CBD Side Effects and Health Benefits

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As more states allow the legal use of marijuana, several Cannabidiol or CBD products have appeared in the market, including oils and edibles. View here for some of the CBD products marketed to resolve several health issues, including pain management, anxiety, epilepsy, and more.

CBD is a chemical compound taken from the cannabis plant, which is free from the intoxicating effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. If you are thinking of using CBD products, it might be useful to know more about their benefits and potential side effects.

Health Benefits

CBD has been used extensively to treat various ailments. However, it is important to note that there are still undergoing researches to back these health benefits claims of CBD. As of today, here are the potential health benefits of taking CBD:

  • Treat epilepsy. A CBD product called Epidiolex has been proven effective in reducing seizures in children and adults of varying conditions involving seizures. The product can be obtained through prescription and is used to treat seizures brought about by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, tuberculosis sclerosis complex, febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome or FIRES, and Sturge-Weber syndrome.
  • Help multiple sclerosis patients. Sativex is a prescription nasal spray drug containing both CBD and THC compounds, which is considered effective in improving muscle-tightness, pain, and urination frequency in patients with multiple sclerosis. The product is available in more than 25 countries outside the U.S. However, there is inconclusive evidence in using CBD alone to treat multiple sclerosis. Using CBD spray under a patient’s tongue may help with muscle tightness but not tiredness, muscle spasms, mobility, bladder control, and overall health of patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • Relieve anxiety. CBD can potentially help treat anxiety disorders, a report in 2015 claims. According to this report, clinical trials, experiments, and epidemiological studies show evidence that CBD is potentially helpful in treating generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Help treat addiction. CBD is also found to have potential benefits in treating addiction, a Substance Abuse review article in 2015 suggests. According to this review, 14 other studies that they analyzed showed that CBD could help treat people with cocaine, opioid, and psychostimulant addiction. According to the review, CBD can also help treat tobacco and cannabis addiction by reducing or blocking the effects of THC in the brain.
  • Improve heart health. In a 2017 study published by JCI Insight, researchers found that CBD helps reduce blood pressure. The study had nine healthy male participants who were given a single dose of either placebo or CBD. Those who were given CBD were found to have lower blood pressure than those who were given placebo before and after exposure to a stressful event.

Safety and Side Effects

As with any medication, it’s essential to know its appropriate safety and dosage information. It cannot be stressed enough that consultation with your physician must be done before using any CBD product.

  • Dosage. CBD is potentially safe when sprayed under the tongue or taken by mouth appropriately. It can be taken up to 300 milligrams per day safely for six months or less. A higher dosage of up to 1,500 milligrams per day can be taken by mouth for a maximum of 4 weeks.

Epidiolex, a CBD product for seizures, can be taken by mouth in doses of up to 20 milligrams per kilogram daily. CBD sprays given under the tongue can be used in doses of up to 2.5 milligrams for a maximum of 2 weeks.

  • Reactions. Less common side effects include signs of liver injury manifested by an increased level of liver enzymes. Others have reported side effects of CBD, including the following:
    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Light-headedness
    • Low blood pressure
  • Breastfeeding and pregnant women safety. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using CBD as it may pose complications for their condition. A report published in the Pediatrics journal warns pregnant women against the use of CBD because of possible developmental effects on the baby. CBD is thought to place a baby at risk from harmful substances as it enhances the placental barrier’s permeability.
  • Child safety. Epidiolex can be potentially safe when taken orally of up to 10 milligrams per kilogram daily. A higher dose of up to 20 milligrams per kilogram can be appropriate for some children, but the treatment is more likely to come with side effects. Epidiolex is FDA-approved for use in children two years and older but has also been used in children as young as one year old.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning to give CBD a try, granted that it is legal in your location, it is crucial to discuss the possible side effects and its safety with your doctor. Since CBD products are usually unregulated, there’s no assurance that a product comes with an effective or safe level of CBD. Thus, it is important to choose carefully the CBD products you plan to use.

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