Some people believe CBD oil is safe and well-tolerated. Read about the side effects you can expect and what to be aware of. Coughing is a reflex that keeps the throat and airways clear. Some people are using cannabis as a natural alternative treatment for cough symptoms. Learn more. Although vaping involves inhaling vapour, which are water molecules suspended in air, it may still cause your throat to get dry and lead to coughing.
7 CBD Oil Side Effects You Should Watch Out For
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CBD oil is believed to be generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is not free of side effects. Read on to learn which adverse effects you should watch out for when using CBD oil, how the delivery form influences them, and what you can do to reduce your risk.
CBD Oil Side Effects
First, it is important to remember that CBD oil is considered experimental and investigational and far more clinical studies are needed before we can make any firm conclusions about its supposed benefits .
Similarly, it’s an insufficiently investigated supplement with a relatively unknown safety profile. The list of side effects listed in this article is, therefore, not a definite one.
So, make sure to speak with your doctor before starting on a CBD oil regimen.
With the recent legalization of CBD oil in many states worldwide, its popularity is booming and people are taking it for not only its FDA-approved use for seizures, but also conditions such as :
An advantage of CBD oil is that it’s considered generally safer and causes fewer adverse effects than the drugs typically used for these conditions. Chronic doses of up to 1500 mg/day were tolerated well in multiple studies [3+, 4].
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause behavioral and psychological side effects. What’s more, it may even reduce some of them such as anxiety, psychosis, and memory loss [5, 6, 7, 8].
CBD oil is believed to cause fewer side effects than THC and most prescription drugs, even at high doses.
Nevertheless, there are some potential side effects of CBD oil that you should watch out for. Below is a detailed overview of the most common ones.
1) Dry Mouth
Whether you use them for recreational or medicinal purposes, cannabis products will often make your mouth feel as if it were stuffed with cotton balls. Almost 12% of 1500 people responding to a survey about CBD use experienced dry mouth, making it the most common adverse effect .
Stimulation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the salivary glands reduces saliva secretion, which makes the mouth feel dry. The well-known cannabis compound THC activates these receptors directly. In turn, CBD raises the levels of an activator naturally produced in the body – the cannabinoid anandamide [9, 10, 11, 12].
2) Digestive Issues
Both CBD oil supplements and the FDA-approved CBD medicine Epidiolex have been reported to cause digestive issues such as [2, 4]:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased or reduced appetite
- Weight loss or gain
Because preliminary research suggests that CBD improves rather than causes nausea and diarrhea, these effects most likely result from the irritating effects of other ingredients (e.g., carrier oils) on the bowels [13, 14, 15].
Alternatively, the loose regulation of supplements may allow for excessive CBD levels in products or harmful contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents [16+, 17].
In turn, the endocannabinoid system has a role in promoting appetite. The mixed effects of CBD on appetite and weight seen in different studies may be due to its dual effect: it blocks the CB1 and CB2 receptors but boosts the levels of their activator anandamide [18, 19, 11].
If you experience digestive issues from using CBD oil, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend reducing the dose or shifting to another brand.
Contaminants and additives are likely responsible for the digestive side effects of low-quality CBD oil: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite and weight changes.
3) Drowsiness and Fatigue
People taking CBD oil often report feeling sleepy and tired. Indeed, this side effect was observed in early clinical trials and one of the most common uses of CBD oil is to improve sleep disorders [20+].
If the symptoms are very severe, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery.
The effect of CBD on sleep seems to be biphasic: high doses may increase sleeping time, lower amounts may promote wakefulness. Additionally, levels of endocannabinoid receptors depend on the circadian rhythm. This may explain why CBD tends to cause drowsiness later in the day but has the opposite effect in the morning [21, 22, 23].
CBD oil may make you feel sleepy, especially if you take high doses at night. Low morning doses, on the contrary, seem to increase wakefulness.
High doses of CBD lowered blood pressure in a small trial on 9 people. In turn, THC seems to have a more complex effect: it slightly raises blood pressure in people lying down but increases the risk of sudden blood pressure drops when standing up [24, 25+].
