cbd oil for pain side effects

Side Effects of CBD Oil: Potential Risks & What You Need To Know

We can’t deny that CBD oil offers many therapeutic effects — from the relief of common post-exercise pain to the control of severe symptoms such as seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder.

CBD, as a health supplement, became even more popular when studies show CBD to be non-psychoactive, non-addictive, and generally very safe.

As a 2019 Gallup Poll shows, one in seven American adults uses CBD not only for health maintenance but for symptom relief.

With CBD’s popularity, one can’t help but wonder — are there any CBD oil side effects that we have to be aware of?

Types of CBD Products & Their Common Side Effects

Before we go into the details of the CBD side effects, let’s explore the different types of CBD products and their potential side effects.

1. Sublingual (CBD Oil)

CBD oils and tinctures fall under this category. The drops are placed under the tongue and left there for about a couple of minutes. The CBD is absorbed through tiny capillaries under the tongue — directly into the bloodstream.

Common side effects from this type of application include dry mouth, decreased appetite, and changes in bowel habits.

2. Inhalation (Vapes & Hemp Flower)

CBD products that you inhale include smokable CBD flowers and vape oil.

Because you’d be inhaling smoke or vapor, this type of CBD product often causes lung irritation, especially if the product makes use of risky solvents and additives.

Other side effects also include dry mouth, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Some also report developing headaches.

3. Topical CBD (Creams, Salves, & Balms)

These CBD-infused topical products aren’t known to produce side effects when applied to the skin. If they do, it’s pretty rare and usually affects people allergic to hemp or marijuana.

Some of the side effects of CBD topicals include skin rash, hives, and itching.

What are the Common Side Effects of Cannabidiol?

As a whole, cannabidiol (CBD) is generally considered safe. Not only is it well-tolerated by users, but it also doesn’t cause significant adverse changes in one’s physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate).

Because of this effect and the fact that there are only a few cannabinoid receptors in the lower brainstem (part of the brain that controls heart and lung function), CBD doesn’t cause an overdose.

This doesn’t mean that CBD is without side effects. Here are the most common side effects to watch out for:

Short-Term Side Effects of CBD

1. Dry Mouth

According to studies, the cannabinoids’ effects on the endocannabinoid system can lead to reduced saliva production, causing cottonmouth (dry mouth).

Drinking plenty of water helps relieve dry mouth.

2. Lower Blood Pressure

The drop in blood pressure is temporary and may be due to CBD’s vasodilation effects on the blood vessels.

When the blood vessels are relaxed and blood flows freely, there’s less pressure against the blood vessel walls, resulting in lower blood pressure.

3. Dizziness & Lightheadedness

The dizziness and lightheadedness may be caused by the drop in blood pressure, but this will go away once it returns to its normal resting pressure.

4. Sleepiness

This effect typically happens to people who take higher doses of CBD.

At very high doses, CBD promotes sleep, while low CBD doses promote wakefulness and alertness.

5. Changes in Bowel Habits

CBD has a relaxing effect on the muscles, so some people develop mild diarrhea after taking CBD since it relaxes the bowels.

However, the changes in bowel habits may also be caused by the other ingredients found in the CBD oil.

Long-Term Side Effects of CBD

There’s still limited research on long-term CBD use, but according to a study, prolonged CBD use has led to increased liver enzymes in mice.

In humans, the long-term side effects of CBD haven’t been completely studied yet, although elevated liver enzymes were also seen in some patients.

Most CBD users report only a few side effects. The side effects they develop are usually mild, well-tolerated, and typically go away once the effects wear off.

Considerations and Precautions Before Taking CBD

It’s possible to develop CBD oil side effects, especially if you’re new to CBD products.

However, you can reduce your risks of developing adverse side effects by understanding these considerations and precautions.

1. Interaction of CBD with Other Drugs

CBD is safe, but we always recommend speaking with your primary care physician first before trying CBD oil. He knows more about your medical history and can help you reach an informed decision.

This is especially important if you’re taking medications. CBD is known to interact with several drugs. it can either amplify or dampen the drug’s potency, which could lead to more unwanted side effects.

2. Pregnant & Lactating Mothers

Cannabinoids are known to cross the placenta and the breastmilk, exposing the fetus or the baby and affecting their growth and development. To be on the safe side, you should avoid CBD if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant.

