A common question that many people ask in regard to CBD is: Is it safe? Well, I think so. I think it’s safe for most people, and even beneficial to our overall health and wellness. To determine the safety of the product, we first need to define what CBD is. Then, we need to look at the studies that have been conducted, as well as anecdotal evidence. The number of studies continues to grow compared to years past due to the 2018 Farm Bill that removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act list and defined Industrial hemp as any part of the cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC.
What Is CBD?
To put it as simply as possible, CBD, or cannabidiol, is a plant-derived compound that interacts with the endocannabinoid system within the human body. Every living thing that has a spine also has receptors in the brain that interact with chemicals called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally produced by plants and all of us humans have an endocannabinoid system.
“Cannabinoid” sounds awfully close to cannabis which, in the eyes of politicians, is still a very touchy issue. Education and studies surrounding the ECS (endocannabinoid system) have been largely restricted to medical schools due to said politics, which is pretty unfortunate if I do say so myself.
Is CBD safe?
This is a personal question that can really only be answered by you in conjunction with your healthcare provider. (Disclaimer: I’m not a medical provider, so you have to do your own research and make the best decisions for yourself.) For me, CBD is life. It allows me to move through my day more mindfully. Consuming CBD takes the edge off of anxiety that I’ve dealt with my entire life so that I can lead a vibrant and full existence without worrying so much about things that are out of my control. In general, I prefer using CBD that doesn’t have any of the extra plant matter like THC and terpenes because of my own personal comfort, as well as the versatility that it offers with how I consume it and who I share it with.
Anecdotal evidence, as well as studies, suggest CBD is a natural, plant-derived molecule that has the power to improve the wellbeing of so many. Some forms of CBD, like the CBD used by Grön, contain zero THC, as well as zero terpenes and other matter that you might find in a broad or full spectrum CBD oil. This type of CBD might feel more accessible and safer for those who aren’t comfortable consuming THC.
Although studies aren’t as robust as they should be due to hemp and cannabis-derived CBD being illegal for so many years, studies so far have shown promising results:
- CBD can potentially alter our perception of pain.
- CBD can potentially provide an alternative for heavy pain medications.
- CBD can potentially replace heavy antipsychotic drugs used for disorders like Schizophrenia.
- CBD is used by individuals to treat pain, anxiety, and depression with positive results.
Are there any side effects or risks to consuming CBD?
As with most things, especially health-related products, different people react to different things depending on a variety of factors. Project CBD, a California-based educational non-profit, offers information relating to the potential side effects of using CBD, the main one being cannabinoid-drug interactions. CBD, especially in higher doses, can alter how someone metabolizes another drug that they have taken (drug as in pharmaceuticals). This could inhibit the breakdown of that other drug causing it to remain inactive, which isn’t an ideal scenario.
Side effects that are possible from consuming CBD, especially a full or broad spectrum CBD:
- Change in mood
- Dry mouth
If you experience a side effect, take note of how much you consumed, how you consumed it, what type of product it was (smoking versus a straight CBD-no-THC tincture), and any other factors that might have contributed to that reaction. If you don’t want to ingest it, try a topical. There are so many choices out there that you are bound to find something that meets your needs.
How labeling and testing impact safety
Another factor to consider when determining whether CBD is safe is whether the product itself is safe. Are you buying a CBD product off the shelf at the supermarket? What kind of information is provided on the labeling? Do you know the history of the product? Where does it come from? What is the production process from seed to store? I’m a little skeptical of products labeled “CBD” that I find sitting at the checkout line in major grocery stores. So far, purchasing CBD has been such a sacred experience requiring me to go to a special location to buy it that seeing so many random varieties with zero information about testing and sourcing sends up red flags.
Full and broad spectrum CBD can contain all kinds of matter and “stuff” that is extracted from the whole plant that you might not want to consume. Pesticides and fertilizers? Gross. Chemical solvents? Yuck. Do they test their products for quality and provide easy access to those 3rd party test results? A label of the test results on each and every product is ideal. If you can’t find that information, it might be better to go find a product that does have that information so you know what you are consuming.
A big reason that labeling and testing are so important is that it sets a standard for quality. It also provides accurate information that could impact a drug test. You might think you have a CBD oil that is just CBD but come to find out it wasn’t tested and actually contains THC. The moral of the story is to buy from a brand that you know, who regularly tests all of their products, and can provide their sourcing and 3rd party testing information. This will ensure a safe and quality product.
All in all
Many use CBD to reduce stress, soothe anxieties, decrease pain, aid in recovery after physical activity, to help move away from certain prescription medications (in collaboration with their care providers), and boost overall wellness. You can still function optimally at your job, pass drug tests, and maybe even find more space to live your life more fully with the addition of CBD to your diet.
CBD, for me, takes the edge off of the anxieties and stressors that come from daily life. It allows me to live more fully aligned with who I am without my mind and fears getting in the way. CBD can be a powerful supplement to your overall well-being.