Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring plant molecules called phytocannabinoids extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. In contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a phytocannabinoid molecule found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive – which means it does not cause alterations in mental state, and does not affect nervous system function. Recently, research studies have demonstrated significant potential health and medicinal benefits of CBD, including its potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its potential applications in the treatment of epilepsy, anxiety and multiple sclerosis. Although CBD is generally considered safe to use, its users should be aware of its potential side effects.
Importantly, when CBD is taken by mouth, its side effects and their severity are subject to individual variation, making them difficult to predict for each user. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD include appetite reduction, diarrhea, dry mouth, tiredness, and weight changes. If you are concerned about CBD side effects and its adverse reactions, it is recommended to consult your healthcare practitioner for more information.
1. Dry mouth
CBD has been reported to cause dry mouth, also referred to as xerostomia. This may be because of its potential interactions with cannabinoid receptors present in the salivary glands, decreasing saliva production and leading to the sensation of dry mouth. Therefore, CBD users are advised to stay hydrated and get regular dental check-ups, since dry mouth can contribute to higher levels of harmful bacteria growth.
2. Low blood pressure
This is one of the most commonly reported side effects in CBD research studies. The lowering effects of CBD on blood pressure have been recognized as one of CBD’s therapeutic benefits, especially in individuals who suffer from high blood pressure. However, this effect can be dangerous for individuals who have a history of low blood pressure. In individuals who experience this side effect, the decrease in blood pressure can cause light-headedness, dizziness, and even fainting.
Upset stomach, gastrointestinal distress, and diarrhea have been reported as side effects by participants of clinical trials using CBD to treat psychotic disorders and epilepsy. Although it is not clear why diarrhea can occur after CBD consumption, this side effect can be treated or prevented by taking over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine.
4. Appetite reduction
In contrast to THC, which is well known for increasing appetite, CBD has been reported to suppress appetite after its consumption. While this effect of CBD has been considered as a potential health benefit for athletes and individuals trying to control or lose weight, it can also result in unintended weight loss and caloric restriction.
Some people may experience dizziness and lightheadedness after consuming CBD. Although it’s not clear why this happens, scientists think it may be due to alterations in blood flow in the brain, fluctuations in brain cell signalling, activation of the autonomic nervous system and lowered blood pressure. If you experience this side effect after taking CBD, it is recommended to check your blood pressure.