CBD Side Effects

Updated May 6, 2019

This article was scientifically reviewed by YourDNA

We take the information we share seriously. Review our Editorial Policy Here.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk in the news and online about CBD. Many claim it's the greatest medical breakthrough since penicillin, but is it really? We've taken all the hype and compared it with legitimate scientific information to give you the most accurate information possible. This easy to understand guide will help you decide if this "wonder drug" is right for you and your family.

What's in this Guide?

Disclaimer: Before You Read

It is important to know that your genes are not your destiny. There are various environmental and genetic factors working together to shape you. No matter your genetic makeup, maintain ideal blood pressure and glucose levels, avoid harmful alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get regular sleep. And for goodness sake, don't smoke.

Genetics is a quickly changing topic.

What Is CBD?

Cannabis plants contain more than a hundred cannabinoids. One of these is Cannabidiol, which is usually simply called “CBD.”

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, there are no psychoactive effects with CBD. CBD does not induce an altered euphoric state. But like THC, CBD has therapeutic effects. For instance, it has been studied for its ability to relieve epileptic symptoms. It also assists a variety of mental and physical health issues. For instance, it assists with mood disorders like anxiety and it alleviates the symptoms of diseases like diabetes, which occurs when blood glucose is too high. CBD is used medicinally as an extract called CBD oil. In the United States, CBD oil is sold as either as a crystalline isolate or a full spectrum oil. A crystalline isolate only contains CBD. All other cannabinoids have been completely removed. However, full-spectrum oil is just the opposite. Although it contains a high amount of CBD, it also includes other cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. CBD oil is delivered through a variety of ways, including vape pen, CBD pills, topical creams, tinctures, and food products. One of the principal effects of CBD oil is inducing a sense of relaxation and ease. For many people, especially those who are highly stressed most of the time because of their busy lives, this rapid reduction in stress results in a soporific effect. Since some people prefer the soporific effect while others want CBD oil that does not make them drowsy, manufacturers offer different concentrations. High concentration CBD produces deep feelings of relaxation to help those with sleep disorders. Low-concentration CBD oil does not produce much of a noticeable effect.

Proper CBD Dosage

Since the CBD industry is new, there is considerable confusion about dosage. On one hand, there is too much informal information about it, based on numerous blog posts and personal recommendations from people who use it and consider themselves uncertified experts;

on the other hand, there is not enough formal information about it because the FDA does not offer a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for it. Due to this prevailing confusion, consumers often end up relying on recommendations from friends who use CBD, relying on recommendations from media sources, and relying on recommendations from manufacturers. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter whether the recommendation comes from a highly credible source or from a questionable source, it is likely to be inaccurate. Proper dosage depends on a number of factors: the reason for taking it, body weight and chemistry, and the concentration of CBD oil. Besides individual differences, there is another issue: the needs of the body will change over time. With those caveats in mind, here are two guidelines to use in your personal experiments to figure out the proper CBD dosage for you: 1. Base your dosage on body weight. The higher your body mass, the more CBD oil you will need to experience benefits. The rule of thumb is to take from 1 to 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. For instance, if you weigh around 150 pounds, consider dosages around 12 to 18 mg and if you weigh closer to 250 pounds, consider dosages around 22 to 45 mg. 2. Base your dosage on your level of pain. The more pain you are in, the more of the medicinal oil you will need to experience pain relief due to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. The rule of thumb is to take from 4 to 9 mg of CBD for every 25 pounds of body weight. Let’s look at two examples. If you weigh around 150 pounds, then consider the following dosages:

  • Take 12 mg if you have mild pain or no pain at all
  • Take about 15 mg if you have a moderate amount of pain
  • Take about 18 mg if you have severe pain

If you weigh around 200 pounds, then consider the following dosages:

  • Take 22 mg if you have mild pain or no pain at all
  • Take about 30 mg if you have a moderate amount of pain
  • Take about 45 mg if you have severe pain

Here are four suggestions on how to set up your experiments to find the most effective minimal dose:

  1. If you know someone or have heard about someone who is successfully taking CBD for some of the same issues you are taking it for, particularly someone who is also around your weight, do not model their dosage amounts because your biochemistry is unique. Since you experience different life stressors and lifestyle choices, your hormonal levels, among numerous other biological processes, will be different. In addition, you eat different foods at different times and have taken different medications and supplements.So, what works for someone else is unlikely to also work for you.
  2. The dosage recommendations suggested by manufacturers on a CBD product may not work for you based on your body weight and levels of pain, so don’t rely on them alone.
  3. Do not take high amounts based on the notion that if some of it is working for you, then more of it will work even better.
  4. Take the minimal dose to start out with based on your body weight and level of pain, observe how you feel for a few days, and then make a decision about the amount you need based on your experience. If the dosage was too much, reduce it; if the dosage was not strong enough, increase it. Keep on decreasing or increasing your dosage in discrete amounts until you feel that you have found the optimal level.
  5. After using CBD oil for a while, you may notice that the CBD is not as effective as it used to be. When this happens, repeat these steps.

Since it can sometimes be difficult to work out your own dosage, it’s useful to have professional help. If possible, work with a healthcare provider to figure out your dosage. They will not only help you set up your experiment but will also monitor what works. When it comes to working out your dosage, the easiest way is to take CBD oil capsules. However, with some simple math, you can also work out how much CBD oil is delivered from a tincture or a vaping cartridge.

