CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a natural compound from the hemp plant which is said to confer several benefits to people who use it correctly. For many people, CBD can relieve anxiety, reduce pain, help with both sleep and energy levels, and more. With all of those benefits it is natural to wonder about possible side effects.
The good news is that the side effects of CBD are very rare, minor and do not happen to most people who use it in the amounts sold by CBD companies such as Elements of Green. Some of the most common “side effects” for one person may be exactly why CBD is attractive to another person! However, both the “intended” side effects and the other side effects are important to understand before you begin using CBD so that you can be on the lookout for signs that CBD might not be for you.
What Is CBD Exactly?
Cannabidiol is a natural cannabinoid which comes from the hemp plant. Cannabinoids interact with your own endocannbinoid system, each in its own way. You have at least two cannabinoids which you produce yourself, and they help regulate your immune system, your pain response, your stress levels, and more.
Plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD supplement your own cannabinoids. Studies have associated CBD with lower anxiety levels, better sleep, higher energy, and reduced pain. CBD is also being studied as a valuable pharmaceutical to help with several specific conditions, such as psychosis and arthritis. Already, CBD is approved as a medication to reduce seizures among people with two forms of epilepsy. CBD may even have use in such disparate situations as fighting bacterial infections and overcoming opioid addiction.
Most of the negative reported side effects come from studies which use far more CBD than you are likely to use yourself. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends that people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking a medication avoid CBD entirely. For healthy adults not among those groups, the FSA recommends that you use no more than 70 mg of CBD per day unless your healthcare provider recommends it.
By contrast, many of the side effects reported came from studies of CBD used much larger amounts – 800 mg per day in some instances. CBD is an approved drug for two forms of epilepsy, and for those patients the dosage is up to 25mg/kg. The drug is intended for young children, but translating that to an amount for a man at about the UK average weight of 13 stone comes to over 2000 mg per day. At that huge amount there were common side effects. Liver problems were the most common, and if you have liver problems already you do not want to take CBD without seeing a doctor first and asking about CBD.
Other studies with large amounts of CBD found fewer side effects. A 2015 study of CBD in fentanyl users found that coadministration of CBD and opioids was safe and well tolerated. That study used 400 mg and 800 mg of CBD. Other studies of CBD on psychiatric patients found no side effects at all.
Overall, for the amounts of CBD used in consumer products like those found at Elements of Green, the studies have found that CBD is by and large well-tolerated and safe. Clinical trials of CBD are mostly new and fairly small, particularly studies on otherwise healthy adults not taking any medication, so more research is needed to obtain a true scientific confirmation of what CBD users report themselves: that negative side effects are rare and mild.
As mentioned above, among the most common side effect of CBD is drowsiness, also known as somnolence. What you should know about that is that help with sleep is one of the reasons people take CBD in the first place. Some studies indicate that the effect of CBD on sleep may be biphasic. That is, CBD may increase energy levels at low amounts but cause drowsiness at when you take more of it. Other studies found no affect on sleep at all. If you are taking CBD and find yourself with a level of drowsiness you may want to adjust the amount of CBD you take downwards a bit. On the other hand, if you are taking CBD specifically to help with sleep and not getting the desired effect you may want to increase the amount of CBD, consistent with the FSA’s maximum recommended amount of 70 mg.
Other side effects will be beneficial ones. For example, if you are taking CBD for pain, you may find that your anxiety decreases. That is technically a side effect, since it is an outcome different from the reason you chose your CBD, but most people would describe it as a desirable effect. Similarly, you might choose CBD primarily to help with energy levels but find that your post-workout pains are less or disappear more quickly.
It is not known why a few people experience side effects when so many other do not.
Your CBD Action Plan
So what should you do? If you try CBD, you can be confident that millions of people who take CBD report no negative side effects. However, you should be on the watch for any side effects which you might experience. If you are pregnant or take a medication, do not start using CBD unless your doctor recommends it. Healthy adults should keep an eye out for any negative side effects and discontinue using CBD if they occur. However, as stated, those side effects are rare in the doses mentioned in a good CBD product.
