How safe is CBD?

Many people are concerned with the safety of CBD use, and worry about the current lack of FDA approval for most CBD products currently on the market (the drug Epidiolex conatins CBD and was approved by the FDA for treatment of severe epileptic seizures). As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the World Health Organization has stated that CBD is not a public health risk, but rather safe and well-tolerated in humans. We aren’t here to make claims about specific health benefits of CBD or our products, we’ll let the experts and their research do the talking.

Back in 2011, a group of researchers (Bergamaschi, et. al) set out to conclusively answer these questions: Is consumption of CBD safe? What are the side effects of CBD consumption? They reviewed results from 132 studies conducted on CBD use, interactions, and side effects. They ultimately concluded, “CBD… has multiple pharmacological actions, including anxiolytic [anxiety reducing] , antipsychotic, antiemetic [nausea reducing], and anti-inflammatory properties.” Although this is good news, it’s not the whole story.

A majority of the studies examined were conducted in-vitro (outside a living organism) and in-vivo (inside a living organism), with many in-vivo studies having been conducted with rodents. Animal studies can be helpful in determining relative risk in proceeding with human studies, but rats, mice and other rodents cannot directly predict a human response since our systems differ. For example, with rodent studies CBD was being injected or administered orally, which may affect plasma levels and ultimately result in different active concentrations in the blood-especially in comparison with humans (most of us are not injecting CBD- and we don’t recommend trying it). This doesn’t rule out validity of any animal study results, it’s just something to bear in mind.

So, did anything bad happen to the rats/mice/miscellaneous rodents in these studies? As far as side effects or negative interactions go, what researchers found was a short list. Among other mild side effects (mentioned below), CBD was found to effect hepatic drug metabolism, or how certain drugs break down in the body. About 60% of clinically prescribed medications are metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver. CBD is also metabolized by this enzyme so if you are taking any medications, you should talk to your doctor before adding CBD or any other supplements to the rotation.

As a follow-up to the aforementioned literature review, Iffland and Grotenhermen published an update in 2017. This reviewed relevant animal studies and clinical data, a majority of which had been published since the 2011 review. Not surprisingly, they found these studies had results similar to those published in the 2011 review. Side effects of CBD use included tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight, which falls in line with the 2011 review. Additionally, this 2017 review did briefly address the neuroprotective properties CBD demonstrated. Neuroprotective, meaning protecting nerve cells from damage, implicates protection and even regeneration of cells and the nervous system. This will certainly be examined closer in other studies and we will keep you updated as we learn of the results.

Their essential findings?- “In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research.” The authors do go on to state that more research is necessary, especially to study the potential toxicological influence of CBD -for example impact on hormones. Also, studies of general longer-term use would be beneficial. If they need more humans to study the impact of CBD- I volunteer as tribute, sign me up!

With what information we do have, it seems safe to say CBD benefits tend to outweigh the cons. All-in-all, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again- there is a lot of information and misinformation out there, so choose your sources carefully. All the information you’ve read here links directly to the legitimate source of information. Educate yourself always- and make wise decisions. Reach out to the team at UnCanna if you have any questions or concerns regarding this content or CBD.

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