If you’re like many of us, you’re probably constantly on the quest for safe ways to boost your health and wellness. But with so many pharmaceuticals and so-called miracle cures coming with a laundry list of scary side effects, it can be a challenge to sort out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s riskier than it’s worth.
On your journey to good health, you’ve probably come across one of the more promising compounds out there — cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD. But is it safe?
The Promise of CBD
Before we dive into the question at hand, let’s cover some CBD basics. What is it and what can it do? In short, CBD is a hemp-derived compound taken as a supplement. Though it’s similar in chemical makeup to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive and won’t make you feel “high” or intoxicated. It works by altering certain receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and more.
CBD holds many promising benefits for people looking to bolster their general health and wellness. Proponents claim that if you take a couple of CBD capsules or drops of oil as needed, you’ll experience benefits ranging from better-quality sleep to reduced aches and pains. And, though more studies are needed, these claims do shake out to be largely true. Many studies have confirmed that CBD can reduce anxiety, boost sleep quality, and more.
This, in essence, means that you could potentially enjoy a measurable improvement to your health simply by adding a supplement to your routine. It almost sounds too good to be true! As with anything in life, you need to determine whether the risk is worth the reward.
So… Is It Safe?
Luckily, when it comes to CBD, the risks seem to be relatively low. Anecdotally, CBD is known for being very well-tolerated, meaning most people say the compound does what it’s meant to do without any unpleasant side effects. In fact, studies have shown that CBD has a relatively mild effect and does not alter heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. In one report, researchers found that chronic use in doses of up to 1,500 milligrams per day has repeatedly shown to be well-tolerated by subjects.
With that being said, some people have reported a few mild side effects. Some of the most commonly reported include moderate drowsiness and fatigue — this is also a benefit if you’re taking CBD to help you with sleep issues — as well as changes in appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhea. As with any new change to your diet or health regimen, you should always speak to your doctor about adding CBD to your routine.
The Safest Way to Try CBD
Although CBD is largely considered safe, there are still a few important things you can do to make sure you get all the benefits in the safest possible way. The fact of the matter is that with the explosion of the industry — and regulations still somewhat murky — there’s no shortage of questionable offerings on the market. Follow these tips to help make sure you get a high-quality and safe product.
- Look at the ingredients list. Always make sure you look at the ingredients list before consuming CBD, as some manufacturers mix CBD with other ingredients to help achieve the desired effect. For example, the product might also contain caffeine to help perk you up or chamomile to help wind you down. These additional ingredients may cause unrelated side effects. Make sure you choose organic CBD and only consume products labeled gluten-free if you are sensitive to gluten or other additives.
- Talk to your doctor about adding CBD to your routine, especially if you have a specific condition or generally do not tolerate medications and supplements well. While doctors in some states may not be able to recommend or even discuss cannabis products, it can’t hurt to bring it up if you’re feeling nervous about your body’s response to the product.
- Start low and adjust your serving size as needed. The best way to make sure that you get the desired effects of CBD without any hard-hitting side effects is to follow dosage guidelines on the product carefully and experiment with serving sizes as needed. Make sure to start off at the lowest recommended amount and increase by 10 or 20 milligrams per day as needed. The key is finding the right balance between soaking up all the benefits of CBD without triggering any unpleasant effects.
Generally Considered Safe
Here’s the bottom line: While CBD is generally considered safe and studies and anecdotal evidence have confirmed that the substance usually doesn’t cause any dramatic side effects, you may still experience some effects when you take it. However, taking a high-quality product and starting your dosage off small and increasing dosage incrementally can help ensure that you get all the good parts of CBD without the risk.