If you still want to try CBD oil, we recommend speaking with your physician first.

3. Liver Problems

As mentioned earlier, CBD has the potential to increase liver enzymes, so if you have liver problems, it’s best to avoid CBD oil or only use low doses of CBD.

Again, we emphasize the importance of seeing your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re diagnosed with liver disease.

4. Allergy to Hemp & Cannabis

Allergic reactions to cannabis and hemp are pretty rare, but they do happen. Coming into contact with the plant, for example, can induce skin allergies, while inhaling its pollen can result in respiratory symptoms.

To reduce the risks of an allergic reaction, you can try dabbing a small amount of oil on your skin and then wait for about half an hour to an hour. If you develop some skin rashes and hives, discontinue the oil immediately and consider visiting a doctor.

How to Avoid CBD Side Effects?

CBD oil is generally well-tolerated by users. Once your body gets used to the addition of CBD, these side effects resolve on their own.

However, these side effects can also be pretty uncomfortable, so if you want to avoid them or at least reduce their intensity, follow these simple tips.

1. Start Low, Go Slow

This term simply means starting at the lowest dose possible and increasing or decreasing the dosage according to your needs.

For example, the instruction is to take one full dropper, then you can start with half a dropper for about three to five days. If you didn’t notice any improvement, increase the dosage.

However, if you developed adverse side effects on half a dropper, then decrease your dosage.

Be consistent and be patient. You’ll soon find a dosage perfect for your health needs.

2. Know Who Should Not Take CBD

If you’re allergic to hemp or cannabis, take medications, have liver problems, are pregnant, or are lactating, then be extra cautious in using CBD oil.

Again, we recommend seeing your doctor before using CBD oil.

3. Look for the Product’s Certificate of Analysis

Trusted CBD brands always have their products tested by certified testing facilities to check for the presence of harmful pathogens, heavy metals, solvent residues, dangerous pesticides, and artificial fertilizers.

Don’t trust brands that can’t show proof of their CBD oil’s safety and quality.

4. Read Reviews

Reviews made by customers can help you choose a good CBD oil. These reviews let you know about the product’s expected effects (and side effects, if any).

5. Avoid Too-Good-to-be-True Claims

Bogus CBD companies will promise you the moon if they think it’ll make you buy their products. Their CBD oil can cure all types of diseases, and their CBD oil is the cheapest on the market.

Producing premium-grade CBD oil doesn’t come cheap. Legit CBD brands invest money to buy state-of-the-art equipment and purchase high-quality, organic raw materials.

If you see CBD brands offering cheap but “quality CBD oil,” avoid them. Not only are they violating FDA rules, but they may also be lying about their products, especially if they can’t produce valid laboratory test results.

Final Thoughts: Side-Effects of CBD

It’s safe to use CBD oil daily. It can ease discomfort and help maintain normal health and wellbeing.

However, like most health supplements, CBD also has its own side effects. It can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, changes in bowel habits, and sleepiness. It can even lower blood pressure.

These side effects are very well-tolerated by users. They also typically go away once your body gets used to CBD.

You can avoid these side effects by following the precautions and considerations mentioned above. You can also reduce the risk by choosing CBD oil made by trusted brands.

Have you tried CBD oil and experienced some side effects? What did you do to get rid of them?

Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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CBD Oil: Risks, Side Effects And What You Need To Know

For many of us, it may seem as though cannabidiol (CBD) sprang up out of nowhere. Within a few short years, this obscure molecule found in cannabis plants has moved from near-anonymity to a cure-all embraced by millions.

From college campuses to retirement homes, everyone’s talking about CBD, leaving many to speculate about when the other shoe will drop, revealing some negative aspect to the health trend.

Although CBD might be a new molecule to you, scientists have been studying it since the 1970’s, alongside its infamous sister molecule, THC. For the past few decades, lawyers, doctors, patients and politicians have all been pitting the medical potential of cannabis against its risk for recreational abuse. But all the while, evidence has been mounting that CBD offers similar — if not better — medical benefits without the downside of a “high” from THC.

Even a critical review by the World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that CBD is a promising treatment for a number of medical conditions, is well tolerated, has a good safety profile, and doesn’t appear to be a risk for abuse, dependence, or other public-health related problems. In other words, even the WHO thinks CBD is A-OK.

