More and more people are becoming interested in CBD oil because of its potential health benefits. CBD has been reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and approved as a safe substance. At the same time, many are concerned about the side effects CBD might have including weight gain. Some have already started taking CBD oil, are experiencing side effects, and want to investigate whether CBD is the cause. In this article, you will find all the info you need about the potential side effects of CBD.
It is important to note that although CBD may cause a number of side effects, studies have shown that it sometimes has a better side effect profile than other medications used in treating the same conditions, such as epilepsy and psychotic disorders.
Based on our own independent research, No, CBD shouldn’t be a cause for weight gain. However, there’s really no “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question. Weight gain is closely related to other factors such as genetics, and most studies have shown mixed results. In a number of animal studies, CBD has been found to boost metabolism and reduce food intake through interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors[13–15]. It may also promote the “browning” of fat cells credited with generating heat through burning calories, as a test-tube study shows. Indirectly, CBD may promote weight loss because of its beneficial effects on physical exercise and recovery.
On the other hand, in a study with children who were taking CBD medication for epilepsy, 30% of the participants’ parents reported that their children had an increase in appetite. The comprehensive study we mentioned above had mixed results: some of the patients experienced an appetite increase and some a decrease.
We cannot say for sure that CBD promotes either weight loss or weight gain; even if CBD might tip the scale (literally) in one way or the other, its effects on your weight are mild and should not be a pressing matter.
Can CBD Oil Cause Nausea? Or Does CBD oil help with nausea instead…
The short answer is no – it does the opposite. Multiple studies show that CBD is efficient in regulating nausea and vomiting [2–3], and more research is warranted for correctly attributing nausea and stomach discomfort to CBD.
If you experience nausea after taking CBD, ask yourself if you have taken it on an empty stomach, as CBD oil is recommended at least 30 minutes after a meal. Other causes of CBD-related nausea are, again, high doses (especially for first-timers), concentration, and taste.
Dry mouth can also be a minor side effect of CBD and cannabinoids in general because they act on the systems that regulate saliva production. Combined with the sometimes bitter taste, this might cause discomfort in your digestive system. Always eat before you take CBD, and rinse it down with your favorite drink if you find the taste is too much for you.
Diarrhea is more commonly associated with CBD oil than the side effects discussed so far. Whether CBD is the direct cause or not is a more complex matter. As in the case of nausea, CBD has been found to help, rather than hinder, digestion. We’ll let the science speak for itself. The effects of cannabinoids on the gastrointestinal system have been more closely studied, and experts have found that humans have a functional endocannabinoid system in the gastrointestinal tract which contains CB1 receptors. The activation of these receptors is shown to inhibit intestinal motility, an excess of which leads to diarrhea. Manipulating this system using cannabinoids has many potential therapeutic uses, including treating nausea, diarrhea, IBS, and even colon cancer.
So, why do people still cite diarrhea as a side effect of CBD? You’ve probably guessed it by now: dosage, method of consumption, product quality, and eating habits all play a role. Whether CBD can directly cause diarrhea is still a largely unstudied matter, but what we know so far points in the opposite direction.
Recently there has been a large discussion on the topic of CBD and liver function. An animal study revealed that CBD can have harmful effects on the liver. The mice in the study, however, were administered the maximum recommended dosage, an equivalent to 200mg of CBD for humans, which is an unrealistic amount. Most experts say that any problems are dosage-related.
At the same time, CBD is studied as a potential treatment for a variety of liver issues like hepatitis and even cancer. Research on the effects of CBD on liver function is ongoing; for now, patients with liver complications should research the topic well and make informed decisions until further studies emerge.
Whether drowsiness is a side effect or a benefit of CBD oil depends on what you’re using it to treat. CBD affects the production of cortisol, the stress hormone which powerfully influences your sleeping pattern. An excess of cortisol can lead to more awakenings during the night, and it is one of the primary causes of insomnia. In higher doses, CBD decreases the level of cortisol in your body, which reduces your ability to stay awake. Taken at night, it is a proven treatment for sleeping problems (as well as anxiety) and seems to work better in combination with melatonin, although melatonin should not be used as a long-term solution for insomnia.
