Many people find CBD so effective for pain, anxiety and other health issues that they’re tempted to take higher doses. Learn why that’s a mistake. CBD has a good safety profile, but can you overdose on it? What are the side effects of taking too much CBD? Taking too much CBD may cause some discomfort, but it won't result in an overdose or death. This article discusses the effects of taking too much CBD.
Can You Overdose on CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is growing in popularity, mostly due to recent legalization and its frequently touted effectiveness in treating common ailments. CBD is used as treatment for a wide range of illnesses and ailments. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of which dose is best. The responsible use of CBD oil to achieve the best possible results requires awareness of its composition and proper dosage so that too much CBD is not ingested.
Can You Overdose on CBD?
The answer to this question is likely a version of “yes,” although an overdose is not life-threatening as it can be with other substances. It is estimated that an average male who weighs 180 lbs would need to ingest more than 33 tablespoons of CBD oil in one sitting to qualify as “overdosing” on CBD. As further perspective, a typical dose is 1/8 of a teaspoon.
That said, while it may be hard to overdose on CBD, this should not be misconstrued as meaning that high amounts of CBD are somehow harmless. (After all, as with any medicinal substance, the packaging directions regarding recommended dosage are not arbitrary: They are there for a reason.) If you experience severe effects after taking an inordinate amount of CBD, seek immediate medical attention.
Anyone who regularly uses CBD for pain or other issues needs to know they are taking a correct and safe, therapeutic dose of CBD, based on factors such as:
- Body and Weight. Appropriate CBD levels are partly based on metabolism and body weight.
- Biphasic Action. Lower doses of CBD have certain effects and higher doses have other effects. It is important to consider what ailments the CBD is intended to treat to identify the correct dosage.
- Form of CBD. The most common form is CBD oil or tincture, but other forms such as gummies and vape juice are also used. Dosage depends on the form of CBD consumed.
The Effects CBD Can Have on the Body
Although CBD is one of 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, it is not psychoactive, like THC. This quality makes CBD a promising option for chronic pain relief and anxiety. CBD works by changing the receptor activity of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates functions such as sleep, pain response, and the immune system.
Does Taking More CBD Reduce Anxiety Even More?
Anxiety and depression are devastating mental health disorders that are all too common. People who have sought treatment for anxiety but are not comfortable with pharmaceutical drugs have turned to CBD oil as a promising treatment. CBD has also been used to treat addiction.
A Brazilian study set out to measure anxiety levels when 57 men received either oral CBD or a placebo— 90 minutes before participating in a simulated public speaking contest. The results revealed that a 300-mg dose of CBD significantly reduced the men’s anxiety. Interestingly, both the placebo, a 150-mg dose of CBD, and a 600-mg-larger dose of CBD had little to no effect on anxiety.
This study and others like it reveal that more is not necessarily better when it comes to CBD. Identifying the proper dose is imperative for achieving the desired results. Different individuals can react to different doses in varying ways.
CBD and Pets
While there is no definitive research that shows how CBD affects dogs and other pets, pet owners have plenty of anecdotal evidence based on treating their animals for pain, seizures, and even depression. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is currently sponsoring research into the effects of CBD for treating epilepsy in dogs and is hopeful that beneficial discoveries will come of this effort.
CBD Is Becoming Popular for Pets – Why and How It Works
CBD works the same on a dog’s ECS as it does on a human. Pet owners who have struggled to find a viable remedy for their pets’ ailments have turned to CBD. Although the safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not been researched, it is known to have the following side effects:
- Dry mouth. CBD decreases the production of saliva which causes increased thirst.
- Lowered blood pressure. Temporary drops in blood pressure can occur when doses are too high.
- Drowsiness. The calming effect of CBD helps with anxiety but can also cause drowsiness.
Can Pets OD on CBD?
A commonly asked question is “What happens if my dog eats CBD?” The truth is that the safety and risks associated with dogs ingesting CBD have not been researched. The FDA has not approved CBD for dogs, so there is no regulated dosing. It’s not known exactly how much CBD is toxic for dogs. If a dog accidentally ingests any amount of CBD oil, it is best to seek treatment from a vet.
CBD and Children
Parents will go above and beyond for their children, especially when their children are in pain or suffering from other ailments. Although some doctors recommend CBD oil for children, citing numerous benefits, it is important to understand that a child’s body can react differently to a substance that works well for an adult.