As a result, a common adverse effect of CBD – both alone and with equal amounts of THC (nabiximols) – is feeling dizzy and light-headed [26, 27, 28].
If your blood pressure drops too much, you may faint. The risk is especially high in people diagnosed with low blood pressure or on blood pressure medications – such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. These people should be especially cautious with CBD oil and never try it out without discussing it with their doctor.
CBD oil, alone or with THC, may reduce blood pressure. This can make you feel dizzy and light-headed, especially if you are prone to blood pressure drops.
5) Possible Liver Damage
Several trials testing CBD for seizures found possible liver damage (high transaminases ALT and AST) in 9-25% of the people. The risk increased with the dose and was highest in people also taking the anti-seizure drug valproate, which is known to cause liver injuries [29+, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34].
Similarly, CBD caused signs of liver toxicity (high transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin) in mice and dogs. However, the doses were generally higher than those used in human trials [35, 36, 37].
Make sure to talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking valproate, and never exceed the recommended CBD oil dose to reduce your risk of liver damage.
CBD oil may cause liver damage at very high doses and in people prescribed the anti-seizure drug valproate.
CBD is often used to curb anxiety, although research suggests it has “inverted U-shaped” effects: moderate doses, but not low or high amounts, may be effective for a range of anxiety disorders and stressful situations [38, 39].
In contrast, very high doses may even trigger anxiety and irritability. This was the case in 7-9% of the children in 2 clinical trials using CBD for seizures and autism [40, 41].
The effect probably involves the TRPV1 receptor, the activation of which increases the brain’s response to stressful situations .
CBD boosts the naturally-produced cannabinoid anandamide. While moderate anandamide levels activate CB1 receptors and curb anxiety, high amounts may worsen it by binding to TRPV1. CBD also activates this receptor directly, further contributing to the potential anxiety-triggering effects [43, 44, 11, 45].
7) Immune Suppression
CBD may reduce the immune response. It prevents T cells from dividing, migrating to inflammation sites, and producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This may be beneficial in people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52].
The downside of blocking the immune response is that it may make people with weakened immune systems more prone to infections. Thus, people on immunosuppressants or with conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and Down syndrome might want to avoid it .
CBD oil seems to reduce the immune response, which may make people with a weak immune system more prone to infections.
CBD didn’t damage the kidneys in clinical trials. In fact, researchers believed it protected against kidney injury and inflammation in numerous animal studies [54, 55, 56, 57, 58]. Remember that larger and better designed clinical trials are needed before these findings are conclusive.
Though more clinical trials are needed, the current evidence suggests CBD oil will not harm your kidneys at normal doses.
On the other hand, people with kidney disease should probably avoid THC-containing medical marijuana without consulting a doctor.
According to a recent review, THC may worsen kidney health and increase urination by activating CB1 receptors. Remember that, unlike THC, CBD blocks these receptors. However, CBD may indirectly activate them by increasing anandamide levels in the body [59+].
Lastly, avoid synthetic cannabinoids at all costs (products like “spice” and “K2” sold in smoke shops). These chemicals caused sudden and severe kidney injury in several cases [59+].
Unlike THC and synthetic cannabinoids, CBD oil probably does not cause side effects on the kidneys; some researchers believe it might even be protective.
Are You at Risk of CBD Oil Side Effects?
CBD altered the levels of two drug transporters in placental cells. This suggests that taking CBD oil during pregnancy may increase the exposure of the fetus to any drugs that the mother takes. Pregnant women should avoid CBD oil in any case, since safety data are lacking .
Taking THC-containing CBD oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding is particularly dangerous, since THC may reduce growth and cause brain developmental anomalies in babies [61+].
Because there are no studies testing its safety in children below 2 years old, it’s better to avoid giving them CBD oil unless prescribed by a doctor.
CBD is thought to be safe in older children, but they may be more sensitive to THC and toxic contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides than adults. Be sure to use high-quality, THC-free CBD in children and consult the doctor first.
