Before you decide to start taking any hemp supplements on a regular basis you may want to ask yourself if CBD oil is safe for long-term use. There are many different products available out there, and they all vary in quality. While some may work better than others, however, no evidence yet suggests that CBD causes any long-term health hazards.
Long-term consequences for other drugs can include organ failure, memory loss, mood swings, and even chronic fatigue. Could CBD cause these same problems? Is it safe to use it on a daily basis? Is there enough research to make an argument in favour of CBD?
To answer these questions, let's take a look at the research out there so we can get a better idea about how CBD oil affects the body over time.
Your Body's Endocannabinoid System
A couple of decades ago, scientists began performing some of the most extensive experiments on the cannabis plant and its effects on the human body. While there was plenty of negative propaganda around marijuana, there wasn't much else to read about its medicinal properties.
During the research, scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system—a network of receptors that ran throughout the body and was found in many different organs. When test subjects were given cannabis, this system activated to produce hormones that seemed to have helpful properties.
The endocannabinoid system was able to regulate sleep patterns, reduce anxiety, and quell inflammation. Since this monumental discovery, scientists have begun exploring all the different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and others.
Each cannabinoid affects the body in unique ways. When they work in concert, the body can feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and stabilised.
But don't other drugs do the same thing? Sure. There are more reputable prescription drugs out there that can achieve similar benefits. However, many of them have shown long-term side effects. Acetominophen (Tylenol), for example, can lead to nausea and liver damage. Synthetic opioids like Fentanyl can cause bradycardia to a point where the heart beats dangerously slow.
None of these symptoms have been observed with CBD, and while it isn't as powerful as these prescription drugs, it does not threaten any of those long-term health risks.
CBD oil works by allowing the body's endocannabinoid process to carry on for a longer period of time than it otherwise would. Under normal circumstances, the brain sends out electrical signals that trigger the production of enzymes.
These enzymes then attach to the endocannabinoid receptors to put a stop to the process, allowing your body to replenish its hormones to do it all again later. When CBD is introduced, these enzymes are delayed so that hormone production remains constant for a little longer.
An important point to make is that normal CBD dosages don't alter this system all that much. It is a mild drug that, while noticeable, doesn't have the capacity to permanently alter your brain chemistry the way other, more powerful drugs can.
A Non-Toxic Supplement
CBD is just one of many compounds that comes from the cannabis plant. However, when people hear cannabis, they often assume it only means THC or marijuana. While they do come from the same family, hemp and marijuana are two very different plants.
Hemp is bred to have little to no THC content while marijuana is usually cultivated to maximize those levels. CBD will not get you high. It is not psychoactive like THC, making it safe for medical use (such as with cases of severe epilepsy) as well as for pets.
While all substances have a toxic dose (including water), you would have to take tens of thousands of milligrams of CBD before suffering any serious health risks. The most common side effects of CBD include fatigue, changes in appetite, and diarrhea. In other words, it poses a minimal threat to your health.
Unlike THC, CBD is safe to give to pets. It's never a good idea to give pets THC, but CBD has been shown to be safe when administered in doses of about 3-5 mg per kilogram of their body weight. While it's still illegal to give pets CBD in the UK, people can buy it for their own use.
CBD Can Help Bodily Functions
So far, the body of research around CBD is in its early stages. There's a lot to be learned before any generalisations can be made about the drug, but what we know so far is promising. Lab rats that were given CBD showed reduced anxiety and stress.
CBD also shows a reduction in oxidative stress, which helps to cause aging and mutative diseases. It is not a miracle drug, but there is enough to suggest that CBD can help your body fight disease while reducing inflammation.
It also works great in the regulation of sleep cycles. People who have trouble sleeping have used CBD as a way to reinforce their body's natural circadian rhythm, allowing the body to better fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.
All this is done without the risk of long-term side effects.
Acute Side Effects of CBD
For most people, CBD oil is safe for long-term use. Taking it on a daily basis is a perfectly safe thing to do. However, for those taking blood thinner medications, there may be complications.
As mentioned earlier, CBD oil works by inhibiting the production of enzymes that stop your endocannabinoid system from producing hormones. These enzymes are triggered by a specific cytochrome in the brain (P450). CBD inhibits that cytochrome, resulting in slower metabolism of hormones.
Many blood-thinning medications are moderated by this same cytochrome, so when it isn't working like normal, the result can be too much or too little medication getting into the person's bloodstream. Obviously, this is a problem.
If you take blood-thinning medications, you should speak with a doctor before starting any CBD regimen. Grapefruit warnings can also tell you whether or not your drug might adversely react with CBD. Because grapefruit also affects cytochrome P450, it can be a good indicator of how that particular medication will work when combined with any cytochrome inhibitors.
Still, if you're unsure, talk to a doctor.
Finding the Best CBD Products
It's important to buy something that will work. Because CBD isn't heavily regulated, there are many vendors out there selling products that aren't effective. Some vendors have even been caught selling fake CBD.
First, always buy organic. While CBD formulations may not be heavily regulated, growing practices are. Organic farmers cannot legally use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which can cause health risks and will often weaken the product.
Unfortunately, even organic products can be of less-than-ideal quality, which is why it's important to read a product's lab report. These documents come from third-party labs that test how much CBD is present in a product. They also check whether or not there are toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or other harmful substances present.
Vendors that provide lab reports demonstrate their commitment to your well-being, so don't buy a product unless you can read what's really inside. Once you find a great vendor, you can feel confident about buying their supplements in the future.
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