Not only are dosages different to account for a child’s smaller and less developed body, but the manner in which CBD is ingested is different as well. Children obviously will not be vaping or dabbing CBD concentrates, so other methods of ingestion, such as gummies or placing CBD oil under the tongue are necessary.
If your child has consumed too much CBD and you are concerned, contact poison control immediately. CBD is a legal compound that can be toxic in large doses, similar to soap or toothpaste. Erring on the side of safety is best, especially considering that there is still much to learn about the potentially harmful properties of CBD taken in high quantities.
How Long Do the Effects of CBD Take to Wear Off?
The answer to this question depends on many factors such as the dose and a person’s metabolism. In general, it can take 5-20 minutes for the effects of CBD to manifest and these can last 2-4 hours. A big factor affecting how long CBD’s effects last is the method of ingestion and whether a CBD user ingests edible gummies, a capsule, a tincture, or a food product laced with CBD. Vaping, the most common way to consume CBD, begins to work within five minutes, but also subsides fairly quickly. The effects of topical CBD can take longer to kick in but also tend to last longer.
CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms of many common health issues in adults, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. However, not much research exists addressing the toxicity of CBD or whether adults, children, or pets can overdose on CBD. Research on the potential health benefits and risks of CBD oil is ongoing. While CBD is generally regarded as a safe and effective way to manage pain and anxiety, CBD is still a medicinal substance that should be taken according to the dosing instructions on the packaging label.
Can You Overdose On CBD? Here’s What Happens If You Take Too Much
Is CBD overdose a real thing? This article explains the possible consequences of taking large amounts of CBD.
Emergency room visits caused by THC overdoses aren’t uncommon. People who take THC in doses that surpass their tolerance and sensitivity threshold may experience unpleasant side effects, from paranoia to increased heartbeat to a drop in blood sugar levels.
Greening out from THC-rich cannabis is totally possible — although a fatal overdose isn’t — but does the same apply to CBD?
Can you overdose on CBD oil?
What happens if you take too much CBD at a time?
Can You Overdose on CBD?
Before we elaborate on CBD and overdoses, let’s define the meaning of “overdose.” The term “overdose” can mean a few different things. Some types of overdose are more severe than others, like taking a potentially lethal amount of a drug; other times, it just means accidentally taking a higher dose than planned, or when a person’s body experiences adverse reactions.
A lethal overdose won’t happen with CBD oil because there are no cannabinoid receptors in the brain stem area responsible for respiratory function (1). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go overboard with cannabidiol.
Here’s what we know so far about overdosing on CBD.
Can Humans Overdose on CBD?
To date, no study has reported an overdose on CBD oil. However, it is possible to accidentally take too much CBD than recommended and experience some mild side effects. For this reason, Gold Bee CBD oils come with graduated droppers that make it easy to measure the proper amount of CBD. What we mean by “too much CBD” is the amount that goes beyond your therapeutic dose and causes discomfort.
There is no universal “overdose threshold” for every individual; the factors involved in determining your proper dosage of CBD include age, sex, diet, weight, metabolism, and previous experience with CBD.
Can Pets Overdose on CBD?
Again, no reports in the United States have covered information about pets being injured by overdosing on CBD oil. Pets respond to CBD oil in much the same way as humans. Pet parents just have to be more cautious about the dosage for their pet’s weight, as even the largest pets are three times smaller than humans.
Pets that use full-spectrum CBD may find significant health benefits in hemp compounds. These products also contain a trace amount of THC (below 0.3%), which isn’t enough to get your pet high — but it’s enough to make full-spectrum extracts more effective than CBD isolate.
If you’re not sure where to start with your pet and CBD oil, we encourage you to find a holistic veterinarian near you. Also, steer clear of large marketplaces like Amazon if you’re shopping for CBD for the first time. Places like this only sell hemp seed oil, mislabeling these products as “hemp oil” or “hemp extract,” which is true from the linguistic point of view, but not from the customer experience perspective.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Too Much CBD?
CBD is generally well-tolerated in pets and humans. Studies looking at the efficacy and safety of CBD have concluded that CBD doesn’t cause severe side effects at repeated doses of 1,500 mg (2). Most people don’t take more than 50 mg of CBD daily, so it’s difficult to imagine how much CBD you’d need to take in order to experience any unpleasant side effects.
Speaking of which, possible adverse reactions to extreme doses of CBD include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Potential CBD-drug interactions
The dry mouth effect is uniform among all cannabinoids; it results from their interaction with the cannabinoid receptors located in the salivary glands. When you take a cannabis product, the cannabinoids will bind to these receptors, inhibiting the secretion of saliva. It’s a good idea to stay hydrated before and after taking CBD oil, capsules, or gummies.
