CBD is a safe, viable treatment for several conditions, but like any therapy, there are usually side effects. Some side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. However, CBD lacks serious, adverse effects and seems to have no potential for abuse. As a result, many researchers find CBD is a safer alternative than some established medications.
What are the Side Effects of CBD?
CBD has been shown to have an excellent safety profile, but it also has some possible side effects.
Some of the most common side effects of CBD include:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
In most studies where side effects are reported, CBD may cause drowsiness. About 15-20% of patients reported drowsiness, tiredness, or fatigue in these studies.
Drowsiness is a minor side effect, but it can also be beneficial.
A 1981 review led by Elisaldo Luiz de Araújo Carlini, a Brazilian researcher from the Federal University of São Paulo, surveyed scientific literature of CBD for sleep found that higher doses can help induce sleep, while small doses may increase alertness.
Dry mouth is another possible side effect.
A 2006 study led by the Centro de Estudios Farmacológicos y Botánicos in Argentina found CB receptors in the mouth. When activated, the CB receptors can decrease saliva secretion. Anandamide specifically inhibits saliva, and CBD is known to increase anandamide levels.
Low Blood Pressure
While there is some debate on if CBD does affect blood pressure, a 2017 study led by the University of Nottingham found it may reduce blood pressure in healthy people.
A single dose of CBD was found to reduce resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.
This can be a beneficial side effect for those at risk of heart disease or who have high blood pressure.
Lightheadedness has also been shown to be a side effect of CBD.
Lightheadedness is likely to be a result of the potential low blood pressure side effect of CBD. A drop in blood pressure may cause a decrease in blood flow to the brain, which can produce a lightheaded sensation.
Mostly found in studies on epilepsy, diarrhea is another potential side effect of CBD.
However, less than 20% of patients in the epilepsy studies experienced diarrhea.
Changes in Appetite
CBD has been shown to reduce and increase appetite.
This side effect was observed in an epilepsy study by researchers from New York Medical College and a study from the University of Amsterdam testing the adverse effects of three different medical cannabis strains. The high-CBD strain increased appetite the least.
In epilepsy studies, CBD mostly reduced appetite in the participants.
CBD vs. Pharmaceuticals
The side effects of CBD are relatively minor in comparison to conventional medications such as pain relievers and antidepressants. CBD even has evidence of treating both pain and depression.
Side Effects: CBD vs Pharmaceuticals
|Changes in appetite||Addiction|
|Low blood pressure||Dry mouth|
|—||Suicidal thoughts (rare)|
|—||Weakened immune system|
Pain relievers usually come in two forms: opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Some reported side effects of pain relievers include:
- Weakened immune system
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Kidney problems
Antidepressant medications are typically selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), drugs that attempt to restore the proper amount of serotonin in your brain.
Some side effects of antidepressants include:
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
- In rare cases, increased thoughts of suicide
CBD Has a Favorable Safety Profile
The side effects of CBD are minor, and studies consistently find that CBD is safe and well-tolerated by humans.
In comparison to some common medications, such as pain relievers and antidepressants, CBD seems to have less potentially dangerous side effects. In addition, the World Health Organization recognizes that CBD has no public health risks and does not have the potential for abuse.
If you are interested in using CBD, its favorable safety profile should give you confidence.
Have you experienced any side effects from using CBD? If so, what did you experience? Share your story in the comments below!
Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and nothing should be construed as medical advice. Be sure to speak with your physician before taking CBD or any other treatment.