Is CBD bad for you? Great question. The answer to just about any question regarding CBD is “they’re looking into it.”
So if you’re wondering whether CBD is bad for you, well, they’re looking into it. The good news is that CBD is almost universally agreed to be a safe, tolerable compound. There are some known potential side effects and other things to be aware of, which we’ll look into below.
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What Are the Side Effects of CBD?Though CBD is famously gentle in terms of side effects, it does have a few to be on the lookout for:
- Sleepiness or drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Anxiety (though CBD may help with anxiety, it may have the opposite effect in rare cases)
What’s All This About a Lack of Regulation?In 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill. This bill allowed farmers to start cultivating hemp after a long, silly period of history in which it was illegal. With hemp cultivation came CBD products. Strangely, though CBD products are technically legal in most places, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has not regulated them. States are trying to put regulations in place, but such policymaking takes time. That means just about anyone can put some potion in a bottle, call it CBD, and sell it without oversight. Or, as Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, put it, “It really is the Wild West. Joe Bob, who starts up a CBD company, could say whatever the hell he wants on a label and sell it to people.” And therein lies the danger. In fact, many low-quality products contain impurities like petrochemicals used in the extraction process or contain different levels of CBD or THC than advertised.
How to Ensure You’re Getting Safe CBDIn a scenario where you’re going on the word of CBD manufacturers, there’s only one way to verify that what you’re getting is indeed what it claims to be: third-party lab verification. Having a third-party laboratory test CBD products is a sign that the makers are confident in what they’re creating and that you’re getting what you’ve been promised. Third-party labs will ensure that the potency is correct, that there are no dangerous byproducts in the CBD product, and that you’re not getting a bunch of THC you didn’t ask for.
Is CBD Bad for Your Liver?There have been some concerns that CBD could cause liver toxicity. For instance, in a study, between 2% and 3% of participants who took CBD needed to discontinue due to an increase in liver enzymes, which can indicate potential liver damage. While that’s a reasonable cause for concern, consider that a 2004 study found that 50% of all cases of acute liver failure in the United States were caused by Tylenol poisoning. The point of this is not to deflect but rather to acknowledge that just about anything we put in our bodies carries a risk of not sitting well with us. The best defense against serious adverse side effects is to consult your doctor before starting CBD.
Other Reasons to Consult Your Healthcare ProviderBeing under the care of a healthcare provider is important for several reasons. For one, your doctor will be knowledgeable about whether CBD may not be suitable for you for health reasons. But just as importantly, they will be able to tell whether CBD could interact poorly with one or more of your medications.
The Bottom LineIs CBD bad for you? The answer will almost always be no, with a few exceptions:
- If you’re medically incompatible with it
- If you take too much
- If you buy low-quality or impure CBD
- If it interacts with another medication