Is CBD safe? Drug interactions, pregnancy and concerns about quality.

Updated: May 8, 2021


CBD seems to be everywhere these days but there is concern about it’s effectiveness and safety. Some people see CBD as “snake oil” with no real benefits, while others are concerned about safety of CBD and hemp products in general.

These are understandable concerns, as the CBD industry in the USA is still unregulated, sometimes resulting in inferior, low quality and even contaminated products on the market.

Add to that a general distrust of anything cannabis related after decades of prohibition and anti-cannabis propaganda and it is no surprise that many still have doubts about CBD and cannabis.


Hemp guidance in the USA and Europe


In the United States, there has been very little guidance from the government on CBD safety. Aside from legalizing hemp via the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA has some rules in place to prevent CBD companies from making medical claims and so far has prohibited the use of CBD in food products.


In Europe, there has been a little more progress when it comes to guidance around CBD. In late 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that CBD “does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect to human health.” This ruling is important because it paves the way for the use of CBD in food and other applications within Europe. It also helps to alleviate concerns about CBD safety and gives us an idea of what we may expect in the future from the FDA and other regulatory agencies in the USA.


CBD and potential drug interactions


In 2017, the World Health Organization released a report that said that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”


This brings us to a very important point when it comes to using CBD. There is evidence that CBD can affect the activity of certain enzymes within the body that are responsible for metabolizing some drugs. If you are taking one or more drugs for a serious medical condition, it is very important to consult your physician before taking any ingestible CBD/hemp products. On the other hand, hemp based topicals (used externally, applied to the skin) are not known to cause any drug interactions and are generally considered safe to use.


CBD for pregnant and nursing mothers


The FDA does provide some guidance regarding using cannabis while pregnant or nursing. Although this guidance is based on adverse effect of cannabis use (likely THC), and not specifically CBD, it is best to play it safe when it comes to the health of a fetus or newborn. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue cannabis use.


There is evidence that fetuses and newborns may not be able to properly process cannabinoids, so this is a case where an abundance of caution is recommended. If you are pregnant or nursing, you can certainly begin using CBD and other hemp products once you are finished nursing. The many benefits of hemp can help new mothers to deal with issues like pain, insomnia and the stress of caring for a newborn.


Quality of CBD products


Based on everything discussed so far, it does appear that CBD is generally safe for most adults. Millions of people are finding relief from a variety of conditions and the CBD industry is moving full steam ahead. But as mentioned earlier, the lack of oversight in the CBD industry has unfortunately led to some poor quality products on the market. There have been CBD oils on the market that have proven to contain little to no actual CBD, as well as CBD oils that actually contain harmful chemicals like residual solvents and pesticides. Thankfully, these are exceptions to the norm, and you can easily avoid low quality products by following some simple rules.


As a CBD consumer, you should always expect your CBD products to clearly state how many milligrams of CBD are in each bottle or container, and that claim should be backed up with easily accessible lab reports proving potency. You should also be able to access lab testing that shows the hemp extracts meet the minimum safety standards for pesticide residue, solvents, microbial growth and heavy metals. By choosing a certified organic product from a company that provides the test results mentioned above, you can ensure you are getting a safe and potent product.


If you have questions about anything hemp related, please feel free to reach out. We at Welliva wish you and your family good health and happiness.

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