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What are the side effects of CBD?

Many clinical trials show no side effects for CBD, but when they are reported the side effects tend to be very mild and many times the placebo group has almost as high or even the same side effects. Side effects that may happen include decreased/increased appetite, tiredness, and diarrhea. However, this should not be a concern for most people. 

Is it possible to overdose from CBD?

It would be very hard to overdose on CBD. Clinical trials have used 800 mg up to 1500 mg a day with no fear of overdosing. GW pharmaceuticals, the maker of a CBD seizure medication called Epidiolex, suggests an upper limit of 20 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight per day (20 mg/kg). For a 150-pound person this would equate to about 1400 mg a day, but that does not mean that taking more means you are overdosing. However some studies have used up to 50 mg/kg which would make that 1400 mg turn into 3500 mg, an exceptionally high dose. There is some cause for concern with the liver with more information on below. 

Can you have a withdrawal from CBD?

There has been no withdrawal reported for CBD and it may even help with withdrawal symptoms from various drugs of abuse, such as alcohol and opioid abuse. 

Can you get addicted to CBD?

CBD is non-addictive and may actually be beneficial for those struggling with addiction. Pre-clinical and clinical trials have found no drug reinforcement properties associated with CBD. 

How does CBD help with drug/alcohol addiction?

There are a few different thoughts here, but one of the major aspects of quitting a drug of abuse is dealing with the withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety and intrusive thoughts associated with the substance. CBD seems to help reduce this anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms to help get past the first stage of quitting an abusive substance. 

CBD also seems to help with relapse for similar reasons. It helps to control mood and anxiety associated with drug use, so the thoughts of using the drug are not as strong or intrusive to your daily life. Emotional issues are one reason people will self medicate and become addicted, so if CBD will help someone manage anxiety or mood problems, then it can help avoid feeling the need to self medicate on dangerous substances.

Pain is also a common withdrawal symptom, especially associated with opioid withdrawal. CBD can help reduce this pain and help control normal every pain as well. There are many clinical trials currently for substance use disorders, so we are waiting to learn more. 

Can CBD cause liver damage?

There is a somewhat recent scare from a published study suggesting CBD causes liver toxicity. ProjectCBD has a great overview of why this study is flawed, but we can turn the alarm off about this subject. When converting from animal dosages to humans, the study used dosages where the lowest dose was at the upper end of recommendations for humans. The highest dose (2460 mg/kg) when converted is roughly 10 times the maximum recommended dosage for humans.

So they are using dosing that is unrealistic to a real world situation. Another point is that over the counter medications, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), can cause very severe liver failure at high dosages, yet are available to anyone at most stores, and not to mention alcohol and all the liver and other issues associated with that. 

There is some concern with the liver and CBD though. CBD can inhibit the breakdown of other medication you are taking, effectively increasing the amount of the drug in your body, which could then cause liver toxicity. This is the same reason some medications will tell you to avoid grapefruit juice. So if you are taking medications, like blood thinners, you should talk to your doctor about using CBD along with your medication, so they can monitor your health. 

Will CBD oil make me tired?

Most likely, CBD will NOT make you tired. Some people have reported this side effect at large doses, but generally speaking CBD is not similar to THC in this regard. CBD can help with sleep, but is not a sedative, like standard sleeping medications. CBD can help you rest easier if you have problems with anxiety and intrusive thoughts that keep you up at night or pain that keeps you from getting comfortable in bed. 

Will CBD oil help sciatica?

Although I am not aware of any studies specifically looking at sciatica, CBD may help with this type of pain, called neuropathic pain. One study suggests CBD helps with both neuropathic pain and anxiety relief though serotonin receptor activation. Another study suggest similar neuropathic relief in chemotherapy model of neuropathy. So, although there is nothing conclusive, the data is promising. 

Can CBD help lower blood pressure? If so, how?

CBD may help reduce blood pressure. You will see a common theme as to how CBD is working because we don’t really know how CBD is causing its effects. There are some hypotheses out there as to how CBD is interacting with the body, but no clear picture has been made yet.

What medications should you not take while on CBD?

MedlinePlus is a government website that shows CBD’s major medication interactions with Clobazam and Valproate along with other moderate/minor interactions. One study specifically looked at warfarin (a blood thinner), which may be a dangerous interaction as well. Drugs.com suggests a slightly larger list of 24 medication with major interactions, but check with your doctor and ask if you should avoid grapefruit juice while on your medications. If the answer is yes, then you should probably avoid CBD as well. 

How does CBD oil help with epilepsy?

Unfortunately, how CBD actually works is a bit of a mystery. There are some hypotheses out there as to how CBD is interacting with the body, but no clear picture has been made yet. GW pharmaceuticals (maker of the CBD medication for seizures called Epidiolex) even states this on their website in a section directed at doctors and healthcare professionals. 

Many pharmacologist and related researchers are working diligently to figure this out. However I do want to make the point that although we know how 99%+ drugs work, there is one very common drug most people have used that we have no clue how it is working: acetaminophen (Tylenol). So just because we don’t know exactly how a drug is working, doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t use it. 

How do CBD topicals work?

CBD is thought to help with skin due to its anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties. So it can be good for overall skin health, but has been looked at for certain skin ailments like psoriasis.

For facial use, CBD has been suggested to inhibit the sebum production of sebocytes. Sebum is a form of oil and overproduction can exacerbate acne. So reduced oil along with anti-inflammatory properties can help improve acne. CBD facial skincare products might start to become a more popular for daily facial care routines. 

Topical CBD is probably not getting through the skin at any appreciable level, so while oral CBD might be good for anxiety, topical CBD won’t really be affecting your brain. Enough can potentially get through for local pain and inflammation relief, so creams or balms may be beneficial to some. Though there are transdermal products, which are designed with skin penetration enhancers to assist in delivering CBD (or other drugs) into the body through the skin. 

Can CBD oil help with diverticulitis?

Although I am not very familiar with this disease, it seems to be heavily associated with inflammation. CBD can help with the inflammation, but I would not say it would be a treatment or cure for diverticulitis. Check with your doctor as they might prescribe antibiotics or other treatments for this. 

Will CBD oil help with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis?

This is another disease I am not very familiar with, but CBD might help with inflammation associated with the disease, although by no means does that suggest a cure. There are two somewhat new medications currently available to those who suffer with IPF, so check with your doctor to see if those may be a choice for you. 

Is full spectrum CBD better than broad spectrum or isolate-based CBD? If so, why?

I always recommend full-spectrum CBD products. However consuming small amounts of THC can be an issue for some people, either because they are very sensitive to THC or they have to take drug tests. Generally speaking though, the closer you get to the full plant extract the greater enhancement from the entourage effect you will have for therapeutic potential. Ethan Russo wrote an updated article on the entourage effect in 2019 that is a great read. 

Broad-spectrum is close to full spectrum and you will probably still get some synergistic, but not quite as potent as full-spectrum. From a therapeutic potential aspect CBD isolate probably has the least benefits all alone, but still is a very fine molecule that can help children reduce their daily seizures and improve their quality of life.

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