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Side Effects of CBD Oil: A Closer Look

Posted by Justin Adair on Oct 2, 2019 5:00:48 PM
Justin Adair


Many CBD articles you’ll find online discuss the benefits of CBD oil. These articles talk about how CBD oil can improve your health, where it comes from, and where to buy it. Yet, you’ll find less information on the side effects of CBD oil. 

Due to the wide availability of CBD oil derived from hemp, researchers and scientists want to understand the potential side effects involved. Although several studies already cover this topic, further research is being carried out to determine whether any long-term side effects exist.

Here's what science has discovered so far.



What Science Says About the Safety of CBD

A 2011 study led by researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, analyzed the safety and side effect profile of cannabidiol or CBD on both human and animal subjects. They discovered that CBD was non-toxic and that it didn’t impair motor or psychological functions. 

Furthermore, they found that CBD did not alter physiological parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, or body temperature. Finally, their research suggests that CBD oil is well-tolerated in humans at 1,500 mg per day.


A few years later, in 2017, two researchers from Hurth, Germany performed a follow-up study. They had two main goals in mind, to update the literature from the 2011 study and perform clinical trials to assess potential interactions between CBD and other drugs. 

Based on their research, they confirmed CBD’s favorable safety profile in humans. Most of the clinical trials involved the treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. Patients in these trials reported tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite. When comparing the side effects from CBD to the side effects from other drugs, CBD oil displayed a much better side effect profile.

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Side Effects of CBD Oil

The studies mentioned above found CBD to be non-intoxicating and not psychoactive. Another article we’ve written discussed CBD as a non-addictive substance. So, besides the reports on what CBD does not do, let’s talk about what it can do from the perspective of side effects.


Possible side effects noted in the 2017 study and from Mayo Clinic studies include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss in appetite and dry mouth
  • Drowsiness



Gastrointestinal issues can occur when consuming CBD oil for the first time, and that can lead to diarrhea or nausea - two common symptoms associated with digestive problems. Symptoms such as these could mean the quality of the CBD oil was poor, or it may indicate that too much oil was ingested at one time. In the latter scenario, the body could've had a difficult time digesting the oil, which resulted in unpleasant symptoms.

In either case, it’s always best to consult your doctor before consuming a product that contains CBD.  


Changes in Appetite and Dry Mouth

Many studies show that CBD can increase or decrease a person’s appetite. The changes can lead to weight loss in some people and weight gain in others. At this point, science doesn’t completely understand why this happens. There are too many variables involved. More clinical trials are necessary before the answers become clear. 

Another potential side effect of CBD oil is dry mouth. This is not an uncommon side effect for plants belonging to the cannabis family, and CBD appears to be no different. Although dry mount can be unpleasant, this mild effect doesn’t last long, just like CBD’s other side effects.



Like dry mouth, drowsiness has also been linked to side effects of cannabis. Studies suggest that people who take CBD regularly may have an easier time falling asleep. Depending on who you ask, this side effect could be a benefit rather than a detriment. It all comes down to the intended use of the product and how your body reacts to it.  

Even with these mild side effects, it’s important to note that CBD has no withdrawal effects and no addictive properties.



Possible Drug Interactions 

As with all substances, CBD could cause unwanted interactions with prescription medications. Unfortunately, we are not doctors, so providing specifics on this is out of our wheelhouse.  

If you take blood thinners, blood pressure medications, or any type of pharmaceutical medication, it’s best to speak with your doctor about potential interactions.

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Not All CBD Oils Are the Same 

When you search for CBD oil online, it helps to be aware of some common, yet significant distinctions.


Organic vs. Non-Organic

Not all CBD oil gets made from organic hemp. When organic hemp is the source of the CBD oil, it will contain fewer contaminants than non-organic hemp. Contaminants such as molds, pesticides, or heavy metals can increase the likelihood of adverse side effects. 

The USDA and other regulatory bodies are not currently certifying hemp crops. So, if a product is not USDA certified as organic, that doesn’t necessarily mean the farming practices aren’t organic.

To make sure you know what you are getting, do some research or ask the CBD company about their farming practices. It is also a good practice to examine their third-party lab testing reports which is also frequently refereed to as a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA typically shows the levels of contaminants in the CBD product. Having this insight empowers you to make a well-informed decision before buying CBD oil.   


Full-Spectrum vs. Isolate

A Full-Spectrum CBD oil includes other cannabinoids in addition to CBD. These include CBC, CBG, CBN, and THC among others. CBD isolate products only contain CBD. Isolates are generally associated with less effectiveness, but that can also mean fewer side effects.


Additional Ingredients and Oil Strengths 

Many CBD oils contain other ingredients in addition to CBD hemp extract. Products can include other beneficial ingredients such as essential oils, herbs, and plant terpenes that may increase the efficacy of the oil. At the same time, these extra ingredients could possibly contribute to some unwanted side effects. 

Secondly, pay attention to the CBD strength shown on the product label. Strength is often indicated in milligrams. Products can range from 100 mg of CBD per bottle to 5,000 mg. The higher the strength, especially for someone new to CBD, may increase the chances of experiencing unwanted side effects.



Why the Quality of CBD Oil Matters 

Quality matters for just about anything you take. For CBD oil, quality matters even more. Since the CBD market is not regulated, anyone can sell and market a product as CBD oil. 

A recent study compared 84 CBD products sold online. After testing the contents of the products, more than a quarter of them contained less CBD than what the label showed. It is generally acceptable in the supplement and nutrition industry to be +/- 10% of the stated amount on the label. Make sure to look at the lab reports and be skeptical of anything outside of that range.

Other signs of a poor quality CBD oil include toxic solvents, pesticides, and other contaminants that may be bad for your health. It can be challenging for first-time customers to find high-quality CBD oil, so make sure you due your due diligence.  



Final Thoughts

Results from scientific studies prove that CBD oil derived from hemp is safe for human consumption. The research also shows that CBD oil can result in a few minor side effects.

Since we all have a unique bio-individuality, the effects of CBD oil could differ for each of us. Yet, the majority of people who take CBD don’t experience adverse reactions.

Before you buy any type of CBD product, make sure it comes from a trusted and certified source.

At Earlybird CBD all our products have a Certificate of Analysis from third-party labs. These reports can give you the confidence to know what you’re buying is safe. 

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Topics: Medical, CBD Oil

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