You’ve likely seen it in your pharmacy, your local vape store, maybe even your local teahouse or coffee shop. CBD is getting more and more popular, and therefore it’s getting more visible in our daily lives.
But what exactly is CBD? And does it really hold the benefits that are claimed?
Perhaps the first question anybody should ask is….how safe is CBD oil?
Let’s take a look at the science behind the claims:
Is CBD Oil a Scam?
First of all, the answer is a resounding no – but that doesn’t mean that some specific CBD products and brands aren’t scams. After all, when a new trending product emerges, people trying to make an easy buck of it tend to emerge from the woodwork pretty rapidly too.
It’s important to look for a CBD product that is made from broad or full spectrum CBD as opposed to CBD isolate. This ensures that the natural compounds for which people take CBD oil are all there in their naturally occurring quantities.
CBD isolate on the other hand, has many of these potentially beneficial ingredients removed, with only CBD itself remaining in highly concentrated amounts. This means that to take such a product to experience the benefits hemp provides is almost certainly a waste of time.
With that said, good quality broad or full spectrum CBD oil made from a trustworthy company, has been proven to hold a surprising variety of health benefits.
To learn more about the potential benefits of CBD oil, check out our in depth post on the topic here. We provide links to all of our sources and the latest academic studies so you can judge the accuracy of each individual claim for yourself.
But if you’re still wondering whether CBD is safe to take at all, keep reading:
Is CBD Oil Safe to Use? Can it Be Toxic? Can CBD Oil Get You High?
These questions are pretty common among people who have recently become aware of CBD’s popularity and who are curious to learn more.
This is perhaps not surprising when we consider that it comes from a plant that has been illegal in most countries and considered an addictive drug with no redeeming qualities until the last few years.
It’s important to know that the “high” feeling experienced by recreational cannabis smokers comes entirely from another cannabinoid known as THC. THC remains illegal and is either not present in CBD products, or present in less than 0.2% of the total product.
Since this is not enough to have a psychoactive effect, no CBD product from a reputable company will get you high.
So with that out of the way, is CBD safe in general? Can it be toxic in large quantities?
While studies are still in relatively early stages, and we recommend using common sense – the existing scientific evidence has found that CBD is very well tolerated and unlikely to cause any negative side effects unless consumed in impractical amounts.
We would recommend reading academic studies on the subject to get your information directly from the source, but there has been thus far very little evidence to suggest that CBD oil can be dangerous.
It’s also worth mentioning that CBD products and cannabis-based medicines have been approved for use by the FDA in the US, the NHS in the UK, and numerous other global healthcare organisations – including Epidiolex, a medication used for epileptic children which contains purified CBD.
So we know CBD is safe when treated with respect and used sensibly. The question remains on what exactly is “sensible use” and how much is too much?
Let’s take a look at that next:
How Much CBD Oil is Safe to Take in a Day?
A 2017 study into the safety of CBD oil treatment confirmed that in general, CBD is safe for use in humans.
What it also noted, however, was that the ideal dose of CBD recommended for individual people, and to help specific complaints, varies wildly. In fact there is no single dose that can be recommended for everybody.
It is likely the reason for this is at least in part due to the differences in people’s endocannabinoid systems and the severity of their complaints. Although, it would be logical to assume different amounts of CBD present in different products is to blame too.
Due to this inconsistency, the best recommendation anybody can give is to start small, and increase slowly until you find positive results.
To be more specific, we would recommend starting at around 20mg to 40mg per day. Then, after, 1-2 weeks of this, increase the dose by 5mg until you feel the appropriate benefits for the symptoms you are trying to manage.
Making notes about your daily intake and the severity of your symptoms can make it a lot easier to keep track of this and work out your ideal dosage.
It’s likely the point of taking “too much” and getting negative side effects is much, much larger than this ideal dosage would be, so as long as you don’t step up the daily dose by a large amount, there is nothing to worry about.
To learn more about how to take CBD oil and the ideal CBD dosage for specific health conditions, take a look at our in-depth post on the topic.
Is CBD Oil Safe While Breastfeeding or Pregnant?
Unfortunately, research into the effects of CBD on pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, is still pretty rare.
While it is unlikely that CBD itself has a negative effect, there is some evidence that THC can stunt the development of a foetus. As a result, we would recommend pregnant or breastfeeding women avoid CBD entirely. While it is very likely to be harmless, the slight chance of THC being present and causing issues makes it simply not worth the risk.
With that said, if you accidentally took CBD oil or ate a food product with CBD added before finding out you were pregnant, it’s extremely unlikely to be a problem. Mention it to your doctor anyway to be safe, and make a note to explore your CBD curiosity once you are no longer breastfeeding.
Research into this is likely to increase dramatically in the near future, and it may be that these studies find that CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding isn’t a problem. But until then, it’s best avoided to be safe.
How Safe is Vaping CBD Oil?
Vaping is becoming a popular alternative to smoking and is in many ways considered to be less damaging.
Whether this is the case or not is a long-running debate and you will likely know where you stand on it already. The research suggests that vaporised substances, when inhaled into the lungs, are much less damaging to the lungs than burning substances, but still pretty damaging and best avoided when possible.
In many ways, vaping nicotine is a positive way to quit smoking tobacco, but a dangerous thing to take up in itself, and provides no benefits to non-smokers.
Vaping CBD can be looked at in the same way, as there is evidence it can be effective in helping people quit smoking marijuana.
Since the vast majority of CBD-based vape liquids are made from CBD isolate as opposed to broad spectrum CBD, it’s unlikely that vaping CBD holds benefits for any other health condition.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?
Since CBD is seen to be a natural and easy way to treat issues such as anxiety and insomnia, interest is growing in using it to treat related issues in dogs such as separation anxiety.
It’s likely that the canine endocannabinoid system is extremely different to the human one, and with research into CBD’s effects on dogs being even more incomplete than that for humans, it will be a while until we fully understand how CBD works for dogs.
With that said, existing studies are positive and have found both no evidence of observable negative side effects, and several significant benefits for pain and discomfort.
Studies have also found beneficial results treating epileptic dogs, so there are certainly some positive results to be found.
If you are looking into treating your dog with CBD oil, we would recommend checking with your vet first, and getting a dog specific product from a reputable company to avoid giving your dog a product designed for humans with certain ingredients that potentially don’t agree with them.
However, as long as you do both, and don’t overdo it, there is no reason to think treating dogs with CBD oil isn’t both completely safe and surprisingly effective.
Is It Safe to Use CBD Oil with Other Medications?
While CBD oil is generally safe to use in the vast majority of cases, it does have some interactions with other medications.
Most of these are based around the inhibition of the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. This enzyme system is found within the liver and is responsible for metabolizing the majority of potentially toxic compounds in the body.
CBD has been found to inhibit the enzyme system’s ability to break down certain drugs, slowing the time it takes for the body to get rid of unwanted substances. The same effect is caused by grapefruit and if you have ever been told that you shouldn’t take your medication after eating grapefruit, you shouldn’t mix that medication with CBD either.
You can often find an answer regarding your specific medication by checking it’s information pamphlet – as any warning against eating grapefruit should also be considered a warning against mixing the drug with CBD. However, if you’re unsure whether your medicine applies, as always, check with your doctor.
CBD, in general, is safe to use, harmless and even beneficial.
But like anything, this relies on moderation, sensible use, and often, common sense.
While you can expect new discoveries and new research to come thick and fast in the coming months, all evidence thus far suggests CBD is a safe alternative that provides a low risk way for people to help manage a range of symptoms.
The future is bright for hemp based health products!