Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.
Common Side Effects of CBD
CBD benefits include the following:
CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.
“Since discovering the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body in the 1990s, CBD has been researched more extensively. The ECS is a central regulatory system restoring normal balance and homeostasis in a range of human physiologic systems throughout the body and brain and has cannabinoid receptors and chemicals in its function,” explains Dr. Matharu-Daley.
There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of CBD oil. CBD oil is usually delivered sublingually (under the tongue). Most oils are sold in 30-milliliter (mL) bottles with a dropper cap.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
CBD is the short name for cannabidiol, one of the two chemicals—among the dozens in cannabis—that have the most health benefits. The other, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces the psychoactive effects described as being “high.” CBD oil generally does not contain THC, although some trace amounts may be present in products sold in certain states.
How to Calculate CBD Dose
To determine an exact dose of CBD, remember that each drop of oil equals 0.05 mL of fluid. This means that a 30-mL bottle of CBD oil will have roughly 600 drops. If the concentration of the tincture is 1,500 mg/mL, one drop would contain 2.5 mg of CBD (1,500 mg ÷ 600 drops = 2.5 mg).
Since some CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC, you should avoid driving or using heavy machinery when taking CBD oil, particularly when first starting treatment or using a new brand.
For this study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. According to the researcher, those treated with CBD had lower blood pressure before and after exposure to stressful stimuli (including exercise or extreme cold).
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.
The consumption of medicinal cannabis has not been shown to lead to life threatening adverse events, even at very high doses. However, an overdose of cannabis (THC) can result in a range of adverse effects, with high variability in tolerance between subjects. The most common adverse effect of overdosing a single dose of THC is anxiety, which, in some cases, may lead to mild acute psychotic states (panic attacks). In addition, increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure may occur.
On rare occasions, cannabis use can induce a state of psychosis in individuals with a genetic predisposition. As a result, patients with a (family) history of psychotic disorders, particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, should be under careful psychiatric monitoring when using medicinal cannabis. Moreover, a short, acute psychotic like episode (involving anxiety and catastrophic thinking) is possible in the case of non-predisposed individuals, especially when very high doses of THC is taken.
A review of the effects of the medicinal use of cannabinoids indicated that the most frequent categories of adverse effects relate to respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system disruptions. The common acute side effects of high doses of cannabis occur quickly after consumption, including:
Specifically, it is possible that a THC overdose will result in acute hypotension and/or tachycardia. In some cases, nausea and vomiting and diarrhea may be observed as well. That aside, impaired executive function and motor control may lead to feelings of confusion, depersonalisation, loss of control, or even helplessness. Also reddened eyes and a dry mouth may be experienced as very unpleasant to some individuals. Most adverse effects will spontaneously resolve, usually within a few hours, when serum levels of THC fall.
After cannabis administration, the liver is the main organ involved in chemically altering the cannabinoids as part of its function to process and excrete external substances by the body (metabolism). The effects of cannabis may therefore be significantly different in patients with a liver disease. Therefore, these patients should be monitored during initiation to ensure the dose taken does not exceed the liver’s capacity to metabolise.
Occasionally, new scientific reports appear on the effects of cannabis on risk of psychosis. However, a direct link between cannabis and psychosis has not yet been established. The discourse surrounds the question: does cannabis induce psychosis in otherwise totally healthy individuals, or does pre-existing genetic vulnerability for psychosis result in adverse outcomes from cannabis use?
In general, patients seem to tolerate medicinal cannabis well. However, medicinal cannabis use comes with side effects and risks. Typical side effects last a short time, are mostly benign, and resolve as tolerance builds. Side effects and risks mainly occur after the intake of high doses, or when medicinal cannabis is used in combination with other substances like alcohol or particular medications.