When you overdose on CBD, it can cause you to feel dizzy due to a temporary drop in blood pressure. People often report feeling sleepy after taking too much CBD oil; for some, it may be the desired effect, but for others, it can make them want to take a nap during the day.
Changes in appetite aren’t as common as the two above, and researchers are yet to determine the reason why some users experience a boost in appetite, while others report feeling less hunger after taking CBD oil.
Diarrhea may occur as the side effect of consuming too much of the carrier oil in which the CBD extract has been suspended.
Finally, there are CBD-induced drug interactions that users should be aware of, especially those who take any medications. CBD is known to compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize pharmaceutical compounds. It works in a similar way to grapefruit juice, so if your medication has a grapefruit warning on it, you shouldn’t take at the same time you take CBD oil. Again, we suggest that you consult a doctor to avoid these interactions.
How Much CBD Is Too Much?
As mentioned, there aren’t many studies done on the toxicity of CBD. That would be difficult to test from an ethics standpoint. However, a 2011 study published in Current Drug Safety, established the “toxic” dose of CBD at around 20,000 mg of CBD, taken almost all at once (3).
In other words, you’d need to swallow approximately 300 ml of CBD oil that contains 2000 mg per bottle. This translates into 10 full bottles of full-spectrum CBD oil. To understand this, it’s important to remember that the suggested starting dose for most users is somewhere between 5–20 mg per day. While studies have tested dosages up to 1500 mg per day, most CBD oils contain between 100 and 2500 mg in an entire bottle.
When taken at recommended doses, or even above the suggested daily serving, the average user doesn’t have to worry about a CBD overdose.
Effective CBD Dosage for People
Okay, so you can’t fatally overdose on CBD, and probably won’t experience any side effects when you take it in normal doses — but what is the best dosage for daily use? Does it matter if you take CBD with food or on an empty stomach? Is there anything else that can affect the way CBD makes you feel?
For now, CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA. The agency has yet to analyze the efficacy and safety of hemp-derived products, so for the time being, there are no official dosage guidelines.
That being said, many brands provide their own recommendations based on a single serving of their products. When you take our CBD oil for the first time, we recommend starting out with half the dropper of our formula. Our products are designed to provide 40 mg of CBD per milliliter, so the said amount should be enough, to begin with.
According to different studies and experts, it’s best to take 2–5 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. Be sure to monitor the effects and write down how you feel after each dose. Doing so will help you minimize the amount of trial and error on your way to finding the best dose of CBD.
Can CBD Make Me Sick?
Pure CBD oil sourced from organic hemp and extracted without aggressive solvents shouldn’t make you sick. CBD is known to reduce physical discomfort, but no studies have found that it can cause one. If you feel sick after taking CBD oil, this could be due to the presence of unwanted additives or contaminants in your product.
You can take the following steps to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product:
- Choose CBD oils made from organic hemp
- Make sure the oil is extracted with CO2 (or alcohol)
- Read third-party lab reports
- Check the company’s reputation before buying
Third-party lab reports are particularly important for determining the quality of a CBD product, as they analyze its potency, chemical makeup, and look for potentially dangerous ingredients. This is the only way to verify the credibility of your supplier in this unregulated market.
Is CBD Oil Addictive?
Studies haven’t found a positive correlation between the use of CBD and addiction. CBD doesn’t have abuse and dependence potential. Research also shows that CBD is a non-intoxicant, meaning it can’t produce the euphoric high associated with high-THC cannabis strains, which further lowers the chance of forming negative habits around it.
In fact, preclinical studies indicate that CBD is a promising compound for targeting withdrawal symptoms in cocaine, alcohol, and opiate users. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of CBD oil on large population samples (4).
Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?
When you develop a tolerance for a particular substance, it means that your body gets used to the compound, which requires you to increase the dose if you want to achieve the same effects — like needing an extra cup of coffee to boost energy. This could cause you to take more of it to get the same feeling, resulting in unwanted effects from CBD overdose.
According to some anecdotal evidence, CBD may have less of an effect on the user as it did previously, or it may take longer to work. Although these could be the indicators of tolerance, other factors are at play too. The issue of inconsistency in the effects could be caused by different times of the day or the changing sensitivity of your cannabinoid receptors.