But the effects remain the same if you take CBD oil during the day, more so in high doses, and could lead to drowsiness and fatigue when you’re not actually trying to fall asleep. The answer is to regulate your dosage according to when in the day you plan on taking CBD oil and keep the higher doses for bedtime. In normal doses, however, the sedative effects are mild, and you will function normally when you’re at work, at the gym, or behind the wheel. Each body is different, and you might have to experiment a little to find out which dosage and schedule work for you.
Although the average CBD user does not normally experience headaches as a side effect, there have been reports of headaches that may be related to CBD consumption. In a comprehensive scientific study on the most common side effects of CBD, the occurrence of headaches was not included. Still, factors related to CBD oil consumption may sometimes cause headaches, such as incorrect dosage, poor quality CBD oil, or products that have not undergone laboratory testing.
CBD itself is not a direct cause of headaches. As we wrote above, you may experience drowsiness after taking CBD, especially in higher doses, but it takes a lot for it to become a full-blown migraine. To avoid the unwanted side effects of low-quality CBD oil, always check for the best products on the market and research a dosage that will work for you.
Research on the cause of headaches and migraines has still not reached a full conclusion; dehydration, caffeine intake, stress, and lack of sleep are all cited as possible culprits. The best you can do is to take care of your sleep schedule and drink water regularly – it’s never a bad idea to hydrate. If you still think your headache may be caused by CBD, take a break from it to see if the pain subsides.
CBD may interact with medications such as blood thinners, antidepressants, certain seizure medications, or some muscle relaxers. It can either increase the effects of the medication to potentially toxic levels or decrease its potency. The way you take CBD is important: inhaled CBD enters the blood much faster than CBD creams and balms. Always contact your doctor if you are taking prescription medication and are interested in CBD, and they might suggest a dosage or prescribe a product that they trust.
The short answer is no. Substance addiction is characterised as the compulsive use of a drug despite adverse effects; addictive substances target the pleasure and reward centers of the brain and powerfully affect the levels of different hormones, causing withdrawal symptoms once the substance begins to fade from the body.
Cannabis contains one psychoactive compound, THC (delta-tetrahydrocannabinol), that has similar effects on the brains of users. THC is the reason for the “high” that people experience when smoking cannabis, and because of its psychoactive effects, it can be categorized as an addictive substance. However, it is only one out of more than 100 cannabinoid compounds in cannabis and the only one that can cause addiction.
CBD or cannabidiol is also a cannabinoid, but it is not a psychoactive substance, so it is also not addictive. The range of effects it has on the body does not include affecting the brain’s reward circuit. It can act as an aid in depression, for example, through its effect on hormone production, but not in a way that creates a compulsive need to take it again.
However, cannabis contains both CBD and THC, and full-spectrum CBD oil is extracted from cannabis. Does that mean that CBD oil is psychoactive and addictive? The answer is also no. there are many strains of cannabis, and the only strain that approved CBD products can be extracted from is hemp. Hemp contains virtually no THC; because of this, we can extract a mix of CBD and all the other beneficial compounds from hemp, without worrying about a high THC percentage. Quality CBD oils contain a maximum of 0.2-0.3% THC, a negligible amount that does not affect the mind or body in any way.
CBD oil is legal in Australia, safe, and non-addictive.
Related Article: Can CBD Oil Help With Addiction Recovery?
Doses of 1,500 mg or higher of CBD are considered high. However, the notion of a CBD overdose is hardly plausible. Most likely, an extremely high dose of CBD will result in a higher intensity of the side effects described above. As we said, dosage is the key. You should also pay attention to the way you take CBD: when vaped, CBD is 20-30% more potent than when you ingest it. If it reaches your bloodstream too quickly, the chance of side effects may increase. Sublingual drops are the recommended method to take CBD: it absorbs fast enough to maintain its potency, but not so fast that its effect is too intense.
There is a reason for the high interest in CBD oil in recent years: its status as an efficient natural remedy for a wide range of conditions. More and more studies are being published that prove it, and dispel some of the myths that inevitably appear along the way.
Consult your medical practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and want to start using CBD. Remember to always look out for quality products with third-party testing – you can find them here.
(1) Iffland, K.; Grotenhermen, F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017, 2 (1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034.
(2) Rock, E. M.; Sticht, M. A.; Limebeer, C. L.; Parker, L. A. Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016, 1 (1), 113–121. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0006.
