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Is CBD Bad For Me?

Although cannabis has been used as a medicine since around 500 BC, cannabidiol (better known as CBD) was first discovered by chemist Roger Adams in 1940, just three years after marijuana became federally illegal. In the 21st century, CBD has become a trendy topic in the world of alternative medicine, just in time for CBD to gain legal status in 2018 with the passing of the Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp in all 50 U.S. states.

With the federal legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products such as CBD, more longitudinal, double-blind, peer-reviewed studies are underway to determine the safety and efficacy of CBD products for certain diseases and disorders. With those studies, experts have demonstrated CBD may be useful for some patients suffering from sleep disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, cancer and epilepsy.    

However, experts also recognize that CBD is not risk-free. Some patients do experience side effects and drug interactions, and experts have not yet had the time to conduct longitudinal studies that determine the long-term effects of CBD use. Here we examine some potential downsides of CBD.

Side Effects of CBD

Although CBD is often well-tolerated, it can cause side effects. Patients have reported side effects ranging from mild dry mouth to diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea and irritability. 

CBD can also interact with certain medications such as blood thinners. Similar to grapefruit, CBD can increase the level of blood thinning by competing for liver enzymes that break down blood thinners. 

CBD may also interact with other medications like pain medications, antidepressants, seizure medication and diabetes medication. Taking CBD with other medications that have similar side effects like sleepiness or fatigue might increase the risk of those unwanted symptoms, and may even be toxic at high doses.

Always be sure to consult with your doctor to determine any potential drug interactions or safety concerns.

CBD Purity

Because CBD is marketed and sold as a supplement (not a medication), and because the FDA does not currently regulate the safety and purity of supplements, it can be difficult to determine whether CBD products actually have the active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. 

Because the purity of CBD products are not federally regulated, it’s important to purchase CBD products from a reputable source. Companies that regularly conduct third-party testing of their products (like Lakewood Botanicals), send their products to independent labs not affiliated with the company to test the product for contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, solvents and unwanted microbials. This provides an unbiased analysis of the product to determine its safety and purity.

CBD Dosage & Method of Consumption

While credible evidence does point to the health benefits of CBD, dosage and method of consumption often varies widely in research studies, which makes it even more difficult for the average person to determine the best dose for their particular ailment.

The amount of CBD one should take depends on a range of factors like body weight, pre-existing condition(s) and individual body chemistry. What’s more, the concentration of CBD in each capsule, drop or gummy varies considerably — from 25 mg in a CBD gummy to 3,000 mg in an oil tincture. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to start at a low dose and gradually increase as necessary.

The method of consumption also matters a great deal. CBD is available as an oil, topical, a wide range of edibles, subdermal patches, or it can be smoked and/or vaped. Preferences vary considerably here, and the method of consumption will also determine the rate at which effects are felt. 

Those who are hoping to use CBD to abate specific illnesses should consider consulting with their doctor to determine the best dose and method of consumption. Those who wish to experiment with the effects of CBD products for personal benefit are advised to start at low doses to see how the effects are tolerated.

So, is CBD bad for me?

Even though CBD is not FDA-approved, several studies have demonstrated its therapeutic potential. Indeed, the side effects of many drugs that claim to manage symptoms of anxiety, pain, sleep, cancer and epilepsy are often more detrimental compared to the mild side effects of CBD that are often tolerated by most.

CBD has been studied as an adjunct therapy to other conventional medications and healing techniques; but it is not seen as a cure-all elixir in and of itself. Some may experience medicinal benefits, while others may not. The best way to determine if CBD is right for you is to consult with your doctor and start at low doses if CBD is recommended as an added regime to your daily healthcare routine.

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