When looking through the thousands of scientific articles referencing CBD, it’s very difficult to find any evidence of dangerous side effects or contraindications. However, widespread use of concentrated CBD is a very new phenomenon, and your safety is our priority.

So we thought we’d compile all the negative scientific evidence into one handy guide, to help you decide whether CBD is right for you. We’ll cover the different side effects you might encounter and what they could mean, as well as what current research says about trying CBD if you are:

  • Immune-compromised
  • Currently taking prescription drugs
  • Pregnant or trying to conceive
  • … and more

Clinical evidence for CBD oil

CBD critics are absolutely correct when they state that definitive clinical evidence is lacking to recommend CBD for many of the reasons people currently take CBD products. CBD is currently available as an FDA-approved prescription treatment (called Epidiolex) for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. But in order to gather the clinical evidence required for this status, the manufacturer needed to pay for almost two decades of research and clinical trials.

Now that Epidiolex has opened the door for CBD’s acceptance by the medical community, you can expect to see more prescription uses for CBD in the future. However, because of the way our medical system is structured, the stamp of approval can only be gained after a long period of costly clinical testing. This testing is paid for by companies that can patent and profit from the results.

In the absence of definitive, slam-dunk clinical evidence, what the general CBD community does have to work with is a great deal of preliminary scientific evidence from laboratory experiments, animal models and case studies. Hundreds of scientific papers are published annually on cannabidiol, and the vast majority continue to point at CBD’s safety & efficacy for a wide range of conditions. This preliminary scientific evidence — from animal studies and human case studies — is what gets the ball rolling towards clinical trials.

If you check the US government’s clinical trials database , you’ll see that more than 50 trials are either currently active or recruiting participants for conditions ranging from arthritis to drug abuse disorders. (Foria is participating in this movement with a 400-person study on the efficacy of our CBD suppositories for menstrual cramps and pain — although this isn’t a clinical trial, but a less-expensive self-reported survey.)

These trials will double the number of preexisting clinical trials that have been carried out for cannabidiol, and it’s just the beginning. Will some of the promising benefits of CBD prove wrong when tested clinically? Most likely. People are currently trying to treat countless conditions with CBD, and it’s likely that a few of them might not be any more effective than placebo when tested with clinical trials.

So yes, you may be jumping the gun by taking CBD to address a health issue when its use is not yet supported by clinical evidence that would pass muster with the FDA. But that clinical evidence won’t be available any time soon, and many people don’t want to wait a decade before finding out for themselves if CBD is effective for their needs.

Side effects based on high-dose clinical trials

Because we lack clinical evidence in favor of CBD, we also lack clinical evidence against CBD. From the few clinical trials that have been conducted, no conclusive severe side effects have surfaced.

The most comprehensive results available are based on Epidiolex, the FDA-approved CBD drug for childhood epilepsy. During clinical trials, youths between ages 2 and 18 were prescribed high daily doses of CBD for 14 weeks. The daily doses were equivalent to 1,360 mg for a 150-pound adult — more than is typically found in an entire bottle of CBD oil.

These are the side effects they most often experienced:

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

For most patients, these side effects occurred during the first few weeks while they were quickly raising their dosage. The symptoms typically subsided after their dosage stabilized, and lowering the dose was also an effective way of decreasing undesirable side effects. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects on your current CBD product, you might experiment with waiting it out a week, lowering your dose or trying a different type of product entirely.

If you’re experimenting with high doses of CBD, we recommend reading more about what scientists learned from the Epidiolex trials. You can find the results of their 120-person clinical trial here and their FDA documentation here .

Side effects from dishonest CBD products

Clinical trials give patients high-quality, safe products which contain a reliable quantity of CBD. The Epidiolex side effects are ones you might expect from a high dose of a very pure product. On the other hand, because the supplement industry in the US isn’t heavily regulated, if you purchase CBD from dishonest or potentially unsafe manufacturers, you might experience very different side effects. In fact, when scientists recently tested a variety of publicly-available CBD products, only 31% were accurately labeled .

What can these unreliable products contain?

  • Pesticides and heavy metals from bad farming practices
  • High levels of THC (more than desired)
  • Synthetic cannabinoids
  • Any kind of contaminants (mold, bacteria, rancidity, etc)

Sometimes CBD products don’t contain any CBD at all — in which case you won’t experience any effects, positive or negative.

