These days, you often hear advocates for CBD declaring that it is completely safe and non-psychoactive. Although there is some degree of truth to such claims, you can’t take them at face value. For example, while CBD is non-intoxicating, it’s incorrect to say that it’s non-psychoactive because it still has an impact on the brain. It doesn’t cause a high, but it can still alter your mental state.
As for the safety aspect, it’s largely true. In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that CBD is safe, non-toxic, and non-addictive. The report also said that more scientific studies are necessary to determine the specifics.
When people say CBD is ‘safe’, they mean it won’t cause severe damage on its own. However, there are several factors you need to take into account before you try CBD. Age, existing illnesses, and other lifestyle factors may mean that its unsafe for you to take CBD. Today, we will explain when it is safe to take CBD and when you should avoid it or consult a doctor first. So, before you try out a CBD supplement, take note of the following information.
CBD for Children and the Elderly
Articles often state that CBD is good for people of all ages. In theory, you could be giving CBD to your children – gummies are an ideal way to get kids to take a CBD supplement each day without hassle.
Since CBD has so few side effects, and since those that do occur are more or less harmless, it can be okay for kids. However, children and the elderly are more likely to face difficulties when using new supplements. It’s essential to be more cautious when administering CBD to these groups.
Dosing is harder with children. They need a lower dose of CBD than adults, but young children will not be able to articulate what effects they are feeling as a result. It can be tricky to try and get the right dose. It’s recommended to consult a doctor who might be able to give you some more knowledge.
As for the elderly, interactions with medications are more likely to be a problem. We expand on this in more detail later, but for now it’s good to be aware that CBD can interact with some medicines. If your kids or grandparents are using medication regularly, advise them not to take CBD until they have consulted a health professional!
When it comes down to it, children and the elderly can use CBD. You just need to be a little more careful.
CBD for Breastfeeding/Pregnant Mothers
Currently, there is very little information out there regarding CBD use during pregnancy. A few studies have investigated marijuana use during pregnancy, and the results generally conclude that pregnant women should avoid marijuana. Some research has shown that marijuana use during pregnancy can lead to lower birth weights and a few other complications.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women, and those who are trying for a baby, avoid marijuana and all of its by-products. This includes CBD. Other bodies also agree that marijuana use should be avoided.
If you have just realised you are pregnant but were using CBD before, don’t worry too much. Unless you are repeatedly using CBD throughout the pregnancy, it’s unlikely to harm the baby. However, you should mention this to your doctor just in case.
As for breastfeeding, studies have shown that cannabinoids can be passed on through breast milk. It’s unclear how CBD might affect newborns, and therefore it’s generally recommended to avoid use while you are breastfeeding. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
CBD Interactions with Other Medication
CBD has the potential to interact with a number of medications. Online forums and a few websites suggest that CBD can be used to help treat the symptoms of a number of conditions. Research is scant in this area, so you have to take these recommendations with a pinch of salt. Furthermore, mixing CBD with your medication to treat a condition can have adverse consequences.
When you consume CBD, you probably already know that it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. While this is happening, a variety of effects are sparked around the body. One consequence of CBD use is that it prevents the activity of a group of liver enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP450).
These liver enzymes are responsible for metabolising (breaking down) drugs and medications. When a new drug is made, scientists calculate the dosage based on how fast the CYP450 enzymes will break it down and how long it will stay in the body. If you take too much of a drug and the enzymes can’t break it down fast enough, you risk an overdose.
CBD inhibits these enzymes. If you are taking medication alongside CBD, more of it will remain in your system than intended, because the CYP450 enzymes can’t break it down. More drug means a heightened risk of side effects, with possibly dire consequences.
There is a variety of known drug interactions for CBD. A list is included below, but it isn’t exhaustive. A good way to tell if CBD will interact with your medication is the grapefruit test. Interestingly, grapefruit also inhibits the activity of CYP450 enzymes, so patients are often advised to avoid grapefruit when taking certain drugs. If your doctor has told you to stay away from grapefruit, you should also avoid CBD.
- Blood-Thinners: Drugs that control high blood pressure can interact negatively with CBD. This includes blood-thinners like warfarin. Note, however, than drugs that decrease blood pressure as a side effect, such as ibuprofen, may also cause issues.
- Contraceptive Pills: Interestingly, oestrogen-based contraceptive pills may interact with CBD. CBD might decrease their efficacy, so this is something you need to be aware of!
- Sedatives: Combining CBD and sedatives can produce an additive effect, increasing the effects (and side effects) of the medication. It’s best to avoid combining the two.
- Anti-Seizure Medication: Epilepsy medication such as clobazam and norclobazam can have severe consequences if combined with CBD. Combining the two may actually result in more aggressive seizures and must be avoided.
Final Thoughts: When Not to Use CBD
CBD is a great supplement; it’s generally safe to use and it has very few side effects. Although CBD can make you dizzy from time to time, it’s usually quite safe.
As with anything, though, there are some things to consider. Some groups of people can’t use CBD, such as breastfeeding and pregnant mothers. When it comes to children and the elderly, more caution is needed when administering CBD.
The most crucial thing to bear in mind is that CBD can interact with other medications. If you are using medication, it is of vital importance to avoid CBD. If you plan on taking it, you should do so with the supervision of a medical professional. Generally, we recommend that anyone planning to take CBD should consult their GP first, especially if they are of ill health or belong to a vulnerable group.
While CBD can be safe, it’s a good idea to exercise caution and stay on the safe side. Sometimes, CBD is not the best option.