(3) Parker, L. A.; Rock, E. M.; Limebeer, C. L. Regulation of Nausea and Vomiting by Cannabinoids. Br. J. Pharmacol. 2011, 163 (7), 1411–1422. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x.
(4) Andreis, K.; Billingsley, J.; Naimi Shirazi, K.; Wager-Miller, J.; Johnson, C.; Bradshaw, H.; Straiker, A. Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors Regulate Salivation. Sci. Rep. 2022, 12, 14182. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-17987-2.
(5) Aviello, G.; Romano, B.; Izzo, A. A. Cannabinoids and Gastrointestinal Motility: Animal and Human Studies. Eur. Rev. Med. Pharmacol. Sci. 2008, 12 Suppl 1, 81–93.
(6) Izzo, A. A.; Coutts, A. A. Cannabinoids and the Digestive Tract. Handb. Exp. Pharmacol. 2005, No. 168, 573–598. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-26573-2_19.
(7) Ewing, L. E.; Skinner, C. M.; Quick, C. M.; Kennon-McGill, S.; McGill, M. R.; Walker, L. A.; ElSohly, M. A.; Gurley, B. J.; Koturbash, I. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. Mol. Basel Switz. 2019, 24 (9), E1694. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091694.
(8) Lowe, H. I. C.; Toyang, N. J.; McLaughlin, W. Potential of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. Pharmacogn. Res. 2017, 9 (1), 116–118. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8490.199780.
(9) Velasco, G.; Hernández-Tiedra, S.; Dávila, D.; Lorente, M. The Use of Cannabinoids as Anticancer Agents. Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2016, 64, 259–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.05.010.
(10) Vargas, I.; Vgontzas, A. N.; Abelson, J. L.; Faghih, R. T.; Morales, K. H.; Perlis, M. L. Altered Ultradian Cortisol Rhythmicity as a Potential Neurobiologic Substrate for Chronic Insomnia. Sleep Med. Rev. 2018, 41, 234–243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.03.003.
(11) Shannon, S.; Lewis, N.; Lee, H.; Hughes, S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm. J. 2019, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041.
(12) Huestis, M. A.; Solimini, R.; Pichini, S.; Pacifici, R.; Carlier, J.; Busardò, F. P. Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity. Curr. Neuropharmacol. 2019, 17 (10), 974–989. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190603171901.
(13) Ignatowska-Jankowska, B.; Jankowski, M. M.; Swiergiel, A. H. Cannabidiol Decreases Body Weight Gain in Rats: Involvement of CB2 Receptors. Neurosci. Lett. 2011, 490 (1), 82–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2010.12.031.
(14) Verty, A. N. A.; Stefanidis, A.; McAinch, A. J.; Hryciw, D. H.; Oldfield, B. Anti-Obesity Effect of the CB2 Receptor Agonist JWH-015 in Diet-Induced Obese Mice. PLoS ONE 2015, 10 (11), e0140592. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140592.
(15) Farrimond, J. A.; Whalley, B. J.; Williams, C. M. Cannabinol and Cannabidiol Exert Opposing Effects on Rat Feeding Patterns. Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 2012, 223 (1), 117–129. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x.
(16) Parray, H. A.; Yun, J. W. Cannabidiol Promotes Browning in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes. Mol. Cell. Biochem. 2016, 416 (1–2), 131–139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-016-2702-5.
(17) Hussain, S. A.; Zhou, R.; Jacobson, C.; Weng, J.; Cheng, E.; Lay, J.; Hung, P.; Lerner, J. T.; Sankar, R. Perceived Efficacy of Cannabidiol-Enriched Cannabis Extracts for Treatment of Pediatric Epilepsy: A Potential Role for Infantile Spasms and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Epilepsy Behav. EB 2015, 47, 138–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.04.009.
(18) Millar, S. A.; Maguire, R. F.; Yates, A. S.; O’Sullivan, S. E. Towards Better Delivery of Cannabidiol (CBD). Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13 (9), 219. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13090219.
Written by Rodney Guthrie
Rodney is a co-founder of CBD Oil Australia. He works as a cannabis rights activist, and has been working for years to bring awareness to the health benefits of cannabis and how it can help people suffering from various conditions who aren’t able to find relief with traditional medications.