CBD, or cannabidiol, has gained a widespread reputation for being completely free of side effects, while having no psychotropic properties, like marijuana. But is that a completely accurate description? The answer, to the chagrin of many CBD idealists, is yes and no. But one thing is clear—the media and many other CBD companies have got it wrong. Let’s set the record straight.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
While CBD is often well-tolerated by many, who will experience virtually no side effects, there is a small percentage of people who may experience some side effects. The Mayo Clinic reports that the most common side effects of CBD are, “dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.” In addition, “CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners.” It is known to have a similar effect as grapefruit (you may have heard of the “grapefruit effect” before) as it can inhibit the metabolization of certain medications by deactivating key enzymes in the liver that process and breakdown pharmaceuticals. If you plan to use CBD products while taking medication, it's recommended that you speak with your doctor first.
The vast majority of CBD users find that the positive benefits of CBD far outweigh the potential negative side effects if any at all. In fact, the most common “side effects” reported amongst CBD users are feelings of euphoria, better sleep, mental clarity, and improved focus.
It’s always a good idea when first taking CBD to start with a lower dose and gradually adjust up until you experience relief from symptoms. It may take some trial and error to reach your body’s ideal dose.
It should be noted that CBD if taken in very high doses, may trigger a biphasic effect (meaning that high and low doses could produce opposite effects) causing sedation. Because of its biphasic properties, if taken in too low of a dose, it may not produce the desired effects, or do much of anything at all. Think of CBD dosing as a bell curve, with the ideal dose being at the peak of the curve (a medium dose), which of course will be a different amount for every person as we all have individual needs. A moderate dose should produce a mildly energizing effect.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
To set the record straight, it is not accurate to say that CBD is non-psychoactive. CBD is indeed psychoactive, but not in a negative way like THC. Merriam-Webster defines psychoactivity as, “affecting the mind or behavior.” In a study conducted in 2012, researchers found that CBD raises anandamide levels, demonstrating CBD’s ability to promote better cognition and clarity. Although it's not an intoxicant like THC, CBD’s affects a person’s psyche in positive ways and contributes to overall feelings of well-being.
So the next time you hear about psychoactivity framed as a negative to be avoided at all costs, think about CBD. It’s psychoactive but definitely in a positive way!
Once again, if you have any questions about how CBD will interact with other medications please consult your physician.