In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.
Some common side effects when using CBD include drowsiness and sedation. This is also considered a benefit, but Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and chief medical officer for a CBD brand, notes that the effects might be too strong if you’re also taking CBD with other sedating medications.
CBD benefits include the following:
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.
But for children under age 21 it’s a different story. It’s also not clear if any amount of CBD is appropriate for children.
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While CBD can come from marijuana, it can also be derived from hemp. Hemp is a related plant with 0.3% or less of THC. This plant is often used to make fabrics and ropes. As of 2018, Congress made hemp legal in all 50 states, and consequently CBD derived from hemp is also legal. The rules around marijuana-derived CBD, however, are far less clear.
Common questions about medical cannabis
Testing also shows that many products don’t contain what’s claimed on the label. For example, they may have less CBD than advertised. So, buyer beware.
The safest way to take CBD is orally, as a tablet, chewable, or tincture (a concentrated liquid typically administered with a dropper). Steer clear of any illegally sold synthetic CBD products, sometimes called “spice” or “bath salts.” These products have induced psychotic reactions in some people and pose a major health risk.
For adults, CBD appears to be a very safe product. CBD does produce side effects for some people, including nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It may also interact with certain medications, so always check with your doctor before use.
CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution
If you are interested in trying a CBD product, it’s best to seek one through a dispensary, which is an establishment legally licensed to sell marijuana, if they are available in your state. Dispensary products must be labeled so you can see exactly how much CBD is in the product and whether it also contains THC. A small amount of THC in a CBD product isn’t typically problematic. But larger amounts could cause a “high” and may present a risk if you are going to drive.
The answers to those questions aren’t necessarily straightforward. The only thing that is clear at this point: The marketing has gone way ahead of the science and the law when it comes to CBD products.