True CBD products are prepared from hemp plants, which can contain trace quantities of THC unless that’s removed during extraction. If a product contains high levels of THC, you might experience side effects like dry mouth, hunger, or altered mood and thinking.

Although it’s hard to imagine all the different side effects you might experience from contaminated or synthetic products, the worst effects of dishonest CBD products could be long-term damage to your body that you won’t immediately experience as a side effect.

If you’re suspicious about the safety of your current CBD products, do yourself a favor and throw them away. CBD oil is a concentrated plant-based extract that goes into your body — expect its quality to be at least as high as the foods you eat.

CBD Contraindications: preliminary scientific research

Although CBD has been deemed safe by the WHO and other health organizations, not enough experiments have been done to identify if there are any populations for whom CBD is unsafe. Instead of taking that as a free pass to tell everyone to take CBD (like most other CBD companies), we think this makes it even more important to scour the scientific literature for any warning signs. Because we value your safety first, we put together a list of all the conditions we could find that might deserve special consideration.

Here’s what the evidence shows about taking CBD if:

You take prescription drugs. (Could be important) Pharmaceutical drugs are processed by your body in different ways; some are less effective after processing, while others aren’t effective until after they’ve been processed. Similar to grapefruits, CBD can occupy enzymes (cytochrome p450) that your body uses to process certain pharmaceutical drugs. Taking CBD alongside these pharmaceuticals could pose a health risk by either increasing or decreasing levels of these medications in your bloodstream. If you currently take prescription drugs — particularly *any that come with a warning not to consume with grapefruit* such as warfarin, anti-epileptics, HIV antivirals, chemotherapy and others — we suggest speaking with a medical professional before incorporating CBD into your wellness routine. They could help you understand potential interactions and how to proceed.

You have complications with your liver. (Could be important) This warning is speculative, but people who have liver problems might want to be cautious about their CBD intake. During the clinical trial of Epidiolex, children taking CBD were more likely to have elevated liver enzymes (ALT and AST aminotransferases). In CBD’s defense, all of these children were also taking pharmaceuticals known to damage the liver. It’s currently unclear whether CBD directly affects the liver — or if the interaction with pharmaceuticals (mentioned above) results in higher bloodstream levels of liver-damaging prescription drugs. However, just to be safe, if you suffer from liver problems or take medication that is hard on your liver, you might want to monitor your liver enzymes when introducing CBD into your daily routine. Epidiolex additionally suggests that people with liver impairments slowly increase their CBD doses . They also reported that elevated liver enzymes were primarily observed in children taking the maximum dose, and lower doses (680 mg or less per day for a 150-pound person) posed a much lower risk.

You have low blood pressure. (Could be important) Some studies report that CBD lowers blood pressure, which could be a concern for people already dealing with low blood pressure. Overall, CBD appears most effective at reducing blood pressure during stressful events , which is widely embraced as one of its benefits. But CBD might also temporarily decrease your resting blood pressure as well. If you suffer from hypotension, you might want to monitor your blood pressure when trying new CBD products or increasing your dose. Are you the type that gets a bit light headed when you stand up suddenly? Just be a bit more cautious if you’ve just used a CBD vape pen or if you’ve been taking high oral doses of CBD.

You’re trying to conceive. (Not enough evidence) Natural cannabinoids are produced and used throughout our bodies as messengers. One of their most important uses is to help our bodies coordinate conception and pregnancy . At the moment, it’s a complete mystery what extra cannabinoids do to our bodies’ reproductive capabilities. Some evidence suggests that regular cannabis users have slightly lower fertility rates , although more comprehensive assessments of the data generally agree that this effect is minimal at most — and is more likely caused by THC than CBD. However, if you are having difficulty conceiving, discuss your use of CBD or cannabis products with your doctor.

You’re pregnant or breastfeeding. (Could be important) When pregnant or breastfeeding, a mother shares everything with her growing child. Active molecules in a mother’s bloodstream can pass into her child’s body through both the placenta and breast milk. Broad screening reveals that cannabinoids can be detected in the umbilical cords and stools of newborn children. And low levels of cannabinoids can be detected in breast milk from regular cannabis users . It’s currently uncertain if/how CBD affects a developing baby, but it’s safest to minimize exposure to cannabinoids (and a wide variety of other foods, products, and medications) while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding and use CBD to manage anxiety or another health issue, discuss the tradeoffs with a medical professional.

