You’re not alone in asking that question.
But with the huge number of brands and varieties of CBD, sometimes you’re left wondering about the most basic questions. What happens when you take CBD? How will this impact my body? Are there side effects of taking CBD?
CBD is the center of exciting new research in the medical and scientific communities. Although the compound, and its benefits, have been well-known for decades, CBD products only recently entered the mainstream.
So while there is always new information coming out of a growing body of CBD research, we already know a lot about how this compound impacts our bodies and its potential side effects.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is extracted from hemp, a plant from the cannabis family. Hemp has been farmed as an agricultural crop for thousands of years. As a strong natural fiber, hemp was once widely used to make paper, textiles, rope, and even food products.
Hemp plants contain over 100 different natural compounds, broadly referred to as “cannabinoids”. Each cannabinoid has varying properties and a slightly different effect on your body.
THC and CBD are found in every plant in the cannabis family, which includes both hemp and marijuana. However, over the centuries, the hemp strain of cannabis has been cultivated for a different use than marijuana.
Because of the significant difference in THC content in marijuana versus hemp, hemp-derived CBD oil does not get you high. CBD products don’t cause psychoactive effects, instead of interacting with your body in different ways (explored below).
Where Does CBD Stand Legally?
Until recent decades, hemp plants and CBD were associated with THC and marijuana. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill, finally created a legal distinction between marijuana and hemp plants. The law removed the legal barriers for the industrial cultivation of hemp and allowed for the processing of hemp-derived products. Now, CBD products are legal across the country.
Both the public and researchers are starting to recognize the complexities, and possibilities, of the CBD compound. In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD-derived medication to treat certain forms of severe epilepsy.
CBD products, like tinctures and capsules, are now being explored scientifically as potentially medically therapeutic agents.
However, although there are new studies, there remains a lot of research to be done.
We’re just in the beginning stages of CBD research, but the initial studies on CBD certainly look very promising. And given the breakneck speed at which the CBD market is growing, it is certain that consumers are finding CBD valuable for health and wellness goals.
What Effect Does CBD Have on the Body?
Many of these issues are related to your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a cell-signaling network that has an effect on the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The system plays a huge role in regulating critical functions in your body, such as sleep, mood, fatigue, and stress.
Your body naturally produces its own endocannabinoids in this system. However, some people, produce a relatively low level of endocannabinoids, which can impact certain physiological functions.
If you take CBD oil, the additional cannabinoids found in the product can help inhibit the enzymes (called cytochromes) that signal the ECS to slow down or start to break down the endocannabinoids. With this effect on your cytochromes, the body can continue producing endocannabinoids for a little bit longer (helping increase their beneficial effects).
Basically, CBD keeps the window open for the ECS to keep working at full speed longer than it would otherwise.
With this impact, cannabinoids can help your ECS maintain better balance overall. And with regular CBD intake over time, you can potentially build up this effect in your system.
While we don’t yet know every single way that CBD interacts with the body, scientists are currently investigating its effect on the endocannabinoid system, among other areas of the body.
Interactions With Medications
Research suggests that CBD is a safe, general wellness supplement that can help balance out your systems and help things run more smoothly. However, the potential for side effects comes when CBD is combined with other drugs and medications.
As mentioned above, CBD inhibits certain enzymes called cytochromes. For most people, this impact doesn’t pose a risk to the way their brain operates. However, for some people on certain medications, this can lead to potential side effects.
For example, for people taking certain blood-thinning medications, CBD may have an adverse effect on the medication efficacy. The way that CBD impacts these enzymes may lead to a temporarily higher metabolism, meaning the drug may be absorbed faster. For other people, interactions with CBD may slow the absorption of the drug, weakening its effects overall.
If you are wondering if taking CBD can affect your medications, you can start by considering whether there is a “grapefruit warning” on your prescription. Compounds commonly found in grapefruit can affect cytochromes in a similar way that CBD does, so it is common to see this warning on affected medications.
Other Side Effects of CBD?
Reported side effects seem to be rare. Certain rare side effects have been reported in some studies, such as fatigue, diarrhea, appetite changes, and weight changes.
However, current research suggests that CBD is generally considered safe to consume. Many people find that with proper dosage, and high-quality products, CBD is overall a beneficial addition to their health and wellness routine.
Since the market is relatively young, there are tons of different companies selling CBD products. Companies offering extremely cheap products, cutting corners with synthetic ingredients, low-quality CBD, or other additives, may not be the best fit for your needs.
If you want to try CBD, always do your research!
And once you’ve found a product you love? Instead of side effects, you’ll be thinking about the beneficial effects!