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CBD 101

CBD Side Effects

CBD Side Effects

Before you take any product, it’s important to know what it is, how it interacts with your body, and the possible side effects it may produce. Taking such precautions is a wise way to not only manage your health for today and tomorrow but far into the future. 

So, if you’ve been considering taking CBD to promote health and vitality, it’s important that you first do some research to understand the compound’s effects. To help you in this endeavor, this guide will review all the potential side effects of CBD.   

The State of CBD 

These days, an increasing number of people are turning to cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, to help them manage or support their health. Generally speaking, the most well known benefits of CBD include: 

  • Eases aches and discomforts
  • Reduces exercise-induced inflammation
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Helps with daily stress
  • Instills a sense of tranquility and relaxation
  • Encourages restful sleep  

Clinical studies on CBD oil benefits, treatments, and side effects are currently underway. As of now, all signs point to the positive. Currently, the FDA only has one approved CBD prescription treatment, known as Epidiolex. However, this will likely pave the way for more FDA-approved CBD oil products, particularly since there are more than 50 clinical trials currently underway. That said, according the World Health Organization

CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications. Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

Even though the WHO says that CBD doesn’t have any known adverse effects on health, that doesn’t mean that CBD can’t cause certain side effects. Like any supplement or change in your diet, many of these smaller side effects of CBD will be relative to the person.

CBD Side Effects

Although most people are able to fully enjoy the benefits of CBD as a part of their daily routines without any problems, you should be aware of the potential side effects:

  • Increased/Decreased appetite – CBD has been seen in some users to increase appetite. In others, it’s been reported to decrease it. Where the individual will fall on this spectrum seems to be inconclusive. What’s not debatable, is that these side effects have been documented.
  • Dry mouth – Colloquially referred to as “cottonmouth,” some CBD users have reported that they experienced dry mouth after taking their CBD orally. This is likely due to the fact that CBD can have an inhibiting effect on saliva secretion. 
  • Fatigue – CBD helps its users feel a sense of peace and relaxation. This is one of the reasons that many people utilize it for healthier sleep. Naturally, though, this feeling of tranquility can make it more difficult to stay awake. Some people report that they feel tired after taking CBD, which is why most experts recommend that you should avoid CBD if you plan on driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Nausea – Although an exceedingly rare occurrence, a select few CBD users experience upset stomachs. This might result in one of a few stomach issues, including: 
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting    

Of those users that do report digestive problems, it’s hard to determine the direct cause. On one hand, it could be due solely to the CBD, or it could be caused by CBD’s reaction with other pharmaceutical drugs within the body. 

  • Mood change – The vast majority of CBD users note an improvement to their normal moods and increased positivity on their general outlook on life. However, there are certain individuals who will occasionally report that they feel more irritable or agitated. 

It’s worth noting that most of what we know about CBD side effects are from preclinical and clinical trials that have concluded or are currently underway. And from the numbers, all that’s possible to say is that the side effects do happen; though what percentage of users experience them changes study-by-study. One consideration is to gradually increase the dosage to avoid severe side effects. 

Why does that matter? 

If you’re only taking 15mgs of CBD per day, chances are you won’t experience any unpleasant side effects because your dose simply isn’t high enough. Not to mention, many of the CBD oil side effects are attributed to the combination of other pharmaceutical drugs that users are currently taking.  

Interaction with Medications

If you’re on medications, you should first consult your doctor before taking CBD. There have been reports where CBD has had poor interactions with various drugs, including blood thinners. 

One way to know if a medication may not work well when taken with CBD is if the medication or supplement has a “grapefruit warning.” CBD and grapefruits both interfere with a certain group of enzymes (cytochromes P450) that help with the metabolism of drugs. So, if your medication specifically states that you should avoid eating grapefruits when taking it, you may want to avoid taking CBD as well. But again, speak with your doctor first to be safe. 

Does CBD Get You High?  

Because marijuana and hemp are closely related, many people unfamiliar with CBD naturally assume that it would get them high. But they’re wrong. The cannabis plant has hundreds of natural compounds known as cannabinoids. The two most well-known and researched are:

  • THC – A psychoactive cannabinoid that produces a high or euphoric sense. 
  • CBD – A non-psychoactive cannabinoid that actively works to dampen psychoactivity. 

Marijuana has a high concentration THC—typically 25% to 40%—whereas hemp can’t legally contain more than .3%. Because of these regulations, hemp-based CBD that’s sold as a product does not have psychoactive effects and won’t get you high, so long as the product contains what it claims. 

This brings us to our next topic of discussion:

Dishonest CBD Products

Because CBD was recently made legal nationwide, regulations on CBD products are only beginning to clamp down on what CBD companies can say, promise, or produce. That said, there have been reports of CBD oil products or knock-offs that misrepresent what their label says and what their content actually contains. 

A 2017 JAMA study confirmed this problem when they tested 84 publicly-available CBD products. During the course of their research, they discovered that more than 70% of them failed to meet their label claims. And although this may seem worrisome, the researchers state that people need to be cautious and research their CBD product but not panic. They write:

Under labeling is less concerning as CBD appears to neither have abuse liability nor serious adverse consequences at high doses; however, the THC content observed may be sufficient to produce intoxication or impairment.

Although it differs for each one, the undesirable ingredients found in the tested products included: 

  • Synthetic cannabinoids
  • Higher levels of THC
  • Contaminants such as mold or bacteria
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals

All of these could contribute to or even cause negative side effects, which is why it’s critical to investigate any product before you put it into your body. 

Selecting the Right CBD Products

So, how do you avoid this problem? 

You have to do your due diligence. A reliable CBD company will have all of its products lab-tested by a third party. This is when a lab or science facility who is not affiliated with the CBD company performs a rigorous analysis to test the amount of CBD per serving size of the product. This is then compared against what they say on the label, and if the numbers match up, the product is offered a certificate of verification. This means the CBD product is safe, pure, and the label is accurate.

Ideally, your CBD product should not only be lab-tested but also be:

  • Organically grown
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free  

Plant People ensures that this applies to every one of their product offerings.

How to Avoid Certain Side Effects

If you’re still concerned about experiencing CBD oil side effects, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of them occurring. Such precautions include:  

  • Only purchase high-quality CBD from reputable companies – This can help you to avoid using a substance with harmful ingredients that could be the main culprit of certain side effects of CBD. For example, if you use a CBD oil that, unbeknownst to you, has a high concentration of THC, you may experience the psychoactive effects of THC. 
  • Take the correct dosage of CBD – As mentioned, most side effects occur when patients are on high doses of pure CBD. So, to get the best results, it’s important that you follow the advised dosage that’s printed on the label, particularly since different products have varying levels of potency.  
  • Avoid mixing CBD with medications – Always talk to your doctor before you start using CBD. This is to ensure that you don’t take CBD with a medication that it doesn’t pair well with. 
  • Stop using CBD if you experience certain effects – Each person has a different anatomy and different tolerances to certain substances. If you find that you’re experiencing unpleasant side effects from taking CBD, stop immediately and consult your doctor.

Plants That Power People

With the right CBD product, one that is labeled accurately and third-party tested, the likelihood of experiencing unpleasant side effects are minimized. 

Fortunately for you, Plant People has a range of full spectrum CBD products, including capsules, tinctures, and skincare all of which have undergone rigorous lab tests. Plant People combine their high-quality, naturally grown, hemp-based CBD with high potency herbs and adaptogens. 

That’s the Plant People way.


Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy

 Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.

 Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.


WHO. Cannabidiol (CBD).

NCBI. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.

Healthline. CBD vs. THC.

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