Pregnant women and children under 2 years old should avoid CBD oil due to the lack of safety data; THC during pregnancy is known to be dangerous.
Most drugs are broken down by liver enzymes. Among them, cytochrome (CYP) P450 plays a key role. A single CBD dose blocks several CYP enzymes, such as:
By doing so, it may slow the breakdown of several drugs and enhance their effects [62, 63, 64, 65, 66].
Indeed, CBD reduced the breakdown of the sedative hexobarbital, the anti-seizure drug clobazam, and the blood thinner warfarin in humans. It had the same effect on the immunosuppressant cyclosporin and the cannabis compound THC in cells [67, 68, 69, 70].
On the other hand, repeated CBD doses can increase the levels of some enzymes of this group and reduce the effects of the drugs they break down [71, 72, 73, 74].
Plus, CBD itself is broken down by CYP enzymes, especially by CYP34A and CYP2C19. Drugs that block these enzymes (such as ketoconazole and ritonavir) will enhance its effects, while those that activate them (such as phenobarbital and rifampicin) will have the opposite effect [75, 4].
If you are on prescription medication and plan to use CBD oil, ask your doctor about potential interactions and dose readjustment. Additionally, avoid combining CBD oil with grapefruit or other supplements that block the same liver enzymes (such as St John’s wort or watercress).
CBD oil can block or activate liver enzymes that metabolize drugs. This may increase the side effects of both CBD oil and the medication you’re taking.
How Does the Delivery Form Influence CBD Oil Side Effects?
While rapid-release forms (mouth sprays and oil tinctures) deliver CBD directly into your bloodstream, slow-release forms (capsules, edibles, and teas) have to pass your digestive system first. This means their ingredients may irritate your bowels and give you nausea and diarrhea [76+, 77].
However, rapid-release forms will release CBD faster, so you may experience both wanted and unwanted effects sooner [76+, 77].
And since tinctures and sprays are directly applied in the mouth, they will quickly reach the salivary glands and cause dry mouth. Mouth sprays may also cause a stinging sensation and even burns, especially if they contain alcohol [9, 78].
Capsules and edibles are more likely to cause digestive side effects, while mouth sprays and tinctures more frequently cause dry mouth.
Vapes bypass the digestive system without irritating your bowels, but they may trigger the other adverse effects faster [76+, 77].
Vaping is considered safer than smoking cigarettes or joints because the oil is heated at lower temperatures that produce fewer toxic byproducts [76+ 79].
However, the additives used as flavorings and thinning agents in vaping oils may still pose some hazards. Although they are normally food-grade, they may release harmful compounds (including the cancer-causing formaldehyde) when vaporized. Their heavy use may lead to [80, 79, 81+]:
- Dry throat
- Lung injury
- Fat particles entering the lungs (lipoid pneumonia – rare)
For instance, one man developed severe lung damage from vaping CBD oil [82+].
Creams & Gels
Creams and gels act locally on the application site and don’t release CBD into the gut or bloodstream. This means they will not cause most of the adverse effects previously described [76+].
However, they may cause allergic reactions with itching, redness, and rashes on the skin. It’s important to note that the reactions can be caused by either CBD or other ingredients in the formulation [83+, 84+].
How to Reduce Your Risk of Side Effects from CBD Oil
1) Drink More Water
The best way to reduce dry mouth when using CBD oil is to drink plenty of water and other hydrating liquids before, during, and after consumption.
2) Find Additive-Free Products
You can reduce the risk of digestive issues by choosing forms that bypass the gut and directly release CBD into your bloodstream such as vapes, mouth sprays, and oil tinctures. High-quality oils without additives may also irritate your bowels less.
3) Take it Before Sleep
If you feel drowsy or light-headed after taking CBD oil, you may need to reduce the dose or take it only before sleep.
4) Increase Wakefulness Naturally
Drinking coffee or tea will help you both stay awake and raise your blood pressure, but it also causes many side effects. Try to get more sunlight first thing in the morning, as it will energize you and help you get better sleep at night. We talk about other natural ways to increase wakefulness in this post.
