Although the use of CBD is controversial, it does seem to be tolerated by most people. It has, however, caused hypotension and light-headedness in a small number of patients. As it does not contain the THC part of the cannabis plant, the oil will not induce a ‘high’.
This is particularly important if you are experiencing any concerning symptoms, if you have any pre-existing conditions or if you are taking any medication including statins, blood thinning medication and calcium channel blockers.
CBD oil is increasingly popular, both as a food supplement and as an oil to apply topically to the skin. We asked a dietitian to explain what it is, why people use it and whether it’s safe.
Is it safe to use CBD oil?
Contrary to popular belief, CBD oil is legal in the UK as it is not a controlled substance. There are, however, strict restrictions over its THC content. CBD oil that isn’t medically prescribed can only have a maximum THC content of 0.2%. CBD oil products that have a higher THC content may be available to buy online, but not legally.
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A systematic review looking at the use of CBD for epilepsy concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the efficacy and long-term safety of using it to treat epilepsy. It does, however, suggest, albeit in very low numbers, that small daily doses were safe in a small group of adults for a short period of time.
If you’re considering using CBD oil, you should speak to your GP or other healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you to do so.
Potential Interactions With Other Meds
Only one purported use for cannabidiol, to treat epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it.
Lack of Regulation Also Concerning
There also is some indication that CBD might harm the liver. About 10 percent of people taking CBD in studies had increases in liver enzymes, which would indicate possible liver damage, Welty said.
Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It does not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
“It really is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on a label and sell it to people.”
For example, epilepsy studies found that “there were very clearly increases in the blood levels of some other anti-epileptic drugs when people were on CBD,” Welty said.
Here’s what you need to know about CBD.
While Blessing and Haney both say that CBD shows a lot of promise, they agree that the CBD products on the market (excluding the seizure drug Epidiolex) are suspect.
How is CBD different from marijuana?
Patients who take CBD without knowing what they are getting are “just throwing their money away,” Haney says.
On top of that, the CBD that is available in shops and online is not regulated by the government — which means it might contain other ingredients, or not even any CBD at all, Blessing says. Haney warns that much of the CBD on the market could be “snake oil.”
Companies also can’t legally make unproven health claims about CBD.