“Pure naturally-occurring CBD — the non-psychoactive component of cannabis or marijuana — is widely believed by health and medical experts to be safe, with no risk of overdose or dependency,” Dr. Sophie Vergnaud M.D., a clinical specialist with GoodRx, tells Bustle. “However, it’s important to understand the potential health risks and side effects before using any CBD product and talk to a healthcare professional about determining an appropriate dosage that’s right for you.” Too much CBD for you might be just the right amount for your best friend.
Maybe you’ve considered trying the cannabis compound cannabidiol (better known as CBD) lately as an all-natch way to deal with things like anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain. If you’re taking CBD, perhaps you’ve also Googled: Can you take too much CBD? In order for CBD to be toxic to your system, you would have to ingest almost 20,000 mg of CBD oil in less than a day, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Current Drug Safety. For context, a single gummy might contain around 10 to 30mg — but that doesn’t mean you can pop them one after another like candy.
How CBD Affects Your Body
With the 2018 Hemp Act, part of the 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, 2018, all products derived from industrially farmed hemp grown in the U.S. became legal in all 50 states, ending a more than 80-year ban of large-scale hemp farming in this country. In the years since, CBD products have hit the mainstream, and it’s become easier for researchers to test CBD and its effects, which was previously difficult because of federal regulations around hemp. But scientists aren’t yet 100% conclusive on CBD’s effects — and it’s important to educate yourself before getting started.
Ultimately, if you’re wondering if you can overdose on CBD, know that there doesn’t appear to be a high risk of it; in fact, studies show CBD could actually help people recover from overdoses of drugs like cocaine and opioids. But even though CBD oil that only contains CBD will not get you high, taking more that a therapeutic dose will likely just make you want to take a nap.
It’s also important to note that just because it’s unlikely that you can consume enough CBD oil to endanger your health, taking too much CBD could still make you feel weird as heck. Also, a study published in Cannabis and cannabinoid research in 2017 found that CBD oil is known to interact with certain medications, so make sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you’re currently taking any prescriptions. Dr. Vergnaud adds that CBD isn’t a good idea for pregnant people, because there aren’t any studies to indicate that it’s safe.
Regardless of the CBD product you’re taking, the answer is still the same. If you’re wondering, “Can you overdose on CBD gummies?”, the answer is no. When you eat a CBD gummy, your body will metabolize the CBD differently than it will if you smoke or vape CBD. While this could change how long it takes the CBD to go into effect or how long the effects last, it won’t change the toxicity of CBD.
Scientific studies to date have shown that CBD can help lower blood pressure. In a 2017 study conducted by the American Society for Clinical Investigation and published in the journal JCI Insight, researchers gave a group of subjects a dose of either 600 milligrams of CBD or a placebo. They then put subjects through a number of tests, analyzing blood pressure and other related body processes. Ultimately, they found that CBD reduced blood pressure levels compared with the placebo.
On a similar note, the Harvard Health Blog published a post in 2018 regarding adverse effects caused by impurities or contaminants in the CBD, which could exist given the largely unregulated status of cannabis products. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD products were legalized and placed under the jurisdiction of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Can you overdose on CBD gummies?
However, people participating in CBD-related studies have at times reported several side effects, including extreme sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, convulsions, vomiting, and some abnormal results on liver function tests.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil can help treat pain and seizures in dogs, and that it has beneficial anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, and anti-cancer properties, just as has been observed in humans. CBD may also help improve appetite and promote heart health in dogs, and many CBD-infused dog treats and CBD oil for dogs are readily available on the market.
CBD may help improve appetite and promote heart health in dogs, and many CBD-infused dog treats and CBD oil for dogs are readily available on the market. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The woman had reported consistent use of other CBD products over a 5-year period prior to this incident and it is unclear whether the new spray caused her to develop Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, though the authors of the report suspect that it did. The patient, however, had a complex medical history including coronary artery disease and hypertension, so linking her death directly to CBD may not illustrate the full picture.
According to the Federal Government’s Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), the LD50 for dogs in 1946 was determined to be higher than 254 mg per kg of body weight, which was administered via IV. 1975 saw an established LD50 for mice at 50mg per kg of body weight when administered intravenously as well. And in 1981, the LD50 for CBD in monkeys was determined to be 212mg per kg of body weight when delivered as the other findings. A more recent instance came in a 2011 article from Current Drug Safety which analyzed LD50 levels in rhesus monkeys when consuming orally administered CBD. In these cases, doses of 200mg per kg of body weight killed some test subjects. 300mg per kg of body weight brought on what was described as a ‘rapid death.’
In terms of CBD, the closest we can come to accredited research at this time is with Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved prescription CBD drug. However, the LD50 of a drug is not required information to disclose, and Epidiolex is one medication that has not released this information. As such, CBD is pretty much in the dark about its LD50, if it has one at all. While no concrete number has been established, some figures (like the one mentioned above) have been floated about throughout the years. Most sums center on massive amounts of cannabis that no person could likely consume in the time needed to overdose. Simply put, the theoretical LD50 of marijuana is probably too large to reach.
In a previous article, we delved into cannabis overdosing and how the body prevents marijuana from causing damage to our organs. Because cannabinoid receptors are not located in the brainstem, it cannot alter key functionalities like breathing. This is not the case with opioids where its receptors are located in the brainstem. When interrupted, a person can lose oxygen or experience poor blood circulation, leading to death or other serious injuries.
Side effects of overconsumption of CBD might include:
Not to diminish anyone’s claims saying so, but a CBD overdose is likely not the case. While it’s true that a person can have a bad experience on cannabis, they are almost assuredly not experiencing the signs of an overdose. Even more, most bad cannabis experiences are in relation to overconsumption of THC, not CBD. There have still been reports of uncomfortable side effects from consuming too much CBD though, although these reports are far less common. That said, understanding the side effects of overconsumption can help you identify adverse side effects and overcome most with ease.
The rhesus monkey findings led to an LD50 for humans, of sorts. If you take those numbers and calculate them in accordance with an average human weight of 160 to 180 pounds, it would take nearly 20,000mg of CBD consumed in a short window of time to bring on any fatal results potentially – which places the chances of a CBD overdose at near impossible levels.
Research and heavy consumer use has shown that not much, if anything, can lead to an overdose on CBD alone. In fact, it is largely believed that a person cannot overdose on any sort of cannabis, CBD or otherwise.
While some results for animals have been provided through the years (more on that below), few if any LD50s for human THC or CBD consumption have come to light – although some believe the lethal dose of pure THC to be somewhere around 1,260 mg/kg (an amount that’s basically impossible to consume in one sitting as a human).