The latter is especially true for long-term marijuana users who supplement CBD. Since they have been previously introduced to cannabinoids, this experience can change how hemp-derived products work for them.
As a matter of fact, the cannabinoid receptors may become desensitized after prolonged use of THC, which may change the way CBD makes you feel — especially if you’re looking for the effects that are dependent on the cannabinoid receptor pathways.
If you use CBD isolate, switching to broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD may prove effective. Whole-plant extracts contain other cannabinoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC, all of which influence the effectiveness of CBD. Full-spectrum CBD creates entourage effects, where all the cannabis compounds work synergistically to amplify their health benefits. Isolates do not evoke this effect.
Final Thoughts on CBD Overdose
The bottom line is this: CBD, even in very high doses, is safe. Like anything, if ingested in extreme amounts, it could have negative side effects, although they are pale in comparison to other substances, even the more potent cannabinoids. The good news is that you can’t fatally overdose on CBD, and in order to reach a toxic dose, you’d need to drink 10 bottles of highly-potent CBD oil in a row — which isn’t possible under normal conditions.
However, if you want to achieve optimal results with CBD and avoid any unwanted reactions, we recommend that you start low and go slow, gradually increasing the initial dose until you reach the point where you experience desired effects.
Always make sure to purchase your CBD products from trustworthy suppliers who can prove the quality of their products with batch-specific certificates of analysis from third-party laboratories.
Can You Overdose on CBD Oil? How Much Is Too Much?
It’s natural for people new to CBD to ask this question. After all, anyone who wants to try CBD will want to know if it’s really safe (even in large doses), as studies and many consumers say.
So, to answer the question — no, you won’t lethally overdose on CBD, but it is possible to take too much and feel uncomfortable for a few hours.
This article talks about the safety of CBD, what happens when you’ve taken too much, and what you can do to relieve some of the discomforts.
Why Can’t CBD Cause a Lethal Overdose?
Overdose is when you’ve taken more than the recommended dosage of a drug or a medication. If the signs of a drug overdose are ignored, it can lead to comatose or death.
The symptoms of an overdose vary, depending on the drug you’ve taken. These include:
- Changes in breathing pattern with difficulty breathing
- Changes in heart rhythm (cocaine increase heart rate, while opioids decrease heart rate)
- Severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Severe anxiety
CBD doesn’t significantly inhibit the brainstem like opioids, for example. The brainstem is the part of the brain that houses the control centers for our heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, body temperature, and digestion.
High amounts of opioid-based drugs can cause an overdose since the brainstem contains many opioid receptors. Overstimulation of these receptors slows down our breathing and heartbeat.
Now, cannabinoid receptors are also abundant in the brain and the spinal cord, but studies show that the lower brainstem contains only a few cannabinoid receptors. So, even if you take high CBD doses, there won’t be enough cannabinoid receptors to activate and significantly affect our physiological parameters .
This is one of the reasons why high concentrations of CBD (and even THC) won’t result in an overdose.
CBD also has a weak affinity for the CB1 receptor to trigger any hallucinogenic or psychoactive effects like THC . CBD has not been shown to increase anxiety or cause delusion, paranoia, and other adverse side effects associated with THC.
Instead, CBD works on other receptors such as the serotonin and vanilloid receptors and helps modulate these negative reactions from THC .
What are the Effects of Too Much CBD?
Taking too much CBD may not result in fatal overdose and death, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t cause any discomfort.
CBD, just like any other drug, also has some side effects.
Taking too much CBD may cause:
- Dry mouth. When CBD activates the cannabinoid receptors found in the mouth, it decreases saliva secretion .
- Drowsiness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. These may be caused by CBD lowering the blood pressure since it relaxes the blood vessel walls.
- Loose bowel movements or diarrhea
- Appetite changes
- Nausea and vomiting, especially on high CBD doses.
CBD also interacts with other drugs and may either increase or decrease their effectiveness.
Take warfarin, a common blood thinner medication, for example. CBD boosts warfarin’s effect . It binds to the enzymes that break down warfarin, allowing the drug to stay in the system longer.
CBD may also enhance the effects of antiepileptic drugs like phenytoin as well as clobazam.
If you’re taking maintenance medications, we recommend speaking with your doctor about using CBD. Your primary care physician can give you advice on CBD use and whether or not it will have an impact on your other medications.
Your doctor can also help you manage your CBD use, including its dosage and frequency of use.
How Much CBD is Too Much CBD?
