If you aren’t familiar with the cannabis industry, it’s reasonable to be concerned about overdosing on CBD. The compound is derived from cannabis, deemed by the US government as a schedule one narcotic; however, once you understand how cannabis compounds like CBD and THC affect the body, it’s apparent that you aren’t at risk of even getting high after taking CBD.
We can confidently say that there is no risk of overdosing on any cannabis product, including CBD oil. There’s a well-documented history of cannabis use, and we understand the mechanism of cannabinoid interaction in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
How Does CBD affect the ECS?
All animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Experts explain the ECS as a complex network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes. CBD and THC affect our bodies because the cannabinoids react with one or multiple aspects of the ECS.
CBD inhibits multiple enzymes that regulate the production of neurotransmitters or endocannabinoids. People who don’t produce an adequate amount get a boost when they take CBD regularly and experience various benefits. THC directly binds with receptors in the ECS, causing activation and a flood of serotonin in the brain.
Neither interaction can directly lead to death. CBD doesn’t even get users high because it acts as an antagonist at CB1, the cannabinoid receptor responsible for the high after using THC. So while THC can cause users to become impaired, lose their balance, experience memory loss, and wipe out cupboards of junk food, there’s no way it can cause an overdose.
What Causes a Drug Overdose?
Drugs like alcohol and opioids do have precise ways they can cause an overdose. There are over 2,000 alcohol poisoning deaths and over 90,000 opioid-related deaths per year just in the US. A cannabis death has yet to be reported.
Too much alcohol in our system causes the body to shut down — the liver functions as a filter, keeping alcohol out of our blood. When you drink excessively, the liver can’t keep up, and excessive amounts of alcohol enter the bloodstream. When blood alcohol reaches a certain point, the body starts shutting down.
Opioid overdoses happen because opioids fit perfectly in a receptor that affects the drive to breathe. As a result, excessive use causes the user to experience an intense high and significantly slow their breathing. Overdoses don’t always lead to death but not breathing for extended periods causes irrefutable damage to the brain.
Cannabis, whether hemp or marijuana, isn’t literal poison like alcohol and doesn’t decrease our desire to breathe.
CBD is Safe but Still, Use Caution
While it is safe to take CBD and there isn’t any chance of experiencing an overdose, it is still essential to be cautious, especially if you are taking CBD for the first time. Bad reactions have been reported, although they are rare. Users have reported upset stomach, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Instances of adverse side effects are likely due to the individual’s body rejecting the cannabinoid not taking too much. The human body can handle incredibly high doses of CBD. A review in 2017 found that taking 1500mg is safe in humans. In addition, a 2011 study from Current Drug Safety reported a toxic but non-lethal dose would be around 20,000mg take at once.
We recommend starting with a low dose (10-20mg) and increase the amount you take over time. It’s also important to only buy CBD from a reputable retailer that provides lab tests confirming potency levels and that their products are free of harmful chemicals.
You should also be mindful about smoking CBD in the form of hemp flower and CBD vape. These delivery methods can cause future health complications.