You’re immune compromised. (Most evidence disproves this concern) CBD is known as an immunomodulator because it can calm down a hyperactive immune system , but some worry this could harm people whose immune systems are already impaired, like HIV sufferers. Although we don’t have evidence specifically testing CBD against this fear, many studies have been done using the whole cannabis plant. Research shows that cannabis helps relieve pain and other HIV-related symptoms without causing severe side effects . And when marijuana is tested against specific HIV symptoms like liver fibrosis, cannabinoids do not appear to worsen it . Although current evidence suggests that CBD could be more helpful than harmful for immune-compromised individuals, the jury is still out.

You’re surrounded by germs. (Not enough evidence) Some people hypothesize that CBD’s excellent immune-system soothing capabilities could accidentally let a few stray germs slip past your immune system’s defense. Scientists have tested this by exposing mice to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease and measuring their ability to fight the infection. Although moderate doses of CBD didn’t impair their immune systems, they were worse off on high doses equivalent to 1,000 mg for a 150lb person . If you’re currently taking higher doses of CBD and also sharing space with a bunch of coughing people, it might be a good idea to temporarily decrease your CBD dose.

You want to replace a current treatment with CBD. (Very important!) We absolutely love CBD and have heard from countless enthusiasts who’ve been able to cut back on pharmaceuticals with the assistance of CBD. That said, please do not substitute any current medications or prescribed treatments with CBD unless it’s with the approval of a medical professional. Our hope is to provide you with extra support, not to replace the supports you already have in place. Life can be difficult to manage alone, and in times of need, we encourage you to seek all the medical and emotional assistance available.

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What You Need to Know About CBD Side Effects

CBD products—made from a chemical found in the cannabis plant called cannabidiol—are all the rage right now. You can buy them online, in drugstores, and even at local gas stations, not to mention at medical marijuana dispensaries. While companies make some broad claims about what CBD can do, the truth is that there just isn’t a lot of definitive scientific evidence on this yet. Here’s the current body of knowledge on CBD’s side effects and how effective it is in treating things like chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep problems.

How Your Body Reacts to CBD

First of all, the only CBD that’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Epidiolex, a seizure medication for kids with rare seizure disorders. Because of this, most of what we know about CBD side effects comes from the clinical trials for Epidiolex. In those trials, the most common side effects were drowsiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, elevated liver enzymes, rash, insomnia, and infections.

However, “that can’t necessarily be generalized to the larger population,” says Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., a professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “The kids in those trials were usually taking a lot of other medications, so the adverse events seen won’t necessarily translate to a healthy adult.” They were also taking extremely high doses of Epidiolex, much more than a typical person uses for anxiety or pain.

CBD that you buy at the drugstore and CBD you get at a medical marijuana dispensary are not the same either, which means the side effects could be different, points out Maureen Leehey, M.D., director of the Movement Disorders Division at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, CO. CBD purchased from a dispensary contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes a high, than CBD you can get from other outlets. Why? Because each kind is extracted from two different types of cannabis plants—hemp or marijuana.

Typically, at a medical marijuana dispensary, you’ll find CBD that has been extracted from a marijuana plant, which means it has more than 0.3% THC, rather than hemp, which contains 0.3% or less THC. But even if you buy a CBD product made from hemp, since the amount of THC in CBD is poorly regulated, there may be a lot more in your product than you think, Dr. Leehey says. All this means that you could experience side effects from THC rather than CBD, depending on what you’re using.

Then there’s the matter of dosage differences. You might be taking 5, 10, or 20 mg of CBD at a time, whereas someone on Epidiolex takes up to 20 mg/day per kg of body weight (this translates to 1360 mg/day for a 150 lb. person). That said, Dr. Leehey says CBD in these low doses tends to be very well tolerated and have few side effects.

How CBD Interacts With Your Meds

CBD has the potential to interact with other drugs, which can lead to some serious side effects. “We don’t have a full knowledge of the extent of those interactions at this point,” Vandrey says, “but it does seem that CBD will impact the metabolism of several other classes of drugs.”