Perhaps the most important thing someone can do to ensure that side effects do not occur is to take a good CBD product. If you take an inferior CBD product you may be exposing yourself to unknown chemicals, including pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants. You could experience negative side effects not from the CBD but from the other compounds you ingest.
That’s why at Elements of Green we insist on lab testing for each product we make available to you. Our testing ensures that you are getting the amount of CBD that you have bargained for, but it does much more than that. Lab testing guarantees that you do not get unacceptable levels of THC, another cannabinoid which makes you high. CBD does not make you high, and you can use CBD while undertaking any activity, such as driving. The testing also makes sure that no pesticides or other harmful chemicals were in the soil where the hemp CBD was grown and that nothing bad has been introduced during the manufacturing process. Our partners test not just products, but every batch of each product so you can be confident that nothing has slipped through. If you come across a CBD product and you are not confident that it has passed a lab test, do not buy it.
Another way to reduce the already-small chance of negative side effects is to control the amount of CBD you take. As mentioned, the UK FSA recommends a maximum of 70 mg of CBD ingested per day. All the products on the Elements of Green website comply with that recommendation when taken as directed. Some people may want less CBD, or to start with a smaller amount of CBD and increase the amount over time. Elements of Green offers several ways to take smaller amounts of CBD. Our Endoca Lip Balm delivers just .2 mg CBD per use. The lip balm also has vitamin E and coconut oil, both of which help the skin. Endoca also offers a CBD oil which has 1 ml of CBD per drop, an easy way to control precisely how much CBD you get. It is an outstanding beginner product. And of course, most of the CBD we sell at Elements of Green allow you to control how much you take at least a little bit. Our cbdMD CBD Gummies each have 25 mg of CBD. Take one, and it’s a fairly low amount for most people. Take two and you’ve got a medium amount.
Combine CBD With Other Supplements for a Better Effects
You can reduce the “side effects” which are someone else’s main aim for taking CBD by enhancing the CBD effect you are seeking. For example, one way to increase the sleep effect of CBD is to take it with other natural substances which might help you relax. CBD Vital Sleep Capsules available from Elements of Green pair CBD with melatonin, another sleep aid. It also has magnesium, B vitamins, and other supplements which are associated with stress relief and better nerve function. Similarly, the Janus Organics Relax CBD Bath bomb has lavender and other proven aromatherapy essential oils associated with stress relief. And you are using the bath bomb as part of a luxurious bath, so you’re starting in on relieving stress and anxiety before you even open the box! Our Endoca Raw Vitamins and Minerals formulation adds CBD to vitamin C to increase energy levels.
A Note on THC
Most CBD formulations contain tiny amounts of THC, less than .2% in all cases to comply with the law but usually even less than that. The amount is so small that you could never become high from it. Leaving in the natural trace amounts of THC is intentional for most CBD manufacturers, as it helps to bring about something called the entourage effect. The entourage effect is when many cannabinoids combine to produce a better result than any one of them can alone. So not only is there some THC in most CBD formulations, there are other naturally-occurring cannabinoids such as CGG, CBC, and CBN. These additional cannabinoids will not increase your chances of a negative side effect, but the THC could cause one negative effect. It can sometimes cause a positive test for cannabis. For elite athletes and other people who must undergo drug testing, Elements of Green offers several CBD formulations guaranteed not to have any THC at all. Our Janus CBD Zero is one such example. It is suitable for everyone who must be tested. Some people simply have a personal preference for a CBD formulation without any THC and Janus CBD Zero meets their needs too.
Now that you know that negative side effects of CBD are rare and how to be on the lookout for them if you do start to experience them, you may be ready to try CBD. We at Elements of Green recommend the Janus CBD Starter Bundle. The kit contains two oils, one with a tiny amount of THC and other beneficial cannabinoids and one guaranteed to have no THC at all so you can experience how the difference works for you. It also has some CBD capsules for those who dislike taking their CBD under the tongue. The capsules are also vegan, organic, and contain no gluten or GMOs. Finally, the starter kit has two bath bombs, one for relaxing and one for energizing. Each bath bomb is combined with essential oils specifically to increase the effect you are seeking.