With any new “drug” (and yes, we take issue with calling CBD a drug, but we’ll leave that there for now), there are always concerns about addiction, dependence, and lethal dosing.
As such, it’s not shocking to us to hear the question “can you overdose on CBD” on a fairly regular basis.
Now, CBD isn’t a drug. It’s a natural substance derived from the cannabis plant. But decades of stigma are hard to break down, and although we’re making inroads every day, there is still that attachment for many people. And because CBD has been shown to have an impact on the body, many associate it the same way they might Tylenol or a prescription medication.
So, can you overdose on CBD in the same way you might with those actual drugs? Let’s dig in.
Can You Overdose on CBD?
Let’s start with this: to date, there are no known reports of a fatal overdose caused by CBD oil. Not one.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that CBD is “generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile,” and further stated that “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” even at doses as high as 1500 mg CBD per day. They even made it clear that “there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD, or any public health-related problems.”
So far, so good.
But the WHO isn’t the only body looking at how safe CBD is. Numerous other studies have reviewed its safety profile, reaching the same conclusion.
“Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.”An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies
Cannabinoids vs. Opioids
Part of this safety has to do with where cannabinoid receptors are located in the body. Although they’re found all throughout the major organs, brain, digestive system, even the skin, they’re not in the brainstem, and that makes a big difference.
You see, most prescription drugs don’t need those receptors to activate a response in the body. As a result, their chemical make up allows them to mess with the mechanism in the brain responsible for things like blood circulation or breathing. Once those functions are compromised, they can cause serious harm – we’re talking internal damage or even death. Again, because of how it interacts with receptors, this isn’t the case for CBD, or any cannabinoid for that matter, including THC.
Here’s the National Cancer Institute’s take on that:
“Cannabinoid receptors aren’t found in the brainstem, there is no way it can change our key functions like breathing. Drugs like opioids, on the other hand, are located in the brainstem — which means it has the potential to interrupt things like blood circulation and breathing that can result in serious injury or death.”National Cancer Institute
So is there no cause for concern whatsoever? If you can’t overdose, does that mean there’s nothing to worry about?
What About Side Effects?
Yes, the World Health Organization, as well as those numerous studies, have proven that CBD has a great safety profile. That said, we’d be remiss not to mention the side effects that have been reported. Though uncommon, people participating in CBD-related studies have at times reported things like:
- decreased appetite
Again, these side effects are mild, and uncommon. Often they’re the result fo diving right into CBD, rather than starting off slow to find your sweet spot. In most cases, an adjustment of your dose will reduce or remove any unwanted side effects.
So, can you overdose on CBD? If you’re worried about taking too much CBD and it adversely effecting you, don’t be. As mentioned, there have been no reports of any fatal overdoses, and we know that many studies report that it’s safe, even at high daily doses.
If you’re still worried about side effects, start slow. Find out your recommended dose (our handy dosage calculator is great for that), and half it, or even quarter it, working your way up. Everyone responds differently to CBD, so you may just find you need a little less (or a little more) than average dosage recommendations, but at least starting slow allows your body to adjust and get used to CBD.