CBD effects and possible uses
Written by: Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that has effects on the body and brain but does not cause the sensory and psychological effects that THC does. Scientific research to evaluate the therapeutic applications for CBD is just in its infancy. The marketing hype is definitely overselling at this point, but the science will catch up and CBD (and THC) will likely have some clear and more general applications for use with public health issues like anxiety, sleep, and pain.
Current promising applications being investigated include (see sources near bottom of page):
- Anxiety (with growing support for social anxiety applications)
- Chronic pain
- Sleep (with more research to support sleep issues related to anxiousness and stress)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
CBD side effects
CBD is well tolerated, even in large doses. However, CBD can cause side effects. These include: dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, and fatigue. Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products. That concern highlights the importance of choosing a high quality product that undergoes rigorous third-party testing.
Research also suggests many side effects that occur with CBD use are likely the result of drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and other medications an individual may be taking (e.g., blood thinners). How does this work? Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Cannabidiol might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. In effect, using cannabidiol along with some medications that are broken down by the liver might increase the effects and/or side effects of some medications.
This is a key reason to check with your primary doctor before starting CBD, particularly if you're on any medication or adding to another supplement or over-the-counter product that causes sleepiness. Other examples of this type of interaction can include (but are not limited to):
- Herbal products to support sleep
Additionally, there are other medication interactions with CBD that can be serious. Penn State College of Medicine has a really handy list of medications that may be impacted by altered concentration due to a combination with cannabinoids. Unfortunately, this list does not make any distinctions between CBD or THC, but it provides some guidance. Bring this list to your doctor before starting any CBD product.
Penn State also found potentially serious interactions between prescription CBD and THC products and the following products:
- Warfarin and other blood thinners
- Amiodarone (heart medication)
- Levothyroxine (thyroid medication)
- Seizure medications (clobazam, lamotrigine, valproate)
CBD Supplements at Natural Mental Health
- Sleep CBD is a blend of broad-spectrum CBD (30 mg per serving) combined with 5 mg of CBN (cannabinol) and 3 mg of melatonin. CBN is a form of phytocannabinoid shown to be more specifically helpful for sleep, and melatonin is nature’s internal timekeeper, helping set a more consistent bedtime. CBD Sleep may improve a variety of challenging sleep issues, and is especially helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep.
- Calm CBD combines 30 mg of broad-spectrum CBD with 200 mg of l-theanine, an amino acid that can also help reduce anxiety and stabilize mood. Together, they may improve stress resilience and calm anxiety without sedation. Taken at bedtime, CBD Calm may also be helpful for those who tend to wake in the middle of the night.
- Restore CBD gummies are infused with the highest quality, all-natural, US-grown hemp. Each gummy offers a precise dose of broad-spectrum CBD to support your endocannabinoid system with naturally occurring, plant-based ingredients. This synergy of multiple cannabinoids work together for the greatest impact to restore your natural resilience.
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- Atakan, Z. (2012). Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, 2(6), 241-54. doi:10.1177/2045125312457586
- Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants, 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
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- Wong, S. S., & Wilens, T. E. (2017). Medical cannabinoids in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Pediatrics, 140(5).