The Epidiolex trials showed significant drug interactions, according to Dr. Leehey. Because CBD is metabolized by the liver, it tends to interfere with other medications that are also metabolized by the liver, like certain antidepressants, blood thinners, benzodiazepines, and other seizure medications.

“There are two particular liver enzymes that CBD will act through, so if another drug you’re taking is also working through those enzymes, that drug might be more or less potent,” she explains. The same is true for how these liver-metabolized drugs affect CBD—they can make CBD more or less potent.

Both experts agree that it’s important to talk to your doctor before you use CBD, especially if you’re taking other medications, because there is such a high potential for drug interactions.

But Does It Work?

Most of what we know about how effective CBD is for treating chronic pain and helping with sleep is anecdotal, says Vandrey. “It’s possible that it does help, but we need evidence that it does,” he says. Vandrey also believes that when it comes to pain relief, “we need to understand whether it’s CBD or some other substance in these CBD preparations that’s helping with pain.” For instance, he says a lot of the topical CBD formulations on the market contain the same active ingredients as other topical pain relievers, such as lidocaine, menthol, camphor, salicylates, or capsaicin, found in products like Icy Hot, Biofreeze, Capzasin, and Bengay. “While I don’t doubt that people who report pain relief are experiencing pain relief, it may be due to the formulation of that particular product and possibly independent of CBD,” Vandrey says.

And while some studies have found that CBD can significantly reduce social anxiety, “beyond that, we’re still lacking good quality data on evaluating its impact on anxiety,” Vandrey says. Without the robust research to support it, Dr. Leehey doesn’t recommend using CBD for anxiety or sleep, plus she says they’re expensive for what you get out of them. But if you’re still curious about giving CBD a try, here’s what Dr. Leehey says to look for:

For sleep, try a CBD product made from hemp or a high CBD-low THC product from a dispensary. (The THC content shouldn’t be more than 1–2 mg and the CBD should be around 10 mg, she says.) Take it before bed for 10 days and see if it helps. If not, discontinue.

If you want to try CBD for anxiety, consider progressively increasing your dose over the course of a month (one dose lasts around 6–8 hours). Start with 5 mg of a CBD oil or gummy twice a day for a few days, then go up to 10 mg twice a day. After that, try 10 mg three times a day, slowly building up to a maximum of 25 mg three times a day over the month. Stay on that maximum dose for another month and see if it’s beneficial. If it’s not helping, cut your dose in half for a week, then cut it in half again for a week, and then stop.

Proceed With Caution

Dr. Leehey says older people should be careful when taking THC because it can cause dizziness, increasing the risk for falls. And if you have psychosis, anxiety, depression, or epilepsy, it’s probably best to avoid THC too. Basically, “if you want to take CBD for your medical condition, talk to your primary care physician or a medical marijuana doctor first,” Dr. Leehey advises.

Remember that Epidiolex is the only CBD product that’s approved by the FDA, and it’s available only by prescription, says Vandrey. “Anything purchased outside of that FDA-approved product comes with risks. And the quality assurance is questionable for a lot of these products.”

There are studies, including ones Vandrey has been involved with, that repeatedly show dosing accuracy on CBD product labels is not very good. These studies have found that many products also contain contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, and even other drugs. “You have to be a little bit worried about what you’re getting from a quality perspective, as well as from a dose accuracy perspective,” he says.

The safety and efficacy claims about CBD products may also be overstated right now. “I’m not saying they’re not safe, I’m not saying they’re not effective, what I’m saying is that any time you evaluate safety or efficacy, it has to be done for a specific product,” says Vandrey.” In other words, while Epidiolex has been evaluated for safety and efficacy, this doesn’t mean all CBD products work the same way, or even contain the same amount of CBD.

For example, researchers in one study Vandrey participated in purchased 84 CBD products online that supposedly had the same amount of CBD in them. They found that 26% of the products had less CBD in them than their labels claimed, 43% had more CBD, and only 31% had the amount of CBD the label indicated.

Bottom line: If you decide you want to try CBD products, even if you don’t have a specific health condition, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first. This especially applies if you’re taking other medications, including over-the-counter drugs or supplements. Your pharmacist is also a good resource for finding out about potential drug interactions. It’s best to be zealous when it comes to your health.