5) Support Your Liver
Avoid combining CBD with the anti-seizure drug valproate. Additionally, make sure not to exceed the dose and regularly monitor your liver function to reduce your risk of liver damage. Eggs (choline), artichokes, NAC, and probiotics also support liver health. Read more foods and supplements that are good for the liver here.
6) Don’t Take Megadoses
Only very high CBD doses may cause irritability. Make sure not to exceed the dose and try reducing it if you notice this symptom.
7) Monitor Your Immune Response
If you have a weakened immune system, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD oil. You may need to avoid CBD or take a lower dose.
Additionally, you may also want to look into balancing your Th1/Th2 immune response. If you have a slightly weaker immune system and are prone to allergies, you are probably Th2-dominant.
To reduce your risk of CBD oil side effects, avoid products with additives, drink plenty of water, get sunlight during the day, and support your liver and gut health.
Always make sure to speak with your physician before starting on a CBD oil regimen.
CBD oil is thought to be safe and most people seem to tolerate it well.
Low-quality products may contain additives and toxins that can irritate the lungs when vaped and the gut when taken orally. Choose high-quality products to reduce your risk.
Additionally, CBD oil can make you feel drowsy and lightheaded. If you feel tired after taking CBD oil, lower your dose or use it only before sleep. Look to also increase your wakefulness naturally by getting more sunlight during the day.
High doses may damage the liver, but likely only in people taking the anti-seizure medication valproate. Monitor your liver enzymes and look into natural ways to protect your liver.
Avoid CBD oil if you have a weak immune system, as it might make you more prone to infection.
If you take prescription drugs, consult your doctor. Many drugs can interact with CBD oil and increase the risk of side effects.
Pregnant women and children should avoid CBD oil until more safety data are available.
Some people have genes that make them more likely to experience inflammation. Check out SelfDecode’s Inflammation DNA Wellness Report for genetic-based diet, lifestyle, and supplement tips that can help reduce inflammation levels. The recommendations are personalized based on YOUR DNA.
About the Author
Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.
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CBD Oil for Cough – August 2022
Coughing is a reflex that keeps the throat and airways clear. While it can be annoying, coughing helps the body protect and heal itself.
Coughs may either be acute or chronic. Acute coughs often begin suddenly and last no more than 2 or 3 weeks. Acute coughs are the kind that one often gets with a cold, flu, or acute bronchitis (1 ) .
Chronic coughs may last longer than 2 or 3 weeks and causes vary. Causes of chronic coughs may include:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Chronic bronchitis
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Throat disorders, like croup in young children
Water can help ease coughing, whether one drinks it or add it to the air with a steamy shower or vaporizer.
For a cold or the flu, antihistamines may work better than non-prescription cough medicines. Note that cough medicines are not recommended for children under four years old. For children over four, use caution and read labels carefully (2 ) .
Why Some People Are Taking CBD for Cough
Some people are using cannabis as a natural alternative treatment for cough symptoms.
CBD for Congestion
The plant’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help individuals cope with symptoms, like sore throat, sinus pain , and body aches.
Nasal congestion may be one of the most annoying and uncomfortable cold symptoms.
When the virus attacks the nasal passage, it causes it to swell up and overproduce mucus. This overproduction of mucus clogs sinuses causing pain and pressure.
Decongestants help relieve nasal stuffiness by narrowing blood vessels and reducing swelling in the nose. However, decongestants can increase blood pressure (3 ) .
Meanwhile, CBD may also act as a decongestant by helping reduce inflammation, providing relief from the pressure and sinus drips.
Unlike other decongestants, CBD does not cause concern for those with cardiovascular issues.
Data from a study even showed that acute administration of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and blood pressure due to stress (4 ) .
An anti-inflammatory, CBD may help open up the sinus passages and increase ease of breathing, although research is not conclusive.
Targeting the inflammation , CBD may help calm the membranes that line the nasal passages, decreasing congestion and opening up those airways.
A study showed the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain (5 ) .
CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (6 ) .
