Can You Overdose On CBD Gummies

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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. 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.

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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 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:

  1. Changes in breathing pattern with difficulty breathing
  2. Changes in heart rhythm (cocaine increase heart rate, while opioids decrease heart rate)
  3. Severe headaches
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Chest pain
  6. Agitation
  7. 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.

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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:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids to help relieve dry mouth and satiate your thirst.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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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.

Liver Problems

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

References Used In This Article

  1. Herkenham, M., Lynn, A. B., Little, M. D., Johnson, M. R., Melvin, L. S., de Costa, B. R., & Rice, K. C. (1990). Cannabinoid receptor localization in the brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87(5), 1932–1936.
  2. Zlebnik, N. E., & Cheer, J. F. (2016). Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?. Annual review of neuroscience, 39, 1–17.
  3. Zlebnik, N. E., & Cheer, J. F. (2016). Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?. Annual review of neuroscience, 39, 1–17.
  4. Prestifilippo, J. P., Fernández-Solari, J., de la Cal, C., Iribarne, M., Suburo, A. M., Rettori, V., McCann, S. M., & Elverdin, J. C. (2006). Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 231(8), 1421–1429.
  5. Grayson, L., Vines, B., Nichol, K., Szaflarski, J. P., & UAB CBD Program (2017). An interaction between warfarin and cannabidiol, a case report. Epilepsy & behavior case reports, 9, 10–11. [1]
  6. Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Zuardi, A. W., & Crippa, J. A. (2011). Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current drug safety, 6(4), 237–249. [2]
  7. Taylor, L., Gidal, B., Blakey, G. et al. A Phase I, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Single Ascending Dose, Multiple Dose, and Food Effect Trial of the Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of Highly Purified Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. CNS Drugs 32, 1053–1067 (2018). [3]
  8. World Health Organization. (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD): Critical Review Report. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Fortieth Meeting Geneva, 4-7 June 2018.
  9. Davis, E., Lee, T., Weber, J. T., & Bugden, S. (2020). Cannabis use in pregnancy and breastfeeding: The pharmacist’s role. Canadian pharmacists journal: CPJ = Revue des pharmaciens du Canada: RPC, 153(2), 95–100. [9]
Nina Julia

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.

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