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Can You Overdose on CBD? Understanding Safety & Efficacy

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

CBD (cannabidiol) has become a popular topic in recent years due to its potential health benefits. However, many people are still skeptical about its safety and efficacy. In this article, we will explore the question of whether it's possible to overdose on CBD and what the current research says about its safety.

CBD oil in hand, with tincture, with title "can you overdose on CBD"

Understanding CBD and Its Effects on the Body

CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not produce psychoactive effects or a "high". Instead, it interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that plays a role in regulating various physiological processes such as appetite, pain, and mood.

CBD works by binding to ECS receptors, which can help regulate the body's response to stress and inflammation. It can also help increase levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that's been dubbed the "bliss molecule" due to its ability to produce feelings of euphoria and well-being.

Understanding CBD Safety and Overdose

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, known for its potential therapeutic benefits for various health conditions.

Safety of CBD

  • According to a review of 132 original studies conducted by Bergamaschi et al., chronic use of CBD at doses of up to 1500 mg per day has been found to be well-tolerated by humans.

  • CBD exhibits several properties, including not inducing catalepsy, not affecting physiological parameters like heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature, and not adversely impacting psychological and psychomotor functions.

  • It has been determined that CBD has no toxicity for non-transformed cells and does not influence gastrointestinal transit or food intake.

  • Some side effects have been reported in vitro or in animal studies, such as alterations in cell viability, reduced fertilization capacity, and inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism and drug transporters. However, further human studies are needed to confirm if these effects also occur in humans.

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Can You Overdose on CBD?

  • Individuals can generally tolerate high doses of CBD, and there is limited evidence of people overdosing on it.

  • CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), making it less likely to lead to intoxication.

  • While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it can cause negative side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth, reduced appetite, irritability, and agitation.

  • CBD can also interact with other medications, like blood thinners, so consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the appropriate dosage and potential interactions.

  • Two documented cases highlight the potential risks of excessive CBD consumption. In one instance, a 2-year-old girl experienced adverse effects after taking a high dose of CBD oil, including decreased alertness, respiratory distress, and seizures. In another case, a 50-year-old man experienced symptoms like drowsiness, diarrhea, and decreased appetite after taking a large dose of CBD oil but recovered the following day. Contamination of the product with unknown toxins may have contributed to these reactions.

Is CBD Legal?

In many states, CBD derived from hemp (a variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC) is legal under federal law. However, the legality of CBD can vary from state to state, so it's important to check your local laws before purchasing or using CBD. In other countries, the legality of CBD can also vary, so it's essential to research the laws in your specific location.


  • CBD is generally considered safe, but responsible usage is essential.

  • Follow recommended dosages and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you are using other medications or have pre-existing medical conditions.

  • While overdosing on CBD is rare, it can lead to adverse effects, so cautious and informed consumption is key to enjoying its potential benefits safely.

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