Hemp-derived CBD oil products will not get you "high" since they contain little or no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. They are also now federally legal in the United States following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill. More medical research studies are needed, but we expect that these products will continue to gain even more mainstream acceptance over time.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a phyto-cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. However, it does not cause the same psychoactive effects as other naturally occurring cannabinoids (such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). CBD induces feelings of sleepiness and tranquility, making it suitable for insomnia and other sleep disorders; CBD can be used to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, diabetes, and anxiety disorders, as well. Legality is an issue for some; all 50 states have laws governing the sale, possession, and use of CBD, and they vary significantly (see the table below for a full analysis).
When their doctor switched them to a highly purified CBD-only oil, these symptoms immediately disappeared, and their epilepsy remained controlled. A takeaway from this study, and other research suggesting that up to one in five CBD oil products could be contaminated with detectable amounts of THC, is that side effects from over the counter CBD oil products might not actually be due to the chemical action of CBD.
Some risk of side effects are present when using lower-quality CBD oil that may be “contaminated” with THC, which is psychoactive. One case report that was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology described two children who were using CBD oil to treat epilepsy, but were experiencing classic signs of being high: frequent laughter, bloodshot eyes, and reduced attention (10).
A few years ago it was still believed that CBD has no side effects. Well, at least no negative ones, because CBD works in many ways and the side effects that it had were always good ones. In the sense of, “I use CBD for something specific and as a side effect it also helps with something else. But over the years of studies (though there are still too few of them) and experience, a few side effects have been identified. But do not worry, these are not life-threatening side effects. Now let’s look at the toxicity of CBD, the possible side effects, and the safety of CBD.