a man sublingually taking a cbd tincture

CBD Tincture Side Effects and How to Avoid Negative Ones

9 minute read

What’s amazing about CBD—other than its ability to help a broad range of issues—is we can tolerate it incredibly well. But there are a few side effects, however mild and rare they may be. The blog looks at the common CBD tincture side effects and what you can do if you experience them.  

Studies show that humans respond positively to CBD, whether consumed via tincture, edible, vape or topical. It’s important to know that no matter what form of CBD you’re using, side effects are often the same but may appear at varying degrees. 

How Can You Reduce the Effects of CBD?

Compared to some prescription drugs, CBD oil tincture side effects are far milder. Common reactions include dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, diarrhea, and disorientation. If you experience any of these responses, there are steps you can take to ease discomfort.

a woman with long brown hair and a smile who is taking a CBD tincture outdoors Dry Mouth
Cottonmouth or dry mouth from cannabis is a well-known side effect. While it is harmless, it can be unpleasant. The original thinking behind cottonmouth was smoke from cannabis flower is what caused the dryness. We now know that the same response can occur from edibles and tinctures when no smoke is involved.

Consuming cannabis, whether CBD or THC-dominant, causes a significant drop in saliva production. Cannabinoids bind to submandibular glands at the bottom of the mouth, which produce the majority of saliva. Cannabis can block messages to these glands. Interestingly, it does not dehydrate the rest of the body, which is why there is no hangover from cannabis. 

To counteract dry mouth, you can stimulate saliva production by chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. Cough medicine (demulcents), like drops or syrup, reduces mouth dryness by covering the mucus membrane with a moist film. Herbal teas are also helpful in soothing a sore throat or hoarseness associated with cottonmouth. 

Lightheadedness and Dizziness
When first trying CBD tincture, it is normal to feel a fleeting moment of lightheadedness. Scientists are not clear why this happens. It may be because CBD is known to lower blood pressure. It may be due to altered blood flow to the brain, neurotransmission, or autonomic nervous system activation. 

In a 2017 randomized crossover study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, nine healthy participants took a single 600-milligram dose of CBD oil or placebo. The CBD acutely reduced resting blood pressure compared to the placebo group. For many, this is a benefit, but lower blood pressure isn’t desirable for everyone. 

People with endocrine issues, heart problems, or who are already taking blood pressure medications may not benefit from lower blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions or are taking blood pressure prescription medication, it’s best to talk to your doctor before using CBD. 

Dizziness often appears quicker when smoking or vaping concentrates. CBD enters the bloodstream faster via inhalation than it would when ingested. Lightheadedness from CBD is usually short-lived. Sitting or laying down, allowing the moment to pass, usually does the trick.

Upset Stomach
While rare, some people report an upset stomach from CBD tinctures.  It’s a surprising symptom because CBD is often used to treat stomach ailments. CBD binds to endocannabinoid receptors which inhibit intestinal inflammation, reduces gastric acid, and encourages blood flow to the stomach lining. 

If you experience an upset stomach from a CBD oil tincture, it may result from other ingredients in the formula. A common culprit is a carrier oil. For instance, stomach pain, diarrhea, and throwing up are common side effects of MCT oil, a common ingredient in tinctures. The reaction could also occur from poor-quality products that are contaminated.

To avoid an upset stomach from CBD, check the ingredients list and make sure there is nothing in the formula that could cause GI issues. If the tincture carrier oil is to blame for your issues, try other forms of CBD, such as an inhalable product or gummies that do not contain MCT or coconut oil. 

Only buy products from a trusted source that provides a certificate of analysis with each batch. These documents detail what is in an extraction and show that the product is free from contaminants. 

It’s best to discontinue taking CBD oil if it is causing stomach problems

Drowsiness
A 2019 review of CBD and THC sleep studies determined that cannabinoids may promote better rest, decrease sleep disturbances, and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall to sleep. All of this may happen indirectly. According to a Weedmaps article, CBD may affect sleep because it targets other issues that typically keep people up at night, such as pain, anxiety and tense muscles.

