Does CBD have side effects?

Does CBD have side effects?

Side effects of cannabinoids

CBD rarely causes side effects, and if they do, they are relatively mild. There have been many scientific studies on the effectiveness and safeness of CBD in treating a variety of conditions, and most have concluded that it is safe and is generally well tolerated.

Read more: Does CBD have side effects?

A 2011 scientific paper concluded that, although more research is needed on this matter, controlled use of CBD is safe and unlikely to be toxic to humans, even when used in the short term. long time, or use high doses. Humans can tolerate high doses of CBD up to 1500 mg/day well.[1]

Most people do not experience any psychoactive effects when using CBD products with low THC content (CBD: THC > 20:1), however, a small number of people may be sensitive to THC. For this reason, if you are a new user, you should start at a low dose and gradually increase it until the optimal dose, where you’ve achieved your desired effects.

The most commonly reported side effects that are mainly caused by THC are: dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, depression, diarrhea, disorientation , stress, anxiety, balance disorder, short-term memory loss, hallucinations and paranoia. Also there are some cases of hypothermia and hypotension.

Possible side effects when using CBD are dizziness, low blood pressure, changes in eating habits, dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, psychoactive effects (if the product contains some THC), diarrhea (often caused by the base oil that the cannabinoid is dissolved into). However, most people who use CBD experience no side effects, and if they do, they are relatively mild.

Drug interactions

It should be noted, though, that the greatest risk with cannabinoid therapy comes from drug interactions. Cannabinoids and many other pharmaceutical drugs are metabolized by the same family of enzymes in the liver, which is called CYP450. Hence, this interaction will increase or decrease the concentration of other pharmaceutical drugs in the blood, causing the side effects of those drugs to be more likely. This can be quite dangerous if you are taking chemotherapy or seizure medications, as these types of treatment require precise doses. 

Read more: Cannabinoids - THC, CBD and more

Because of this, there are many people advising that cannabinoids should be taken at least 3 hours apart from other drugs. However, CBD and THC both last very long in the body. 3 hours is certainly not enough to prevent them from interacting with other substances. So, if you intend to use a combination of cannabinoids with other drugs, it is best to consult with your doctor to look up potential drug interactions and adjust the dosage of any drugs if needed.

Therefore, to avoid possible side effects, always follow the rule of starting with a small dose and gradually increasing it until you achieve the desired effect. In addition, do not drink alcohol or use stimulants when using cannabinoids. Mixing those things is never a good idea.


When you use a certain drug for a long time, there is a risk that the body will become "resistant" to the drug. The effects will decrease, and if you want to keep the same effect as before, you will have to increase the dose.

Read more:  What are terpenes? Why does cannabis smell?

This mechanism is seen in drunkenness. First-time drinkers can easily get drunk. But others who have been drinking for a long time are less likely to get drunk. However, less alcohol does not mean less harmful effects of alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol will certainly destroy your body.

Back to cannabinoids. Although they pose less of a threat to the body than alcohol, the mechanism of tolerance also applied. The human body has been shown to develop tolerance to repeated cannabis uses. Sometimes, you will feel like you need to increase your dose of THC or CBD to achieve the previous effects. This effect can be either medical or recreationally.

Reverse tolerance

Occasionally, there are cases where CBD gradually decreases in effectiveness after a period of use. However, it is not due to tolerance, but the opposite!

Some studies suggest that CBD has the ability to cause “reverse tolerance”. It means that the more CBD you take, the more your body gets more sensitive to the CBD, hence the fewer doses you will need next time. The mechanism of this phenomenon has not been elucidated and this is still a highly controversial subject.

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So, when CBD suddenly stops working, is it due to tolerance or is it reversible? Should you increase the dose or decrease the dose?

Perhaps, the simplest and best solution to this phenomenon is to stop using it for a few days if possible. Regardless of whether it is “tolerance” or “reverse tolerance”, this brief discontinuation will allow the cannabinoid receptors to "reset" back to their original state. Then, you can start over with a dose that is half the previous dose, then slowly increase it to find your optimal dose again.

Driving & cannabinoids

You should not use THC while driving under any circumstances.

As for CBD, even though it has no psychoactive effects and there has been no link between CBD use and traffic accidents that is scientifically proven, users should still limit their use while operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle if they can, especially new users. Remember, CBD can cause drowsiness. Full spectrum CBD products also contain small amounts of THC, which can have a psychological effect on people who are sensitive to THC. 

Addiction & abuse

It is highly controversial whether or not THC can cause addiction. It may depend on your own definition of what “addiction” is. THC doesn’t cause any kind of awful withdrawals like the hard drugs, and it is much easier to quit. But still, there is still a low risk of addiction and abuse. Many people believe that cannabis can lead to laziness, decreased interest in work and life and reduced work productivity.  

Read more: What is the Endocannabinoid system?

On the other hand, CBD has no potential for addiction or dependence. If you stop using CBD on your own, you won't experience any significant side effects either. In fact, there have been many studies showing that CBD has the ability to treat drug addiction, alcoholism, and other addictions.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

There is no conclusive scientific evidence that cannabinoids have the potential to harm the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Currently, many people around the world are using cannabinoids during pregnancy to combat the unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, anxiety, insomnia. However, research on this matter is still limited. As cannabinoids can cross the placental barrier, it is advisable to consult your doctor if you wish to take cannabinoids during pregnancy.

If you want to use cannabinoids during pregnancy, you should choose products rich in CBD instead of THC. Good options are full spectrum CBD that contain a very small amount of THC, or broad-spectrum extracts that do not contain any THC at all. Alternatively, you can also use CBD isolate.

CBD and drug testing

In general, CBD products with very low THC content like HEMPSAPA full spectrum CBD extract will not make you test positive for cannabis. However, it should be noted that there are cases when it is necessary to use CBD in high doses for a long time, the THC content in those products, even though they are small, can accumulate over time and make a person test positive.

On the other hand, there are many fake CBD products on the market right now, with THC content exceeding the legal limit. Therefore, you run the risk of testing positive if you use these products. The situation will be more serious if these fake products contain synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids, also called K2/spice, are not the same as natural cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Although they do not show up in drug tests, they are extremely dangerous to human health and there have been many cases of hospitalization or even death from using them.

Therefore, be careful when choosing your CBD products. Always stick to reputable brands, and ask for certificates of analysis. To know more about how to choose a good CBD product, please read more in this article: CBD shopping guide.


[1] Machado Bergamaschi et al., “Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent.”

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