Criticism On CBD Use: Concerns, Side Effects, and Risks

The CBD industry has exploded in the past few years, with the first FDA approved drug Epidiolex making waves since its inception in 2017. Currently, 50 clinical trials are active to test CBD’s efficacy to treat various medical conditions, ranging from arthritis to asthma. From E-commerce stores to national chains, CBD is showing increasing promise as the next big thing in pharmaceuticals. 

While anecdotal evidence of CBD’s potential benefits is astounding, research is still either premature or inconclusive. Even though the World Health organization’s intensive review deemed CBD to have an excellent safety profile, we need to address some concerns. 

In this article, you’ll come across a compilation of negative scientific feedback surrounding CBD use to help you make the right choices for you and your family’s health. 

Side effects from Unregulated CBD products

CBD used in clinical trials is “pure” — it doesn’t contain any contaminants. In the commercial space, things are different. The US’s supplement industry, in particular, isn’t famous for its regulation policies. A huge black CBD market has, therefore, reared its ugly head.  

If you buy products from shady CBD manufacturers, you can experience unexpected and rather severe side effects. 

When various CBD products were put to the test, 87% were shown to have misleading labeling. 

So what kind of exposure can you expect from these unreliable products:

  • Pesticides and heavy metals from poor agricultural practices
  • High levels of THC (more than .3%)
  • Synthetic cannabinoids
  • Any contaminants (mold, oils, rancidity, etc.)

Sometimes CBD products aren’t even CBD products, i.e., they contain no CBD at all. In that case, you’re likely not to experience any side effects associated with CBD use at all.

Although you might not experience acute or immediate effects from cheap, low-grade products, you might experience long term and insidious organ damage. A prime example of this is the notorious vaping fiasco of 2019, which resulted in 2,807 hospitalizations and many deaths.

Authentic CBD products are hemp-based. They contain only trace amounts of THC. If your product has high THC levels, you can experience negative behavioral and physical changes like mood fluctuations, starvation, and dry mouth.

 If you’re not sure about your CBD product, it’s better to relegate it to the trash can. Put your safety first. 

CBD Concerns and Criticism Based On Existing Research

Epilepsy and CBD

Critics are right on the money when they say “concrete clinical evidence” is insufficient to corroborate CBD’s medical boons.

 Healthcare providers are only allowed to prescribe one CBD-based drug known as Epidiolex. Epidiolex’s need emerged when two rare forms of childhood epileptic disorders had no previously dependable treatment. However, the minds behind Epidiolex didn’t have it easy. They had to indulge in almost two decades of clinical research before getting FDA-approval. 

Considering Epidiolex is the only scientifically backed prescription drug, most solid research is based on its use. However, it’s not without its criticism and concerns.

In Epidiolex’s clinical trials, children between ages 2-18 were administered controlled doses of CBD. Some side effects they experienced included:

  • Tiredness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Altered liver enzymes (see the following section for more on liver enzymes)

Most participants only experienced these side-effects in the first few weeks. After the dosage decreased, they quickly developed tolerance to Epidiolex’s anticonvulsant effects. 

If you’re treating yourself with high doses of CBD, you should probably dig further into Epidiolex’s trials. 

CBD Coupled with Other Medications

Cannabidiol or CBD could interfere with other pharmaceuticals, especially if you’re taking it as a prescription drug. CBD, like grapefruit, could potentially lower absorption rates of other medications in your bloodstream. If you’re taking a drug that comes with packaging that says “don’t consume grapefruit,” you should probably consult your doctor before dosing up on CBD. 

CBD And Liver Damage

Certain studies have demonstrated how CBD can affect your liver. Even though these studies are speculative, people who have underlying liver conditions should practice caution.

 During the Epidiolex trials, children experienced an elevation in liver enzymes, namely ALT and aminotransferases. 

However, keep in mind though that these kids were also taking other medications alongside Epidiolex. So, we can’t accurately gauge CBD’s role in promoting liver damage in this case. 

CBD and Blood Pressure

Some research suggests that CBD could lower blood pressure. 

Generally, CBD’s blood pressure-lowering qualities are perceived as a benefit in stressful situations. 

However, people who have hypotension may need to reconsider their choices. If you have any blood-pressure associated condition, it would be in your best interests to monitor your blood pressure before and after each CBD intake. Moreover, you should take extra caution if you’re using a vape pen, as it might cause the most fluctuations. 

CBD and Fertility

If you’re trying to have a baby, CBD might affect your conception prospects. But, the evidence on this is not enough. 

Some studies suggest that regular CBD users have comparatively lower fertility rates. More extensive evidence is, however, required to make any reliable statements. 

A pregnant mother shares a lot with the child she nurtures in her womb. Active chemicals in the bloodstream can easily cross-mix with the fetus. Rigorous assessments have found CBD metabolites in umbilical cords and stools of newborns. Breastfeeding mothers should also tread carefully. Although not significant, breast milk tests have shown up with some levels of cannabinoids. 

CBD for Immuno-Suppressed Individuals

It may harm immune-suppressed individuals. 

Cannabidiol or CBD is dubbed as an immunomodulatory and famous for relieving an overcharged immune system. However, this quality can backfire in people whose immune systems are already defective, such as those who have HIV. But, some scientific research says otherwise. 

According to one study, Cannabis causes no adverse side effects in HIV-positive individuals and seems to improve symptoms. 

Final thoughts

CBD is all the rage nowadays. People are shouting from the rooftops of public forums like Facebook and Reddit to spread the word on its miraculous medical potential. Whether it’s someone who’s experiencing mild headaches or undergoing painful chemotherapy, CBD may prove a promising alternative treatment. However, science is still tentative about CBD’s status as an “all cure” drug. You may need to consult your physician before jumping the gun and leading yourself to some unwanted ends. 

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