From summery cocktails to sweet treats and even over-the-counter supplements, it can feel like it’s pretty much always possible to get too much of a good thing. That’s why, if you’re taking CBD, or cannabidiol to address any number of concerns — from stress to discomfort— you might wonder if it’s possible to ingest too much. Here’s what the science and experts say the facts are behind this FAQ.
Can you take too much CBD? Here’s what you should know
How CBD Works in the Body
For starters, it’s important to know what happens when you ingest CBD in the first place. One of over 100 phytocannabinoids (“phyto” meaning phytogenic, or from plants) found in the resinous flower of cannabis, cannabidiol is a plant version of the body’s own naturally-occurring chemicals called endocannabinoids, which interact with certain receptors throughout the body referred to as CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids will “unlock” the CB1 and CB2 receptors and release enzymes that aid a range of physiological processes from mood to energy level, hormones to blood pressure, glucose metabolism to how we experience discomfort or stress.
As we get older, your body — specifically, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that governs production of these chemicals — produces fewer endocannabinoids, boosting the possibility of imbalance. But that’s where CBD comes in, stepping when you’re short on endocannabinoids that are necessary for helping the body obtain homeostasis.
Why You Don’t Have to Worry About ‘Overdosing’ on CBD
Typically, overdoses with a drug like, say, an opioid occurs because the area of the brainstem responsible for controlling our breathing shuts down. This simply isn’t possible with cannabis. “We have cannabinoid receptors spread throughout our bodies, including an abundance in the brain,” explains Maia Reed, Equilibria’s Head of Member Support. “However, while these receptors are scattered nearly everywhere, interestingly one of the few areas they’re not present is in the brainstem.”
Reed says that while most people tolerate CBD very well, the few side effects she’s heard from members are typically associated with a deregulated ECS balancing itself back out, i.e. drowsiness, nausea, or headaches. But these side effects typically abate on their own after a week or so of consistent use.
Still, there are contraindications with a few prescription drugs, explains Reed. Writing in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids, researchers say this applies to medications like:
antidepressants (such as amitriptyline, clomipramine, and lofepramine)
For that reason, it’s important to check with your doctor about using CBD alongside your prescriptions. Equilibria’s on-staff pharmacy team can help provide education as well.
The Importance of Finding the Right Dose of CBD
Another crucial fact to hold in mind: When it comes to taking CBD, a higher dose isn’t necessarily more effective. CBD has a biphasic effect, which means that too little — or too much — could be ineffective. In fact, many EQ members report feeling the opposite of the desired effect when they take more CBD than their body needs at a given time!
“The goal is always to find the lowest effective dose,” explains Reed. “Sometimes it can take a few tries to find your personal ‘sweet spot.’ Everyone’s body chemistry is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all.”
Ultimately, patience and consistency are key to pinpointing what is best for you. You can work one-on-one with a Dosage Specialist to feel empowered and confident in dosing yourself. Once you’ve purchased an EQ product, book an appointment at myeq.com/dosage or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about how to get started.
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