Starting a new protein supplement regime or getting to grips with creatine doesn’t usually feel like a ‘big deal’ but when it comes to CBD things can sometimes feel a bit more serious. Whether that is due to uncertainties about the source of CBD (hemp) or the real and often strong effects it can have on physiology, feeling wary about starting something new, especially when it comes to your health is normal and will hopefully drive you to look deeper into the facts around wellness products before using them.
The amount of new information being churned out about CBD and other cannabinoids can be overwhelming and while some really interesting science is being quietly conducted and published in the background, most information online is a sea of mis-quotes, anecdotal evidence or complete fabrication. Much like our popular Dr. Ed® blog section, the blog section here at Dr. Ed Sport will give it to you straight. Science and facts, not hearsay and marketing speak.
The goal of this short article is to help address your potential apprehension about trying CBD for the first time. If you are currently using CBD and have read our CBD guide but still feel you aren’t seeing the results you expect, then this article on why CBD might not be working for you is definitely work a look.
Please note that this article refers to CBD as the compound and the term ‘CBD’ is not used as a stand-in for ‘all CBD-containing products’. CBD products vary massively in their quality and their safety so please do you research before investing in CBD. Question the company, ask them any and all questions you have. A good company will be able to answer these quickly and with documentation and credentials if necessary. Companies that don’t respond or don’t take your requests seriously either don’t know their products well enough or don’t take you seriously as a consumer.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Humans?
Based on current research, CBD is a very safe compound. It has a wide therapeutic dose range and is well tolerated even at very high concentrations; confirmed by both rodent studies and small studies in human tolerance tests. The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms this saying that CBD is ‘well tolerated with a good safety profile’. They go on to state that reported side effects of the compound may in fact be due to interactions with existing pharmaceutical medications. Whether or not this is true, the minimal side effect profile of CBD, even when used at high doses, are temporary.
In a welcomed move, the FSA has recently announced its guidelines on CBD consumable products which include capsules, oils and other ingestibles. They state that no one should be consuming more than 70mg of CBD a day and that pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as those on existing medications should avoid CBD products altogether. To be clear, these warnings are not a direct result of serious issues in these groups of people but rather that the FSA are trying to get ahead of the game in terms of safety. For example, as CBD has not been specifically tested on developing foetuses, a warning to pregnant women is appropriate BUT it is not an admission that CBD is dangerous for foetuses.
It is generally good practise to follow FSA guidelines and at Dr. Ed and Dr. Ed Sport we recommend you do avoid CBD products if you fall into these groups mentioned above. If you are on existing medications but want to look at replacing certain medications with CBD, then you must have a detailed consultation with your GP first. Never stop using medications without speaking to a medical practitioner who understands your health history.
Is CBD Addictive?
According to the WHO, CBD is not classified as an addictive compound in humans. It does not possess ‘dependence potential’ and is unlikely to be abused. In fact, CBD is currently being explored as an adjuvant to help with other addiction therapies (or on its own) to reduce the incidence of drug relapse particularly with alcohol and opioids.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
Current studies, most of which have been conducted in rodents or smaller human cohorts, show a very mild side effect profile even when CBD is consumed frequently in large doses. However, that does not mean side effects are entirely absent. The most commonly reported but still rare side effects include changes to weight (usually driven by changes to appetite) and tiredness. Both of these resolve when CBD is stopped but also resolve over time even if CBD is continued. It should be noted that most of these side effects are reported in trials were CBD is being used a treatment for a specific disorder. Despite a small risk of mild side effects, the side effect profile of CBD is still much more favourable when compared to existing treatments for things like epilepsy.
Will CBD Oil Get Me High?
In the UK, THC is a regulated compound. As such all legitimate CBD products you buy online or in store should have very low levels or undetectable levels of THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoids found in cannabis and its derivatives. If THC is present in these products like in Full Spectrum CBD products, the level will be too low to induce inebriation in the user. Some ‘types of CBD’, like Full Spectrum mentioned above, carry a larger risk of inducing a high but only if they are improperly prepared or purposefully mislabelled. The take home message is that no CBD product in the UK sourced from a reputable producer will get you high.
The Bottom Line on CBD Safety
Based on the current literature as well as a wealth of anecdotal evidence from a rapidly growing group of users, CBD is a non-toxic, safe and non-addicting substance that will not get you high in anyway. It’s wealth of potential benefits coupled with an attractive safety profile make it an excellent supplement choice. Many athletes now turn to CBD for a variety of reasons including replacing the use of NSAIDs like Ibuprofen which have unwanted effects on the liver and kidneys when used frequently over a long period of time.
A final note on safety and quality:
If you are considering using CBD products of any kind and are a drug-tested athlete think carefully about how you proceed. Not all CBD products are well made, and many contain additional additives and regulated compounds that are harmful or can land you in trouble. Many CBD products on the market contain illegal or substantial levels of THC which may or may not be openly advertised. Always purchase your CBD from a reputable brand that knows their product inside and out and can provide you with evidence of their credentials and product ingredients. Dr. Ed Sport was created by scientists and athletes to address this specific problem; creating a brand athletes and fitness enthusiasts can trust for advice and market-leading 0% THC CBD supplements.