Is Hemp/Cannabis Safe?
In short yes. Research suggests CBD is safe up to 1,500 mg. That number, 1,500 mg, will of course vary based on weight, primarily, and other individual factors. Even above that level is not generally considered particularly dangerous; anecdotally, one may experience an upset stomach and various unpleasant, though still fairly mild effects.
So taking back a maximum strength CBD tincture like a tequila shot on spring break is a bad idea, one, because it’s a big waste of money, and two, because you might feel a little queasy.
But anything short of that extreme dosage, you’ll probably just feel really relaxed.
Hemp is totally safe unless…
Hemp is totally safe unless it contains a foreign material due to human intervention like some types of pesticides and heavy metals. Just because it occurs naturally doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat, see mercury, snake venom, etc. But ingesting natural material from the cannabis plant is safe to eat, see edibles.
That’s why it’s important to know where your hemp came from. What are the state and national regulations the grower must follow? Do you trust the grower to follow those regulations? Even better, do you trust the grower to go above and beyond and, dare I say, add a little love to the plant. Does the grower run a factory or a farm?
Hemp products are as safe as…
Hemp is as safe as supplements and nutraceuticals because that’s how the FDA currently treats hemp products. Just like other supplements, the active ingredient is usually less of a health concern than additives or accidently included materials.
That’s why you can compare CBD gummies to something like Vitamin D gummies. Both are delicious and you can be reasonably sure they won’t actively harm you as long as you got them from a trusted source. Because they’re so delicious, you may accidentally eat half a bag thinking they were just a snack. We’ve talked about what happens when you consume too much CBD. But when you take too much Vitamin D, again you’ll probably be fine and may have some diarrhea. The human body is a beautiful thing that knows how to get rid of surpluses of familiar substances in very gross ways.
Cannabis is totally safe unless…
Cannabis is totally safe unless you fall under the following groups, though this is not an exhaustive list: you have schizophrenia, are an addict, or are a pregnant mother (potentially).
Cannabis can be used medically, recreationally, and even spiritually. There is nothing necessarily wrong with using cannabis for any of these purposes. It’s clear people gain tremendous benefit from medical cannabis and peoples have used cannabis to enrich religious ceremonies for thousands of years.
There are many many cannabis users who primarily use cannabis for recreational purposes. And you know who you are. You wouldn’t say anybody drinks whiskey recreationally so the phraseology may be a little bit flawed, but we’ll ignore that for now.
If you’ve ever met someone that suffers from epileptic seizures for example, I won’t have to tell you how critical it is for them to be using as much product as they need to quell the seizures. Even if it requires large quantities of cannabis around the clock, they are dramatically improving their quality of life. And trust me, enduring hundreds of seizures a day is a hard life.
Imagine, alternatively, a perfectly healthy young adult whose worst mental or physical health condition is occasional acid reflux, but this person also smokes all day long. If this description fits you, I’m sorry, but you are probably ingesting too much cannabis.
Fear no more, however, because moderation is the key to a happy life and people who drink a couple alcoholic drinks a day live longer than those who drink don’t at all. Like with many other cannabis questions, the research isn’t there to ascribe a life expectancy to a level of cannabis ingestion. Although it’s safe to say stress kills, and if you need a little help to get the days worries off your mind, we won’t judge.
Hemp is safer than cannabis in that..
Hemp is safer than cannabis in that hemp contains less than .03% THC. THC is not necessarily dangerous, although it should be avoided for the small number of groups described above. Hemp, on the other hand, is dangerous to almost no one. In fact, no single group can be identified as particularly at risk. If there’s ever been an hospitalization due to CBD, it’s rare and not widely known. With any medical decision, talk to your doctor to make sure it won’t interact with any medicines you're taking.
To be clear, hemp and cannabis refer to the same plant. They refer to legal definitions rather than horticultural ones. But still, the regulation for these two substances is vastly different.
Saying cannabis regulation is flawed is the greatest understatement of the century. And even so, hemp and CBD are legal and easily available to a significant majority of Americans and a growing portion of the world.
Any issues arising from excessive CBD wouldn’t be any worse than issues from caffeine. In fact, the two substances are foils of each other. They're similar in that if you take a small enough amount you may not feel a thing, but different in that one will wake you up and one will calm you down. On the spectrum of potential harmfulness, I have potato chips and cannabis (for recreation purposes or simply “adult-use”) on the same level (if you don’t agree with that, take a look at the mortality statistics of obesity). Then going to the even safer side of the spectrum you have caffeine, and then even safer is CBD and other cannabinoids.
Some substances anyone would put on the more dangerous side of the spectrum are nicotine, alcohol, and opioids. Of course, nicotine and alcohol are treated pretty similarly to any old consumer packaged good while simultaneously enacting a societal cost as great as a small war. And, the word opioid is usually followed by the word epidemic in modern American speech. Except the drug lords that dealt pharmaceutical opioids wore suits and called themselves salesmen and saleswomen.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that you should always be careful when taking any new substance. Whether you see a nutraceutical facebook ad or see a new pharmaceutical commercial, make sure you do your research.
If you’re researching to see if hemp/CBD is right for you, great job! You’re being an informed consumer. Read more articles here to learn more or click on anyone if the links in this article.
Continue to research, but ultimately, you’ll find that CBD/hemp is exceptionally safe compared to other similar products. Even Ibuprofen, which some eat like candy, can be overdosed on and, when taken over long periods of time, can cause tremendous damage to internal organs. Just like Ibuprofen, it’s not a cure all or appropriate for everyone. But, hemp is uniquely safe for most at even very high doses.