On a chemical level, CBD blocks agonists on serotonin receptors, essentially resisting anxiety and depression molecules. And it may modulate adenosine pathways, a chemical that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. 

CBD shouldn’t make you sleepy or drowsy during the day. But if it does, it may be due to too high of a dose. Typically, CBD in low doses results in better focus and more energy. If you feel overly sleepy from CBD, lower your dose. 

Cannabis terpenes, which play a bigger role in cannabis effects than previously thought, could cause tiredness as well. Terpinolene, for instance, is known for its sedative effects. So pay attention to the terpenes in an extraction to understand what’s making you tired. 

Drinking a caffeinated drink will also combat drowsiness from CBD. Be sure to drink water as well, to balance dehydration from caffeine.

Do Side Effects of CBD Oil Go Away?

Most CBD side effects are very short-term. The dosage, frequency, duration and delivery method all determine how long effects will last.  A person’s lifestyle plays a role as well.  But most reactions wear off in 2 to 6 hours. Vaping effects are typically stronger but will go away sooner, while edible responses come on slower but tend to last longer. Dizziness or lightheadedness could go away within a few seconds.  

In general, CBD should be out of your system in a few days after stopping a cannabinoid regimen. But this could vary depending on the dose size and duration of use.

Can CBD Oil Make You Gain Weight?

The relationship between CBD and appetite is a bit confusing. Research shows it acts as both a suppressant and stimulant. In one study on CBD for childhood epilepsy, 30 percent of parents reported a significant increase in their child’s appetite. This may happen indirectly, similar to how CBD affects sleep. CBD’s ability to calm the digestive tract, temper nausea and curb pain may encourage hunger.

But a 2017 study found that CBD reduced weight gain in rat studies. And in another epilepsy study, parents reported reduced appetite. 

We know a little about cannabinoids and appetite from THC, which has a reputation for giving people the munchies. According to an article in the Washington Post, THC increases ghrelin hormones. Ghrelin sparks the hunger sensation on an empty stomach. With THC, the body produces ghrelin even on a full stomach. THC affects CB1 receptors, which influence hunger as well. It also boosts feel-good dopamine chemicals, which makes food more enjoyable. 

THCV is another cannabinoid found in cannabis. It’s mainly marketed as an appetite suppressant. THCV is a neutral antagonist to CB1 receptors, meaning it binds to the same receptor as another molecule but creates the opposite effect. For example, if THC ignites CB1 receptors, THCV quiets them down. 

While there is no clear answer to whether CBD is a stimulant or suppressant, there is no direct link between CBD or weight gain. With THC, heavy users often have lower BMIs than people who don’t smoke. Again, this may happen indirectly. People with pain who use THC may be more active. It may encourage others to drink less, avoiding extra calories from alcohol. It could lower stress, and improve sleep.

A palm holding a handful of multi-colored pills that are all different shapes

What Drugs Should Not Be Taken with CBD?

The main concern with CBD is its potential interactions with other prescriptions. CBD can impede enzymes—the cytochrome P450  system—that help metabolize drugs. Most of the time taking CBD with other medication is safe, but it’s always best to talk to your doctor if you’re taking other drugs. 

CYP450 enzymes break down 60 percent of drugs and usually have no problem doing so when it is handling one medication at a time. When CBD gets involved, it competes with other medications. The CYP450 may have a difficult time maintaining both. This means more of the prescription could remain in your blood, which could lead to enhanced side effects.   

A simple way to know if your prescription interacts with the CYP system is the grapefruit test; does your doctor tell you not to eat grapefruit with your medication? Citrus interacts with the CYP system the same way CBD does. If your medication passes the grapefruit test, then you can feel comfortable using CBD.

