What are the side effects of CBD and contraindications?

"CBD does not cause no known side effects. Its defenders repeat it to whoever wants to hear it while the authorities continue to take enormous precautions when it comes to exploiting the virtues of cannabidiol. So who's telling the truth? The two. There are indeed some cannabidiol side effects, appearing in rare cases, which we detail here.

Nevertheless, in view of what science has already proven, none of them seem really dangerous for health.

Negative side effects of CBD: the official review

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Official statements are very (too?) Cautious about CBD and its potential negative effects

In one official press release published on November 24, 2020, the MILDECA (Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Addictive Behaviors) reiterates its doubts about the marketing of cannabis-derived products in France. Uncompromising on the fate of THC (it is a narcotic in the eyes of French law, just like cocaine or heroin), the institution is logically less radical with cannabidiol. She nevertheless pleads:

“The authorities are already reiterating their warnings regarding the potentially harmful effects of the still little known CBD molecule. "

Before that, she evokes the precautionary principle, placing the responsibility on the jurisdiction:

'It then recalls that it is for the referring court to assess, in the light of the scientific data available, whether harmful effects for human health could be linked to the use of CBD, justifying the application of a precautionary principle and whether the measures taken are suitable to guarantee the objective of protecting public health. "

Although harsh on cannabidiol, these official statements confirm at least two important points:

  • Scientific research on CBD still has a lot to teach us in order to fully master the molecule and its effects.
  • Nowadays, no major and clearly identified side effects of CBD are known to science.

To this, let's add that cannabidiol has been clearly identified by numerous studies as having no high effect and not causing addiction. On the contrary, as opposed to the THC molecule, it could even limit the action of psychotropic drugs and help stop cannabis.

First conclusion: the negative effects of CBD, if they exist, are far from the side effects of cannabis.

Misconceptions VS. Real Potential Side Effects of CBD

Where the Government makes a point is that it is true that the scientific literature with regard to cannabinoids in general and cannabidiol in particular would benefit from expanding. The precautionary principle, inviting the caution when in doubt, is also essential. However, cannabis in its wild form is used by humans for millennia. Cannabidiol is a molecule isolated by scientists since the 1960s and regularly consumed by millions of people around the world for several years. Its side effects on humans, if they are not clearly defined, have at least been observed up and down and through by consumers and their entourage.

The potential side effects of CBD are:

  • nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, stomach aches)
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tiredness

Some potential side effects of cannabidiol can thus be isolated. They remain however uncommon and generally light.

CBD and digestive issues

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In some cases, CBD can have unwanted effects on the digestive system

Let's start right away with the side effect of some CBD products that is perhaps the most unpleasant: its action on the stomach and digestive system. Although this is very infrequent and mainly concerns high doses, some cannabidiol users have reported a mild diarrhea or, on the contrary, a mild constipation after taking CBD. However, doubt hangs over the real origin of this negative effect, which could be based more on the component quality and the type of product used as to the effect of the cannabidiol molecule itself.

CBD and diarrhea

The main consequence of a digestive problem linked to the consumption of cannabidiol, diarrhea nevertheless manifests itself essentially in the event of too much dosage. In the majority of cases, reduce the amount of CBD per shot and/or space out the sockets enough to solve the problem. If not, it may be that the quality of legal cannabis derivative consumed or to be called into question. Some unscrupulous sellers do not hesitate to use poor quality ingredients in order to cut prices and/or increase their margin. It is therefore important to go through a CBD specialist serious and favoring an agriculture that respects the environment as well as ingredients of natural origin without pesticides or chemicals. This is the case of Weedy.fr which strictly selects the products available in its shop.

Well controlled, taking CBD can also contribute to limit diarrhea when it is a symptom of gastrointestinal problem. Cannabidiol is indeed known for its ability to act against inflammation. By helping to reduce inflammation of the intestines and digestive tract, it could particularly help people suffering from diarrhea caused by irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

CBD and stomach aches

Often, CBD is taken for pain relief, including when it comes to abdominal pain. Some consumers, however, report having a stomach ache when taking CBD. Once again, the CBD molecule is rarely the culprit, except in the case of high dosage. For those who use CBD oil, it is indeed likely that the fat be responsible for stomach aches, because heavy and therefore difficult to digest. It is also possible to have a poor tolerance of certain other components of the product, for example if the derivative in question contains sugar, flavorings or preservatives. Reduce dosage and / or try another product rich in cannabidiol allows most of the time to avoid this side effect.

CBD and nausea

Some consumers have noticed a slight drop in blood pressure right after consuming CBD. Direct consequence of the drop in voltage, nausea may appear, sometimes accompanied by a loss of appetite. If you suffer from blood pressure drops, talk about your desire to take cannabidiol to your doctor: he will be able to advise you. In case of nausea after taking CBD, lie down for a few minutes. Drinking some cold water and eating a square of chocolate can also help you recover quickly.