What’s the lethal or toxic dose of CBD?
Well, there’s no clear-cut answer to this yet.
However, a 2011 study showed that chronic CBD use of 1,500 mg per day — this is equivalent to taking a whole bottle of high potency CBD — was well-tolerated by patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia . The patients also reported no significant side effects while on this high CBD dose.
In 2018, a study was also conducted on CBD’s tolerability and safety. It showed that CBD at increasing doses between 1,500 and 6,000 mg was still well-tolerated by the participants .
Some side effects were noted, like diarrhea, drowsiness, headache, and nausea, but these were pretty mild and tolerable.
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization stated in a 2018 report that CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s generally well-tolerated by consumers and has a good safety profile. The report also stated that CBD doesn’t negatively impact our physiological parameters and may even have an opposite influence on THC’s psychoactive effects .
Can CBD Make Me Sick?
CBD won’t make you sick, but it can trigger some nausea and cause you to vomit in high doses. However, these are common high CBD dose side effects that typically go away after several hours.
Although rare, some people also develop allergies after taking CBD, so if you’re allergic to cannabis and pollen, you should be careful in using any cannabinoid-based product, including CBD.
How Long Does CBD Effects Last?
The effects of CBD can last anywhere from two to eight hours, but this depends on many factors.
Method of Administration
Sublingual CBD, like oils and tinctures, and inhalable forms like CBD flowers and vapes have a shorter duration than CBD edibles. The former typically lasts about two to four hours, while the latter lasts about six to eight hours.
Age and Metabolism
Your age and metabolism also affect how long CBD stays in your system. The older you are and the slower your metabolism is, the harder it will be for your body to process and get rid of CBD.
CBD Potency and Frequency of Use
The higher the potency and frequency of use, the longer you’ll feel the CBD effects since CBD builds up in the system.
How to Get Rid of CBD Side Effects
The side effects of CBD are generally mild and tolerable, but if they become too uncomfortable, then follow these tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids to help relieve dry mouth and satiate your thirst.
- Rest if you’re feeling lightheaded and dizzy. These side effects may be due to the lowered blood pressure, and sitting or lying down helps improve blood circulation in the brain.
- Take your CBD oil with food. Using CBD on an empty stomach increases the chances of negative side effects.
Should the side effects continue or even worsen, see your doctor. There may be some other underlying medical problems causing these issues, and these need to be addressed first before you can take CBD.
Contraindications to Taking CBD
It’s safe to take CBD daily, but you may want to rethink your decision to use CBD if you have the following conditions.
Hypotension or Low Blood Pressure
CBD dilates and relaxes the blood vessel walls, resulting in a drop in blood pressure.
If you’re hypotensive, high CBD doses can further lower your blood pressure and trigger drowsiness and dizziness.
The liver processes and metabolizes the drugs we take, including CBD.
If you have liver problems, high doses of CBD and its accumulation in the bloodstream may be taxing to the liver. The unnecessary demand on the liver may even trigger some unwanted effects.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Cannabinoids, including CBD, can cross the placental barrier and negatively impact the growing fetus’s development. It can also be passed through the breastmilk and affect the baby .
Again, we emphasize the importance of seeing your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you have chronic health problems and are taking maintenance medications.
How to Minimize CBD Risks
CBD may have a good safety profile, even in very high doses, but there are ways to reduce the risk of developing side effects.
- Always choose quality CBD products — look for their certificate of analysis or laboratory test results. This shows you the potency and purity of the product. The COA also shows proof that it’s free from contaminants.
- Start low and go slow, especially if you’re new to CBD — Listen to your body as well, and reduce the dosage if you develop some adverse side effects. Be patient, and you’ll soon find the best dosage.
- Ask your doctor first if you’re taking any medications or have underlying medical conditions.
Final Thoughts: No, You Won’t Overdose on CBD
In summary, CBD won’t cause an overdose even if you take a higher dose since few cannabinoid receptors in the lower brainstem. CBD won’t slow down your breathing or affect your heart rhythm.
CBD is a safe and effective cannabinoid, and even if you do develop some side effects, these are generally mild and well-tolerated.
While there are ways to minimize CBD’s side effects, know that these usually resolve on their own once the effects of CBD wore off. However, if you have some chronic health problems, are on maintenance medications, or begin experiencing severe side effects on CBD, then we recommend seeking your doctor’s advice.
Have you tried high-dose CBD? How was it?
We’d love to hear about your experience, so leave your comment below!
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.