When Shouldn’t You Take CBD?

Thomas Lowe
When Shouldn’t You Take CBD?

From the moment regulations opened the gates on cannabidiol in 2018, it’s been unstoppable. You don’t have to try hard to find CBD-infused products, even if major ecommerce platforms like Amazon refuse to carry them. The compound has found its way into pharmaceuticals, sports science, self-care, and liquour. 

Claims about CBD’s therapeutic properties abound, although the current body of evidence remains scarce. Depending on where you look, you can find brands claiming it can address a myriad of health issues. Joint pain? There’s a CBD cream for that. Hairline looking a little thin? Regrowth can possibly be an emerging benefit of using topical CBD oil

There seems to be a hundred and one reasons to take CBD. But when is this wonder cannabinoid not such a wonder?

CBD and Contraindications

CBD influences our body’s physiology, in ways we have yet to fully understand. That includes how certain medications are metabolised by our system. CBD can lead to the decreased or increased concentrations of a certain drug, which may lead to medications not working as intended, or exacerbated side effects.

Conclusive evidence about drug interactions remains sparse. But as the effects of contraindications can be serious, even life-threatening, it’s better to err on the side of safety and refrain from taking CBD before consulting with your healthcare provider. 

The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) also lists more than fifty types of medication that may be influenced by cannabinoids. Among them, blood thinners and seizure medication. Those who have kept up with CBD news may have heard the cannabinoid being floated around as a possible treatment for seizures. But body chemistry is a complex affair, and the number of seizure medications on PSU’s list underline the importance of getting your doctor’s approval before you grab a bottle of CBD oil.

CBD and Pregnancy

Being natural is a big part of CBD’s appeal. But natural does not automatically mean safe, especially for pregnant or nursing individuals. Pregnancy is an incredibly delicate time, and there is simply not enough evidence to conclude that CBD is safe for both mother and child during this period.

Some studies suggest that cannabinoids may even be harmful for prenatal development. Exposure to cannabinoids is linked to several negative conditions including low birth weight and cognitive impairment. One animal study even found that CBD may cause early embryonic mortality

Until effects remain inconclusive, the safe decision would be to refrain from taking any CBD products if you’re expecting – or nursing. Traces of cannabidiol have been found in the breastmilk of mothers who use cannabis products, a reason to stay cautious even after birth. The UK’s Food Standards Authority (FSA) itself strongly recommends against use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

CBD and Travel

Cannabidiol has been legal in the UK since 2018. But the compound is still prohibited in many parts of the world. Possession can lead to hefty fines. In some regions, consequences are even more severe. One Briton was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Dubai after police found CBD vape oil in his car.

Even in countries where CBD is legal, like the US, travelling with products isn’t completely without risk. Regulations can vary from state to state. In Nebraska, where all parts of cannabis are illegal, you can’t sell or possess cannabis-derived CBD products. Hemp-derived products are given a little more leeway. But as some enforcers can struggle to tell which is which, you may still encounter conflict even with products that should be legal.

The last thing you want during your holiday is to run into trouble with the law. If you’re going on a cross-country trip, it’s smart to triple check regulations for CBD before crossing borders. If you’re flying into countries with extreme prejudice against cannabis and everything related to it, such as Middle Eastern nations, then it might be best to leave your oil at home entirely.

CBD and Gut Health

CBD has been linked to a number of beneficial effects for gastrointestinal health. The compound appears to help calm the inflammation caused by autoimmune bowel diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease. Animal studies have shown that it can function as a probiotic, increasing the presence of beneficial bacteria.

However, CBD isn’t always easy on the gut. Some studies have found that the compound can irritate the lining of the stomach. One of CBD’s most commonly recorded side effects is diarrhoea. Higher doses can even lead to leaky gut syndrome, a serious condition brought on by bacteria slipping through gaps in the intestinal lining into the bloodstream. 

CBD remains a double-edged sword for stomach health until science discovers the Goldilocks dosage for cannabidiol. Until then, individuals who suffer from sensitive stomachs and chronic gastrointestinal diseases will want to consult with their doctors before ingesting CBD products.

CBD and Staying Alert

Many of CBD’s purported effects are related to inducing calmness. Many take it to ease anxiety, while others use the cannabinoid as a sleep aid. 

CBD has been found to work synergistically with melatonin, the hormone that regulates our body’s sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin tells the body to go to sleep according to our natural biological clock, and CBD can make following the directive easier by relaxing our brains and muscles.

However, there may be something as being too calm, especially for individuals whose work requires them to stay alert for safety. High doses of CBD can have a sedative effect – fine if you’re at home and relaxing, but not so much when you’re a truck driver on a long, overnight drive. CBD can also compound the drowsiness caused by certain drugs, like antihistamines and antidepressants. 

CBD and Product Purity

The Novel Foods Regulations and stricter legislations are reigning in the market, but there are still many products in circulation that fail to meet mandated safety parameters for cannabidiol. 

For instance, laws stipulate that CBD products cannot contain more than 0.2 percent of THC. However, a number of products that make their way onto the market are still mislabelled. Some have been found to contain no CBD at all. In another study by Leafreport, a firm that reviews CBD products, a startling 60% of melatonin-CBD supplements contained higher levels of both active compounds than stated on the label.

Subpar products will eventually be sifted out, especially as regulations start to bite and customers become more savvy. Until then, consumers should only purchase CBD items from reputable brands who can produce proof that their product contains exactly what it says on the label. If a seller can’t provide a certificate of analysis from a third-party lab, then it might be best to hold off on your purchase, or find a brand who can.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be prescriptive. Please consult your healthcare provider before integrating CBD into your diet, especially if you’re nursing, pregnant, or taking any kind of medication.

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