating less high saturated fats in your diet.
CBD & The Unintended Consequences for Other Drugs
CBD oil is a drug that has a huge array of different effects on the body, but what you might not know is that it also affects your body’s ability to interact and process other drugs as well.
When you consume any kind of drug, it is taken to the liver where it is metabolized by a particular enzyme called CYP450. This enzyme helps break down the drug into usable materials for the body, allowing drugs like CBD oil to become accessible to the endocannabinoid system.
However, this enzyme is a bit peculiar. As many people know, foods like grapefruit have the unintended consequence of shutting off the CYP450 enzyme, causing the body to stop being able to metabolize drugs.
This is a serious problem for those that take regular medications, especially ones that are responsible for their everyday health, such as blood pressure or anti-seizure medication. As the enzyme is shut off, the drug essentially sits in the liver, waiting to be processed. Then, when the enzyme finally turns back on, you have usually already given yourself another dose of medication.
The body then has to work extra hard, forcing you to suddenly metabolize a much larger dose of drug than you intended. This is especially problematic for drugs with an addictive or otherwise harmful element, like codeine.
Unfortunately, CBD oil has a similar effect on the liver, causing the CYP450 enzyme to slow down production and, in a sense, completely shut off.
The effect differs based on the dose, but if you are regularly taking another medicine alongside CBD oil, try to space out your dosage times between them, as CBD oil might cause the other drug to not be metabolized properly.
It isn’t so serious as to cause you real damage, but if you are a big user of CBD oil, it could prove to be a problem.
So, is it Worth it?
With this long list of unintended side effects of CBD oil, you might be tempted to consider CBD oil as being too dangerous to be worth taking.
It is important to remember that literally every drug has unintended side effects. Even when a drug is advertised as having zero side effects, they only mean zero side effects worth considering, and which happen often enough to be considered reportable.
The side effects listed here are relatively benign, only causing gradual changes with rather minimal consequences. The only real risk you might have is if you are both a big user of CBD oil and if you suffer from another condition.
In that case, you might be suffering untended effects as a result of the combination of the drugs, as well as the side effects of CBD oil on your body.
Above all, it is important to consult your doctor to establish if there are any possible conflicts or side effects that your body is not capable of dealing with.
CBD oil is still absolutely worth it to try and treat a huge number of different conditions – just make sure you check first and ensure its side effects aren’t a problem for you.