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 150 pound 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.