Is CBD Safe to Take?
This really is a key question.
Research is showing all kinds of benefits across a wide range of issues:
- Auto-immune (which is everything these days)
- Gut issues
- Skin issues
- Mental health issues
The list keeps growing since CBD helps to balance key systems in the body.
This only helps if it doesn't hurt!
Many people are apprehensive of CBD at first because they equate it with Cannabis or marijuana.
We'll get into that and help to resolve the confusion.
Let's also look at what research is showing in terms of safety.
Finally, there are some things we can do to make it as safe as possible including the following topics we'll cover:
- What research is showing for CBD safety
- How to safely start with CBD
- How much CBD to safely take
- CBD and medications
- CBD versus THC safety
- CBD isolate and allergy or histamine reactions
- CBD side effects
Let's get started. Safely, of course!
Don't run with scissors.
What research is showing for CBD safety
There are a million people online singing the praises of CBD and telling you with a wink and a nod, "Trust us... it's safe".
We want research.
Thankfully, there's a growing body of research out there and we always go to the NIH (National Institute of Health) for real studies.
None of the "well my Aunt Judy uses it and she's fine!" stuff.
First, let's make a note that we're talking about cannabidiol or CBD itself.
There's not much research on hemp oil. Full-spectrum CBD. Even the other components in the full spectrum CBD alongside cannabidiol.
That's one reason we focus on CBD isolate (Just CBD and coconut oil extract called MCT oil).
We'll let everyone else push the benefits of full-spectrum with little actual research to back it up.
You can read all about that comparison here.
So... CBD isolate by itself.
How's the safety?
Turns out it's very strong.
A more recent summary study (analyzes many other studies) showed a strong safety profile:
There are short term and long term studies included in this review which is important.
Interestingly, there is not one reported overdose of CBD.
This is actually fascinating since a person can die of too much water (washes out the electrolytes).
The studies show a strong profile up to 1500 mg doses and some have even explored higher levels.
You can check out guidelines on CBD dosage levels here.
The overdose question goes to the heart of how researchers think CBD works.
The body has a natural endocannabinoid system that CBD bolsters.
If the system is running at full strength, the CBD doesn't have an effect and is just removed from the body.
It doesn't build up or ramp up the system.
It's rather beautiful really since most medications can definitely be overdosed on pretty quickly.
Just check out this CBD versus anxiety medication comparison here.
Tylenol is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S!
You can buy that down at the local gas station.
What side effects are research showing for CBD?
CBD side effects
The listed side effects in the NIH composite study above are:
- Changes in appetite/weight
The tiredness is actually sought after since sleep is one of the top 3 reasons people seek CBD.
The other two being anxiety and pain.
Interestingly, CBD is not a sedative.
It doesn't knock you out. In fact, some people get focus and energy depending on where they are in the sleep/wake cycle when taking it.
We covered that in our Can you take CBD in the middle of the day review.
Stomach issues are less reported with CBD isolate. We'll touch on that below in the Isolate versus full-spectrum section.
Finally, on the appetite and weight front, it may be counter to what you're thinking.
CBD has actually been shown to reduce appetite and weight!
You can learn more about CBD and weight here.
In other reports, we've seen side effects listed as:
- Dry mouth
- Lower blood pressure/dizziness
The lower blood pressure is typically a sought-after effect with CBD.
Let us know what side effects you see below so we can help other people.
A great deal can be done to offset side effects in how you start CBD.
How to safely start with CBD
If your endocannabinoid system is off (as it is with so many people these days), there's a right way to start CBD.
Start with 20-30 mg doses at first.
See how your body responds.
Make sure it's CBD isolate to avoid all the histamine issues with other plant material.
We recommend trying CBD during the day first.
There are no reported effects of being unable to sleep as a result of CBD but for the first time, test it during the day or early evening.
When you take CBD can have a big effect on how it works.
Check out that page since it can significantly affect the bioavailability of CBD.
Once you have a few days under your best at 25-30mg, you can go up accordingly.
Which brings us a good question... up to how much??
How much CBD to safely take
We have an entire article on how much CBD to take.
Here's what research is showing.
Wellness does is generally around 25-30 mg up to two a day.
Sleep issues showed significant improvement at 160 mg doses
More serious issues were safely tested at 300-600 mgs
Doses up to 1500 mg were safely tested for severe issues (epilepsy, psychosis, etc).
Interesting researched showed a bell curve response for long term neurogenesis effects (important for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more).
300 mg was ideal and decreased as dosage approached 600 mg.
That's the general range but many things can affect that:
- If you take CBD with food
- Gut biome
Here's the general rule of thumb... test and adjust according to how you feel!
The science shows doses generally from 25-600 mgs depending on what is being studied.
It's safe within this range but weight alone can affect these amounts.
Keep in mind that if you take CBD after food, the amount of it that gets into the body might increase up to 4x's!
This is because the liver is busy processing the food.
That brings up another safety issue with CBD.
CBD and medications
CBD uses a very popular pathway in the liver called the P450 pathway.
Over 60% of common medications also use this pathway.
For this reason, it's best to take CBD at least 4 hours away from medication.
Preferably after your fattiest meal!
You can learn all about taking CBD with medications here.
Of course, work with your doctor or naturopath for any supplement.
CBD and THC safety differences
Look, there are 1000's of websites that see CBD as a stepping stone to Cannabis popularity.
The whole "full-spectrum" and "entourage effect" branding feels anchored in this desire.
We'll leave the legalization of cannabis to those sites.
As to safety, there are big differences between CBD and THC.
CBD safety profile:
- Not habit-forming
- Not psychoactive - does not produce a high
- No reported overdoses
- Anti-carcinogenic (hostile to cancer cells)
- Promotes lower appetite and weight loss
- Low or no histamine and allergy response
- No rebound effect after use
THC safety profile:
- Can be habit-forming
- Is psychoactive - can produce high, paranoia, anxiety, and more
- Overdose is common ER reason for admittance
- Promotes appetite and weight gain
- Estimated that 70% of people who have histamine issues are allergic to THC and/ or Cannabis
- Potential rebound effect in neurotransmitter after use
- Affects brain development in youth
- Affects genetic activity in sperm as it relates to tumors and organs growth (just out).
Look... we're not anti-THC or anti-pot.
We're also not anti-research and the above information is all over the research.
Do a deep dive on the differences here:
- CBD versus THC for anxiety
- Why CBD is a must if you use cannabis
- Lawyer Up! Sellers of high THC products
People need to understand the pros and cons according to research.
It's well known that CBD actually mitigates many of the effects and issues of THC.
It is believed that 80% of the benefits people were deriving from cannabis were due to the CBD effects!
You can learn more about THC versus CBD here.
Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD (the vast majority of what is sold on the market) can have up to .3% THC.
We prefer pure CBD isolate with no THC for the reasons above.
Speaking of full-spectrum CBD…
CBD isolate and allergy or histamine reactions
We focus on CBD isolate for another very important reason.
CBD by itself is actually a powerful histamine blocker.
Its effects on allergies and mast cell activation are well studied.
Full-spectrum CBD has lots of other stuff in there.
We have seen first-hand how many of the "side effects" people feel is due to their body's response to all those potential allergens.
Flavonoids. Terpenes. Up to .3% THC. 100's of other substances that can send the histamine system spiraling.
You can learn all about CBD and Histamines here.
This could be the biggest deal with CBD safety and effectiveness and EVERYONE is pushing the other way.
It's just 40-60% of the population after all.
Women get hit harder and women over age 40 the hardest!
We designed Indigo Naturals for those people for a reason….
We're one of YOU!
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.