Can You Overdose on CBD? – Clinical Research Explained

Male doctor standing with his arms crossed in blue scrubs a baby blue hair cover and surgical mask hanging from his neck.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is becoming an increasingly viable option to treat many mental and physical health issues. But what happens if you take too much CBD?

You cannot overdose on CBD. It is technically possible to reach toxicity levels, however it would require irrationally high amounts of CBD, and even reaching toxicity levels would not cause death, but rather nausea, disorientation, and vomiting.

That’s why it’s important to be informed not just about the products you use, but also the way CBD works to treat various ailments and the way it interacts with the body. CBD is a great treatment option in part because of its versatility as well as the fact that it’s relatively low-risk.

Can you overdose on CBD?

No, you cannot overdose on CBD.

According to clinical research, the use of CBD is extremely safe, especially when compared to other drugs.

In order for the CBD to reach toxicity levels, you would need to consume 20,000 mg at once. So, if your bottle of CBD tincture contains 600mg of CBD, you would need to drink 33 bottles at once to reach toxicity levels.

While toxicity levels can be fatal with some drugs, according to the World Health Organization, toxic levels of CBD are not lethal. 20,000 mg of CBD would, however, have some very unpleasant side effects, including extreme drowsiness, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and a feeling of disorientation.

Even without reaching toxic levels, if you take a large dose of CBD, you run the risk of becoming very tired. CBD has tranquilizing effects when used in large doses.

Bar graph showing that it takes 20,000mg of CBD to reach toxic levels while the average dose is 15mg.

For that reason, it is a good idea to avoid activities like driving or operating machinery if you take too much CBD oil.

Years ago, perhaps you would have needed to worry about contaminants in CBD or hemp, as contaminants could have adverse effects. But after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products derived from hemp were legalized, and started being monitored by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It remains important to avoid contaminants and obtain CBD products from a trusted source. Use a database or registry that uses rigorous standards to find out where to buy CBD oil so that you can ensure that you only consume high quality and healthy products.

With overdosing aside, you may still be wondering, can you take too much CBD? While you don’t need to worry about overdosing, that does not mean that you should consume too much CBD. This leads us to the next question.

How much CBD is too much?

If you are just beginning to use CBD, the suggested dose, depending on your condition, is between 5-20 mg per day.

Because it would be nearly impossible to reach toxic levels of CBD, it opens up some leeway for CBD users to experiment with various low doses in order to find what is effective for their specific needs. However, that is not to say that you should consume an excessive amount of CBD, or consume CBD without tracking your doses.

It is suggested that you start out with very small amounts and closely monitor the effects on your symptoms or any potential side effects.

Also remember that if you take a lot of CBD consistently over a long period of time, you might become tolerant. At that point, you should take a short break, for about 3-7 days, then start again with a low dose.

Remember that the more CBD you consume, the more you run the risk of experiencing side effects such as disorientation, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and stomach pain. Work your way up to larger doses gradually over time, and monitor your intake closely.

Lush green hemp plant and someone holding out their hand with a bottle of CBD oil.

How often can I take CBD oil?

There is no magic number for how often to take CBD oil, so remember to always start slow with low doses and monitor your body’s response very closely.

To play it safe, start out with 5-20mg per day depending on your weight and symptoms. When you feel the effects waning, anywhere from 2-6 hours after consumption, it is safe to take another dose.

However, if, due to an illness, you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as extreme pain, you can start with 40 mg a day. In your second week, increase to 45 mg, and in your third week increase to 50 mg, at which point your symptoms should have decreased.

Keep a log of how much you take and how it affects your symptoms and if there are any side effects.

The time of day that you consume CBD will depend on your needs and preferences. Many take CBD before bed to help with anxiety and sleep. There is also an increasing body of evidence that CBD is useful to take before and after workouts as it is a pain reliever and it decreases inflammation.

How long do the effects of CBD oil last?

The amount of time CBD oil’s effects last will depend on your body and metabolism, which is why it is important to start slow and see how CBD affects you personally.

But in general terms, you will start to feel the effects of CBD in about 15-20 minutes, then those effects will last anywhere from 2-6 hours.

Is CBD oil addictive?

No, CBD oil is not addictive. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

A Common Misconception

You may be experiencing anxiety around CBD due to its association with marijuana and THC. But remember that there are over 400 different compounds found in cannabis, and CBD is just one of those compounds isolated. While cannabis produces a higher concentration of THC, hemp produces a higher concentration of CBD.

THC is the chemical compound that causes the “high” feeling or a sense of euphoria. CBD doesn’t produce that same high. It is shown to help with medical conditions like depression, anxiety, and seizures. Due to the more intense psychoactive element, THC might be connected to long-term, negative psychiatric effects if used heavily or at a young age. CBD does not share that same side effect.

Over time, misguided associations have caused many people to worry about CBD causing addiction or overdoses. But with more CBD information, you may find that your fears are calmed, and that CBD can help you tremendously.

What happens if you take too much CBD?

Those who are unfamiliar with CBD or have limited experience may be more likely to choose dosages that are too high or too low. 

Likewise, those wishing to experiment with higher doses might find that certain levels of CBD in their body produce negative side effects.

Generally speaking, if you take “too much” CBD (or perhaps just an abnormally large amount), you might experience side effects like nausea, fatigue, and irritability. These sorts of side effects tend to worsen in severity as an individual consumes higher and higher amounts of CBD.

An individual might notice changes all throughout the body after taking too much CBD simply because CBD interacts with various parts of it – the central nervous system, muscles, etc. – and, as a result, negative side effects can range from head to toe. 

Taking “too much” CBD, or enough to cause serious medical concerns, is actually quite difficult to do. 

However, some individuals might find themselves especially sensitive to CBD, and those with higher tolerance levels may feel as though they need to take in large doses in order to achieve their desired result.

What to Do if You Took Too Much CBD

If you’ve taken too much CBD and are experiencing side effects as a result, the first and most immediate step you should take is to stop taking whatever CBD product you’ve been using. Discontinue use at least until the symptoms go away, and be mindful of products that tend to cause adverse reactions for you.

Depending on what sort of experience you’re dealing with, introducing CBD back in your routine may or may not be something that you’re interested in. Fortunately, as mentioned, CBD is very safe to use, and even negative experiences are often far from medical emergencies. 

Can CBD oil kill you? No. 

Rest assured that taking even dramatically large amounts of CBD won’t cause death, but it may make things very unpleasant. Extreme drowsiness, upset stomach and vomiting, and other consequences may ensue. 

Fortunately, these sorts of side effects tend to go away on their own and don’t require much intervention.

Giving yourself the time and space to rest, hydrate yourself, and take care of yourself throughout this process is important. 

Any lingering or chronic concerns can always be brought up to a healthcare professional – sometimes CBD can interact with other substances in the body and alter their effects.

Conclusion

Can you od on CBD? No.

Can you take too much CBD oil and experience side effects? Possibly. For that reason, it is important to always start slow, with just around 5-20mg a day, depending on the severity of your diagnoses, then work your way up gradually if necessary.

Understanding CBD oil better, and understanding what it is exactly, will debunk some disassociations you may have, and therefore ease your worry. Check out this article to better understand what CBD oil really is, and which medical conditions it may be able to treat. And if it seems like CBD is right for you, we’ve compiled the most trustworthy hemp and CBD brands in one place, so you can ensure you are buying from trustworthy sources who care about your health as much as you do.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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