Also in this case, other components than CBD can cause the discomfort. The oil quality (for CBD oils) or the possible presence of additives, or even a intolerance to certain ingredients are therefore so many avenues to explore. We rarely take CBD without any good reason. If your decision to use CBD is based on the presence of pain or the need to get through a stressful period more easily, it is also possible that nausea is the consequence of these problems or of a underlying condition whose nausea is a symptom rather than a consequence of taking CBD. If in doubt, Stop taking CBD for at least 48 hours and consult a doctor who will be able to diagnose a possible health problem.

CBD and dry mouth

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A mushy mouth is the most likely side effect to happen to you after taking CBD by mouth

Cannabidiol acts on the body thanks to its ability to activate our endocannabinoid system and its CB receptors. These receptors are distributed throughout the body, including our salivary glands. One of the negative but not dangerous effects of CBD is the sensation of pasty mouth (dry mouth) due to a temporary less abundant production of saliva.

CBD and drowsiness

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Tired after taking CBD? It's possible



CBD has a direct action on sleep and is often recommended for people with insomnia. However, we all react differently to cannabinoids and, in rare cases, taking CBD can be accompanied by sleep disturbances followed by a form of drowsiness during awakening phases. It is therefore recommended not to consume just before driving.

So much for the side effects of CBD, which are relatively few in number and do not represent a particular threat for most consumers. However, are there medical predispositions contraindicating the consumption of cannabidiol ?

CBD contraindications

So far we have looked at the potential negative side effects of cannabidiol on the general population. It is therefore legitimate to also ask whether there are contraindications to taking cannabidiol, understand if there are populations at risk. Here again, we are relatively short of hindsight to draw solid conclusions. However, some precautions can be taken.

Pregnant women

Even if the risk seems very low, some doctors advise against taking CBD during pregnancy. If this recommendation is not based on specific contraindications, the precautionary principle nevertheless seems reasonable to apply. During pregnancy, the hormonal levels are indeed totally different to allow the development of the baby. CBD, through its action on the endocannabinoid system, could influence them, without having any hindsight on its exact influence on the future mother and the newborn.

Heart and arterial problems

Taking CBD, especially in high doses, can have an influence on the cardiovascular system. This is in particular because of the drop in blood pressure that can cause nausea to appear. It is therefore contraindicated to consume CBD when you suffer from a heart condition, at least not without first talking to a cardiologist.

Taking medication

Finally, it has been proven that cannabidiol, taken at the same time as certain drug treatments, can influence their effects. To avoid these Drugs interactions it is recommended, at a minimum, tospace out taking CBD and medications.

Blood problems: does CBD thin the blood?

We often read that CBD thins the blood, that is, it makes it more liquid. This is not entirely accurate or, more precisely, it has never been shown that CBD could thin the blood. It is on the other hand true that certain studies are interested in its anticoagulant power. Thus, CBD does not seem to be able to make the blood more liquid, but prevents it or in any case could slow down its coagulation.

In some cases, this can be an advantage, especially for fight against the formation of clots. In others, it can on the contrary be dangerous, especially in the event of a cut since the healing cannot take place properly, with a risk of bleeding. CBD could also cause Drugs interactions with certain anticoagulants. Therefore, and while waiting to understand its exact role in blood coagulation, CBD is not recommended for people with blood problems.

Whatever your state of health, it is strongly advised to discuss your desire to consume CBD with a doctor or specialist. Only he can tell you about possible contraindications to taking CBD in full knowledge of your situation.

Side effects: more decline in countries authorizing therapeutic cannabis

In France, as in many other European countries, therapeutic cannabis is not authorized, or under extremely specific conditions. However, this is not the case everywhere. With our Swiss neighbors, for example, doctors do not have no longer need to apply for authorization to prescribe cannabis-based medicines since August 2022.

This is true for CBD, but also for derivatives containing THC. Switzerland and the other countries authorizing medical cannabis have the advantage of having a little more perspective on the side effects of cannabidiol since these prescriptions are made by doctors, and necessarily lead to a medical monitoring. Enough to have data that is a little more precise than with simple feedback from consumers.

Thus, Professor Barbara Boers, of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) also mentions adverse effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, mood swings or memory loss. However, it specifies that these negative effects are primarily attributable to THC not CBD. She adds that the adverse effects of cannabis appear mainly at the start of treatment et generally do not last.

For its part, France is lagging behind. A first large-scale experimentation (about 3000 patients) was launched in order to better understand the opportunities offered by medical CBD and its potential side effects. Initially, it should end in the spring of 2023. Even before the study comes to an end, the Minister of Health François Braun has nevertheless already announced a carry-over. This choice was justified by a lack of patients since, in the fall of 2022, only 2000 were found. However, the results would not necessarily be less telling on a sample of this size…

Choose your cannabidiol well to avoid side effects

The side effects of cannabidiol exposed here seem more likely to occur when the product is not of optimal quality. To avoid negative effects as much as possible, it is advisable to favor structures that have the means, the will and the expertise necessary to control the quality of the CBD products sold. Avoid additives as much as possible and make sure you do not subconsciously buy from Synthetic CBD, the side effects of which could be much more serious.

The teams of Weedy.fr constantly monitor the legal cannabis market and select the best products of the moment. We are also at your disposal to advise you CBD products most suited to your needs. Have you made your decision?