Meanwhile, CBD may act as an analgesic, relieving pain. A study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management showed how employing cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, helped in the management of difficult-to-treat pain (7 ) .
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain (8 ) .
CBD for Bacterial Infections
CBD has natural antibacterial properties that may help fight against secondary bacterial infections that can develop from the cold and flu.
A study showed the antibacterial characteristics of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) (9 ) .
Another study, conducted in 2019 by researchers from the University of Queensland, showed CBD might be a capable fighter against bacterial infections (10 ) .
CBD for Fevers
A fever may develop as the body fights a viral infection, like the common cold. A fever is also a sign of inflammation.
Cannabinoids could play a role in inhibiting the progression of a fever caused by a virus (11 ) .
If the fever is part of a more substantial inflammatory reaction, the use of CBD oil can trigger an anti-inflammatory response through its action in the body’s endocannabinoid system .
Data from a review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2020 overwhelmingly support the concept that CBD is immunosuppressive (12 ) .
CBD’s potential as an immune suppressor means it may have positive effects when the immune system becomes hyperactive or weakened.
Hemp oil has antiproliferative effects, as indicated in a 201 7 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology (13 ) . The findings demonstrated that CBD might help stop cell growth of foreign organisms, like the cold virus.
When the immune system launches its attack on a virus, it causes an inflammatory response that produces flu or cold-like symptoms.
While the body uses its endocannabinoids to moderate the immune response, it is not always capable of controlling the inflammatory process.
Cannabinoids in cannabis plants help by providing the natural endocannabinoid mechanism with a much-needed boost.
Moreover, constant use of these cannabinoids, found in full-spectrum CBD extracts, may help the body protect itself against a future attack.
CBD for Relaxing Muscles
CBD oil may not only provide anti-inflammatory effects, as studies have shown. CBD may help with relaxing the muscles as well.
CBD’s potential muscle-relaxant qualities may be of interest to those suffering from a persistent cough. CBD oil may reduce the inflamed airway and relax the muscles to reduce coughing.
Through the mechanism by which CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, CBD is useful in treating muscle pain by calming excessively-contracting muscles.
This mechanism is explained in a 2013 study published in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal (14 ) .
Also, CBD may help reduce muscle spasms, a feature of neuropathic damage which often manifests in painful, uncontrolled muscle twitches (15 ) .
CBD hemp oil may be available in different forms of CBD products, such as tincture, vape juice, or lozenges.
CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile, says the World Health Organization (WHO) (16 ) .
Studies have shown that some of CBD’s purported therapeutic benefits may be useful in treating some of the causes and symptoms of cough.
However, note that more longitudinal research is needed, as the results from previous studies are not conclusive. Also, the long-term side effects of CBD use are still unknown.
Thus, before using CBD oil for cough as an adjunct therapy or for treating symptoms of medical conditions linked to cough, make sure to consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.
Why does vaping CBD make me cough and can I stop it?
Why does smoking my CBD vape pen hurt my throat and make me cough? Would it be different if I smoked a dry herb instead?
Avik Das (Wednesday, June 16, 2021):
Numerous reasons play roles if you cough during CBD vaping. One major reason for making you cough could be the presence of terpenes in it or even certain types of vape juice. Terpenes are usually present in both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD vaping liquids. Terpenes cause itching in the throat, resulting in cough. If you are a novice in vaping, then coughing could happen as well until you get used to it.
Osasere Okunloye (Monday, December 27, 2021):
It could be because of several reasons:
- Full spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids like terpenes which can make you cough.
- Vaping can cause dehydration of your throat and make you cough
- Underlying respiratory and cardiovascular conditions can also make you cough when vaping.
If you are a new vaper, you might need time to adjust. Also make sure you use lab-tested, high-quality pure hemp extract CBD e-liquid.
Is There Another Way To Take CBD To Avoid Coughing From Vaping?
Yes, Cannabotech has developed a unique M²CBD formula which contains a blend of CBD oil and functional mushrooms. This formula is used in all of Cannabotech products to help you relax, and unwind, while supporting your Endocannabinoid and immune system simultaneously.