CBD: Benefits & Side Effects

CBD: Benefits & Side Effects

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? In this guide, we will answer some of the most common questions about CBD, its benefits, risks, and tips on how to use it.

What is CBD and where does it come from?

CBD is one of the many active ingredients in the cannabis plant, which includes both marijuana and hemp. Unlike THC, another well-known cannabinoid, CBD does not cause a high or intoxication. CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant or synthesized in a laboratory.

CBD can come from different sources, depending on the legal status of cannabis in your area. In some places, CBD is derived from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC and is legal at the federal level in the US. In other places, CBD is derived from marijuana, which may contain higher levels of THC and is subject to different regulations.

How does CBD work in the body?

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors and molecules that regulates various functions in the body, such as mood, sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, and memory. The ECS consists of two main types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system and peripheral organs.

CBD work

CBD does not directly bind to these receptors but rather influences their activity by either enhancing or inhibiting the effects of other cannabinoids and neurotransmitters. For example, CBD may prevent the breakdown of anandamide, a natural cannabinoid that has mood-enhancing and pain-relieving properties. CBD may also modulate the activity of serotonin, dopamine, opioid, and GABA receptors, which are involved in mood, reward, pain, and relaxation.

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD has been studied for its potential benefits for various health conditions, especially those that are difficult to treat with conventional medications. Some of the most promising evidence for CBD comes from its use for epilepsy, anxiety, chronic pain, and addiction.

  • Epilepsy: CBD has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults with rare and severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a prescription drug that contains CBD, for these conditions.
  • Anxiety: CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in both animal and human studies. CBD may help with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). CBD may also help with insomnia related to anxiety.
  • Chronic pain: CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may help with various types of chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia pain, and cancer pain. CBD may also enhance the effects of opioids and reduce their side effects.
  • Addiction: CBD may help with substance use disorders by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. CBD may also prevent or reverse some of the brain changes caused by chronic drug use. CBD may be useful for opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction, and cannabis addiction.

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What are the Side Effects of CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. It has gained popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits, such as reducing seizures, pain, inflammation, anxiety, and depression. However, CBD is not without side effects, and some of them may be serious. Here are some of the common and rare side effects of CBD that you should be aware of before using it.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of CBD include:

  • Drowsiness: CBD can make you feel sleepy or sedated, especially if you take high doses or use it with other sedating medications. This can affect your ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other tasks that require alertness.
  • Dry mouth: CBD can cause your mouth and eyes to feel very dry, which can be uncomfortable and increase your risk of dental problems. You may need to drink more water or use a saliva substitute to relieve this symptom.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: CBD can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, reduced appetite, or liver damage in some people. This may depend on your individual sensitivity, medical history, or the quality and dosage of the product you use. You should monitor your liver function tests if you use CBD regularly and consult your doctor if you experience any signs of liver problems, such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, or abdominal pain.
  • Drug interactions: CBD can interact with other medications you take, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, anti-epileptic drugs, alcohol, and acetaminophen. This can alter the effectiveness or safety of these medications and cause unwanted side effects. You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using CBD with any other medication.

Rare Side Effects

Some rare but serious side effects of CBD include:

  • Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to CBD or the ingredients in the product they use. This can cause symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis. You should stop using CBD immediately and seek medical attention if you have any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Mood changes: Some people may experience changes in their mood or mental state after using CBD. This can include anxiety, depression, irritability, confusion, or psychosis. You should be cautious about using CBD if you have a history of mental health problems or substance abuse and talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your mood or behavior.
  • Low blood pressure: CBD can lower your blood pressure, which can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or increased heart rate. This can be dangerous if you have a heart condition or take medications for blood pressure. You should monitor your blood pressure and heart rate if you use CBD and consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms of low blood pressure.


CBD may offer some benefits for various health conditions, but it is not a miracle cure and it is not without risks. You should always do your research before using any CBD product and consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about its safety or effectiveness. You should also follow the instructions on the product label and use the lowest effective dose to avoid potential side effects.