The Side Effects of Cannabidiol You Probably Didn't Know
There are two primary compounds found in the cannabis plant that are widely known, and widely used: THC and CBD. While many people are familiar with the cannabinoid known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid called cannabidiol (CBD) is increasing in popularity. While THC is likely responsible for the infamy surrounding the cannabis plants, it's not the only useful compound and the plant should not be defined by it. Many people associate cannabis use with only one feeling, that of being stoned but people don’t realize that it is only one cannabinoid out of literally dozens that exist within the plant, and it is the only one to trigger any psychoactivity. Cannabinoids, other than both CBD and THC, are also proving through intense scientific study to have extremely varied and powerful medical applications, but only THC will trigger the high.
Cannabinoids are able to interact directly and indirectly with the endocannabinoid system within the human body. This system is responsible for mood, appetite, perception of pain, memory and other physiological processes. While THC bonds directly with CB-1 receptors, stimulating the high, CBD seems to only work indirectly with these receptors and actually counter balances the effect of THC by ensuring THC is ‘unlocked’ much more quickly. Cannabidiol seems to have a much greater influence over the CB-2 receptors.
Although all cannabinoids have powerful health benefits, CBD in particular is being shown to effectively treat chronic pain, inflammation, nausea and vomiting, depression, anxiety and in treatment of tumorous cells. Because CBD is so dramatically different from THC, it is also more applicable, especially for people seeking treatment without the high, like for small children, working professionals, and people who are averse to feeling stoned. However, people assume that because it t is still from the same plant as THC, CBD probably has similar side effects, right? Wrong!
Are there Any Potential Side Effects of CBD?
Because we are programmed to believe all medicines must have a long list of side effects, the fact that CBD essentially has no serious side effects is a bit difficult to digest at first. Yet, scientifically, CBD is showing in study after study, that when taken as a controlled therapy, to upwards of 1500mg a day, the side effects are mild and limited, if they appear at all. Even high doses are tolerated well by people of all ages, as well as by animals.
Some mild side effects which have been reported barely register for most people as a legitimate side effect. This includes feeling more relaxed, and the sensation of a dry mouth. In fact many people use CBD oil in order to feel more relaxed and calm. It, importantly, doesn’t alter perception like THC can, and CBD doesn’t change appetite, or cause any change in physiological indicators like blood pressure and heart rate. It is so safe, that it is used by medical professionals in Brazil and some more liberal states to treat epilepsy in children.
With that being said, there is one possible side effect that could cause complications, although not yet reported. Cannabidiol may inhibit the activity of a liver enzyme called cytochrome P450, which in turn can complicate metabolism of other pharmaceuticals. This enzyme is produced and active within the liver, so for medications that are processed by the liver, a high dose of CBD can inhibit their absorption. Cannabidiol has been found to reduce or temporarily pause the functioning of the P450 enzyme much like grapefruit products (oils, tinctures, etc.) which also have exactly the same effect. If you are considering CBD as a therapeutic medicine, while also taking other medicines, it is important to consult a professional about possible complications.
Finally, it should be noted that in one often cited study, CBD therapy was found to increase the appearance of tumors in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This was only found in extremely high doses, which were administered by researchers. Interestingly lower doses are found to have the opposite effect on the symptoms experienced by Parkinson’s patients.
Just like any medicine, it is important to understand the risk factors involved prior to use. However, CBD is unlike many other pharmaceuticals because it is just as powerful in many applications, but doesn’t lead to the long list of side effects we are often used to. It is completely safe, natural and effective.