When you look up information about the use of cannabidiol (CBD), the section that might intrigue you the most is its side effects. With the use of medical marijuana rapidly going mainstream, many people need to know the adverse effects that are associated with using this famous product from hemp.  However, most online vendors usually summarize everything into a few statements – CBD has little to no side effects. Although this is true, statistics shouldn’t be trivialized. Even the small percentage that experiences side effects should be considered. This article explores CBD side effects, why they occur and what can be done to prevent them.

Why You May Experience CBD Side Effects 

Current data suggest that various studies are contradicting on the issue about the side effects of CBD. While some studies say that CBD has no side effects, some claim that users have experienced significant side effects.

Nevertheless, this contradiction only exists at face value and shouldn’t compromise the integrity of these studies. Here is why you may experience CBD side effects: 

  • You may be having a preexisting condition, especially mental disorders, whose symptoms may be worsened by certain CBD products.
  • The CBD product that you are using could be having high levels of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 
  • You may be currently receiving prescription treatment for other conditions. Some of the prescription medications interact with CBD and may worsen the side effects of CBD. 
  • Your CBD product may not be adequately purified. Low-grade CBD may have harmful chemicals that may affect your health. 
  • You may be taking a higher dose of CBD other than what is recommended for your age and treatment needs. 

Here are some of the side effects of CBD. 

Effect On The Brain

The most common side effect of CBD on the brain is fatigue. This is quite paradoxical because CBD products for energy are almost toppling coffee out of the market. However, the energy benefits of CBD are not primarily originating from the brain but the muscles and other body tissues. In the brain, CBD may induce tiredness and the severity of this symptom depends on the dose of your CBD and the amount of THC in your product.  Other common brain symptoms from taking CBD are lightheadedness, drowsiness, and dryness of the mouth. These symptoms are temporary and usually resolve on their own. Some people have reported headaches after consuming CBD but online reviews reveal that headache after taking CBD is purely circumstantial.

Effect On The Heart

While CBD has several benefits in treating and/or preventing heart disease, there are reports of heart-related side effects especially with CBD an overdose. Studies have reported that certain patients present with ventricular arrhythmias (a special type of irregular heartbeat) that consequently leads to reduce blood flow to the heart muscles (myocardial ischemia.)

Although no fatalities have been reported secondary to CBD overdose, the health problems that accompany such symptoms are serious and may warrant significant hospitalization. 

Effect On Blood 

Clinical trials have revealed that just a single dose of CBD 600 mg is sufficient to lower elevated blood pressure and treat hypertension. However, there are downsides to this therapeutic potential of CBD. First, it may significantly lower the normal blood pressure of a normal individual who is taking CBD for a different reason other than to reduce hypertension. In CBD overdose, this reduced blood pressure can lead to severe hypotension and loss of consciousness requiring immediate treatment. 

It has also been determined that suppresses the effects of platelets and other anticoagulants in the blood thereby predisposing you to bleed tendencies. As a result, patients with bleeding disorders may not benefit much from CBD products.

Moreover, studies have shown that CBD prolongs the persistence of drugs such as warfarin in blood. This increases the potential of these drugs to cause side effects. As a result, you should always consult with your doctor before taking CBD if you are on any medication. 

Effect On The Gut

The gut is one of the systems most affected by CBD. Diarrhea is one of the most common side effects of CBD. Reduced appetite is also common in select cases and some patients occasionally experience stomach pains. 

However, these symptoms are usually well-tolerated and do not occur in all CBD users. The health benefits of CBD in the gut far outweigh the side effects. Nevertheless, studies are still being done to evaluate other significant toxicological parameters of CBD in the gut. 

Effect On Metabolic Hormones

CBD works in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system to regulate certain physiologic processes. Studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system is also responsible for controlling hormonal processes. 

For instance, CBD significantly lowers the levels of cortisol and insulin. While this is important in reducing stress and controlling blood sugar in diabetes mellitus, the imbalances in metabolism can cause adverse side effects in normal individuals who react markedly to CBD products. 

Effect On Pregnancy 

Most women are left in a state of limbo whether to use CBD in pregnancy or not – especially when it comes to controlling pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea. Although the World Health Organization conducted a review suggesting that CBD is effective and safe for all conditions, research on the safety and efficacy of CBD during pregnancy has not been conclusive. 

Besides, there is limited research to back the benefits of CBD use in pregnancy. However, certain scientific literature has shown that cannabinoids have the potential of crossing the placenta into the unborn baby’s system. This can be quite detrimental to the unborn child because most of their organs are not fully developed. 

Needless to say, the Center for Disease Control has warned that women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant should avoid any product of cannabis with the main reason that the unborn child should not be exposed to THC of any amount. 

How To Prevent CBD Side Effects 

In most cases, the side effects are well tolerated, except when they occur in an unborn child. However, it is always better to avoid any adverse symptoms promptly. Here are some of the ways to prevent CBD side effects. 

  • Invest in CBD from trusted vendors.
  • Ensure that your CBD has little to zero levels of THC.
  • Avoid taking CBD simultaneously with prescription medication. 
  • If you have an underlying disease, consult your doctor before taking CBD. 
  • Always take the recommended dose of CBD.
  • In case of an overdose, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Read the product descriptions before buying your product. 

When To See A Doctor

 You should report to a health facility immediately you start experiencing any adverse non-remitting CBD side effects. You should also inform your doctor about your underlying diseases, the medications you are taking, or if you are planning to get pregnant. 


Just like any other therapeutic agent, CBD has its benefits but can also present with its side effects. Most of these side effects are circumstantial and resolve within hours or days. If your symptoms don’t resolve, seek prompt medical attention. It is always important to purchase your CBD products from a trusted CBD vendor. 

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