The Dangers of CBD
In early 2023, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued a warning about Cannabidiol, or CBD. They state the “public should be aware of the misconceptions surrounding CBD products, as well as the potential harms and risks associated with their use.” CBD has been marketed as a treatment for multiple health conditions; however there is a lack of evidence to support many of the claims.
One concern is the concentration of CBD may be more or less than advertised, and because of a lack of quality control, the manufacturing process may introduce harmful biological and chemical contaminants, including THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Another concern is the potential risks and harms associated with CBD including adverse drug interactions, liver toxicity, and reproductive and developmental effects. To find out if there is a drug interaction with CBD or marijuana, visit drugs.com, click on the “Interactions Checker” and enter “Cannabidiol.” It shows that there are 578 drug interactions. (Do the same for cannabis. The results may be shocking.)
Short-term effects of CBD include changes in alertness and mood, and drowsiness. Long-term effects include liver injury and male reproductive toxicity. Because of the lack of quality control and unreliable labeling, users of CBD may actually be ingesting THC, and ultimately screen positive for marijuana. One study found that among 84 commercial CBD extracts purchased online from 31 companies, the CBD concentration was only labeled accurately in 31% of the products. Almost 43% were under-labeled and 26% were over-labeled. This can pose significant health risks when using them for medical conditions, particularly in children.
Unclear or misleading labeling may pose work-related, legal, and health risks, given that the use of unsuspected THC may threaten an individual’s current or prospective employment, including athletics. There are also concerns around product formulations, purity and dosage, unintentional product exposure to children and pets, and potential adverse events, such as vomiting, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness.
Tips for Parents
Talk with children about the risks and harms of using products that contain CBD.
Do not allow children to use over-the-counter CBD products.
Do not use CBD simultaneously with medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
Be aware that the risk of CBD containing THC is unknown, therefore their use may affect employment or other drug screenings.