CBD Side Effects

Although the side effects of CBD are rare, meaning most people experience no side effects at all, there are a few instances when people, especially those who take it in high doses, do experience side-effects.

So, can CBD have negative side effects? In some people, CBD can create changes in mood and appetite. It might also trigger anxiety, dizziness, and drowsiness. With chronic high doses, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea might be experienced.

Can You Overdose on CBD?

Since CBD is a non-toxic substance, there are no known cases of people fatally overdosing on it.

Still, although high doses are well tolerated by most people, chronic use of high amounts (like over 1,500 mg a day) can result in negative side effects.

Does CBD Get You High?

CBD does not get you high. It does not affect you like marijuana or THC. A full-spectrum CBD oil does contain trace amounts of THC but the amount of the psychoactive substance is insufficient to get you high.

CBD will make you feel peaceful and focused while THC induces euphoria. Both affect the human body in a different way. THC is an agonist, meaning it reacts with certain cell receptors to produce a “high.” Meanwhile, CBD is an antagonist. It reacts in just the opposite way. It prevents triggering chemical reactions with cell receptors.

What Does CBD Make You Feel?

CBD has a calming effect. If you're normally stressed out by difficult life situations, you will feel far less anxiety and on edge.

When you are working on a project, for example, you will feel far more focused. For instance, when you are performing a cognitive task, you will feel less mentally scattered by your own internal mind chatter, digital distractions, or other people interrupting you. You will also notice that it is easier to fall asleep and enjoy a long night of deep sleep. Psychoactive effects are not part of a user’s experience.

Drug Interactions With CBD

Drug interactions are affected by a “clearing-house” enzyme system called the cytochrome P-450 system (CYP450).

This system metabolizes any compounds it suspects might be toxic. It has more than fifty enzymes that eliminate toxins from your body. When deciding the dosages of medications, medical researchers calculate how long a drug can stay active before it is processed out of the body by CYP450. Some natural substances, like goldenseal, St. John’s Wort, grapefruit, and watercress, can affect the CYP450. When taking drugs along with these natural substances, pharmaceutical researchers' calculations about dosage strength are completely off. CYP450 inhibition may make some drugs work more efficiently and others less efficiently. For instance, if you are taking blood thinning medications and also regularly eats grapefruits, the medication will work a little too efficiently, resulting in excessive blood thinning. Cannabidiol works similar to these natural substances that create CYP450 inhibition. Here is a sample list of some prescription drugs affected by CBD’s effect on the CYP450 system:

  • Angiotensin II blockers
  • Antihistamines
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antibiotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
  • HIV antivirals
  • Immune modulators
  • NSAIDs
  • Oral hypoglycemic agents
  • Prokinetics
  • PPIs
  • Steroids
  • Sulfonylureas

If you take CBD and any of these medications, the medications may not process the way that they should. Incidentally, the Indiana University Department of Medicine has done considerable research on drug interactions and has compiled a comprehensive list called the Flockhart Table.

Safety Concerns

The mechanism on how CBD affects a baby’s development still requires considerable research, but it is possible that it can affect the placental barrier, making it more permeable, thus putting the fetus at risk.

Since CBD can make a person feel calm, even slightly drowsy, especially if someone is using full spectrum CBD oil, which will contain some THC, it is not a good idea to take it when driving, operating machinery, or performing any task that requires quick reflexes to prevent accidents. Additionally, CBD should not be taken if it has an adverse effect on your health supplements or prescription medications.

Choosing the Best CBD Product

Sourcing the best CBD products requires some detective work about the manufacturer’s quality control standards.

According to a study published in JAMA by a medical researcher, almost 70 percent of cannabidiol products sold on the Internet are incorrectly labeled. So, one risk you will face is that the product is inaccurately labeled and does not contain the ingredients or dosage listed. Another is that the product may contain an unusually high amount of THC and create an unintended psychoactive effect.

Is CBD Appropriate for You?

First, decide why you want to take it and if the benefits you are seeking are anecdotal or backed by science. It is easy to get enthused about CBD oil because it appears to be a miracle cure for all kinds of human (and pet) ailments.

While some benefits have been researched — like its effects on anxiety, chronic pain, depression, Parkinson’s disease, insomnia, and epilepsy — others, like improved heart health and weight loss still need more studies. Additionally, some therapeutic benefits, like acne reduction, can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil. Next, once you’ve decided that CBD might help you, speak with a health professional to help you figure out the right dosage as well as get some leads about reputable manufacturers. Finally, try it out and monitor the results you get from it. It is not appropriate for you if you get undesirable side effects or do not experience any noticeable or clinically measurable health benefits.


The popularity of CBD oil follows in the wake of marijuana products being accepted for their medicinal properties and more states legalizing cannabis-related products.

Although CBD and THC are like cousins, they not similar. Consequently, the benefits and liabilities of one should not be confused with that of the other. Sometimes confusion can arise because mislabeled full spectrum CBD oils may actually contain high amounts of THC. Still, CBD oil psychoactive products, are rare because most products only contain trace amounts of THC. CBD oil offers a number of health benefits because it positively interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the human body. Current research shows that it positively regulates mood, sleep, and memory, as well as reduces inflammation and improves energy balance. CBD oil is currently being researched for the many benefits it promises in alleviating the symptoms of severe health conditions.

Powered by Froala Editor