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t take CBD with your CYP medications. CBD-drug interactions could result in both positive or negative responses. How much CBD interferes with prescriptions is dependent on dosage size. According to an article in Marie Claire, you’d likely need to use upwards of 20 milligrams of CBD per kilogram before seeing serious interactions, so quite a lot. Most people who take an average of 60 or fewer milligrams of CBD per day don’t have to be concerned with drug interactions. 

The Indiana University Department of Medicine created a list of drugs to be aware of when taking CBD. 

  • Angiotensin II Blockers
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants / Anti-Seizure Medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • HIV Antivirals
  • HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins)
  • Immune Modulators
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Prokinetics
  • Steroids and Corticosteroids
  • Sulfonylureas

CBD and the Liver

An old animal study on CBD and liver toxicity by the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, unnecessarily rang alarm bells among some CBD consumers.

Doctors agree that CBD is safe when used properly.

There were multiple flaws with the Little Rock study. The mice were given a mega-dose of CBD, 0.25 percent of their body weight. According to a Project CBD critique on the study, researchers administered 246 mg/kg of CBD on the low end, up to 2460 mg/kg on the high end. For reference, the max dosage for Epidiolex, the one FDA-approved CBD medication, is 20 mg/kg for humans. That’s well under 100 times less than what the researchers gave to the mice. 

There was legitimate concern from a study on Epidiolex patients who used the medication with valproate, another anti-epileptic drug. Around 5 to 15 percent of patients using both treatments simultaneously reported elevated ALT and AST liver enzymes. 

Doctors still find this combination to be helpful treatment of epilepsy, so their treatment includes monitoring patients’  levels, according to the Project CBD article. There are currently no reports of lasting harm after discontinued CBD use for patients who did experience raised enzymes. 

a brown cbd tincture bottle surrounded by little white babys breath flowers

Is CBD Addictive?

A report by the World Health Organization states that “CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile…there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

No tolerance or dependence was observed in mice studies. No human studies are available. 

“At present, there are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD,” the WHO report states. 

CBD may actually support breaking addictions. One study reported that CBD helps curb methamphetamine and cocaine addiction. A CBD and addiction review concluded that some studies found CBD helps in opioid addiction, marijuana dependence, and nicotine addiction.

Can You Overdose from CBD?

According to a 2011 Current Drug Safety study, a toxic dose of CBD is 20,000 milligrams taken all at once. It would be incredibly difficult to consume this much cannabidiol. That’s 10 entire bottles of our extra strength CBD tincture. Our baseline dose is 33 milligrams, up to twice per day for the average user. So with this in mind, you don’t have to worry about overdosing on CBD. In fact, a toxic 20,000-milligram dose most likely isn’t even lethal (though it wouldn’t be worth testing), according to the same study.

What Happens if You Take CBD Everyday?

Because our bodies handle CBD well, it is typically harmless to take CBD every day. People with chronic issues, like arthritis, often benefit from daily use.

CBD and Pregnant or Breastfeeding Mothers

According to the FDA, there is no comprehensive research studying the effects of CBD and a developing fetus or breastfeeding infant. The article states it is likely CBD is transferred through breast milk. It’s unclear how that affects a child. The main concern is unregulated poor quality CBD products that are contaminated could potentially harm a fetus. Due to the current lack of evidence, the FDA suggests pregnant mothers avoid CBD.

Recap

The main concern with CBD is its interactions with other prescription drugs. If you are taking any other medicines, talk to your doctor before starting cannabidiol. No matter what form of CBD you use, side effects are typically the same. Most of the side effects are minor and not cause for concern. Research suggests humans cannot overdose from CBD. And because it is not psychoactive, it is not addictive. If you experience side effects from CBD, they most often go away in a few hours. If you do experience negative side effects that cause discomfort, it’s best to discontinue use. While there is no negative connection between CBD use interfering with the growth of a fetus or breastfeeding infant, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should avoid CBD until more research becomes available. 

Many people in the cannabis community experience a broad range CBD tincture benefits. You can feel comfortable experimenting with cannabidiol when buying high-quality products from a trusted source.

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